Previous page Next page

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 (FT5)

16MP | 28-128mm (4.6X) Zoom | $359/£276/€349
>> Click here to read full review

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 (known as the FT5 outside of North America) is a rugged camera that has been stuffed with virtually every feature imaginable (see below for a list). It replaces the DMC-TS3/FT3, and can take even more of a beating than its predecessor. Other new features include a higher resolution MOS sensor (16MP CMOS vs. 12MP CCD), Wi-Fi with NFC capability, faster burst shooting, true 1080/60p video recording, and much more. Battery life has also been improved by 20%, due to the use of a more powerful battery, which is alway helpful on cameras with battery-draining features like GPS and Wi-Fi.

Specification Highlights

  • 16.1 effective megapixel MOS sensor
  • F3.3-F5.9, 28-128mm equivalent zoom lens (4.6X)
  • 'Power OIS' optical image stabilization
  • Waterproof to 13m, shockproof from 2m, crushproof to 100 kgf, freezeproof to -10C
  • 3-inch LCD with 460,000 dots
  • Manual exposure control
  • Built-in GPS with compass, manometer, landmarks, and tracking
  • Wi-Fi with NFC allows for image sharing and remote control with smartphones/tablets and Mac/PC
  • 1080/60p movie mode with stereo sound
  • 'Torch Light' illuminates your subjects while recording movies
  • Optional marine case lets you take camera 45m underwater

As we said, that's about as full-featured as you'll get on a rugged camera. About the only thing you won't find on the DMC-TS5 are built-in maps for use with the GPS.

The TS5 features a 28-128mm lens, which uses the 'folded optics' design (which keeps the camera slim).

Something that holds this lens back is the slow maximum aperture range. It starts at F3.3 at wide-angle, which is about average in this class. By the time you reach full telephoto, that number has jumped to F5.9, which is a half-stop slower than most of its peers.

The Lumix DMC-TS5 is one of those cameras that you know is tough as soon as you pick it up. It's made almost entirely of metal, and the visible screws on the front and back make it look more like a tool that a camera. The lens receives some extra protection from a protruding metal flange that surrounds it. The TS5/FT5 is available in four colors (which may not be available in all regions): orange, blue, silver, and black.

While the TS5 has a good-sized grip (above), it's made of a slippery material that doesn't feel very secure.

The DMC-TS5 is 'proofed' in five different areas. It's waterproof to 13 meters (43 feet), shockproof from 2 meters (6.6 feet), crushproof to 100 kgf (220 lbf), freezeproof to -10C (+14F), and dustproof.

As you'd expect on a rugged camera, there's a rubber gasket behind that door to keep water and dust from getting inside the camera.

All of the rugged cameras we've tested recently carry numerous warnings about using the cameras outdoors, especially underwater. They remind you to make sure there's no debris on the seal, and to lock the doors before you take the camera out into the elements. Panasonic has gone a different route, hassling you every time you turn on the camera - until you learn the 'trick' to turning it off. Read our full review of the DMC-TS5 to find out how.

The Lumix TS5/FT5 has a 3" LCD with 460,000 dots. The screen is sharp and colors are vivid, but the real story is its unmatched visibility outdoors (with Auto Power Monitor turned on).

The displays on the majority of rugged cameras that we've recently tested have middling to poor outdoor visibility - especially those of the OLED variety. Panasonic has figured out a way to make its displays just as bright outdoors are they are indoors, assuming that you've turned on the Auto Power Monitor function. As one might expect, brightening up the LCD will reduce battery life, though Panasonic doesn't say by how much.

The built-in flash has a maximum range of 5.6m at wide-angle and 3.1m at telephoto, though that's calculated with Auto ISO.

To the right of the flash is an LED illuminator, which can brighten up your subjects in movie mode. It's also serves as the TS5's AF-assist lamp.

While the TS5's flash numbers sound impressive, they don't reflect real-world usage, as they're calculated with the ISO sensitivity set to Auto. The maximum sensitivity in that mode is 1600, which will result in very noisy photos. If you reduce the sensitivity to a more reasonable ISO 400, the flash range drops to just 1.4m at wide-angle and 0.8 m at telephoto. Flash-lovers, you've been warned.

