Panasonic TS7 Review
|Full model name:||Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7|
|Sensor size:||1/2.3 inch
(6.2mm x 4.6mm)
|Viewfinder:||EVF / LCD|
|Native ISO:||80 - 3200|
|Extended ISO:||80 - 6400|
|Shutter:||1/16000 - 4 seconds|
4.6 x 3.0 x 1.5 in.
(117 x 76 x 37 mm)
|Full specs:||Panasonic TS7 specifications|
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Panasonic TS7 Review -- First Impressions
by Jeremy Gray
Preview posted: 05/11/2018
The Panasonic Lumix TS7 camera is the latest in Panasonic's rugged TS series and it is aimed squarely at active outdoor photographers who don't want to stop to protect a camera when the action starts, no matter the conditions. The tough camera is packed with many new features, so let's take a closer look at what Panasonic has on offer with the TS7.
Design and ruggedness
First things first, the TS7 is rugged. It is waterproof to 102 feet (31m), which is more than twice the depth of the TS6. It is dustproof, shockproof to 6.6 feet (2m) and freezeproof to 14°F (-10°C). Further, the camera can withstand up to 220 pounds of force (100kgf). That's comparable to competing rugged cameras and it's certainly designed for shooting stills and video in nearly any situation, including underwater. The TS7 also includes an electronic compass and altimeter.
The camera has more tricks up its sleeve than its toughness, it also includes numerous revisions to the design and improved features. The TS7 has a built-in 0.2-inch Live View Finder, something the TS6 and the competition lacks. The viewfinder offers a 100 percent field of view and has 0.45x magnification (35mm equivalent). The electronic viewfinder has 1,170K-dot "equivalent" resolution, which means it likely uses a field-sequential LCD.
On the rear of the camera, we find a 3-inch tempered-glass LCD monitor with 1,040K dots and a 100 percent field of view. The camera has numerous buttons on the back, including function buttons, a directional pad, a pair of zoom buttons and more. The front of the camera has a rubberized grip, the lens -- which is essentially flush with the camera body, an LED illuminator and a built-in flash. The flash has a range of 0.3 to 5.6 meters at wide angle with Auto ISO and 0.3 to 3.1 meters at full telephoto.
Looking at the built-in lens, we find a folded optic similar to the TS6's, however the TS7 has dropped the Leica branding. The TS7's lens has the same 4.6x optical zoom ratio, which offers the same 35mm-equivalent focal length of 28-128mm. The maximum aperture ranges from f/3.3 to f/5.9, which is also unchanged. It's still constructed of 10 elements in 8 groups with 5 aspherical elements just like the TS6's lens, however there's no longer mention of an ED (Extra-low Dispersion) element. Regarding close focus, the lens can focus as close as 2 inches (5cm) in macro mode at the wide end of the lens and around 12 inches (30cm) at the telephoto end, the same as the TS6. The lens also has Power O.I.S. to help you capture a steady shot at slower shutter speeds. Optical image stabilization is also available during video recording, more on that in a bit.
The TS7 is larger and heavier than the TS6 thanks to the EVF and larger grip, with dimensions of 4.59 x 2.99 x 1.46 inches (116.7 x 76.1 x 37.3 millimeters) and a weight of 11.25 ounces (319 grams) with battery and SD card. That's about 56% larger and 49% heavier than its predecessor.
Image sensor and performance
With a new 20.4-megapixel sensor, the TS7 has just over four more megapixels than the TS6. The 1/2.3-inch High Sensitivity MOS sensor has a native ISO range of 80 to 3200, although it can be expanded to ISO 6400. Further, the camera offers Auto ISO capabilities.
While we need to test the camera in our lab to see how its image quality compares to its competitors with its smaller pixels, it is worth pointing out that like its predecessor, the TS7 doesn't capture RAW images. The top mechanical shutter speed is 1/1,300s, however shutter speeds as 1/16,000s are possible with the electronic shutter. The longest exposure supported is only 4 seconds.
Regarding performance, let's first look at autofocus. The TS7 features Panasonic's Light Speed contrast-detect AF focusing system, and offers 49 AF areas with Tracking, 49-area, 1-area and Spot AF modes. This is an increase of 26 AF areas with respect to the TS6. The camera also has face detection. Further, the camera's continuous autofocus works when shooting at up to 5 frames per second.
The TS7's top burst speed for full-resolution JPEGs is 10 frames per second for up to 11 frames, although only single-shot autofocus is available at this speed. Medium 5 fps and Low 2 fps speeds are also available, and offer continuous AF as mentioned above. Information regarding buffer depths at the lower speeds was not provided.
Shooting modes and video
The TS7 offers Intelligent Auto, Program, Manual, Scene Guide and Creative Control shooting modes, plus Snow, Beach & Surf and Underwater scene modes. Like the TS6, there aren't Aperture- or Shutter-Priority shooting modes, likely because there is only a 2-step aperture. Scene Guide modes include settings like Clear Portrait, Vivid Sunset Glow, Clear Nightscape and more. Creative Control modes include options such as Expressive, HDR, Miniature and more. Further, the TS7 offers an in-camera Panorama mode, though it no longer offers a 3D mode.
Like many recent Panasonic cameras, the Lumix TS7 offers 4K Photo. This allows you to capture 8-megapixel images at up to 30 frames per second and includes Post Focus functionality, which allows you to select the focus you want after capturing a burst of frames while focus is automatically adjusted, however Focus Stacking is not supported.
With 4K UHD video recording, the TS7 easily tops its predecessor in the video features department. The TS7 shoots 3840 x 2160 video at up to 30 frames per second and Full HD video at up to 60 frames per second. The 4K video is recorded at a 100Mbps bit rate. The camera also offers a High Speed Video mode, which allows the capture of 1280 x 720 video at up to 120 fps with playback set at 30 fps for a 4x slow-mo effect. This is also a new feature for the TS7.
The Lumix TS7 has built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, which allows for wireless photo sharing and remote control shooting. A GPS receiver is not built-in, but there's a geotag function available when a compatible phone is connected to the camera, though oddly there's no Bluetooth. Regarding ports, the camera has Micro-B USB 2.0 and Micro (Type-D) HDMI ports. As is common these days, the TS7 no longer includes a composite A/V output.
Media and battery
Images are recorded to SD/SDHC/SDXC cards and the camera is UHS-I compatible. Battery life is CIPA-rated at approximately 300 shots per charge when using the rear monitor, and 250 shots when using the LVF. That's down from the TS6's 370 shot rating using the same capacity battery. Unlike the TS6, the battery can be charged internally via USB, and an AC adapter is included in the bundle.
Summing up the key features
- Waterproof (down to 102 feet!), dustproof, shockproof and freezeproof
- Built-in 1,170K-dot equivalent electronic viewfinder
- 3-inch 1,040K-dot LCD monitor
- 20.4-megapixel 1/2.3" image sensor
- Lightspeed AF focusing system
- Up to 10 frames per second shooting at 20 megapixels
- 4K Photo with 30 fps capture of 8-megapixel images
- 4K UHD video recording at up to 30 fps
- 120 fps High Speed video mode
- Built-in Wi-Fi, but no NFC or Bluetooth
- Compass and altimeter, but no built-in GPS
- In-camera charging
Panasonic TS7 Pricing and Availability
The Panasonic Lumix TS7 will be available in early summer in blue, orange and black colorways with a suggested retail price of US$449.99.
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