Panasonic Lumix FT3: Element-Proof

The Lumix FT3 is water proof (12 metres), shock proof (2 metres), freezeproof (-10 degrees Celsius), dustproof, comes with altimeter (measures altitude), barometer (measures atmospheric pressure), compass, GPS, records 12 mega-pixel images and Full-HD, with 28-128mm f/3.3-5.9 lens… I mean, you can bring this device anywhere on Earth!

The Lumix FT3 does not have that as many features as the earlier Lumix FX78 and TZ20 cameras I have reviewed. What it does have are:

  • Intelligent Auto (iAuto)
  • Normal Auto
  • 30 SCENE modes
  • 3D Photo mode (MPO format)
  • ISO 100-1600
  • LED Light for video recording
  • LUMIX Image Uploader
  • Resize, Cropping and Video Trimming

What I like about the FT3:

  • The camera starts up rather fast, just like the FX78 and TZ20. This allows me to capture spontaneous moments easily.
  • The camera shutter and shot-to-shot responses are speedy too – plus points for candid shots.
  • The hardware buttons are responsive and easy to press.
  • The LCD monitor viewable angle is very wide without affecting display contrast.
  • The lens does not protrude, so I can conveniently place the camera face-down even when the power is on.
  • Built-in LED light for video, not powerful, but still, useful.
Screen captures of a video shot on FT3.

Reservations about the FT3:

  • Heavy image blooming when light hits on the lens.
  • Tele-end of the lens does not deliver good optics.
  • Although shockproof, FT3 body will still be damaged. The review unit I am using already has “battle scars”.

I have always wanted to get a waterproof camera myself, but I understand it is not possible for a waterproof camera to achieve the same image quality and features as a normal camera. The Lumix FT3 does not differ far from this truth. Nevertheless, it’s impressive that the handling of FT3 is on par with the compact cameras like Lumix FX78: under normal lighting situations the image quality is actually comparable to the Lumix TZ20. So I would say that the FT3 comes close to what I would want for a waterproof camera, except when blooming appears on the images. My search continues.

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