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Performance (speed)

The TS5 is a pretty snappy camera in general use. You'll wait for just 0.9 seconds for the camera to turn on after you press the power button. and autofocus speeds are very impressive in bright light. Unfortunately, the TS5 doesn't fare as well, in low light, posting speeds of around 1.5 seconds to accurately acquire focus.

Shot-to-shot delays are very brief when the Auto Review feature is off. You can take another photo in about 0.7 seconds without the flash. With the flash, you'll wait 3.5 seconds, which is about average.

The Lumix TS5 has a number of burst modes, which range from 2 to 10 fps. At 2 and 5 fps, Panasonic claims that take up to one hundred photos in a row, with the camera re-adjusting the focus before every shot. We tested the 5 fps mode with a super-fast 95MB/sec SDHC card, and the camera was able to take eleven photos in a row at 5.2 fps, before slowing down considerably. A faster 10.3 fps burst mode is also available, but is limited to seven shots. In Intelligent Auto mode, the TS5 can decide what frame rate to use based on subject motion.

Like a lot of compact cameras, the TS5 can shoot continuously at ultra-high frame rates. The TS5 can shoot at 40 or 60 fps, though the resolution will be cut to 5 and 2.5 megapixel, respectively.

The Lumix DMC-TS5 can keep shooting for a long time, courtesy of its 4.5 Wh lithium-ion battery. It has a CIPA rating of 370 shots per charge, which is excellent for a compact camera. That said, if you turn on the GPS, brighten up the screen, or use Wi-Fi, expect the battery to drain much quicker than the rated figure. We struggled to get a full day out of the camera with the GPS and Auto Power Monitor features turned on. The battery is charged externally and takes about three hours to charge fully from empty.

Image Quality

The photo quality on the Lumix DMC-TS5/FT5 is quite similar to that of other compact cameras in this class. On the positive side, colors are vibrant and photos are well-exposed. The TS5 doesn't clip highlights as much as some other rugged cameras that we've tested, and if it does, the HDR feature (described in our full review) will reduce that annoyance.

As you'll see in the example below, the camera smudges and mottles low contrast detail. That said, the average user of the TS5 (and other compact cameras) won't be bothered by this unless they're viewing images at 100%, making giant prints, or cropping the image very aggressively. The TS5 also has more of an issue with chromatic aberrations than we'd expect from a Leica-branded lens, especially near the edges of the frame.

Bright Light, Low ISO
The TS5 produces pleasing color and exposure, with less highlight clipping that its peers.

ISO 100, 1/1000 sec, f/4.5
When you view this image at 100%, you'll see chromatic aberrations on the building, and mushy details on the tree.

The TS5 performed better than expected at high sensitivities. You probably won't be printing posters at high ISOs, but they're still good enough for web sharing and small prints.

Low Light, High ISO
The TS5 performed surprisingly well at ISO 1600, once again producing an image good enough for sharing on social networking sites. Even going a stop higher (to ISO 3200) still resulted in usable images. The only thing that's a bit 'off' here is color but with very little blue in the light source (we shot this under tungsten lighting) there's only so much that the AWB system can do.

ISO 1600, 1/20 sec, f/3.3

We didn't have the best luck taking photos underwater with the DMC-TS5. While there are always a lot of 'throwaway' photos when shooting underwater (usually due to blurring), it seemed like that percentage was higher on the TS5. The camera was hit or miss on the bluish cast that often occurs underwater.

The photo above is one of the better underwater shots that we took, with pleasing colors.

ISO 100, 1/200 sec, f/5.5
The photo, on the other hand, has a strong blue/green cast.

ISO 125, 1/100 sec, f/5.6

If you notice that photos are especially blue, try adjusting the 'Color Reproduction' option when using the underwater scene modes, or later in playback mode. For more on that, and photo quality in general, please read the full review of the DMC-TS5.

Video Quality

As we covered on the previous page, the TS5 has one of the nicest movie modes that you'll find on a compact camera, with the ability to record up to 30 minutes of 1080/60p video with stereo sound. Below are three examples - two above water, and one below.

Sample Video 1

Video number one shows some mini sailboats sailing around a pond. Video quality is good, with smooth motion thanks to the 60 fps frame rate. The wind noise filter is set to 'Auto' (with 'off' being the other choice), and didn't do a whole lot in this situation.

1920 x 1080, 60p, 28 Mbps, 104.9 MB, 12 secs  Click here to download original video

Sample Video 2

Our second video was taken underwater in the clear water of Maui. The TS5 did a really nice job here, capturing the scene without a blue color cast. The audio doesn't sound like much, but that's to be expected.

1920 x 1080, 30p, 16.4 Mbps, 226.6 MB, 12 secs  Click here to download original video

Overall, the DMC-TS5's video quality is very good, and the 60 fps frame rate puts it in a class by itself.

Final Thoughts

There's a lot to like about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 (FT5). It's extremely rugged, has a high resolution LCD that's actually usable outdoors, and is loaded with nearly every feature imaginable. Some of those features include a very capable Intelligent Auto mode, manual exposure control, a well-implemented GPS system, Wi-Fi, and 1080/60p video recording. Battery life is excellent, as well. Photo quality is typical for this class. Vivid color, accurate exposure, but detail smudging and, in the case of the TS5, chromatic aberration. Still, for what the average consumer will be doing with their photos, they probably won't notice these issues.

Some other things that bugged us about the TS5 include its slow lens (which is the 'worst' in this group), very weak flash, and poor Wi-Fi reception. The Wi-Fi feature does work, though you'll want to use an 'ad hoc' connection for best results. If you're trying to 'tap' your phone to the camera using NFC, you'll be lucky if anything happens. Connecting to a Mac or PC is similarly frustrating.

Make no mistake: the TS5 is a very good rugged camera. It's really the items in the previous paragraph that keep it from greatness.

Click here to read the full conclusion from our Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 review

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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