Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 Review
Aimed at active lifestyle photographers, the compact and rugged Panasonic
Lumix DMC-TS4 serves as an update to the highly acclaimed Lumix DMC-TS3
introduced last year.
With respect to the design of the Lumix DMC-TS4, Panasonic has adopted the philosophy of if it is not broken why fix it?, since all of the major functions and technologies incorporated in the TS4 remain essentially unchanged compared to the TS3.
The Panasonic Lumix TS4 compact digital camera offers the same durable body construction as its predecessor by being waterproof up to depths of 12m, dustproof, freezeproof down to -10°C, and shockproof against a drop of up to 2m. Both cameras also feature built-in GPS, altimeter readings, barometer readings and a compass.
Apart from some minor cosmetic changes on the camera body, there is essentially no difference between the TS4 and the older TS3 when simply looking at the two cameras side by side.
The main update to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 relates to its GPS capabilities. The new GPS system has more than a million landmarks and 82 countries/regions covered in the maps available on the bundled DVD. Geo-tagged images are automatically sorted and can be played back along a map so that users can literally trace their photographic journey. The Lumix TS4 shows the name of the Country/Region, State/Prov./County, County/Township, City/Town/Village and Landmark all which is saved in the EXIF data.
The TS4 also gains a number of new shooting modes, including; Time Lapse Shot, Miniature Effect, and Panorama Shot. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 is available in blue, red and orange for an MSRP of $399.99 Canadian. Check the latest US street prices on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 Major Features:
12.1-megapixel CCD sensor: The 12.1-megapixel CCD with 2-channel signal output structure boasts higher signal transfer speed for the operations that require high performance and speed such as 1,920 x 1,080 full HD movie recording and high speed continuous shooting
28mm Wide-angle 4.6x Optical Zoom LEICA DC Lens: The DMC-TS4 features a 4.6x optical zoom lens (35mm camera equivalent: 28-128mm). The Intelligent Zoom is an extensive zoom function using digital zoom, however, you can even draw the subject 2x closer than the original optical zoom with minimum deterioration of image quality thanks to the Intelligent Resolution technology. This means the 4.6x optical can virtually extend to 9.3x equivalent.
Waterproof: With waterproof performance to a depth of 12m equivalent to the IPX8? and IP6X standard, the DMC-TS4 supports active shooting on a beach, underwater or in a pool. If the camera gets dirty, soil and dust can be washed off by using water.
Shockproof: The DMC-TS4 is drop-proof from a height up to 2m in accordance with the MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5-Shock test standard. It lets you shoot actively while moving around with the camera in one hand.
Dustproof: The DMC-TS4 is dustproof equivalent to the IPX8? and IP6X standard. While hiking or playing sports, fine dust particles can enter through gaps in the camera body and cause malfunction. The DMC-TS4 can be used in these activities without problems.
Freezeproof: Freezeproof to -10 degrees Celsius, the DMC-TS4 supports shooting while skiing, snowboarding or skating.
GPS, Compass, Altimeter, and Barometer: The TS series is the camera specially designed for active outdoor use and offers GPS, compass, altimeter and barometer features. The rugged design, GPS and advanced measuring functions offers a wide range of practical applications suited to the outdoor and active lifestyle photographer.
With the DMC-TS4 it is possible to use the GPS (Global Positioning System) function to record data on the shooting location. You can view images for each geographical location by using the included software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.1? HD Lite Edition to manage the images.
The Lumix TS4 shows the name of the Country/Region, State/Prov./County, County/Township, City/Town/Village and Landmark all which is saved in the EXIF data.
4 Active Outdoor Scene Modes: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 has 4 active outdoor Scene Modes Sports, Snow, Beach & Snorkeling, and Underwater that can be selected easily and quickly in the menu, ensuring that you dont miss sudden shooting opportunities.
The Beach & Snorkeling Mode is perfect for your beach activities, allowing you to use a single mode with optimized auto white balance both on the beach and in shallow water. To switch from still image shooting to motion image recording, simply press the Motion Picture Button.
POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) and Active Mode: The POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) nearly doubles the hand-shake correction power of conventional MEGA O.I.S. You get bright photos without blurring even from handheld shooting at slow shutter speeds.
