By Josh Fate
Timing Test Results
|The Panasonic Lumix TS10 is a great compact camera that you can take anywhere without having to worry about something happening to it. With great performance and excellent quality it is worth a look of you need a tough camera.|
Pick This Up If...
|You have been looking for a camera that you can take anywhere and use at any time, even when other cameras have to be left behind.|
Something to watch for with this camera is to make sure that the doors are properly closed and sealed. This is what keeps the dust and water out of the camera. Just forgetting to close them once, is like throwing any other camera into a pool. There is a built-in slideshow that shows you the key points to maintaining the camera's water tight seals.
Since it looks so much like a normal camera, it can be a shock for others to see you jump in the water with it. Along with the looks, it operates as easy as any other camera as well. The controls are well placed and easy to access. If you do not have them memorized, you may have a little difficulty changing settings underwater. The LCD has two levels of brightness and an auto setting that allows the camera to choose how bright the screen is based on your surroundings. In all normal lighting conditions it is very easy to see. When you take the camera underwater, you must be directly behind it or you will not be able to see anything.
The image quality of our outdoor images is very good overall. In most of the images we can see an excellent exposure and very rich colors throughout the photos. In our museum sample, which has a high dynamic range with the dark shadows, the camera exposed them well but greatly overexposed the highlights. All of compacts that we have tested in this manner have struggled with this shot so far. The 5x optical zoom lens has a 35mm equivalent of 35-140mm, which is a bit narrow for today's standards, with most cameras on the market now offering wider view lenses. A wider lens would have been helpful when using the camera underwater as light does not travel as far.
Our indoor samples are crisp and clear from edge to edge, showing us all of the fine details throughout the image. When looking at the images at 100% you can see that the noise starts to really become noticeable at ISO 400 and at ISO 800 it becomes noticeable without zooming in. Over 800 is unacceptable and should only be used if absolutely necessary. Assisting with your low-light shooting is the camera's built-in flash unit. With a range up to 16ft. (W) at ISO auto, you will be able to light a descent sized room, but your image quality will suffer a bit due to the high ISO. Macro mode works quickly when pre-set or when in iAuto mode. Since there is no lens protruding from the camera, there is nothing to block the flash on your extreme close-ups. This is also the best way to capture underwater images.
Using the camera's portrait mode was a little difficult, as it had a little trouble detecting our young face in mediocre light. When it did detect the face, it would lose it quickly when the face made even small movements. Our portrait sample shows that the camera does an excellent job exposing for the detected face and producing realistic skin tones. The camera did select a high ISO and there is some redness in the eyes, even though we shot with the red-eye removal flash on.
Shooting underwater is fairly easy as the camera does all of the work, but as stated above, shooting underwater can be difficult if you need to change settings or you may just have a little trouble seeing the screen. The camera focuses quickly, allowing you get shots quickly. It also focuses very well, but if you are not in incredibly bright light, your ISO settings will be high to extend the range of the flash. Remember that the flash range will shrink greatly when using it underwater.
The TS10's HD video capture capabilities allow you to capture 720p HD video as long as you have a compatible SD card. These videos are a little noisy, but play smoothly and have rich colors. When you have a lot of motion in your videos, the camera did have a little difficulty adjusting focus while recording, as seen in our volleyball sample. Lacking from the TS10 that is found on the TS1 is a dedicated video recording button and the high-quality AVCHD Lite compression. The optical zoom in also not available while recording, but the desired focal length can be set before hand. Panasonic also left off an HDMI port, so you will have to watch your HD videos on your computer or burn them to a Blu-Ray disc.
Powering the TS10 is a 3.7V, 695mAh Li-Ion rechargeable battery. While completing our tests, we were able to capture approx. 130 images and several videos before the battery ran low. This definitely comes up a little short of the 300 images (CIPA) that Panasonic claims is possible. With this short battery life, you will have to have another battery charged and on hand at all times.
Bottom Line - Panasonic's Lumix TS10 is a 14-Megapixel camera that was designed to conquer the elements. Its ability to go where other cameras can't could be worth its weight in gold. Its performance is great and the excellent image quality makes this camera worth looking at. With a MSRP of US $249.95, it is one of the more affordable "tough" cameras available. If you like this camera but would like to see a few more features, take a look at the Lumix TS1 or TS2.
Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.
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