Panasonic announces Lumix TS4 and TS20 waterproof compact cameras

Panasonic announces Lumix TS4 and TS20 waterproof compact cameras

Summary: Panasonic announces a pair of waterproof point-and-shoot cameras--one on the high end with features like GPS, compass, altimeter, and barometer, and one aggressively priced entry-level model.

TOPICS: Hardware

Yesterday Panasonic revealed two updates to its T series of rugged, waterproof cameras: the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 and DMC-TS20. The cameras are replacements for last year's top-of-the-line Lumix DMC-TS3 and2010's lower-end DMC-TS10, respectively.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 I'm a fan of Panasonic's high-end rugged cameras -- I've chosen two of the TS4's predecessors (the TS3 and TS2) on top 10 compact camera lists for two years running now. For the TS4, Panasonic wisely maintains the 12.1-megapixel resolution of the TS3's CCD sensor (after dropping down from the TS2's 14.1 megapixels). In fact, rather than fixing what isn't broken, the TS4 has maintained most of the TS3's features -- including the 40-foot waterproof depth rating, 6.6-foot shockproof rating, and 14° F freezeproof rating, as well as the wide-angle, 28-128mm 4.6x optical zoom lens; 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD; and built in GPS, compass, altimeter, and barometer. In fact, among the only major feature changes are the addition of manual shooting modes, newly integrated special effects in Creative Control mode (including Miniature Effect, Panorama Shot, Creative Retouch, and Auto Retouch), and a Time Lapse mode. As with the TS3, the TS4 can shoot 1,920x1,080 full-HD video, but in AVCHD and MP4 formats (rather than AVCHD and Motion JPEG as with the TS3). Additionally, the TS4 has updated the "Intelligent" enhanced zoom to 9.3x (vs. 6x in the TS3).

The Panasonic LUMIX TS4 will be available in orange, blue, black, and silver body color options and begin shipping in mid-March for $399.99.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20 The TS20 is Panasonic's lower-end rugged model, a replacement for the TS10, which came out in 2010. Panasonic has priced this iteration at a more aggressively entry-level $179.99 (vs. the TS10's $249.99 price tag when it first launched), but the new model is no slouch.  Although the 5-foot shockproof rating and 14ºF freezeproof rating remain the same, the TS20 is now waterproof to a depth of 16 feet (compared to 10 feet for the TS10). Unfortunately, the TS20 has also bumped resolution up to 16.1 megapixels (vs. 14.1 megapixels in the TS10), which may negatively effect low-light image quality since the camera's sensor is a typically tiny point-and-shoot size (so cramming an extra 2 megapixels onto it isn't going to do any favors). No doubt the bump in resolution is to satisfy the uneducated entry-level masses who blindly believe bigger numbers are better. I do like the significantly wider 4x zoom lens (25 - 100 mm, f/3.9-5.7) of the TS20 (vs. the TS10's 35-140mm, f/3.5-5.9 lens).

Other key features include:

  • 8x equivalent Intelligent Zoom function
  • 1280x720p HD video recording to MP4
  • 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD
  • Optical image stabilization
  • AF Tracking
  • Intelligent ISO Control,
  • Face Recognition
  • Intelligent Scene Selector
  • Intelligent Exposure.
  • Miniature Effect mode
  • Panorama Shot
  • Orange, blue, black, and red color options

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TS20 will ship in late February for $179.99.

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Topic: Hardware

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  • This camera is NOT waterproof and the warranty SUCKS

    I bought a new TS series and mine leaked right away. I had read, before buying that seals need yearly replacement (they call it packing but it means the orange seal on the battery/mem card door). I read that the unit cannot be shockproof and waterproof at the same time. I rinsed it off in fresh water each time. I used the little brush to clean the seals any time to door was opened. I understood it all.

    I figured "I'm more careful than most and I will heed these warnings and it's a quality product so I'll get it because I like that it's good to 40 ft while others are only good to 33 ft."

    Didn't matter though .. it leaked on it's first trip, never mind that I was super careful in the handling of this unit. In my case the door seal didn't leak but the screen leaked and went out .. and the unit continued to take pictures.

    Weeks after I sent it in for warranty repair they finally got back to me stating that the seals worked and the unit passed their pressure test so IT HAD TO BE MY FAULT .. I was guilty in their eyes. I told them that only seal I can control is the door seal and it didn't leak. If the door seal would have leaked the camera would have shorted out and died. Instead it kept taking pictures. The battery and mem card stayed bone dry. Then they proceeded to try to sell me another camera .. really!

    The warranty dept's stance is "there is water in the camera, it's your fault". Do yourself a favor and DO NOT BUY THIS UNIT IF A WARRANTY MEANS ANYTHING TO YOU. Really in every way (communication with the customer, time to repair, etc) Panasonic's customer service is just horrendous. Someone needs to clean house down in McCallen Texas.

    To learn more just hop over to amazon and read the many 1 and 2 star reviews for the TS3 and 4 (same camera really)
  • Buyer Beware, Warranty worthless

    Buyer Beware! Panasonic will not honor their warranty!
    I am very distressed that I am forced to post this complaint about Panasonic not honoring their explicit warranty on a Lumix DMC-TS3 ???underwater??? camera.
    I am an experienced underwater photographer with three underwater cameras and 9 years experience. I have never had a case leakage or any damage to one of my cameras. I know how to care for expensive camera equipment at the beach and underwater.
    I purchased a new Lumix DMC-TS3 ???underwater and 6 foot drop proof??? camera for my wife to use. She is also an experienced photographer and knows how to care for a camera. We liked the Lumix as an easy to use light weight simple point and shoot for shallow water snorkeling. One its first trip, only 6 weeks old, it failed after only 7 days of shallow snorkeling. It was never more than 6 feet underwater and at all times cared for exactly according to the manual. It was never dropped or otherwise damaged. I was sorry it failed so soon on its first trip but we did have our larger underwater cameras so I was not too concerned. I was sure Panasonic would replace or repair the camera and I would have been happy with that.
    I returned the camera as instructed to Panasonic certain they would honor their warranty and advertising. I was shocked when they called and said the warranty was void because there was ???condensation??? inside the camera. I carefully explained that the camera was cared for exactly according to their manual and should be under warranty. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told they would contact me in 3-4 working days. They never called or emailed me. I then called Panasonic warranty service two more times. Each time I got the same answer: the warranty was void and someone would call me but no one ever did. I am now left without a camera. I would never buy from Panasonic again and caution anyone else considering a purchase from them. If you do not care about a warranty and possible early camera failure then buy Panasonic, otherwise BEWARE PANASONIC. I have now found numerous other complaints on the web about the exact same treatment from Panasonic. This appears to be a corporate policy and not an isolated incident.