In addition to the conventional POWER O.I.S., the Active Mode effectively suppress blur in movie recording especially at wide angle while walking or playing with your children.
2.7-inch LCD Screen with 230K resolution: The DMC-TS4's 2.7-inch LCD features a high 230,000-dot resolution, and a wide-viewing angle that lets you frame your shot in a variety of ways for both shooting and viewing.
LUMIXs acclaimed Intelligent LCD function also automatically adjusts the brightness in 11 steps according to shooting conditions. In addition, the AR (anti-reflective) coating LCD minimizes glare and provides clear images, for high visibility even in outdoor brightness.
23-Area AF: When using Multi-area AF, the camera automatically determines the most appropriate AF area from 23 points. This ensures accurate focusing even for difficult compositions. You can also select the AF setting from five patterns Face AF, 1-area AF, Spot AF and AF Tracking according to your shooting situation.
AF Tracking: Once you focus on your subject, AF Tracking automatically tracks it until you press the shutter. When youre taking images of an active subject, like children or pets, this function eliminates the need to press the shutter button halfway down repeatedly to readjust the focus.
Fast Response: The Sonic Speed AF system includes numerous re-engineering enhancements, including a higher-speed actuator, optimized algorithms and parallel software processing. The result is fast and accurate AF performance.
Short Release Time Lag: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 offers a short shutter release time lag of approx. 0.005? second, making it easy to capture sudden, spur-of-the-moment photo opportunities.
The energy-saving Venus Engine FHD image processing engine and the efficient, rechargeable lithium-ion battery work together to extend the shooting time of the DMC-TS3. This lets users take approx. 310 shots on a single battery charge.
1080p AVCHD Format Movies with Sound: The DMC-TS3 has recording capability of full HD 1,920 x 1,080 movies in AVCHD format. The AVCHD format features almost doubling the recording time in HD quality compared with conventional Motion JPEG.
Time Lapse Shot: Once the start time, the interval and the number of picture to shoot are set, the camera automatically records images. You can leave the camera and get a record of stationary observation for subjects such as flowers coming into bloom, scudding cloud, or wild animals in nature.
The iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode is also available in movie recording. The iA Mode automatically and simultaneously activates 4 advanced detection functions including the POWER O.I.S
When the camera is set to iA Mode, the Intelligent Scene Selector feature automatically sets the Scene Mode to one of Scenery, Portrait, Macro, Night Portrait, Night Scenery or Sunset.
Intelligent ISO Control: The Intelligent ISO Control function which is activated in iA mode detects subject movement and automatically adjusts the ISO setting and shutter speed to best suit the movement and light conditions. When it detects subject motion, it automatically raises the ISO setting and increases the shutter speed to prevent motion blur.
The Intelligent Exposure function which is also activated in iA mode instantly analyzes the framed image and adjusts the brightness in areas that are too dark due to dim lighting, backlighting or use of the flash. Adjusting the brightness of dark areas, this produces natural images that are close to the way they actually look to the human eye.
Face Detection AF/AE with Face Recognition: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 features Face Recognition, a function that remembers faces. The conventional face detection system captures a face with correct focus and appropriate exposure. Face Recognition prioritizes focus and exposure right on the face of the person you have selected when there are several faces in the frame. In playback, you can choose to display only photos that contain a specific registered face using the Category Playback feature.
Face Detection also allows for Digital Red-eye Correction (Red-eye Removal). The camera takes care of the red-eye effect that often happens when shooting with a flash, to ensure attractive facial expression.
3D Photo Mode: The TS4 compact camera also features Panasonics new 3D Photo mode, which produces a realistic 3D photo by taking 20 consecutive photos and overlays the two best to create a 3D image that can then be played on a Panasonic VIERA 3D HDTV. The format of 3D images is compatible with MPO, and can also be played back on other MPO-compatible equipment such as televisions, digital photo frames and printers.
