The big attractions of the Panasonic Lumix DMC FT20 are its robust features. It is waterproof to depths of 5m, freezeproof to temperatures as low as -10 degrees centigrade and shockproof against drops of 1.5m.
The Lumix DMC FT20 also has 16 megapixels and a 4x wide angle lens. It can shoot High Definition Movies.
As well as being a good choice for use around water this type of digital camera is also popular with families with younger children who might want to use the camera.
Compared with other waterproof digital cameras the Lumix DMC FT20 has the following:
The Lumix DMC FT20 is not as expensive as the top of the range robust digital cameras. You still get a lot of the same features, but at a lower price.
You can use the Lumix DMC FT20 in water to depths of 5m. It is also shockproof to falls of 1.5m and freezeproof down to - 10 degrees centigrade.
Megapixels and Zoom
The Lumix DMC FT20 has 16 megapixels and a 4x zoom lens. The focal length of the lens is equivalent to 25 - 100mm in 35mm format. This means that the lens is good for photographing wide scenes such as landscapes and groups of people.
If you would like to have more zoom available from time to time Panasonic have included a feature called Extra Zoom. When you use extra zoom you reduce the number of megapixels you are using in return for more zoom. The more you reduce the megapixels the more zoom you get. The maximum zoom is 9x. This is available when you are using 3 megapixels.
You can store images on SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards.
A lithium ion battery is used for power. This battery is rechargeable. Panasonic supplies both the battery and charger with the camera.
You can shoot High Definition Movies with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels.
The LCD screen is 2.7 inches in size.
You can select a scene mode when you are taking a specific type of photo. This indicates to the camera the type of photo you are about to take. The camera then uses what it thinks are the best settings. The scene modes available are Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama Shot, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Food, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity and Glass Through.
For close up shots the Lumix DMC FT20 can focus from 5cm away from your subject.
Panasonic have included Image Stabilisation. As well as helping to reduce blur in still images you can also use it when shooting movies. In movie mode it gives your movies a smoother look.
Picture Quality Summary
The Lumix DMC FT20 has one or two issues that cause it to lose a point or two for picture quality. In a nutshell picture quality is fine for snapshot sized prints and posting to the Internet, but you may become more aware of problems if you make very large prints
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
This shot looks fine if you print it off at snapshot size, but if you make an extra large print it does not have the pin sharp look that some cameras manage to produce. This takes the edge off the clarity of the picture.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
The second test shot usually presents a tougher test, but in this case the Lumix DMC FT20 produces a better result. The picture is pleasingly sharp and it is only in the extremely distant areas of the scene that detail becomes sketchy.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
Looking at this picture there is a slight haze in places. This is around the white boats. Going back to the first test shot that scene is dominated by white boats. Therefore it looks like very light coloured objects under fairly strong sunlight may overload the camera sensor. Apart from around the boats the picture is in sharp focus.
On the whole the quality of this picture is good. There is a slight fall off in focusing towards the left hand edge where part of the building is further away from the camera. Otherwise focusing is sharp.
If you are planning to take a lot of outdoor portraits then Panasonic is a good brand to buy. Even their less expensive models usually manage to add a bit of extra brightness and colour that other brands struggle to match.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
Providing you can get in fairly close to your subject your indoor photos or any photos taken when the light is not perfect should work well. In this instance the light is bright enough to light the face, but not so powerful it washes out colour.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
Using Panasonic digital cameras indoors can lead to a blue tint showing in your pictures. This is where the camera is unable to cope correctly with the artificial lighting.
The macro shot is roughly what you can expect from this type of camera. If all you are looking for is to be able to take the occasional close in shot of a subject you should get the result you are looking for from this camera.
There is not a great deal of difference between the leading camera brands when it comes to the colours found in your pictures. You should be able to produce plenty of bright photos with vivid colours with the Lumix DMC FT20.
As with most pocket sized digital cameras noise is only an issue if you are using the camera in poor light or there are shady areas in your photos. If you are using the camera in daylight you are very unlikely to see noise in your photos unless you choose to take a picture where you manually set the ISO rating to a high value.
Olympus TG-820 Rating 83/100
There are a number of robust digital cameras with similar features and general qualities. The Olympus TG-820 is priced a little lower than most of its direct competitors, so if you are looking for a good quality, robust digital camera and you would like to keep a few pounds in your pocket then this camera could well be the one for you.
Read Review: Olympus TG-820 Review
Nikon Coolpix AW100 Rating 82/100
The Nikon Coolpix AW100 is up against some stiff competition. It does a decent job, has a good range of features and can handle plenty of different photo opportunities. It may not possess a knock out blow that marks it out as clearly better than its rivals, but it is good enough to make your shortlist if you are looking for a more advanced robust digital camera.
Read Review: Nikon Coolpix AW100 Review
Canon Powershot D10 Rating 82/100
The Powershot D10 has a distinctive, fun look that means it will not get mistaken for any other digital camera. It has a number of robust features and is waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof to varying degrees. It takes a good snap and is well worth a close look.
Read Review: Canon Powershot D10 Review
Review Date: July 2012
The Panasonic Lumix DMC FT20 is a mid range robust digital camera. In terms of performance it is mid range too when it comes to picture quality. It is one of those digital cameras that do not stand out from the crowd, but at the same time it is hard to come up with reasons not to buy it. Picture quality is fine for snapshot sized prints.
Ease of Use:
Value for Money:
101 x 58.3 x 19.2mm
SD / SDHC / SDXC
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:
At less than 20mm wide you will have no problem sliding the Lumix DMC FT20 into more or less any pocket. The inclusion of the zoom controls on the back of the camera means that area is a little cramped, but there is just enough room to squeeze in your thumb. The positioning on the lens in the top right hand corner means that a little extra care is required to ensure fingers keep clear of the lens. There is also a small grip of the front. This helps you to keep the camera steady.
The flash unit is positioned to the left of centre as you look at the camera. Unless you have extra large hands the flash unit should be well out of the way of any fingers that might block out some of the light.
LCD Screen Quality
Screen quality is about standard for this type of camera. Perhaps for a camera at this price point you might expect to see a larger, 3 inch screen.
Turn on Time and Shutter Delay
Response times can be on the slow side. This is especially true when you use flash. The Lumix DMC FT20 also appears to be slower than most cameras to turn on and take the first picture.
One thing you can normally guarantee with this type of digital camera is that it is robust. Although Panasonic have not certified this camera as crushproof you do not need to take the same level of care with it as you would with a regular digital camera.
On the top of the camera are three buttons. These are the on / off button, the shutter button and a button to shoot a movie clip.
On the back are a number of buttons. These are for zooming in, for zooming out, setting the shooting mode, reviewing images, changing the information displayed on the LCD screen, accessing the main camera functions and deleting an image. There is also a main control area with buttons for exposure compensation, setting flash, accessing macro mode, activating the self timer, accessing the menu system and confirming a setting.