Shooting Modes

The Lumix DMC-TS5 has a host of features for those who prefer a point-and-shoot experience. The highlight is certainly its Intelligent Auto mode, which handles scene selection, face detection and recognition, smart contrast adjustment, and an Auto ISO mode that detects motion and sets the sensitivity accordingly. The camera can also switch into its handheld night shot and HDR modes if it deems them necessary. If you want a bit more control over camera features, you can switch to a Programmed Auto mode.

You can bring up a shortcut menu by pressing the Delete/Q.Menu button on the back of the camera. This menu covers the most popular options on the TS5. The main menu is well laid out, easy to navigate, and features descriptions of each item.

There are plenty of scene modes available on the TS5. Some of the more notable scenes are handheld night shot (which combines several exposures into one, reducing noise and blur), HDR (combines three different exposures, improving the range of brightness captured), and starry sky (essentially a bulb mode). There's also a time-lapse mode, which captures photos over a period of time, which can be saved separately, or as a video.

Wi-Fi

The Lumix DMC-TS5 has an extensive, but distinctly clunky Wi-Fi feature. On the surface, it sounds good: you can remotely control the camera, send photos to your mobile device or PC while photos are taken (or later), and view them on a Panasonic HDTV. What's more, the camera has built-in NFC (near-field communication), which lets you pair your camera and smartphone simply by tapping them. While the smartphone connectivity worked well, trying to connect to a Mac or PC, or use NFC is an exercise in frustration. It didn't help that the camera - which supports 802.11b/g/n - has really poor Wi-Fi reception.

There are two routes you can take for getting Wi-Fi up and running on the TS5. You can connect to an existing network, or have the camera set up its own. Joining an existing network can be easy or frustrating. If it's an open network, it takes just a few button presses. On protected networks using WPS, it's still fairly simple. If your router does not have WPS then you'll have to enter the password using the old school keyboard pictured above, which requires a lot of button-pressing.

When you're finally connected, you'll have four options: remote shooting, playback on a DLNA-compatible TV, sending images as soon as they're taken, or browsing images already stored on the camera.

If you're using a smartphone or other mobile device, you'll find need Panasonic's Image App for iOS or Android. You can then pair the two on a shared network or set up a peer-to-peer connection. If you have a smartphone that supports NFC, then you can do everything (including photo transfer) simply by tapping it against the bottom of the camera - in theory. We tried using NFC on a number of phones (and two TS5s running the latest firmware) but were unable to get it to work (and we're not alone). We reached out to Panasonic, who was unable to provide us with a reliable way of making this feature work.

When composing a photo on your smartphone you can adjust the zoom and take a photo. In 'playback mode' you can view the photos on the camera, and choose which are transferred over. Once they're on your mobile device, they can be sent onward via e-mail or other services.

Once you get your smartphone connected, you can do a number of things. You can remotely control the camera with decent live view quality, and control of the most important functions. As mentioned above, you can also have the camera send photos to your smartphone as they're taken, or you can browse through what's already on your memory card. Once the photos are on your phone or tablet, they can be forwarded on to social networking sites or e-mailed.

For more on our Wi-Fi experiences, check out the full review of the DMC-TS5.

GPS

The Lumix TS5 has a pretty nice GPS system. It not only figures out your longitude and latitude, but also your altitude or depth (using a pressure meter), your direction, as well as any nearby landmarks. The only thing you won't find are pre-installed maps.

In playback mode you can see the landmark, basic shooting settings, and a graphic similar to the one at right showing tons of GPS info. In record mode you can press the display button a few times to see current GPS information. The graph at the lower-right tracks barometric pressure.

The DMC-TS5 has a decent database of landmarks, which covers a good portion of the world. If the camera doesn't pick the right one, you can choose from other options, type in your own, or delete it entirely.

The GPS can also do some other neat tricks. One of them is altitude logging, which does just as it sounds. If you're going for a hike in the mountains, you'll be able to see a graph showing altitude over a period of time. The camera can track your route as well, which you can output to a KML file, which can then be imported into Google Earth.

