Lumix DMC-FT10 review

The Lumix DMC-FT10 is a 14-megapixel waterproof camera and a reasonable choice as a budget point-and-shoot to take snorkelling or swimming.

It has a near-flat front finished in brushed metal. The 4x zoom lens doesn’t extend, reducing the chance of water or dust getting in.

Power, shutter and iA (Intelligent Auto) buttons are found on top, along with a built-in mic. The rear is logically and simply laid out, with discrete zoom buttons, a playback button, a mode selector and menu controls. The Panasonic’s 2.7in LCD screen has a low resolution, but is visible in direct sunlight.

The DMC-FT10 is waterproof to depths of 3m making it perfect for the beach

The menu system is simple to understand and use, and switching between various scene modes and settings is easy after practice. It’s not attractive, though, and neither was it quick to respond to button input in our tests.

Panasonic claims that the camera is dustproof, shockproof against 1.5m drops, waterproof to 3m and cold resistant to -10ºC. These are the same core specifications as its costlier DMC-FT1.

The 14-megapixel sensor captures good images on bright days, but in dim lighting photos become smudged and lack detail. Out of the water it did a good job of reproducing detail in portrait and landscape photos. Detail in bright lighting at the base ISO80 and 100 was acceptable, but shots requiring ISO400 or above exhibited noticeable smudging after heavy-handed noise reduction. This also applies to photos taken at the end of zoom.

Video quality was acceptable but unspectacular, with the quality of HD footage also smudged and overly smooth.
The 4x zoom lens has a 35-140mm focal length, suiting general-purpose use but not landscapes. Some barrel distortion at its widest setting and moderate pincushion distortion at longer focal lengths were not too debilitating to images. We would have liked a faster lens – especially at full zoom, which forces higher ISO levels, degrading sharpness and clarity.

Startup time was around two seconds. Shot-to-shot time was also lacklustre, with the camera’s buffer taking 1.5 seconds to save images to SD, and freezing the camera while longer HD video clips were saved.

OUR VERDICT

The DMC-FT10 is a mixed bag, with its good specifications and low price offset by average image quality. If you’re looking for a happy-snap camera that will stand the rigours of an active life, it’s a decent choice.

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