Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT1 review

The DMC-FT1 has an industrial appearance that manages to be both rugged and stylish.

Underneath its aluminium shell, internal components are encased in a resin chassis to absorb impacts. The camera passes US Military Standard tests to survive falls from 1.5m, and comes with IEC numbers to certify its 3m water-resistance and dust-proofing.

This was marginally the fastest of the waterproof cameras, taking two seconds to switch on and shoot and the same time between subsequent shots, rising to 2.4 seconds with the flash enabled. The zoom lever could be better placed, but we like the dedicated button for video capture.

Among the menus is an option to register friends and family members' faces to prioritise them when multiple faces are detected. It's not easy deciding how to rank your kids in order of prioritising, but the reward of seeing their names magically pop up onscreen as you point the camera makes it worthwhile.

Of the six waterproof cameras, the DMC-FT1 battled with Canon's D10 and Ricoh's G600 for the top spot on the image-quality podium. The DMC-FT1 and Canon D10 were both extremely reliable at choosing faultless automatic exposure settings. The D10 was sharpest in bright light, while Ricoh's G600 took the lead in low light, but the DMC-FT1 was a close runner up in both situations. Meanwhile, its 4.6x zoom and wide-angle lens is more versatile than the Canon's 3x zoom lens.

This may be a stills camera first and foremost, but we were just as impressed by its video mode. The camera bears the AVCHD Lite logo, and it's the same mode as the DSC-TZ7's complete with HDMI out. The only differences are that a video lamp illuminates subjects at close range, and that audio is recorded in mono rather than stereo.

This is one of the more expensive waterproof cameras, but the superb photo and video quality, versatile lens and compact, rugged design make it worth splashing out on.

Basic Specifications

Rating

*****

CCD effective megapixels

12.0 megapixels

CCD size

1/2.33in

Viewfinder

none

LCD screen size

2.7in

LCD screen resolution

230,000 pixels

Optical zoom

4.6x

Zoom 35mm equivalent

28-128mm

Image stabilisation

optical, lens based

Maximum image resolution

4,000x3,000

Maximum movie resolution

1,280x720

Movie frame rate at max quality

25fps

File formats

JPEG; QuickTime (M-JPEG), AVCHD Lite

Physical

Memory slot

SDHC

Mermory supplied

40MB internal

Battery type

3.6V 940mAh Li-ion

Battery Life (tested)

340 shots

Connectivity

USB, AV, mini HDMI, DC in

Body material

aluminium

Accessories

USB and AV cables

Weight

162g

Size

63x98x23mm

Buying Information

Price

£275

Supplier

http://www.pixmania.co.uk

Details

www.panasonic.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modes

auto

Shutter speed

auto

Aperture range

auto

ISO range (at full resolution)

80 to 1600

Exposure compensation

+/-2 EV

White balance

auto, 4 presets, manual

Additional image controls

none

Manual focus

No

Closest macro focus

5cm

Auto-focus modes

multi, centre, tracking, face detect

Metering modes

multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect

Flash

auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction

Drive modes

single, continuous, self-timer

Basic Specifications

Physical

Buying Information

Camera Controls

Author

November 25,2021

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