Panasonic has announced the DMC-TS4 (FT4 outside North America), the latest in its rugged series of compact cameras. The TS4 gains an altimeter, compass and barometer in addition to the GPS that appeared in the TS3. The camera comes with a DVD of maps that can be loaded onto the camera, helping the camera add better location data to its pictures' EXIF. Beyond this it's a pretty familiar affair, with a 12MP CCD capable of 1080p video housed in Panasonic's familiar industrial-looking tough-camera body and a 4.6x 28-128mm equivalent zoom.

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Press Release:

PANASONIC’S NEW TOP-OF-THE-LINE RUGGED DIGITAL CAMERA FEATURES GPS*1 AND FULL-HD VIDEO RECORDING CAPABILITIES

The LUMIX TS4, the Optimal Outdoor Companion, Combines a GPS, Compass, Altimeter, Barometer with Waterproof*2, Shockproof*3 and Freezeproof Features, Allowing it to Excel in Photo and Video Capture Under Many Conditions

SECAUCUS, NJ (January 31, 2012) – Panasonic today announced the LUMIX DMC-TS4, the company’s top-of-the-line rugged digital camera with features such as a built-in GPS*1 system, compass, altimeter, barometer, plus outstanding toughness, including: waterproof*2 to approximately 40 feet (12 meters), shockproof*3 to approximately 6.6 feet (2 meters), freezeproof to temperatures as low as 14ºF, and dustproof*2. Beyond its rugged design, the LUMIX TS4 also excels in photo and video quality, offering the best of both worlds with a LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens with a 4.6x optical zoom (35mm equivalent: 28-128mm), a 12.1-megapixel Hi-Speed CCD sensor and the advanced image processing LSI Venus Engine, and the ability to shoot 1,920 x 1,080 full-High Definition (HD) video in AVCHD and MP4 formats. 

“The LUMIX TS4 is the latest addition to our successful line of rugged digital cameras, which offer users the freedom to take high-quality photos and video under a variety of conditions thanks to a design that is waterproof, dustproof, shockproof and freezeproof. Plus, with added GPS and compass capabilities, the TS4 is the perfect travel companion,” said David Briganti, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America. “Beyond its top-of-the-line rugged features, the LUMIX TS4 captures exceptional photos and videos, also making it the ideal “worry-free” everyday digital camera for those life mishaps, like an accidental drop or a spilled drink.” 

The LUMIX TS4 is ideal for active outdoor use and the altimeter works as an indicator for depth underwater. The barometer log is available to help users forecast the climate and then log the barometric trends. The altitude measurements can be improved when using the camera’s GPS data, which is enhanced when compared to its predecessor, the LUMIX DMC-TS3.  The new GPS system has more than a million landmarks and 82 countries/regions covered in the maps available on the bundled DVD.  Geo-tagged images are automatically sorted and can be played back along a map so that users can literally trace their photographic journey.  The LUMIX TS4 shows the name of the Country/Region, State/Prov./County, County/Township, City/Town/Village and Landmark – all which is saved in the EXIF data. 

Thanks to its high-speed, large-capacity signal processing Venus Engine, the LUMIX TS4 is not just rugged on the outside, but powerful from within as well. The Venus Engine integrates advanced signal processing capabilities to power Intelligent Noise Reduction, thus producing stunning still photos and videos.  In addition, the Venus Engine powers high-speed burst shooting and super-fast response times, with Sonic Speed AF, allowing the user to catch those spur-of-the-moment memories.  

New to the LUMIX TS-Series, the LUMIX TS4 offers users manual operation, allowing adjustment of shutter speed and aperture for more creative photography. Plus, with modes such as Time Lapse Shot, Miniature Effect, and Panorama Shot – photography is even more fun.  With the Time Lapse Shot, once the start time, interval and the number of photos to shoot are set, the camera automatically records the images based on the settings and the LUMIX TS4 can be left to record stationary subjects, such as flowers coming into bloom, clouds, or an animal. Once the data is captured, during playback the footage is condensed to give a unique sense of time. The Miniature Effect mode, in which the peripheries are defocused while saturation and contrast is emphasized, makes the photo look like a diorama. For videos recorded in this mode*4, playback is 10x fast forward, making it comical and amusing to watch. Panorama Shot makes it is possible to shoot a maximum 360-degree of horizontal / vertical panoramic image by taking consecutive shots and overlaying the photos.

For those who are looking for an intuitive shooting option, the LUMIX TS4 includes Panasonic’s popular iA (Intelligent Auto) mode – a suite of technologies that are automatically engaged to allow the camera to select the most appropriate settings to take high-quality photos and videos. 

Plus, a dedicated video record lets the user instantly start recording videos while shooting photos without having to go through any additional menu options.

The Panasonic LUMIX TS4 will be available in orange, blue, black and silver options in mid-March 2012 with a suggested retail price of $399.99. For more information on Panasonic LUMIX digital cameras, visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.

