Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5
- Very good image quality
- Shoots great video, up to 60 fps
- Easy to use
- Seperate housing available, making it waterproof to 47 ft
- Wide range of shooting modes, including options for time lapse
- Slightly less quality in low light
- Flash is not so strong
- Wifi feature is complicated
- Battery life decreases a lot when enabling GPS and Wifi
The Lumix DMC-TS5 is Panasonic’s current top waterproof and rugged model. This camera is the successor of the Lumix DMC-TS4, which had some bad reviews that mentioned leaking. It seems that panasonic fixed these problems in the TS5 and gave the camera some more upgrades. If you’re looking for a versatile waterproof camera that also shoots great video, the Lumix DMC-TS5 is definitely a good choice.
In general, the image quality of the DMC-TS5 is really good, although image quality may decrease a little in low light. As with a lot of cameras, higher ISO settings will cause noise to becomes visible in your photos. Furthermore, the maximum wide angle setting of the lens could ideally be a bit wider. A nice plus is that the camera offers a shooting mode where you can manually set shutter speed and aperture. It also offers several shooting modes specifically aimed at underwater shooting.
- • Sensor type & size: the camera contains a 1 / 2.33 inch CMOS sensor. The 1 / 2.33 inch sensor is pretty standard for these types of cameras.
- • Lens type: the lens type (in 35 mm equivalent) would be 28-128mm with an aperture range from F3.5 to 5.9. This means the maximum wide angle is 28 mm. A slightly wider angle would be better suited for underwater photography. The minimum focus distance is 2 inches (aprox 5 cm) which is higher than competing cameras, so taking macro shots where your subject is closer then 2 inches will be difficult.
- • Optical zoom: 4.6x, pretty good for an underwater camera
- • Digital zoom: The ‘intelligent zoom’ technology provides magnification up to 9.3x
- • Resolution (megapixels): 16.1 Megapixels
- • Maximum ISO: maximum ISO setting of this camera is 3200. Though higher ISO settings will decrease image quality a lot.
- • Shutter Speed: You can set the shutter speed between 30 seconds and 1/1300 seconds.
- • Flash: The built-in flash of this model could be a little stronger.
In terms of ruggedness the camera performs pretty well. You can take it to depths up to 43 feet, it withstands temperatures down to 14°F, can be dropped from heights up to 6.6 inch and will hold 220 pounds of weight before crushing. Outdoor testing has confirmed these numbers. A slight downside is that the manual of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 states that the camera can be taken underwater for a maximum of 60 minutes. While this is more then enough for most people, there might be scubadivers that would like to make longer dives. Another note for scuba divers: If you want to take your camera deeper then the maximum of 43 feet, there is a separate housing available for this camera. This makes the camera waterproof until a whopping 147 feet (45 meters) and it will last longer as well.
- • Waterproof Depth: 43 feet / 13 meters (147 feet / 45 meters with separate sold housing)
- • Coldproof: 14°F or -10°C
- • Shockproof: 6.6 feet / 2 meters.
- • Crushproof: 220 pounds
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 has a nice set of extra features:
- • Video functionality: The camera has exceptional good video functionality. It can record 1080p HD video at 60 frames per second. The video quality is really nice in terms of exposure and rich colors and the motion is very smooth. Here’s a clip with some example underwater footage:
- • GPS: It has a GPS radio onboard, which records the geographical location to a picture when you enable it. GPS functionality drains a lot of battery though.
- • Wifi: Wifi with Near Field functionality provides the option to send pictures to a wifi-enabled device like your smartphone or PC / laptop. It also allows your smartphone to be used as a remote control for the camera. Setting this up is a little complicated though for the average user, and it doesn’t always work as it should work.
- • Torch Light: can be used to lighten your subject when you record video.
- • Time Lapse mode: A really nice feature the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 has, is it’s time lapse mode. You can set a time interval and maximum number of pictures it takes, so you can combine them later to create a time lapse video.
Performance / ease of use
The Lumix DMC-TS5 scores pretty good on this level as well.
- • Controls / interface: The menu is very easy to understand and intuitive to navigate through.
- • Button responsiveness: Buttons are perfectly clickable, they give back a real click feeling so you know that you’ve pressed them.
- • Speed / Shutter lag: Shutter lag is 0.3 seconds in bright lighting and 0.7 second in dim lighting, which is very fast for this range of cameras. Time between taking two shots is only 1 second. The time it takes from switching on to taking the first shot is 1.8 seconds.
- • Automatic shooting mode: The camera offers an automatic shooting mode that offers pretty good quality. In certain situations you’ll want to switch to manual mode, this is also possible. The camera also offers several shooting modes specifically for underwater pictures.
- • Battery life: The battery life of this camera is excellent, but only if you turn off power-consuming functions like GPS and Wifi. You can take 370 shots on one charge, which is exceptionally. However, if GPS and Wifi are turned on, then that number will only be around 100 shots per charge.
- • Storage: The built in memory is only 15 MB, but you can equip this camera with SD, SDXC and SDHC external memory cards, providing storage capacities up to 2 Terabytes.
- • Size / dimensions: 4.30 x 2.65 x 1.14 inch / 109.2 x 67.4 x 28.9 mm
- • Weight: 6.63 ounces / 188 gr
- • Screen size: 3 inch 460k dots. The screen is very bright and has crisp detail.
- • Design: The camera design immediately gives you a ‘rugged’ feeling. The camera is available in 4 main colors: black, blue, orange and white. Parts of the camera are made of black rubber. There’s an extended grip part at the front of the camera, which makes it easier to hold.
- • Floatation: The camera doesn’t float, unless you purchase a separate float strap (also provided by olympus)
We think that this camera is priced very reasonable for it’s functionality and quality. Prices range from $250 to $300 dollar. At this moment, the cheapest supplier is amazon.com, where you can get it below $250.