Panasonic DMC FT20 Review

Waterproof

16 Megapixels    4x Zoom

Dimensions: 101 x 58.3 x 19.2mm    Weight: 142g

Good Points: Robust features

Bad Points: Shutter response could be faster


Panasonic DMC FT20 Shutter Lag Rating slow Ease of Use par Camera Name Rating

Overview

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:

Plus Points

  • Waterproof to 5m
  • Shockproof to falls of 1.5m
  • Freezeproof to -10 degrees centigrade
  • Image Stabilisation for stills and movies
  • Extra zoom to boost zoom to 9x

Negative Points

  • No 3D photo mode

Why Buy the Panasonic DMC FT20

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.

Features

Robust Features

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.

Memory Cards

You can store images on SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards.

Batteries

A lithium ion battery is used for power. This battery is rechargeable. Panasonic supplies both the battery and charger with the camera.

Movie Mode

You can shoot High Definition Movies with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels.

LCD Screen

The LCD screen is 2.7 inches in size.

Scene Modes

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.

Macro Mode

For close up shots the Lumix DMC FT20 can focus from 5cm away from your subject.

Image Stabilisation

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.

Image Quality

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.

Outdoor Building

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.

Outdoor Portrait

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.

Macro

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.

Colours

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.

Noise

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.

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

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

Related Pages

Panasonic DMC FT20 Specification

Panasonic DMC FT20 Sample Images

Digital Camera Reviews

Panasonic Digital Cameras

Review Date

Review Date: July 2012

Verdict

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.

Ratings

Ease of Use:
Features:
Movie Mode:
Build Quality:
Colours:

8
9
8
8
8

Photo Quality:
Style:
Indoors:
Macro:
Value for Money:

Total:

8
8
8
8
8

81

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:
Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

16
4x
2.7 inches
101 x 58.3 x 19.2mm
142g
5cm
Yes
No
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
SD / SDHC / SDXC

Shutter Lag Times

Single Shot:
Five Shots:
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:

0.54 seconds
9.59 seconds
2.05 seconds
17.33 seconds
3.88 seconds

Shutter Lag Table

Handling

General Handling

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.

Flash Positioning

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.

Build Quality

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.

Camera Controls

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.

Product Shots

Front View

Panasonic DMC FT20 Front View

Back View

Panasonic DMC FT20 Back View

Top View

Panasonic DMC FT20 Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4

Buy the Panasonic DMC FT20

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GBP 115.99
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