Steve's Conclusion

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Steve's SnapShot
Thumbnail image for TS20_red.jpg
  • 16-Megapixel Imaging Sensor
  • 2.7-Inch LCD Screen
  • 4x Optical zoom lens: 25-100mm (35mm equivalent)
  • Mega O.I.S.
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • iAuto mode
  • 720p HD video recording
  • Waterproof to 16ft.
  • Dustproof
  • Can survive drops from 5 ft.
  • FreezeProof to 14°F
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
Pros
  • iAuto shooting mode is accurate and easy in all situations
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button is always ready to record
  • "Tough" features: Waterproof, Dustproof, Shockproof and Freezeproof protect the camera
  • Great image quality 
  • Mega O.I.S. is very helpful when shooting on the move
  • Nice, Bright 2.7-inch LCD
  • Good shooting performance
  • Good Battery Life
  • Competitively priced
Cons
  • Trouble focusing up close under water without manually turning Macro focus on
  • Some noise in all images / Normal with most 16-Megapixel image sensors
  • Screen can be hard to see underwater
  • No HDMI output for HD movies on an HDTV
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 2.3 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused  = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 3/10 to 4/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 1.4 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 2.06 seconds
  • Sequential burst =  1fps 
  • Sequential flash burst = 1.16fps for 5 shots
  • High Speed Burst = 7fps 3M
  • All tests were taken using an PNY Pro Class 10, 8GB SDHC memory card, Program Mode, ISO auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Panasonic Lumix TS20 is a great camera for those who have a pool, kids or who are on the adventurous side. With its iAuto shooting mode, HD video capture and the ability to go anywhere, the TS20 helps assure that you can get the camera where you need it to be for that amazing shot.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for an affordable "tough" camera that is great around pools and kids. It is also reliable enough to put into just about any situation, no matter how tough on the camera.
New for 2012 in Panasonic's TS series, the Lumix TS20 is an affordable camera that can go anywhere and also take a little bit of abuse. This "tough" camera is waterproof to depths of up to 16 ft, shockproof from falls of up to 5 ft, freeze proof down to 14°F and also dustproof. More than just a tough body, the camera also features a 16-Megapixel CCD imaging sensor, Mega O.I.S. image stabilization, 720p HD video recording and 2.7-inch LCD screen. Combining all of these features with Panasonic's iAuto shooting mode makes this the perfect camera for adventures, vacations and any other rough situation. Available in red, blue, black and orange; you should have no problem finding a color to fit your style.

The Lumix TS20 is one of the "tough" waterproof cameras in Panasonic's point-n-shoot line. As one of their most affordable models, it does not have the capabilities of their more expensive cameras, but is great for anyone with kids or a pool. Compact size also makes it great for traveling on vacations, especially if you are looking at an adventurous vacation. The waterproof depth of about 16ft. is deeper than most people can dive on their own, and the waterproof seal will keep out sand and dust in any environment. Its ability to withstand falls from up to 5ft, makes it safe around children too. 

As one of the most compact waterproof models that we have ever handled, the TS20 can easily be carried in a small bag or pocket without any trouble. The 2.7-inch LCD screen leaves plenty of room for the controls to be placed far enough apart for easy use. It can be easily operated with either one or two hands, even if you have large hands. The dedicated video record button allows you to capture movies at any time without changing the cameras shooting mode. The 2.7 inch LCD with automatic and manual brightness adjustment can easily be seen in any lighting conditions including direct sunlight and underwater. The cameras waterproof door is easy to tell when it's closed and locked to make sure water and dust stay out.

Looking at our outdoor samples, we can see crisp, clear images with excellent exposure. The TS20 also handled its color and white balance very well, creating very pleasing images. When viewing the images at 100%, we did notice a little bit of noise that blurred some of the finer details within the image. There were also some slight aberrations in high contrast areas throughout the 25-100mm (35mm) zoom range. This 4x optical zoom is contained completely in the camera body for safety during your adventurous activities. This wide zoom lens combined with Panasonic's Mega O.I.S. image stabilization helps give you greater confidence in capturing sharp images in various situations.

Our indoor samples show us the same great image quality that we noted outdoors. Great exposure and a sharp image combined with an accurate white balance give us an accurate image with or without flash. Again when looking at the image at 100%, we can see a little bit of noise within the image at all ISO settings. While this will not affect the image when making prints of images at lower ISO settings, it does still hide some of the finer details of an image. Once we pass ISO 400, the increase in noise blurs all the finer details and makes the text fuzzy and a little more difficult to read. While we would not recommend using ISO 800 or 1600 unless absolutely necessary, these settings would still produce an image suitable for smaller prints like a 4x6-inch. Assisting with your indoor and lowlight images, the built-in compact flash unit can help a little bit. With a range of approx. 13 ft. at ISO Auto, you'll want to stay as close as possible to your subject.

Intelligent auto and the portrait scene mode allow you to easily capture great portrait images. The cameras face detection and face recognition software works quickly to detect and track any faces within the frame. The face recognition software makes sure that the faces you take pictures of most are always a top priority within your images. Our sample images show realistic looking color, giving us a very pleasing portrait image. When using the built-in flash, we did not have any instances of red eye in our subjects. 

Capturing video with the TS20 is easy, and with the dedicated video recording button, the camera is always ready. The smaller video record button is very easy to distinguish from the shutter release, even though they are right next to each other. Another great feature on the camera is at the 4x optical zoom is available during video recording. With good color and exposure, the video plays back smoothly, making it enjoyable to watch either on a computer or TV. Audio is recorded with a small built-in microphone, that only picks up sounds that are close to the camera. This mic is very sensitive and picks up all the noises around the camera, including background noises that you might not notice at the time of recording. An example of this can be heard in our sample as the wind in the background is the dominant sound in our sample movie. This will also happen indoors if you are too close to air-conditioners or furnaces. Your videos can be played back on the camera's LCD screen, computer or any TV with the included A/V cable. Unfortunately the camera lacks HDMI output.

While testing the cameras tough features, the camera had no problem with the shock of a fall from 5 ft, and it did not short out when using it underwater. With an aquarium as our only source for underwater photography, we did have a little difficulty getting the camera to focus unless manually set to macro mode. The only other issue that we had, was a little water around the edges of the waterproof compartment that seem to get past the waterproof seal. While this is only a few drops, it's more than we like to see.

Powering the TS 20 is a 3.6V, 680mAh rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery. While completing our tests we were able to capture over 120 images and several short videos without having to worry about the battery dying. This falls in line with Panasonic's claims of being able to capture 250 images on a single charge. About 250 images is a decent battery life, however we would like to see a higher powered battery, especially if you're going to be using this camera on vacation or in extreme situations where charging or swapping out a battery would be difficult. This is still a great reason to have a second battery charged on hand at all times. With the included compact portable quick charger, keeping two batteries charged is easy.

Bottom line - Panasonic's Lumix TS20 is a compact and affordable waterproof digicam. Featuring a 16-Megapixel imaging sensor, 4x optical zoom with Mega O.I.S, 720 P HD video recording and 2.7 inch LCD screen, this camera is not lacking any features normally found on a Panasonic model. It's image quality is very good, just showing us a little noise when viewing the images at 100%, which we have seen with most 16-megapixel models. With a MSRP of just $179.99 USD, this is an affordable accessory for anyone with kids, a pool or those who are adventurous.



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