Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Panasonic announces its first waterproof compact camera

Panasonic entered the shockproof, waterproof, dustproof market this week with the new 12 megapixel DMC-TS1. I am a real fan of panasonic cameras, owning a Pany FZ8 ultrazoom and having given my son the well-regarded Pany TZ5.

Unfortunately (in my opinion), like the Olympus and Pentax water-proof offerings, there is no optical viewfinder. Nice big LCDs (this one is quite ample at 2.7") are nice, but in bright light on the water an optical viewfinder is always a nice option... especially since LCDs are often hard to see with polarized glasses.

What has promise with the TS1 is that the zoom is a very useable range of 28mm wide to 128mm. The Olympus has a similar zoom range. And, like the Olympus, the camera is equipped with image stabilization. The Pentax, however, has a less useful zoom and lack image stabilization.

A 60 second minimum shutter speed sounds pretty good. Perhaps it can get some good evening pictures, as the sun sets and the hatch emerges.

The bad news is that when available in April 2009, the price will start at $400, whereas the older Olympus (if you define "old" as being announced in August, 2008) sells currently for about $250. Though this may make purchasing the Olympus a "no brainer", I am personally looking forward to the online reviews on the TS1, as both the Olympus 1050 and Pentax W60 water-proof cameras scored a low 15 of 20 in image quality in recent reviews on That's pretty poor as it is pretty easy to find compact cameras (non-waterproof) scoring higher.

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