The Panasonic Lumix FT3 is well worth considering if you’re looking to buy a waterproof camera. Read on for the low-down on this compact offering – we’ll be covering all the key features as well as providing an in-depth review.
Panasonic Lumix FT3 – Features
- Resolution: 12.1 megapixels
- Zoom: 4.6x optical
- Lens: 28-128 mm wide-angle LEICA lens
- Display: 2.7-inch LCD screen
- Video: 1920×1080 Full HD
- Flash: Built-in
- Sensor: Hi-Speed CCD
- Sensor size: 1/2.33″
- Aperture range: F/3.3-5.9
- ISO: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, auto, auto (1600-6400)
- Dimensions: 4.1 x 2.6 x 1.1 inches / 103 x 64 x 27 mm
- Wight: 6.2 ounces / 176 grams
Panasonic Lumix FT3 – Review
Is it possible to produce a compact camera that is not only rugged but looks sexy? The good news is that Panasonic have proven conclusively that the answer to that question is yes.
The FT3 features a beautiful sleek design and is available in some great, vibrant colours. But rest assured, this isn’t a case of style over usability, as the ergonomic profile means that the camera will fit comfortably into your hand.
There are of course many waterproof, rugged cameras available on the market today. Sadly, you do not have to spend too long reading reviews to realise that build quality can vary hugely.
Even some well know manufacturers have been criticised for the build quality of some of their waterproof models, but thankfully Panasonic haven’t let the side down.
The inclusion of GPS is one of the factors behind the FT3′s popularity. And unlike with some smartphones, the GPS sensor works well and doesn’t have any problems detecting a signal.
However, as a word of warning, you won’t want to leave GPS turned on all the time, as doing so will drain the battery. If you forget to turn it off when not using the camera, though, GPS will thankfully be automatically disabled in order to save battery life.
We have been hugely impressed with the quality of the images produced by the FT3. Although you can’t change the camera’s post-processing sharpening options, we found the default set-up to produce sharp photos with minimal noise.
In an ideal world, you will want to shoot mainly at ISO 100 and ISO 200. That said, when in situations where light is limited, the noise levels even at ISO 800 are going to be perfectly acceptable to most users.
Images can be taken in resolutions up to 12 megapixels (4000 x 3000 pixels). When shooting in a standard 4:3 aspect ratio, there are a total of six different picture sizes available to select, with the lowest resolution being just 0.3 megapixels.
In addition to the resolution options, there are two quality settings – fine and standard. We recommend you stick with the fine option as this produces the best results, albeit eating up a little bit more space on your memory card in order to do so.
As you’re reading review on this site, chances are you’re going to want to use the FT3 underwater from time-to-time. We’re pleased to be able to tell you that performance won’t fall off the cliff when doing so, as it does with some models that are on the market.
Photos taken underwater are both clear and detailed, allowing you to capture some truly spectacular results.
Video recording is equally impressive, with resolutions up to HD quality 1080i supported. Panasonic’s image stabiliser works notably well when filming, greatly reducing camera shake.
The FT3 also includes a 3D shooting mode. This works by continuously taking photos over a period of about four seconds, as you scan the camera horizontally.
Two photos are then selected and combined together, with the result being saved in MPO format. You’ll need a 3D TV in order to view your creation.
We have been extremely impressed by the Panasonic Lumix FT3. If answers a lot of failings that have sadly proven all too common with many underwater cameras.
Panasonic have produced a camera that is not only rugged and well built, but performs exceptionally both on land and underwater. As a result, we have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending this model – in our view it is the best dedicated underwater camera on the market right now.
Overall rating: 5/5