Panasonic Lumix TS3 Rugged Waterproof Camera – New Sensor, Full HD and GPS

News Panasonic Point and Shoot Uncategorized Underwater

Panasonic Lumix TS3 Rugged Waterproof Camera Announcement Panasonic has announced a new waterproof, shockproof point-and-shoot camera. The Panasonic Lumix TS3 replaces the TS2 as their top-of-the line rugged outdoor point-and-shoot camera. It increases the waterproof depth rating from 33 to 40 feet (12.2 m), bumps video resolution to 1920 x 1080 full HD, adds GPS and 3D shooting; and a new 12-megapixel Hi-Speed CCD sensor decreases resolution from 14-megapixels to 12-megapixels. That’s right – the TS3 has lower resolution than its predecessor. And that’s a good thing. Keep reading and I’ll tell you why.

Panasonic Lumix TS3 waterproof and shockproof point-and-shoot camera

The Panasonic Lumix TS3′s new 12-megapixel Hi-Speed CCD sensor is its most important feature. Camera company marketing departments like to sell us things that are easy to understand. With a digital camera that usually means more megapixels. “More” is easy to understand and more is always better, right?


Point-and-shoot cameras like the TS3 have tiny sensors, about the size of a pinky fingernail. As resolution is increased, the size of each individual pixel gets smaller and eventually image quality is compromised. That’s why all the current high-end compact cameras – Panasonic Lumix LX5, Nikon P7000, Canon G12 – have 10-megapixel sensors now. Last year I was disappointed in the image quality of some of the top waterproof point-and-shoots that had increased resolution – especially the 14-megapixel cameras. If the Panasonic TS3 is able to improve image quality over the TS2 – one of the most popular rugged outdoor cameras on – then the TS3 is going to the top of my point-and-shoot wants list.

Besides potentially better image quality, the Panasonic Lumix TS3 also has built-in GPS for location tagging – just make sure to turn it off if you don’t want everyone on your favorite photosharing site to know exactly where you live! Some features I haven’t seen before in a camera are a compass, altimeter and barometer. Maybe these are in other GPS-enabled cameras but it’s the first I’ve noticed them. The TS3 also has a super-quick 0.005-second shutter reaction time and 7 FPS burst rate. That’s gonna make it a top choice for on the go outdoor action sports photographers like myself.

The Panasonic Lumix TS3 should be available for purchase in March 2011. The price will be announced about a month before the camera is in stores.

Official Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 Press Release >>

Outdoor & Waterproof Camera Guide >>

Related Content:
All Panasonic User Reviews
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Panasonic Lumix TS3 rugged camera - front

Panasonic Lumix TS3 rugged camera - rear LCD

About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • francois says:

    I love the case. Looks like it can take getting dropped every once in a while. I have to be able to grip it easily too with gloves on.

    Any sample photos?

  • Photo-John says:

    It was just announced today, Francois. So no, no samples yet. But I’m going to try to get one of these for review as soon as possible. As far as dropping – it’s rated shockproof for drops of over 6 feet. So it should be able to handle a lot of abuse.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Hey that sounds like a perfect test sample for the ProReview Dude over a to test? I love the 28mm lens, it rules for up close bike pics.

  • Photo-John says:

    You’ll have to fight me for it, Brian.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Like you need another camera! Oh wait, like I need more mtb parts, never mind.

  • Photo-John says:

    I’m actually thinking I might buy this one, Brian. It looks like it could be a keeper.

  • Ryan says:

    I have the Ts2, and am very impressed. The image quality can only be getting better with this new one! The only thing that concerns me about my Ts2 is that the plastic covering the LCD developed scratches pretty early on. Kind of a bummer for a “rugged” camera.

  • Joanna says:

    I am lloking to replace my old Olympus 720 (which I loved) and am lloking for advice on what I should replce it with. I am currently torn between the TG 610 and the TS3. Suggestions? I use it for everyday outdoor, skiing, swimming at the lake with kids etc. I have my SLR for the more serious stuff but still want great photos from my waterproof one. Thanks so much!!

  • Photo-John says:

    My favorite waterproof camera last year was the Sony TX5. You can see my full pro review for it here:

    That said, of the 2011 waterproof cameras, the Panasonic TS3 is the most interesting to me right now. I haven’t had a chance to use any of the new cameras yet but the TS3 is at the top of my list.

  • Milos says:

    Hi John,
    I can not wait for your review of this camera. Do you know when you gonna do it? Thank you.

  • Milos says:

    I would like to ask one more thing. What do you think about the new Sony TX10? I know it’s just coming to the stores so you probably didn’t have a chance to try it, but last year was the TX5 your favorite and I was wondering if you are optimistic about it. You are talking about disadvantages of high resolution for point and shoot cameras in this article and TX10 has 16 mega pixels. I want to buy a waterproof camera soon so I am trying to find the best one. Thank you for your advice.

  • Photo-John says:

    Thanks for reading the article and posting your questions. I don’t have a plan for the new panasonic TS3 yet but I’d like to get one soon. I have even been thinking of just buying one instead of getting a review unit from Panasonic. That way I can use it for longer.

    About the Sony TX10 – I am worried about the increased resolution. I thought the image quality of the TX5 was pretty good and last year a couple of companies increased resolution on their waterproof point-and-shoots and the image quality decreased. I hope that doesn’t happen with the Sony but I won’t be surprised if it does. In my opinion, there’s no need to increase the resolution. We have a saying here in the US: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I think that applies here.

  • skiahh says:

    Hi John -

    It’s time to upgrade my tough camera. I’ve been using an Olympus 770 for about 4 years now with no issues other than the standard mediocre image quality. Oh, and the shutter delay, which I’ve mostly been able to work with, though there’s a lot of missed shots of me when I hand it to someone else to take my picture.

    Anyway, I’ve been looking at the Olympus 8010 and now have been reading about the TG-810 and the Panasonic TS3. I also read about the TX10, but it just doesn’t seem stout enough for the kinds of activities I do (without much grace, I should add!).

    Now, with all that said, which way would you go… Panasonic or wait for the TG-810?

    From your review of the 610, it sounds like the Olympus image quality is about the same as it has been in the past and from most things I’ve read, the TS3 has better images (with the understanding that all of these cameras give up image quality for ruggedness).

    Also, how much value do you attribute to the “crushproof-ness” of the Olympus cameras? Like I said, I’m not all that graceful and don’t want to worry about falling off my bike and squishing the camera! I would think that they all have a degree of crush-proofness given the fact that you can drop them from 2m and they can handle the pressure of an atmosphere+, too.

    I will say that I’m leaning towards the TS3 at the moment, but not 100% sold yet.


  • fernando says:

    Moro no rio de janeiro e tenho uma lumix ts3, gostaria de saber onde eu compro aquela capa tipo para celular(POLICARBONATO) para ela. Sei que existe pois já uma. Só não deu para perguntar onde ele comprou. Se alguem puder me ajudar agradeço. Obrigado.

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