Flagship rugged Lumix compact gets an update


posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 12:02 AM EST

Panasonic's Lumix DMC-TS4 digital camera. Photo provided by Panasonic Corp. Click for our Panasonic TS4 preview!Panasonic has apparently heard that old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", because last year's darned-near-bulletproof TS3 digital camera has today been refreshed with the Lumix TS4, and at first glance it's hard to spot the differences.

The Panasonic TS4 is near-identical to its predecessor externally, save for a small red detail in the handgrip, and a rearrangement of the screen-printed labels on the camera's body. Under the hood, things are also very similar, including the weather and shock-proofing, lens, sensor, GPS, barometer, compass, and altimeter of its predecessor.

The most significant difference is the addition of a manual shooting mode, in addition to the Program, Scene, and Intelligent Auto modes of the earlier camera. The TS4 also switches to MPEG-4 compression at all resolutions, and adds 30 frames-per-second 1080p and 720p modes. There's also a stronger intelligent zoom function, one megabyte more internal memory (at 20MB total), and an updated software bundle. The TS4 ships with the latest version of Panasonic's PHOTOfunSTUDIO software, and drops the trial version of the curiously-named Super Loiloscope that shipped with the earlier camera.

The Panasonic TS4 ships from March, priced at US$400. More details in our Panasonic TS4 preview!

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-TS4 digital camera. Photo provided by Panasonic Corp. Click for a bigger picture!
Camera Type Compact
Manufacturer Panasonic
Model Number North America: TS4
Japan / Other: FT4
Dimensions 4.1 x 2.5 x 1.0 in.
(104 x 64 x 27 mm)
Weight 6.9 oz (197 g)
Planned Price $400
Planned Availability March 2012
Image Capture
Sensor Type CCD
1/2.33" (approx. 0.43 in. diagonal)
12.50 megapixels (total)
12.10 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Aspect Ratio 16:9, 4:3
Image Dimensions 4000 x 3000 (12.0 megapixels)
4000 x 2672 (10.7 megapixels)
4000 x 2248 (9.0 megapixels)
2992 x 2992 (9.0 megapixels)
3264 x 2448 (8.0 megapixels)
3264 x 2176 (7.1 megapixels)
3264 x 1840 (6.0 megapixels)
2448 x 2448 (6.0 megapixels)
2560 x 1920 (4.9 megapixels)
2560 x 1712 (4.4 megapixels)
2560 x 1440 (3.7 megapixels)
1920 x 1920 (3.7 megapixels)
2048 x 1536 (3.1 megapixels)
2048 x 1360 (2.8 megapixels)
1920 x 1080 (2.1 megapixels)
1536 x 1536 (2.4 megapixels)
Capture Speed Continuous: 3.7 frames per second for 6 frames
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder No
LCD 2.7 in. diagonal
230,000 dots (approx. 77,000 pixels)
Lens Type LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR, 10 elements in 8 groups, 5 Aspherical, 1 ED element
4.6x optical zoom
Image Stabilization Yes
Focal Length 4.9 - 22.8mm (actual)
28 - 128mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/3.3 or 10 (W) / f/5.9 or 18 (T), 2-Step
Focusing System Contrast Detect: Face / AF Tracking / 23pt / 1pt / Spot
Has AF assist lamp
Focusing Range Normal: 12" - infinity (30 cm - infinity)
Macro: 2.0" - 4,082" (5 cm - 10,000 cm)
ISO Sensitivity Auto, iISO, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600; High Sensitivity mode (ISO 1600-6400)
Shutter Speed 60 - 1/1300 second
Exposure Modes Program, Manual
Metering Modes Intelligent Multiple
Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Incandescent, White Set
Internal Flash Modes: Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
Range: 0.3 - 5.6m (Wide/ISO Auto), 0.3 - 3.1m (Tele/ISO Auto)
Flash Exposure Compensation +/- EV
Scene Modes Sports, Snow, Miniature Effect, Beach&Snorkeling, Underwater, SCN (Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama Shot, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Handheld Night Shot, Food, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Glass Through), 3D Photo
Digital Zoom Up to 4x
Self Timer Yes, 2 or 10 seconds
Movie Format AVCHD, MP4 with audio
Recording Medium SD/MMC including SDHC, SDXC, Built-in
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format JPEG (EXIF v2.3), MPO
Video High definition: Yes (HDMI)
Standard definition: Yes
Computer USB 2.0 High Speed
Other Micro HDMI, DC input
Battery Type 3.6V, 940mAh Lithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary
Product Bundle
Software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 8.1 Advanced Edition, Adobe Reader
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory 20.0MB Internal
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes
Remote Control No
Notes Waterproof to 40 ft (12m), Shockproof to 6.6 ft (2m), Dustproof, Freezeproof to 14F, Optical Image Stabilization, Full HD Movies, High-speed Burst modes, GPS, Compass, Altimeter, Barometer. Available in orange, blue, black or silver.
More Photos
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-TS4 digital camera. Photo provided by Panasonic Corp. Click for a bigger picture!
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-TS4 digital camera. Photo provided by Panasonic Corp. Click for a bigger picture!
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-TS4 digital camera. Photo provided by Panasonic Corp. Click for a bigger picture!
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-TS4 digital camera. Photo provided by Panasonic Corp. Click for a bigger picture!
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-TS4 digital camera. Photo provided by Panasonic Corp. Click for a bigger picture!
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-TS4 digital camera. Photo provided by Panasonic Corp. Click for a bigger picture!


