Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5

When I started out on my photography adventures a couple of years ago I picked up a $99.00 14MP Nikon point-and-shoot as a “back-up” camera to my Nikon D5100 DSLR. While it was certainly not capable of results to match images from the D5100, it certainly was a very handy wee camera to have in my pocket – just in case!

But it died! and for quite some time my “back-up camera” was the 5MP camera integrated into my Samsung cell phone. Adequate  – but most certainly not startling, and quite clumsy to setup and use if in a hurry.

But at the start of my most recent overseas trip – to Canada and the USA – I treated myself to a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 ruggedised, all weather camera. The reason I chose an all-weather camera was because I wanted a camera that could be used safely while in Alaska where rain, hail, snow and ice are the norm, and I was reluctant to expose my Nikon D5100 to the Alaskan elements.

After considering Nikon, Fuji, Olympus and Ricoh equivalents I was swayed by web reviews and decided on the Panasonic.

Having now used it for almost three months I am pleased to say that I am very happy with it, and the results from it. At the end of the day the Panasonic Lumix FT5 all weather camera is really still just a point-and-shoot compact digital camera, but there are so many things I like about it that outweigh the things I don’t like about it.

Here are some of the things I like about it:

  • Rugged build- – the DMC-FT5 is a true all weather camera. It can be used in rain, hail, snow or shine – and also underwater to a depth of 13 metres; plus – it is shockproof. The specifications say it will survive a drop from 2 metres – and I can say from experience it has done so already on at least two occasions;
  • It is small and easily fits in a pocket, or tucks away nicely in that small space left in your camera bag;
  • This camera is very easy to use being a point-and-shoot at heart. I do most of my shooting using the Program AE mode, but it also has an Intelligent Automatic mode, manual mode (with limitations), sports mode, scene mode, panorama mode – and so on;
  • It uses a Leica lens with optical image stabilisation;
  • The screen is bright and clear in all but the very brightest sunlight;
  • As well as having the facility to over-ride exposure by +/-  2EV it also has a bracketed exposure facility – admittedly only +1 EV and -1 EV, but that feature is quite handy;
  • The built in GPS is great for travel pictures;
  • While the image quality is not stand-out, it still produces sharp, well exposed images with vibrant colour from its 16MP sensor,  and has generally acceptable levels of noise in the ISO 200-800 range, and acceptable chromatic aberration. However, shortcomings in image quality start to show in large prints;
  • The on board WiFi works well (once you are used to it) with the Panasonic Image App which allows control of the camera from a smartphone.

Now here is what I don’t like about it:

  • No RAW images – only JPEGs;
  • No optical viewfinder;
  • Only f3.3 (f5.9 at full zoom) which can be a little bit limiting;
  • The battery – generally good for up to 400 shots with GPS switched off – dies very quickly with GPS on;
  • I still can’t get the NFC wireless function to work;
  • The battery cannot be charged by USB;
  • Reviewing photos on an almost full SD-card can be slow.

To some up the Panasonic DMC-FT5 all weather camera is a good all round performer that has a solid feel about it. The solid feel inspires confidence in being able to just pop it in a pocket, or toss it into your camera back, and know that it will work and work well when you take it out.

I suggest that it would be probably fair to say that Panasonic have made a trade off in terms of sacrificing some image quality to ensure that the Panasonic DMC-FT5 is indeed a rugged all weather camera.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 all weather camera does what I want, when I want it! I like it!

Tree and tractor
Tree and tractor
Harvey - the firewood collector
Harvey – the firewood collector
Stead Street Wharf
Stead Street Wharf
Outside Centrestage in Don Street
Outside Centrestage in Don Street
Old Wolseley rusting in long grass
Old Wolseley rusting in long grass
More old doors
More old doors
Lengthening shadows
Lengthening shadows

 

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