Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4
Nice style; rugged design; useful functions
Small buttons are hard to use underwater; some softness in images
Available in a range of bright, vibrant colours, Panasonic’s latest entry into the rugged camera market is remarkable for its relatively unique style.
Waterproof to 12m, shockproof to 2m and with Full HD and GPS functionality on board, the FT4 has the full spectrum of ruggedised specifications. It’s also got features such as a barometer, altimeter and digital compass, making it a great option for the adventurous.
Panasonic loaded this tough camera with handy bonus functions, like the ability to create panorama and 3D photos from within the camera itself, which adds plenty of versatility.
The buttons on the back of the FT4 are small and fairly close together, and are difficult to navigate with gloves on. The video button in particular is hard to press without an exposed digit.
Photo quality is decent, although some results can be a little soft around the edges when shot at wide angle, while fully zoomed shots can lose a little bit of sharpness as well.
While better photos can be taken by using the manual controls on offer in the FT4, the small controls and lack of a mode dial makes changing settings a tougher proposition than a practical one, especially when using it underwater.
The recessed lens itself tends to attract smudges, particularly due to its position in the top left of the camera. It’s tough to clean and can affect the final image quality as well.
Latching the battery cover and ports feels secure, so there’s little concern about water seeping in at full 12m depths.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice.
The FT4 is a great option for the adventurous, with a great design and plenty of rugged protection. It’s not the best camera for underwater shooting thanks to its small buttons, but for other rugged uses, it’s a solid performer.