Slideshow with music: The Panasonic TS4 digital camera can play a slideshow with music. Choose from 4 types of music: Natural, Slow, Swing and Urban, and then select the transition effect to match your music. For musical slideshows created with the included PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.1 HD Lite Edition, you can choose your favorite iTunes music file as background music and burn it onto a DVD disc as an MPEG2 file. It is also possible to upload the slideshow to YouTube.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 Overview:
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 is waterproof to a depth of 12 ft, shockproof from falls 2m or less, and dustproof thanks to its airtight construction. The TS4 can even withstand extreme weather conditions, being operable in temperatures from -10 Celcius. The durable camera design, GPS tagging option and advanced measuring functions offers a wide range of useful applications.
In terms of operation, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 provides user friendly features that will appeal to those that desire point and shoot simplicity, and can manage without extended manual exposure control options.
The On/Off button, shutter release and one touch movie recording button are located on the top of the Panasonic Lumix TS4, with the remaining controls being placed on the back of the camera.
The cameras zoom is controlled by pressing one of two buttons. Press the (W) button to go wide in order to capture sweeping landscapes or group shots of people, or press the (T) button to zoom in on the action for a closer look.
The playback button is located below the Tele zoom button (T). Pushing the playback button displays the last image or movie taken.
The Mode button is found below the playback button, and is used to select the desired shooting or playback mode. Playback options include; Normal Play, Slide Show, Filtering Play, and Calendar (by date).
The available shooting mode options on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 include:
Intelligent Auto Mode: When shooting stills, the Lumix TS4 automatically selects an appropriate Scene mode (from Portrait, Scenery, Macro, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Sunset, Baby) to match the subject conditions as detected by the camera. No need to worry about camera settings, just point and shoot.
Normal Picture Mode: The subjects are recorded using your own settings.
Sports Mode: Use this mode to take pictures of sporting events, etc.
Snow Mode: This allows you to take pictures that show the snow as white as possible at a ski resort or a snow-covered mountain.
Beach & Snorkeling Mode: This mode is optimal for taking pictures underwater and at the beach.
Underwater Mode: This is optimal for taking pictures underwater deeper than 12m (40 feet) by the use of the marine case (DMW-MCFT3; optional)
Scene Mode: When you select a Scene Mode to match the subject and recording situation, the camera sets the optimal settings to obtain the desired picture.
Available Scene modes include:Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self-portrait, Scenery, Panorama Assist, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Handheld Night Shot, Food, Party, Candle Light, Pet, Sunset, High-Sens., Hi-Speed Burst (up to 7fps at 3MP), Flash Burst, Starry Sky, Fireworks, Aerial Photo, Pin Hole, Film Grain, High Dynamic Range, and Photo Frame.
3D Photo Mode: Takes a 3D picture. Pictures are recorded continuously while moving the camera horizontally, two pictures selected automatically are combined to make a single 3D picture. To view 3D pictures, a television that supports 3D is required.
The Panasonic Lumix TS4 features a 4-way push button control pad surrounding the inner Menu / Set button. The 4-way control pad is used to navigate menus and make changes to camera settings.
Pushing on the right of the 4-way control pad activates the cameras flash settings. Options in Normal Picture shooting mode include; Auto Flash, Redeye Reduction Flash (pre-flash), Fill Flash, Slow Sync./Redeye, Flash Off.
Pushing on the bottom portion of the 4-way control pad displays the cameras Macro AF (Close-up) settings, including; AF Macro, Macro Zoom and Macro Off. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 will allow you to focus down to 5cm from your subject with the lens set to wide-angle.
Pressing on the left of the 4-way control pad provides options for the cameras Self-Timer menu. The three settings include; 10 sec, 2 sec and off.
Simply press the top button on the 4-way control pad to activate the DMC-TS3's exposure compensation settings. Exposure can be adjusted by +/- 2 EV in 1/3 steps (to brighten or darken the image in difficult lighting conditions).
The MENU / SET button found in the middle of the 4-way control pad is used to activate camera settings menus and to confirm adjustments.
Options available in the REC Menu vary by the selected shooting mode. In Normal Picture mode the following settings can be adjusted; Aspect Ratio, Picture Size, Quality (image compression), ISO Sensitivity, White Balance, AF Mode, Quick AF, Face Recognition, i.Exposure, Min. Shutter Speed, i.Resolution, Digital Zoom, Burst Mode, Colour Mode, AF Assist Lamp, Redeye Removal, Stabilizer, Date Stamp, Clock Set.
