Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7 (FT7)

Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7 (Lumix DC-FT7)

20MP 1/2.3" BSI-CMOS sensor | 28-128mm equiv. lens | Electronic viewfinder

What we like:

  • Long zoom range for its class
  • Only rugged camera with EVF
  • Very good 4K video quality

What we don't:

  • Lens isn't as wide as peers
  • Some may be bothered by color tearing on EVF
  • Only two apertures available in manual mode
The Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7 is the first rugged compact camera to have an electronic viewfinder. This boldly styled camera also has a 20MP BSI-CMOS sensor, 28-128mm equiv. F3.3-5.9 lens and 4K video capture. While it lacks a GPS receiver (location data can be added later via a smartphone), the TS7 does have a compass and altimeter.
The Panasonic DC-TS7 is a large, somewhat heavy camera. It feels a bit plasticky but it's is waterproof to 31m / 102ft, shockproof from 2m / 6.6ft, crushproof to 100kgf / 220lbf and freezeproof to -10°C / +14°F. It has a giant shutter release (good for those wearing gloves,) though other buttons are small and mushy. The TS7's electronic viewfinder is small and has no eye sensor, so you must press a button to switch between it and the LCD. Some users might be bothered by 'color tearing' caused by the field sequential panel used in the finder. That said, an EVF is very helpful when shooting outdoors. The TS7 has a manual exposure mode but only two aperture choices are available at any given time.
The DC-TS7 is the first rugged compact to have an electronic viewfinder
The DC-TS7 has a 49-point contrast-detect autofocus system which focuses quickly in most cases. Panasonic claims that the TS7 can also track a moving subject at 7 fps. The camera can shoot at 12 fps with focus and exposure locked. The minimum focus distance in macro mode is 3cm / 1.2in. Battery life is rated at 350 shots per charge, which is excellent for this class.
Our initial impressions are that image quality from the DC-TS7 is a bit better than average for this class. Photos look very good at the kind of resolutions used for social sharing, though upon closer inspection you'll see that fine detail has been smudged by noise reduction and a relatively soft lens. The camera does't support Raw capture, so things like color, white balance and noise reduction cannot be edited after the fact.
The TS7 can capture 4K UHD video at 30p or 24p with a 100Mbps bit rate and quality is best-in-class. The only caveat is that you may notice that straight edges appear to 'lean' when the camera is quickly panned. A 1080/60p option is also available, as is a 720/120p high speed mode. With no dedicated movie mode, the only manual video control is a wind cut filter. Panasonic has a number of features that take advantage of its 4K capabilities including 8MP frame grabs (called 4K Photo by Panasonic) and 'Post Focus'.
While we'll save our final thoughts for our review, the TS7 appears to offer a good mix of features and impressive rugged credentials. It doesn't have Raw and the electric viewfinder isn't great, but it's better than not having one at all. While not best-in-class, the TS7 is definitely worth considering.

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