Panasonic Lumix Waterproof Camera DMC-FT5 review

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 review

Rugged, waterproof cameras are perfect for skiing and watersports, but they're also a sensible option for the beach, fishing, mountaineering, off-road cycling, building sites and drunken nights out. The FT5's rugged credentials are better than most. It's able to withstand submersion to 13 metres, drops from two metres and 100kg of pressure. Its blocky design inspires confidence but we found the small buttons tricky to press when wearing gloves. Otherwise, operation is straightforward, with a Q Menu button revealing the most often-used functions and a Mode button making up for the lack of a dedicated mode dial.

GPS is built in and nearly all of our outdoor photos were accurately tagged, although one batch was mysteriously plotted in the Arctic Ocean. A small LED blinks intermittently to remind you that the GPS is enabled – we wish there was a physical GPS switch that worked independently of the camera's main power button.

This is the first FT-series camera to include Wi-Fi. It's essentially the same implementation that we saw in last month's Lumix SZ9, with an Android (but no iOS) app handling wireless transfers and remote control. The FT5 adds the ability to use the app as a remote viewfinder while recording video – something that we'd anticipate using more often than remote photo capture. The camera can also transfer photos wirelessly to a PC or NAS over a home network.

It's extremely quick to take photos, averaging 0.7 seconds between shots in our tests. There are lots of burst modes on offer, including 10fps with fixed focus or 5fps with continuous autofocus. This is by far the best performance we've seen from a rugged camera, and it should come in handy for fast-paced outdoor pursuits.

The capable video mode is another useful asset. It's definitely worth choosing MPEG-4 if you're using the Android app, as the remote shooting mode inexplicably drops the AVCHD resolution to 720p, and AVCHD videos can't be transferred wirelessly. Picture quality was excellent and autofocus and zooming were smooth, but there was a faint mechanical chatter in the soundtrack – possibly from the optical stabilisation.

Photo quality was generally up to scratch, but the FT5's premium price doesn't equate to premium image quality. There was some evidence of detail-smearing noise reduction even in brightly lit shots, although it thankfully wasn't as pervasive as on the Panasonic SZ9. Dense textures such as foliage had a mushy quality on close inspection, especially in shady conditions where the ISO speed was pushed up a little.

Indoor photographs suffered from noise too, especially on skin tones and hair textures where problems are easier to spot. The FT5's much faster performance means you can have more shots to choose from, which may make a bigger difference to the overall quality of photos. On balance we'd pick the D20, but if the Wi-Fi functions appeal, the FT5 is a worthy alternative.

Title Post: Panasonic Lumix Waterproof Camera DMC-FT5 review
Rating: 100% based on 99998 ratings. 5 user reviews.
Author: hadhie s

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