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Panasonic DMC-FT2 review
|DATE REVIEWED: 14th Apr 2010||Add Camera To Comparison Chart|
|Camera Type||Compact||Shutter Speeds||8 - 1/1300 sec|
|RRP||£370||ISO Range||80 - 1600|
|Megapixels||14||Focal Length||28 - 128mm|
|Weight||167g||Aperture||f3.3 - 5.9|
|Dimensions||99 x 63 x 24mm (WxHxD)||Focus Distance||5cm - inf|
|LCD Size||2.7 inches||Zoom (Opt)||4.6x|
|Zoom (Dig)||4x||Storage||SD / SDHC / SDXC|
|Max Resolution||4320 x 3240||Battery Type||Li-Ion|
If sea, sand, or even snow is on your agenda this year – the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2 promises to be a strong contender for the ideal travel companion. Improving upon the specs of its older brother - the FT1 - this latest tough compact is waterproof up to a whopping 10m, shockproof up to 2m, dust proof, and freeze proof to -10degrees C.
Unfortunately, this latest model hasn’t been enhanced in the looks department. It’s rather Frankenstein-esque with screws in each corner, and a rather chunky 24mm width. It comes in three attractively vibrant colours, though – yellow, blue, and orange – fitting for an extreme-use camera.
There are locks on each compartment to keep water and sand at bay, and the ridged shutter release means that it’s easy to handle with wet, slippery hands. The lens has also been designed with practicality in mind, using folded optics to prevent damage. It is also protected by a supplementary damper that absorbs any impact. However, the position of the lens unit is far from practical. It can be found in the top corner of the compact, where your index finger tends to rest, which increases the chances of snapping your digits.
At least they will be good quality images of your fingers, though. With an increased mega pixel count of 14, beating its predecessor, this model is superb in the field. Colours are recorded accurately and as the shutter release time lag is only 0.005 seconds, the FT2 is quick to keep up with the action. There is also a very responsive Sonic Speed AF that locks on target in approximately 0.24 (wide-end) / 0.28 seconds (telephoto-end). However, noise is evident at 400 ISO and above, and there is limited chromatic aberration with purple fringing appearing in high contrast conditions.
The ridged mode dial, situated within reach of your thumb, includes options such as Intelligent Auto, Sports, Snow, Beach and Surf, and Scene Selector. The Intelligent Scene Selector automatically selects one of six modes, including Macro, Portrait, and the newly added Sunset, to apply the optimum settings for the situation.
Also on the rear of the compact is a dedicated movie button for immediate HD recording. Conveniently, the 4.6x optical zoom isn’t rendered useless as soon as you press record, as with some compacts. There is also the new addition of the Video Divide function, where users can split videos into two selections for a spot of in-camera editing. However, the controls are a little petite and may prove tricky to operate with gloved hands.
Additional in-camera features on offer include the familiar Face Detection, Intelligent Exposure, and the intriguingly named Happy Mode. This option can be found in the iA setting and optimises colour and saturation to make photos and videos more vivid, but won’t suit everyone’s taste. The Optical Image Stabiliser (O.I.S) prevents camera shake effectively – handy if you’re on a rocky road trip - and the Venus Engine HD II extends the battery life up to an impressive 360 shots. This is ideal in the wilderness, or at a music festival.
The greatest lure of this compact is that it can follow you through the most testing of conditions, which is perfect for the adventurous snapper. It out-performs its competition from Olympus and Canon in the specs department, sporting a larger mega pixel count, optical zoom, and by the sheer amount it can endure. However, despite the FT2 being drop proof, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t incur a few scratches. There’s a silicon jacket that comes in the box, though, which doesn’t look attractive in the slightest, but will protect the body.
The price-point is rather expensive and as the improvements from the FT1 aren’t anything major, it’s questionable whether you would need to upgrade. However, if you’re a newbie to the world of tough compacts, then the FT2 is worth your time. Boasting some great features, this is one camera that won’t need an upgrade because it broke whilst on holiday.
With specs to impress, the FT2 will prove a strong contender for the longer-established Olympus Tough range. Its durability will cope with the toughest of conditions, without sacrificing image quality.
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|With specs to impress, the FT2 will prove a strong contender for the longer-established Olympus Tough range. Its durability will cope with the toughest of conditions, without sacrificing image quality.|