Press Release

Panasonic's New Top-of-the-Line Rugged Digital Camera Features GPS*1 And Full-HD Video Recording Capabilities

The LUMIX TS4, the Optimal Outdoor Companion, Combines a GPS, Compass, Altimeter, Barometer with Waterproof*2, Shockproof*3 and Freezeproof Features, Allowing it to Excel in Photo and Video Capture Under Many Conditions

SECAUCUS, NJ (January 31, 2012) – Panasonic today announced the LUMIX DMC-TS4, the company’s top-of-the-line rugged digital camera with features such as a built-in GPS*1 system, compass, altimeter, barometer, plus outstanding toughness, including: waterproof*2 to approximately 40 feet (12 meters), shockproof*3 to approximately 6.6 feet (2 meters), freezeproof to temperatures as low as 14ºF, and dustproof*2. Beyond its rugged design, the LUMIX TS4 also excels in photo and video quality, offering the best of both worlds with a LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens with a 4.6x optical zoom (35mm equivalent: 28-128mm), a 12.1-megapixel Hi-Speed CCD sensor and the advanced image processing LSI Venus Engine, and the ability to shoot 1,920 x 1,080 full-High Definition (HD) video in AVCHD and MP4 formats. 

“The LUMIX TS4 is the latest addition to our successful line of rugged digital cameras, which offer users the freedom to take high-quality photos and video under a variety of conditions thanks to a design that is waterproof, dustproof, shockproof and freezeproof. Plus, with added GPS and compass capabilities, the TS4 is the perfect travel companion,” said David Briganti, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America. “Beyond its top-of-the-line rugged features, the LUMIX TS4 captures exceptional photos and videos, also making it the ideal “worry-free” everyday digital camera for those life mishaps, like an accidental drop or a spilled drink.” 

The LUMIX TS4 is ideal for active outdoor use and the altimeter works as an indicator for depth underwater. The barometer log is available to help users forecast the climate and then log the barometric trends. The altitude measurements can be improved when using the camera’s GPS data, which is enhanced when compared to its predecessor, the LUMIX DMC-TS3.  The new GPS system has more than a million landmarks and 82 countries/regions covered in the maps available on the bundled DVD.  Geo-tagged images are automatically sorted and can be played back along a map so that users can literally trace their photographic journey.  The LUMIX TS4 shows the name of the Country/Region, State/Prov./County, County/Township, City/Town/Village and Landmark – all which is saved in the EXIF data. 

Thanks to its high-speed, large-capacity signal processing Venus Engine, the LUMIX TS4 is not just rugged on the outside, but powerful from within as well. The Venus Engine integrates advanced signal processing capabilities to power Intelligent Noise Reduction, thus producing stunning still photos and videos.  In addition, the Venus Engine powers high-speed burst shooting and super-fast response times, with Sonic Speed AF, allowing the user to catch those spur-of-the-moment memories.  

New to the LUMIX TS-Series, the LUMIX TS4 offers users manual operation, allowing adjustment of shutter speed and aperture for more creative photography. Plus, with modes such as Time Lapse Shot, Miniature Effect, and Panorama Shot – photography is even more fun.  With the Time Lapse Shot, once the start time, interval and the number of photos to shoot are set, the camera automatically records the images based on the settings and the LUMIX TS4 can be left to record stationary subjects, such as flowers coming into bloom, clouds, or an animal. Once the data is captured, during playback the footage is condensed to give a unique sense of time. The Miniature Effect mode, in which the peripheries are defocused while saturation and contrast is emphasized, makes the photo look like a diorama. For videos recorded in this mode*4, playback is 10x fast forward, making it comical and amusing to watch. Panorama Shot makes it is possible to shoot a maximum 360-degree of horizontal / vertical panoramic image by taking consecutive shots and overlaying the photos.

