Panasonic TS5 Preview
by Roger Slavens
We really liked the look and feel of the Lumix TS4, last year's top-of-the-line rugged, weather-proof camera for Panasonic. And while its image quality was good at wide angle, it suffered from lens flare and exposure issues -- especially on land. So the arrival of the next generation, the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TS5, has us hopeful that these problems were fixed and adventure seekers finally have a camera that delivers good photos and stands up to the elements.
Panasonic claims the TS5's new 16.1-megapixel, high-sensitivity CMOS sensor is sharper than what we found on the TS4, which is exactly what we wanted to hear. It's also bolstered by improved POWER O.I.S. image stabilization designed for better low-light and fast-action shooting in both still an video modes. And for underwater shooting, a new red-color reproduction feature promises to help capture the true colors of the submerged world and reduce the drab, flat, grays often delivered.
Optically, the Panasonic TS5's LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens features a 4.6x optical zoom range, that goes as wide as 24mm. Its maximum aperture ranges from f/3.3 in wide angle to f/5.9 in telephoto. On the other side of the camera resides a 3-inch, 460,000-dot LCD screen with anti-reflective coating and a near 100-percent field of view.
The Panasonic TS5 boasts some new rugged credentials, now waterproof to a depth of 39 feet, shockproof from a drop of 6.5 feet, freeze proof down to 14-degrees Fahrenheit, and pressure-resistant to 220 pounds. It features built-in GPS, which lets you automatically record your locations and view a map of your photos right on the camera.
One new feature that sets it apart from last year's TS4 is advanced Wi-Fi capabilities, including one-touch connectivity and remote capture with a smart device running the LUMIX remote app. The possibilities of using your phone or tablet as a viewfinder and remote on an action-oriented camera are definitely intriguing, as long as the interface is smooth and seamless.
Another adventure-friendly feature is continuous shooting in full-resolution that goes as fast as 10 frames per second (max of six images captured), and at reduced resolution High-speed Burst as fast as 40 fps. As for video recording, the Panasonic TS5 shoots in Full HD at 1080p at 60 fps, with a continuous recording time up to 35 minutes.
Like many other Panasonic LUMIX cameras introduced this winter, the TS5 incorporates the manufacturer's latest raft of filters and fun modes, called Creative Control and Creative Retouch. Creative Control lets you apply filters (such as Retro or One Point Color) before you take the image, and Creative Retouch such effects as Toy and Miniature in-camera after shooting.
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TS5 will be available in March in orange, blue, silver and black. Pricing information was not available at press time.