Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT1 review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT1

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Typical Price: £280.00

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT1

(Part #: CNETPanasonic Lumix DMC-FT1)
4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars 2 user reviews

The Good Waterproof and shockproof; 4.6x wideangle zoom; AVCHD Lite movie mode.

The Bad Lower depth rating than some rivals; cramped controls; shutter and zoom button are easily confused.

The Bottom Line The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT1 is very well specified for a ruggedised camera, which makes it a great all-round snapper and camcorder too. It can be awkward to use, though, and, if outright toughness is more important to you than versatility, it might not go far enough

8.3 Overall

The Lumix DMC-FT1 is Panasonic's answer to the Olympus mju Tough-8000 . The FT1 is a waterproof, shockproof and coldproof snapper that's still smart enough to dangle from your wrist at a cocktail party. It's well-specced, too, with a 4.6x wideangle zoom and a 1,280x720-pixel resolution high-definition movie mode, although, for around £280, you're entitled to expect some decent features.

The FT1 doesn't have the dainty, precise feel of Panasonic's other metal-bodied compact cameras, but it's still pretty smart. It certainly feels tough, and, while you wouldn't want to drop it on purpose, it's comforting to know it will probably survive if you do.

This test shot shows good colours, good exposure accuracy and not much distortion. Chromatic aberration is practically non-existent (click image to enlarge)

The 3m depth rating is pretty handy, too, even if it isn't quite in the same league as the 10m-rated Tough-8000 or Canon's new PowerShot D10 . You might want to choose one of these two for any serious diving, but, if you're just having a swim, the FT1's fine.

It's good in the cold, too, and will keep going right down to a teeth-chattering -10°C, so it's just as good on Alpine slopes as it is under tropical seas.

It's odd that the controls are so cramped, considering that this camera is designed to be used in adverse conditions

The pictures from the 12-megapixel sensor are crisper than the Tough-8000's, and the zoom range is usefully wider, going all the way from 28mm equivalent to 128mm. And, if you want to capture movies as well as stills, you can do so in glorious HD... well, 1,280x720-pixel resolution HD, anyway. You get a choice of AVCHD or Motion JPEG, too. The FT1's not a bad little movie camera, even allowing you to zoom during filming (most compacts don't).

So it's a clear winner, right?

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