Panasonic’s rugged waterproof Lumix TS cameras have been among the most popular waterproof point-and-shoots since they were introduced, about 5 years ago. For 2013, they’ve added Wi-Fi to their top-of-the-line rugged, waterproof camera. With the new Panasonic Lumix TS5 you can wirelessly transfer photos from the camera to your Smart Phone as well as using your Smart Phone or tablet as a wireless remote control. Panasonic calls the TS5 a “WiFi Enabled Lifestyle Tough Camera” and says it’s the “toughest photo and video compact camera to date.” Besides the new Wi-Fi functionality, the Panasonic Lumix TS5 has a 4.6x 28-128mm Leica zoom lens, built-in GPS, full HD video, manual shooting modes, a new 16.1-megapixel sensor, and they’ve increased the depth rating slightly, from 40 to 43 feet. They also improved the processing, which allowed them to increase the burst rate to 10 FPS at full resolution.
Panasonic Lumix TS5 Rugged Waterproof Camera Key Features and Specs:
- New 16.1 megapixel high sensitivity MOS Sensor
- 4.6x 28-128mm f/3.3-5.9 Leica DC optical zoom lens
- Built-in Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n) with NFC (Near Field Communication)
- Panasonic Image App for iOS and Android
- 1920 x 1080 AVCHD full HD video at 60 FPS with built-in stereo mic
- Panasonic’s Power O.I.S. optical image stabilization
- 3-inch 460k-dot LCD display
- 10 FPS high-speed burst (7 image limit)
- Sensitivity: ISO 100 to 3200 (ISO 1600 to 6400 in High-Sensitivity mode)
- Built-in GPS with compass, map, altimeter/depth indicator and barometer
- New Advanced Underwater mode
- Built-in time lapse control
All of a sudden, built-in Wi-Fi is the new must-have camera feature. And I’m all for it. I’ve been using an Eye-Fi card (Eye-Fi wireless SD card review) to add wireless functionality to my point-and-shoot cameras for a couple of years. But building it right into the camera certainly simplifies the process – especially with the new Near Field Communication (NFC) feature, which allows you to just tap the camera on another NFC equipped device to set up wireless communication. Wi-Fi functionality has improved in the recent batch of wireless cameras, too. Panasonic has an iOS and Android app that allows you to transfer photos and videos wirelessly from the TS5 to your Smart Phone or tablet. Even cooler – the app allows you to use your mobile device as a remote control for the camera, including using your phone or tablet screen as a viewfinder. I’m not sure if the Wi-Fi works underwater, but imagine being able to put the TS5 underwater and then take pictures or record video from dry land with your iPhone!
The Panasonic Lumix TS5 is built for abuse, making it perfect for action sports addicts who need a camera that can survive the elements and a few drops. It’s waterproof to 43 feet, it can survive drops of 6.6 feet, its freezeproof (14 F), and it can withstand crushing pressure of up to 220 pounds. I mostly use waterproof cameras in the hot tub, mountain biking in the rain, and skiing on powder days. But if you’re a kayaker, surfer, or diver, you can rest assured that the TS5 can take whatever you subject it to. There’s also a new Advanced Underwater mode that keeps underwater colors and details from getting washed out and muted. Forty-three feet is pretty damn deep. For action photos, the 10 FPS high-speed burst is perfect for getting perfectly-times skateboard, surf, snowboard or mountain bike photos – even photos of the kids and pets in action! The TS5 can also record full HD video at 60 frames per second, so slow motion yard sale action on the ski slopes is no problem. If action isn’t your thing, the TS5 has built-in time lapse controls – a feature usually reserved for DSLRs.
It’s been a while since we’ve tested one of Panasonic’s rugged waterproof cameras so I’m going to make it a point to get one of these for review, ASAP. In particular, I want to see how the image quality compares. In the past, Panasonic’s point-and-shoot image quality hasn’t been as good as I’d hoped. But with the new 16-mepagixel sensor and improved image processing, the TS5 could rise to the top. It’s certainly very competitive in every other respect.
The Panasonic Lumix TS5 rugged camera will come in silver, orange, black and blue and it should be in stores at the end of March (2013). The suggested retail price is US $399.99.