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Panasonic Lumix FT4 review

Armoured outdoor compact that won't get lost, thanks to built-in GPS

Our Verdict

For

  • Tough outer shell and cosseted interior
  • Stylish for a rugged camera
  • GPS
  • Full HD video
  • In-camera digital effects and 3D

Against

  • Pricey
  • Waterproofing limited if camera's dropped
  • Loss of focus towards the corners at maximum wide-angle
  • Image quality little better than a cheaper Panasonic snapshot

It's a tough life being an armoured camera; your chunky, flight case-like exterior invites careless owners. Announced alongside the 16 megapixel Panasonic FT20 comes the 12.1MP Panasonic FT4.

Confusingly, despite the lower headline resolution, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4 has the tougher attributes. It's water resistant to a depth of 12 metres, which is twice that of most rivals and well above the FT20's 5m. It's also able to withstand drops from 2m, rather than the FT20's 1.5m.

But, Panasonic says that if the Lumix FT4 is dropped too often, this may affect the effectiveness of the waterproofing.

Panasonic lumix dmc-ft4 review

The FT4 is additionally freezeproof to -10°C and dustproof. Current competitors among rugged compact cameras include the Olympus TG-320, Fuji XP50, Canon D20 and Nikon AW100.

Despite the workhorse exterior, complete with Bob the Builder screws in the four corners of its faceplate, rubber padding and reinforced glass protecting the internally stacked lens, Panasonic's point and shoot camera isn't a professional tool.

Panasonic lumix dmc-ft4 review

Active families (including those with inquisitive toddlers), adrenaline junkies and holidaymakers are the target audience here.

Although the toughened qualities are what you'll inevitably be paying a premium for, they're not the full story. The more you drill into the feature set, the more the Panasonic FT4 reveals itself as a potential Swiss Army knife of digital compact cameras.

Panasonic lumix dmc-ft4 review

Indicated by the small hump on the top plate, it comes with integral GPS antenna with over a million place names stored. It was able to pinpoint our local district rather than just the general borough, picking up a signal both indoors and out, which isn't always the case.

Plus, for more adventurous types, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4 packs in a compass, altimeter and barometer.

Panasonic lumix dmc-ft4 review

Add in the now ubiquitous Full HD video, with choice of AVCHD or MP4 formats and a dedicated button for recording, plus software-enhanced 3D stills capture, miniature digital filter effect, auto, manual and intelligent auto capture, and you have a high-end feature set.

The price is also towards the top end, however, costing £350 in the UK or $400 in the US, where it's called the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4. This could almost buy an entry-level DSLR. So, given the above, is the 4, um, fantastic?

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution12.1 Megapixel
GPSYes
USBYes
Wide AngleYes
PictBridgeYes
Product FamilyLumix FT
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourOrange
Optical Zoom4.6x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NamePanasonic
DurabilityWater Proof, Shock Proof, Freeze Proof, Dust Proof
FeaturesSelf-timer, Continuous Shooting Mode, Intelligent ISO Mode, Time Lapse Function
Screen Size6.9 cm (2.7")
Video FormatsMPEG-4, AVCHD
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)175 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Flash Memory Capacity20 MB
Minimum Focus Distance50 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4000 x 3000
Maximum Frame Rate50 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeCCD
Total Camera Resolution12.5 Megapixel
HDMIYes
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height64 mm
Width103.5 mm
Depth26.5 mm
Autofocus Points23
Product SeriesFT
Focal Length4.90 mm to 22.80 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, MPO
Flash ModesAuto Flash, Flash ON, Flash OFF, Slow Sync, Red-eye Reduction
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelDMC-FT4
Product NameLumix DMC-FT4 Compact Camera
Product LineLumix
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDMCFT4EBD
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

The DMC-FT4 is waterproof to 12m (40ft), shockproof to 2.0m (6.6ft), freezeproof to -10 degrees C (14 degree F) and dustproof. It is surely the reliable companion for the recorder of your outdoor adventures either in diving, snorkeling, surfing, climbing, skiing, snowboarding, camping or what so ever.

Battery Life310 Shot
Package Contents
  • Lumix DMC-FT4 Compact Camera
  • Battery Pack
  • Battery Charger
  • AC Cable
  • Brush
  • AV Cable
  • USB Cable
  • Hand Strap
  • CD-ROM
Display Resolution230000 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year
Built-in DevicesMicrophone, Speaker