The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1 is a lightweight, ruggedized, fit-in-your-pocket, twelve megapixel compact point-and-shoot with an excellent 4.6X Leica zoom lens, optical image stabilization, 30 fps 720p HD video, and rated waterproof to three meters (10 feet).
My Best In Class Pick
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1
Panasonic with the Lumix DMC-TS1 has turned out a quality-built compact point-and-shoot in the “waterproof” category. However, rated to only three meters depth, this little gem can in no way be classified as a “dive” camera even for the casual fun user, and should be considered more suitable as a watersports camera where frequent drenchings and shallow dunkings are the rule. That aside, it is “ruggedized,” and will take those occassional hard knocks and drops without disintegrating into a multitude of small useless pieces.
The DMC-TS1 has a top-of-the-line Leica lens, the DC 4.9-22.8mm (28-128mm 35mm equivalent) f/3.3-5.9 Vario-Elmar, with in-the-lens Mega O.I.S. image stabilization, and is paired with a 12.1 megapixel (effective) 1/2.33” CCD that produces images that are sharp, well exposed, of excellent color with well rendered fine detail even at higher ISOs.
Features abound on the TS1 with, for example, twenty-four Still Picture modes, seventeen Movie Scene settings, six White Balance options, five Autofocus modes, ISOs from 100 to 1600 with special High Sensitivity settings up to 6400, and Shutter Speeds from 8 to 1/3000 seconds with extra long exposures of 15, 30 and 60 seconds under the Starry Sky scene mode. Additionally, it turns out standard 4:3 video in 640 x 480 and 320 x 240, 16:9 at 848 x 480; plus, 720p HD at 1280 x 720, all at 30 fps and Quicktime, too. All in all, quite a list.
But all is not rosey. The TS1 does have a caveat: It’s slow; although not the slowest. Power up to first shot takes almost two seconds. Shot to shot with autofocus takes over two seconds. Writing each image to a card takes 2.5 seconds, while zooming the lens across its full range takes almost three. However, this slow zooming does have an advantage: it permits zooming during video recording, which most cameras don’t allow. So, if you can live with those numbers, the Panasonic DMC-TS1 is a great little camera for the money.
- +Image quality
- +Lens-shift image stabilization
- +720p HD video
- +Build quality
- +Battery life
- -Very slow zooming
- -Slow operation
- -Waterproof to 3 meters
- -No optical viewfinder
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1
Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices
|Product||Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1||Pentax Optio W60|
Close Effective Sensor Resolution The Effective Sensor Resolution tells you the total number of pixels that are recorded when you take a picture. The units are MP, which stands for megapixels or millions of pixels. For outstanding fine compression prints, 3MP is required for 5x7's, 7.1MP for 8x10's, and 10.9MP for 11x14's. The effective sensor resolution is only one of many important factors that will determine the quality of the photograph when displayed or printed at different sizes.
|12.1 megapixels||10.0 megapixels|
Close Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent) The 35 mm equivalent focal length is a measure that indicates the angle of view of a particular combination of a camera lens and the sensor size. The term originates from the time when the vast majority of photography was done with 35 mm film. On any 35 mm film camera, a 30 mm or less lens is considered a wide-angle lens.
|28 mm||28 mm|
Close Max Focal Length (35 mm equivalent) The 35 mm equivalent focal length is a measure that indicates the angle of view of a particular combination of a camera lens and the sensor size. The term originates from the time when the vast majority of photography was done with 35 mm film. Larger max focal lengths make distant objects appear more magnified.
|128 mm||140 mm|
Close Max Aperture (wide-angle) The aperture refers to the size of the opening in the lens that determines the amount of light falling onto the sensor. The maximum aperture (wide-angle) is the largest possible size at the wide-angle limit of the zoom lens. The lens aperture is usually specified as an f-number, the ratio of focal length to effective aperture diameter. A lower f-number denotes a greater aperture opening, which allows more light to reach the image sensor.
Close Max Aperture (tele-photo) The aperture refers to the size of the opening in the lens that determines the amount of light falling onto the sensor. The maximum aperture (tele-photo) is the largest possible size at the tele-photo limit of the zoom lens. The lens aperture is usually specified as an f-number, the ratio of focal length to effective aperture diameter. A lower f-number denotes a greater aperture opening, which allows more light to reach the image sensor.
|Min Focus Distance (not macro)||11.8 in.||19.7 in.|
|Min Focus Distance (macro)||2.0 in.||0.4 in.|
|Image Stabilization Type||Optical (in-lens)||None|
|Power to First Shot Time||2.0 sec||2.7 sec|
Close Shutter Lag Time (including auto-focus time) This is the time from fully pressing the shutter button until the image is captured. Longer shutter lag times make it more difficult to capture the desired moment.
|0.4 sec||0.4 sec|
|Max Shooting Speed (continuous)||2.3 frames/sec||0.7 frames/sec|
|HD Video Available||Yes||Yes|
|Max Video Resolution||1280 x 720 pixels||1280 x 720 pixels|
|Max Video Frame Rate (max resolution)||30 frames/sec||15 frames/sec|
|Min ISO Setting||100||50|
|Max ISO Setting||6400||6400|
Close LCD Screen Size The LCD Screen Size is the length of the miniature LCD monitor measured diagonally.
|2.7 in.||2.5 in.|
|LCD Screen Resolution||230000 pixels||230000 pixels|
|Video Zoom Available (while recording)||Yes||Yes|
|Size (W x H x D)||3.9 x 2.5 x 0.9 in.||3.9 x 2.2 x 1.0 in.|
|Weight (with batteries)||6.5 oz||5.8 oz|
|Battery Life||340 shots||205 shots|
Pentax Optio W60
Pentax Optio W60 comes in a very close second. Image quality is almost as good as the TS1’s, except at higher ISOs, even though the W60 has a 10 megapixel sensor instead of 12. It is rated waterproof to 4 meters (13 feet) instead of three, has a slightly longer 5X zoom lens (28 to 140mm equivalent), 720p HD video, but only at 15 fps; and is about the same size and weight as the TS1.
Where to buy
Pentax Optio W60
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