By default, the GPS is very slow to acquire its location. However, if you download the Assisted GPS data from Panasonic, it'll be much faster. In relatively open areas - such as the rooftop of DPReview HQ - the camera figured out where it was in 30-60 seconds. If you're in amongst buildings in the big city, forget about it - the TS5 will struggle and eventually give up. This is common on cameras with GPSs.

Movies

The Lumix DMC-TS5 is the only currently shipping rugged camera that can record movies at 1080/60p, with stereo sound. That means that you get smoother video compared to 30p, without the interlacing found on cameras that use 60i. If you don't want to use the default AVCHD format, you can switch to MPEG-4 - which some find easier to edit and share - though the frame rate drops to 30 fps. You can record up to 30 minutes of continuous video with AVCHD, and for a bit less using MPEG-4 (which is subject to a 4GB file size limit).

The camera lets you use the optical zoom and image stabilizer while you're recording a movie, and focus can be adjusted continuously, if you wish. The built-in LED illuminator can be used to brighten up your subjects, though its range is limited to just half a meter.

The only manual control in movie mode is a wind cut filter. Movies can be 'divided' in playback mode, which allows you to remove unwanted footage. It's also worth mentioning that GPS data can be embedded in a movie.

You'll find a few sample videos on the following page.

Previous page Next page
16
I own it
7
I want it
6
I had it
Discuss in the forums
3
I own it
7
I want it
0
I had it
Discuss in the forums
14
I own it
5
I want it
5
I had it
Discuss in the forums
79
I own it
10
I want it
3
I had it
Discuss in the forums
84
I own it
32
I want it
3
I had it
Discuss in the forums
86
I own it
8
I want it
0
I had it
Discuss in the forums
44
I own it
8
I want it
1
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 123
12
CameraLabTester

From this lineup, Lumix and Nikon are about the only ones you would not be ashamed of being seen as a user.

There rest are just Comedy Central.

.

1 upvote
Timmbits

not even...
Nikon: Not good for: Frequent shooting in bright light, pixel peepers, or those who want long battery life
Panasonic Lumix: "Photo quality is typical for this class. Fine details are often smudged and chromatic aberrations can be strong at times." Not good for: Low light

0 upvotes
tommy leong

does GoPro and Astac 7200 fit into this category ?

0 upvotes
Rod McD

Hi DPR, thanks for your review.

People buy these things because there's no alternative other than a bigger camera and a housing. I'd like to see a manufacturer opt for a new approach. Year after year your reviews (and others) comment on their small sensors and poor IQ. The internet is also littered with leak complaints and poor company response on guarantees.

There seems to be a view that wilderness/outdoor/water sport followers don't value better IQ, which is absolutely untrue. And that serious photographers should have a D4 in a housing. Try stuffing one of those in your life jacket. The middle ground - the old Nikonos - is gone.

We need a manufacturer to make a robust, WR, direct light path camera with an APSC sensor, a fixed 24-85eq zoom (or primes) and real "O" rings. One 25mm "O" ring cover could give access to an SD card, a shaped battery and USB plug. Add a decent grip. And useable with gloves please.

Yes it would be bigger and cost more. But worth every cent.

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
Treeshade

Most of these cameras are not only water-proof but also shock-proof - they are not just for diving, but also for skiing, skating, mountain-biking, etc.. It would be really difficult to shock-proof an APSC standard zoom.

Imagine the thickness of a 58mm fliter that would not break when dropped to the ground with a 1kg body crushing it.

But I agree that it would be fantastic be have, for example, a weatherproof tough X100s.

1 upvote
breth

Agree with Rod. I can't be completely sure, but I believe there is a good market out there for a WR aps-c sensor serious compact. Not only would it be the backpacker's ultimate camera for convenience, I think that perhaps it would also interest streetshooters who like to get photos in the rain, or other less than perfect conditions.
If Ricoh-Pentax would use their expertise in designing cameras like this, I see no reason why a serious WR compact would not be a hit. A WR Ricoh GR would perhaps not have to be much bigger than it already is - and even if it would be, it still would be very attractive to a lot of backpackers.

1 upvote
Timmbits

I'd settle for a waterproof RX100.

it would seem like a reasonable compromise.

