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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20 Overview

Posted: 01/30/2012

Designed with the outdoors type in mind, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20 has a rugged shockproof, freezeproof, waterproof and dustproof digital camera. Thanks to its rugged nature, it should be able to take whatever the elements--or perhaps just your overenthusiastic toddler--can dish out, and keep right on ticking.

The TS20 has a sensor resolution of 16.1 effective megapixels from a 1/2.33" RGB CCD image sensor, and Panasonic has coupled this to an image stabilized, Lumix DC Vario branded 4x optical zoom lens with a generous 25mm-equivalent wide angle, and a modest 100mm-equivalent telephoto. The Panasonic TS20's lens offers a two-step aperture of F3.9 or F5.7 at wide angle, and F5.7 or F13 at telephoto. The minimum focusing distance for the Panasonic DMC-TS20 is ordinarily 50 centimeters, but drops to just five centimeters at wide angle when switched to Macro mode. There's no optical viewfinder, with the Panasonic TS20 instead opting solely for a 2.7" LCD display with 230,000 dot resolution on which images and videos are both framed and reviewed.

That rugged body is one of the biggest selling points, though, with the camera being well protected against harsh usage. Rated as capable of passing MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5, the Panasonic DMC-TS20 can survive a drop from 5 feet. It is also rated waterproof and dustproof to the IEC60529 IP68 standard, which means that it is dust tight, and is suitable for immersion at one meter or below, under conditions specified by the manufacturer. In the case of the TS20, Panasonic states that the camera is waterproof down to a depth of sixteen feet. It is also designed to be used in temperatures as low as 14°F / -10°C.

The Panasonic DMC-TS20 has a 23-point multi-area autofocus system which also includes a single-point focusing mode. As with the great majority of digital cameras these days, there's also a face detection function, with Panasonic's implementation not only able to locate faces and then use the information when calculating both focus and exposure variables, but also to recognize and prioritize the faces of specific individuals.

ISO sensitivity ordinarily ranges from 80 to 1,600 equivalents, with the ability to extend this as far as ISO 6,400 equivalent in High Sensitivity Auto mode. There's also Panasonic's Intelligent ISO function, which detects if your subject is moving, and adjusts sensitivity appropriately to gain a shutter speed to freeze that motion. Shutter speeds from 1/1,300 to 8 seconds are possible. The Panasonic DMC-TS20 uses Intelligent Multiple metering, and offers six white balance settings including Auto, Manual, and four fixed presets.

A generous selection of thirteen scene modes let users tailor the look of their images, useful given that the Panasonic TS20 doesn't offer aperture-, shutter-priority, or fully manual modes. There's also an Intelligent Auto mode, which can automatically select from a subset of the available scene modes. A five mode flash strobe includes red-eye reduction capability, and has a rated range of up to 4.4 meters at wide angle, or 3.0 meters at telephoto.

As well as JPEG still images, the Panasonic TS20 can capture movies with sound at up to 1,280 x 720 pixel resolution or below, with MPEG-4 compression. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20 stores its images and movies on Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types. There's also a generous 70MB of built-in memory. Connectivity options include a USB 2.0 High-Speed connection, plus standard definition NTSC video output.

Power comes from a proprietary Lithium Ion battery with ID-Security feature that prevents use of counterfeit or third-party batteries, and is rated as good for 250 shots on a charge to CIPA testing standards. The software bundle includes PHOTOfunSTUDIO 80 Standard Edition.

Pricing for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20 is set at about US$180, and the camera ships from late-February 2012. Four body colors will be available - orange, blue, black and red.