*1 GPS may not work in China or in the border regions of countries neighboring China. Depending on the locations, it may not be possible to correctly receive the signals from GPS satellites. In such cases, positioning may not be possible, or a significant positioning discrepancy may occur. Information measured on this unit is only a rough indication. Do not use it for technical purposes.

*2 Waterproof/Dustproof Performance

Waterproof/dustproof rating complies with the “IPX8” and “IP6X” ratings. Provided the care and maintenance guidelines described in this document are strictly followed, this camera can operate underwater, to a depth not exceeding 12 m (40 feet) for a time not exceeding 60 minutes. This means that the camera can be used underwater for specified time in specified pressure in accordance with the handling method established by Panasonic.  This does not guarantee no destruction, no malfunction, or waterproofing in all conditions.

Handling of the camera

•Waterproofing is not guaranteed if the unit is subject to an impact as a result of being hit or dropped etc. If an impact to the camera occurs, it should be inspected (subject to a fee) by a Panasonic’s Service Centre to verify that the waterproofing is still effective.

• When the camera is splashed with detergent, soap, hot spring, bath additive, sun oil, sun screen, chemicals, etc., wipe it off immediately.

•Waterproof function of the camera is for sea water and fresh water only.

• Any malfunction caused by customer misuse, or mishandling will not be covered by the warranty.

• The inside of this unit is not waterproof. Water leakage will cause malfunction.

• Supplied accessories are not waterproof (excluding Hand Strap).

• Card and battery are not waterproof. Do not handle with a wet hand. Also, do not insert wet card or battery into the camera.

• Do not leave the camera for a long period of time in places where temperature is very low (at ski resorts or at high altitude etc.) or very high [above 40ºC (104°F)], inside a car under strong sunlight, close to a heater, on the beach, etc. Waterproof performance may be degraded.

*3 Shockproof Performance

Complies with “MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5-Shock”. The camera has cleared a drop test from a height of 2 m (6.6 feet) onto 3 cm (0.1 feet) thick plywood. In most cases this camera should not sustain any damage if dropped from a height not exceeding 2 m (6.6 feet). However, the drop height was changed from 122 cm (4 feet) to 200 cm (6.6 feet) dropping onto 3 cm (0.1 feet) thick plyboard. (Disregarding appearance change such as loss of paint or distortion of the part where drop impact is applied.)

*4 Sound will not be recorded with [MINIATURE EFFECT] in Creative Control Mode and approximately 1/10 of the time period is recorded. (If you record for 10 minutes, the resulting motion picture recording will be approximately 1 minute long)

Panasonic DMC-TS4/FT4 specifications

Body type
Body typeCompact
Sensor
Max resolution4000 x 3000
Other resolutions4000 x 3000, 4000 x 2672, 4000 x 2248, 2992 x 2992, 2816 x 2112, 2816 x 1880, 2816 x 1584, 2112 x 2112, 2048 x 1536, 2048 x 1360, 1920 x 1080, 1600 x 1200, 1600 x 1064, 1600 x 904, 1504 x 1504
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels12 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors13 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.33" (6.08 x 4.56 mm)
Sensor typeCCD
ProcessorVenus Engine FHD
Image
ISOAuto, Hi Auto (1600-6400), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
White balance presets4
Custom white balanceYes (1)
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatNo
JPEG quality levelsFine, Standard
File format
  • JPEG (Exif v2.3)
  • 3D: MPO
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.)28–128 mm
Optical zoom4.6×
Maximum apertureF3.3 - F5.9
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (4.6x)
Manual focusNo
Normal focus range30 cm (11.81)
Macro focus range5 cm (1.97)
Number of focus points23
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size2.7
Screen dots230,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed60 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/1300 sec
Exposure modes
  • Program
  • Manual
Scene modes
  • Portrait
  • Soft Skin
  • Scenery
  • Panorama Shot
  • Night Portrait
  • Night Scenery
  • Hand Held Night Shot
  • Food
  • Baby1
  • Baby2
  • Pet
  • Sunset
  • High Sensitivity
  • Glass Through
Built-in flashYes
Flash range5.60 m
External flashNo
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-eye, Slow Syncro
Drive modes
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Self-timer
Continuous drive3.7 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec)
Metering modes
  • Multi
Exposure compensation±2
WB BracketingNo
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60, 30 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
FormatMPEG-4, AVCHD
MicrophoneMono
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC, Internal
Storage included20 MB Internal
Connectivity
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes
Remote controlNo
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes (Waterproof, Shockproof, Freezeproof, Dustproof)
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)310
Weight (inc. batteries)197 g (0.43 lb / 6.95 oz)
Dimensions103 x 64 x 27 mm (4.06 x 2.52 x 1.06)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPSBuiltIn
GPS notesand Barometer, Compass and Altimeter

Additional images