The bottom two buttons found on the back of the Lumix DMC-TS4 include the Display and Delete Quick Menu buttons. Pressing the Display button repeatedly cycles through the cameras various LCD display options.
In Normal Shooting mode the LCD display choices include; full screen display with no information, superimposed grid lines to aid in composition, superimposed camera settings information, or superimposed GPS + Compass + Altimeter and Barometer settings.
In Playback mode pushing the Display button repeatedly cycles through the following display options; full display with no shooting information, image with limited shooting information (seen below), image with superimposed exposure settings, image with superimposed GPS + Compass + Altimeter and Barometer settings.
The Delete button is located to the right of the Display button and is used to Delete an image, a group of images or a movie, when the camera is set to playback mode.
In normal shooting mode pushing the Delete button superimposes a Quick Menu on the cameras LCD monitor. Using the 4-way push pad controller it is possible to change commonly used settings on the fly.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 offers two HD movie recording options in the AVCHD format, including [GFS] and [FSH] at 1920 x 1080 pixels 60i (CCD output is 30 fps). Motion Jpeg video recording is also available (best for PC viewing) at 1280 x 720 pixels 60p (CCD output is 30 fps).
Movie recording settings can be accessed in the cameras movie menu as seen below
The GPS function on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 can be disabled if so desired. The GPS Menu is used to activate GPS and other measurement settings.
With GPS activated and once the positioning is successful, the following information is stored in the images and movies recorded in [MotionJPEG] or [AVCHD] set to [GFS] or [GS].
Latitude / Longitude
Location name information (country/region, prefecture/state, city/ward/county, town/village, landmark)
The LUMIX GPS displays not only latitudes and longitudes, but also the area information that covers 203 countries or regions and the landmark information of over 1,000,000 locations in 82 countries or regions.
The memory card slot, battery compartment, and interface connections on the DMC-TS4 are found behind a waterproof hinged protective door located on the side of the camera.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 offers an HDMI output to connect the camera to an HDTV. An HDMI cable (HDMI Micro D-type) does not come supplied with the DSC-TS4 which is common to most cameras.
The DMC-TS4 also offers a standard A/V connection which also serves as the USB cable connection to a computer. A standard combination Audio/Video and USB cable is included in the box. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 uses Secure Digital (SD) or SDHC media memory cards. The camera does not come supplied with a memory card. A small amount of memory is built-in to the camera, good for a few shots in a pinch.
The DMC-TS4 runs on a Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery which provides up to approximately 310 shots per charge. The camera comes supplied with one battery and a charger that plugs right into the wall socket.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 Review User Experience:
With a rugged protective design, underwater capabilities, GPS tagging and advanced measuring technologies (compass, barometer and altimeter), the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 like the TS3 before it lends itself well to active lifestyle, family and travel type photography.
Based on our tests with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4, the 4.6x optical zoom with Power Optical Image Stabilizer technology, delivers good sharpness throughout the zoom range. Some edge softness and noticeable barrel distortion (curvature of vertical lines) is seen in wide-angle images although this is fairly common to most point and shoot cameras in this class.
The Lumix DMC-TS4's versatile Auto focus system does a good job at maintaining focus, and the cameras Face Recognition system is very responsive and quickly locked in on faces in the scene. The metering system performed well overall. Taking advantage of some of the cameras built-in selectable scene modes and exposure compensation allowed us to compensate and get the desired shot that might not have been as achievable by simply using point and shoot Auto mode.
We found the 2.7-inch screen to be adequate, although the monitor could have benefited by being higher resolution (230k below average for todays standards and price point), and featuring better anti-reflective properties.
The menu interface on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 is intuitive and geared towards simple operation. In general we enjoyed using the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 and felt the camera was easy to handle and use, and delivered some of the better image and movie quality that we have seen come from this type of an enhanced rugged all weather compact camera.
If you are looking for a user friendly, sleek and compact digital camera that can easily be brought along wherever your travels take you, we do not hesitate to recommend the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4.
Based on our experience with the DMC-TS4 we assign the camera an 8.5/10 for a combination of image quality, construction, performance and handling. In our opinion one of the best models in its class.
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