16MP | 28-128mm (4.6X) Zoom | $349/£279/€318

This is the fourth in a series of short underwater/rugged camera reviews on DPReview. We're testing the cameras concurrently, and once all six cameras have been reviewed, we'll publish a roundup of the class, comparing them directly.

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 kg, 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 DMC-TS5 has one of the more elaborate Wi-Fi setups on a compact camera.

There are numerous ways to link the camera with a mobile device, with NFC being the most interesting. Simply tap your NFC-compatible smartphone with the camera and you're set.

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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