The Panasonic Lumix DMC FT10 is waterproof, freezeproof, shockproof and dustproof. It handles most photo opportunities with a minimum of fuss. I like the picture quality on offer and I also found the camera easy to use.
Picture quality may not be absolutely top drawer, but it should be more than good enough for snapshots. The Lumix DMC FT10 performed well in my tests and I found little in the way of obvious faults.
Why Buy The Panasonic DMC FT10
The Lumix DMC FT10 is suited to anyone who is looking for a digital camera that can handle the odd bump and bruise. This type of camera is often popular with families that like the idea of having a camera that can survive the occasional drop.
100.3 x 63.5 x 21.6 mm
SD / SDHC / SDXC
Without doubt the main attractions when it comes to features are the fact the Lumix DMC FT10 is waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof and dustproof. It is waterproof to a depth of 3m, so it should be fine around the swimming pool, but is not suitable for diving. It can cope with drops of up to 1.5m and freezing conditions down to - 10 degrees centigrade.
Aside from these points I like the flexibility offered by Lumix DMC FT10 as you can decrease the number of megapixels you are shooting at in return for extra zoom power. This operates on a sliding scale with a maximum of 8.4x zoom becoming available at 3 megapixels.
For close up shots you can focus from 10cm away from your subject. This is not especially close. The 2.7 inch LCD screen is fairly typical of this type of camera. Panasonic have added a special High Angle setting for the screen. This helps to give you a better view of the scene if you need to hold the camera up above eye level.
Image stabilisation is available too. With this length of lens it is not essential, but it may help when lighting levels start to fall.
If you like to shoot High Definition movies with a digital camera then you will be pleased to know that the Lumix DMC FT10 has this capability.
The Lumix DMC FT10 handles like many a standard point and shoot digital camera. It carries all the normal buttons on the back and top of the camera. The menu system is relatively straightforward and easy to find your way around.
On the top of the camera sits three buttons. One to turn the camera on and off, the shutter button for taking a picture and an intelligent auto button. The biggest difference between intelligent auto mode and standard auto mode is that it greatly reduces menu options available to use. If you find digital cameras confusing then this setting could help you.
Looking at the back of the Lumix DMC FT10 you can see a small pimpled area at the top for resting your thumb. Beneath this are two buttons. One controls zooming out and the other zooming in. Pressing the mode button lets you place the camera in movie mode or scene mode. Next to this is a button that accesses photos you have already taken.
Below this sits four controls on a cross. These are for exposure compensation, selecting flash options, macro mode and the self timer. Sitting in the centre of the cross is a button that gives you access to the menu system and confirming settings. Finally there are buttons to change the LCD screen and one to access the most popular functions.
One way to judge ease of use is by looking at the number of menu options available. With the Lumix DMC FT10 the menu system only runs to 11 items. There 19 set up options.
The lens unit is placed away from the centre of the camera in the top left hand corner. This should not present a problem, but it makes it easier for a stray finger to get in the way when taking a photo.
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
There are some very good points about this photo. The Lumix DMC FT10 does a very good job at handling the glare caused by the lower angle of the sun at the time of year this picture was taken. This means that there is a lot more detail showing in the lightest areas of the shot than a lot of cameras manage. On top of this the sky is free of the grain I often see when the shot is blown up in size. Sharpness is good, but not quite pin sharp. Focusing also dips a bit more than I would like it to on the right hand side of the shot.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
Lenses that do not offer extreme wide angle capabilities tend to post sharper shots in this test. That is true here. The Lumix DMC FT10 performs well in what can be a surprisingly tricky scene.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
Zooming right in poses no real problems. The shot is sharper than average for this type of digital camera. With this shot there are a number of different colours involved and the Lumix DMC FT10 copes well with the challenge, apart from one or two blue lines taking on a purple tinge.
This shot confirms my findings from the first three test shots. Definition is impressive with a smooth looking, grain free shot. Focusing remains good, but sits at around 8 out of 10 rather than being outstanding. Sharpness is more than good enough for snapshot prints.
The inclusion of a white balance setting of shady allows you to fine tune colours that bit more than with most other brands. This can help you to add a warmer look to your portrait shots. Sharpness is good.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
It is easy to be over critical of the quality produced by smaller compact digital cameras. Here I feel the lighting from the flash unit is a bit harsh and takes away some of the skin tones. In fairness the lighting is even and enough light is produced for most areas of the photo to be bright.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
As you might expect there is a degree of noise creeping into this shot with lighting conditions not perfect. It is still a decent attempt and personally I prefer the more natural look to the photo than the one produced using flash.
There is nothing wrong in terms of sharpness when it comes to macro shots taken by the Lumix DMC FT10. The issue is that the camera is only able to focus from 10cm away from the subject. This means you will not be able to get in as close with this camera as you will be able to with other models.
Colours are strong. Overall they look to be well balanced, although there is plenty of power in the blue skies throughout my test shots.
On the whole noise levels are controlled well. Panasonic digital cameras usually perform well in keeping noise and grain out of lightly shaded areas and that is the case here with the Lumix DMC FT10.
Picture Quality Summary
If you are looking for a waterproof, snapshot digital camera then the Lumix DMC FT10 does a solid job.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time
Ease of Use
You should have no real problems with ease of use. The Lumix DMC FT10 is not overloaded with features and you should find it relatively easy to find your way around this camera.
Points I Like
Waterproof - general features - extra zoom
Where it Could Improve
Macro mode could get in closer
The Panasonic Lumix DMC FT10 is a good all round digital camera. If you are looking for a waterproof digital camera that can take the odd bump then this camera ticks most of the right boxes. It does little wrong and it is hard to come up with any strong reasons not to buy.
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