For those who are looking for an intuitive shooting option, the LUMIX TS4 includes Panasonic’s popular iA (Intelligent Auto) mode – a suite of technologies that are automatically engaged to allow the camera to select the most appropriate settings to take high-quality photos and videos. 
Plus, a dedicated video record lets the user instantly start recording videos while shooting photos without having to go through any additional menu options.

The Panasonic LUMIX TS4 will be available in orange, blue, black and silver options in mid-March 2012 with a suggested retail price of $399.99. For more information on Panasonic LUMIX digital cameras, visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.

*1GPS may not work in China or in the border regions of countries neighboring China. Depending on the locations, it may not be possible to correctly receive the signals from GPS satellites. In such cases, positioning may not be possible, or a significant positioning discrepancy may occur. Information measured on this unit is only a rough indication. Do not use it for technical purposes.
*2 Waterproof/Dustproof Performance
Waterproof/dustproof rating complies with the “IPX8” and “IP6X” ratings. Provided the care and maintenance guidelines described in this document are strictly followed, this camera can operate underwater, to a depth not exceeding 12 m (40 feet) for a time not exceeding 60 minutes. This means that the camera can be used underwater for specified time in specified pressure in accordance with the handling method established by Panasonic.  This does not guarantee no destruction, no malfunction, or waterproofing in all conditions.
Handling of the camera
•Waterproofing is not guaranteed if the unit is subject to an impact as a result of being hit or dropped etc. If an impact to the camera occurs, it should be inspected (subject to a fee) by a Panasonic’s Service Centre to verify that the waterproofing is still effective.
• When the camera is splashed with detergent, soap, hot spring, bath additive, sun oil, sun screen, chemicals, etc., wipe it off immediately.
•Waterproof function of the camera is for sea water and fresh water only.
• Any malfunction caused by customer misuse, or mishandling will not be covered by the warranty.
• The inside of this unit is not waterproof. Water leakage will cause malfunction.
• Supplied accessories are not waterproof (excluding Hand Strap).
• Card and battery are not waterproof. Do not handle with a wet hand. Also, do not insert wet card or battery into the camera.
• Do not leave the camera for a long period of time in places where temperature is very low (at ski resorts or at high altitude etc.) or very high [above 40ºC (104°F)], inside a car under strong sunlight, close to a heater, on the beach, etc. Waterproof performance may be degraded.
*3 Shockproof Performance
Complies with “MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5-Shock”. The camera has cleared a drop test from a height of 2 m (6.6 feet) onto 3 cm (0.1 feet) thick plywood. In most cases this camera should not sustain any damage if dropped from a height not exceeding 2 m (6.6 feet). However, the drop height was changed from 122 cm (4 feet) to 200 cm (6.6 feet) dropping onto 3 cm (0.1 feet) thick plyboard. (Disregarding appearance change such as loss of paint or distortion of the part where drop impact is applied.)
*4 Sound will not be recorded with [MINIATURE EFFECT] in Creative Control Mode and approximately 1/10 of the time period is recorded. (If you record for 10 minutes, the resulting motion picture recording will be approximately 1 minute long)

*Leica is a registered trademark of Leica Microsystems IR GmbH.
*The LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lenses are manufactured using measurement instruments and quality assurance systems that have been certified by Leica Camera AG based on the company's quality standards
*The "AVCHD" is a high definition (HD) digital video recording / playback format jointly established by Panasonic Corporation and Sony Corporation. he "AVCHD" and the "AVCHD " logo are trademarks of Panasonic Corporation and Sony Corporation.
*This unit is compatible with both SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards. You can only use SDHC Memory Cards on devices that are compatible with them. You cannot use SDHC Memory Cards on devices that are only compatible with SD Memory Cards. (When using an SDHC Memory Card on another device, be sure to read the operating instructions for that device.)
*All other company and product names are trademarks of their respective corporations.
*Design and specifications are subject to change without notice.

About Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America
Based in Secaucus, N.J., Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America, a Division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American Subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC) and the hub of Panasonic’s U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations, offers a wide-range of consumer solutions in the U.S. and Canada.  The Company’s portfolio of innovative consumer products ranges from VIERA Full HD 3D Televisions, Blu-ray players, LUMIX Digital Cameras, Camcorders, Home Audio, Cordless Phones, Home Appliances, Wellness and Personal Care products and more. 

Panasonic is pledged to practice prudent, sustainable use of the earth’s natural resources and protect our environment through the company’s Eco Ideas programs. Panasonic was the only Consumer Electronics company to be listed in the top ten brands on the Interbrand Best Global Green Brands 2011 ranking. Follow Panasonic on Twitter @panasonicdirect, and additional company information for media is available at www.panasonic.com/pressroom.

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