2 upvotes
KonstantinosK

I'd even be happy with a waterproof DMC LX7. But even this seems highly unlikely to happen...

2 upvotes
monkeybrain

I completely agree with all these comments. A waterproof and ruggedized Ricoh GR or Nikon Coolpix A would be a great outdoor sport camera. Also, Nikon wants to revitalise the Nikon 1? Bring out a fully waterproof and shockproof model with a couple similarly toughened primes to match. It's already got the great autofocus that would be good for skiing etc. Nikonos reborn!

2 upvotes
LaFonte

It is extremely expensive to make waterproof "real" camera that would withstand more than a year of use. On all professional equipment you have to regularly change the o-rings and take pretty good care of the housing. A grain of sand can make waterproof camera no longer waterproof.
All of those small wp cameras are basically with planned 1 year obsolescence. They are cheap inside so if they start leaking, then you throw it away and get new one. Many of those would leak after some time, some even after first dip :-)
You definitely don't want a wp expensive camera like rx100 or x100 and nobody will make it. If you need wp you will buy a marina case that is probably more expensive than the camera itself, but it will protect your equipment.

0 upvotes
PicOne

Sony rx100 option here below.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/909217-REG/Ikelite_6116_10_Housing_For_Sony.html

0 upvotes
tiberius_dinu

I have bought the Lumix TS5 and I'm very pleased with it. The image quality is as good as it can be in this class but would not care more about. I do shoot Canon 6D but I can not take in the water or running or snorkeling. The video is as advertised and it looks awesome and that was one of te reasons I opted for TS5. I had no issues with the wifi and it connects smoothly to my ipad, iPhone and the LG android I'm using. Neat to be able to control the zoom and the settings in the camera remotely.

Thanks for the reviews I did follow them and it did help me.

Cheers

T

2 upvotes
PicOne

Would have liked to have seen some mention/discussion of options out there using dedicated or aftermarket housings in conjunction with standard compact cameras. Ie. Can u get a better performing camera + housing for not much price difference?

1 upvote
Mikhail Tal

This is the review you should have made to begin with instead of giving every single rugged camera its own review. Why do you assign these cameras for review rather than the many mirrorless cameras you have skipped or may be about to skip over like the GF5, G5, GF6, G6, E-PL5, NEX-5R, NEX-3N, just off the top of my head. Not a single one of your six individual rugged reviews got even 100 comments. I guarantee you that any one of the cameras I mentioned would get more than 100 comments if it was still the current model.

5 upvotes
Barney Britton

We don't judge success by comments - if we did, every other news story would be about Adobe Creative Cloud.

16 upvotes
Mikhail Tal

Simon Joinson himself said that you judge success by traffic and I'm sure there's a strong correlation between number of comments and number of page views.

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
Timmbits

bah! come on!
no harm was done.

0 upvotes
Mikhail Tal

We're talking about cameras that should have been reviewed and weren't, not whatever your definition of "harm" is.

0 upvotes
monkeybrain

I doubt there is a correlation between comments and page views. Most page views surely come from people who are not registered members of the site. DPReview reviews cameras that will generate more page hits, so why budget DSLRs are reviewed in a timely fashion and also consumer friendly cams like these rugged cameras (summer's almost over though, these are a bit late I'd say).

0 upvotes
Mikhail Tal

If you honestly think that a review with 50 comments and a preview with 700 comments are equally likely to have the most page views between the two, you are completely delusional. More likely is that you just don't understand correlation very well.

2 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer

Barney makes a good point. A doorstop from Nikon will generate 10 times more comments than an unusual or outstanding camera from a small fry like Ricoh.

0 upvotes
Mikhail Tal

Nikon Coolpix AW110 Review: 77 comments
Ricoh GR Review: 214 comments
Panasonic GX7 First Impressions Review: 702 comments (and counting)

Want to try again?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 29 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Barney Britton

Mikhail - please stop it.

0 upvotes
Mikhail Tal

Can you be more specific? What I've done here is to refute people's factually inaccurate statements, is that not allowed? Or if I have myself said anything inaccurate in this chain of replies, please explain that as well. Thank you.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 123
12