If 2009 was the year of the rugged camera, perhaps 2010 will be where even tougher cameras come to the fore. The DMC-FT2, hot on the heels of the DMC-FT1, takes the more extreme route with greater waterproof capabilities (10 metres as opposed to 3), greater shockproofing (2 metres rather than 1.5) and new freeze-proofing (up to -10 degrees Celsius).
The resolution has also been given a bump too, taking it to 14.1 megapixels. Battery life has been boosted to 330 shots on one charge, and AVCHD Lite recording appears again as Panasonic's HD video standard.
The front fascia now has a slight ridge that runs across the casing to differentiate it from the FT1, and small rubberised grips on the sides. The locking mechanism for the card and memory slot on the base has been improved as well.
Our initial impressions when playing with the FT2 were favourable, as it maintains the sharp and clear image quality we came to expect from the FT1 and the performance feels, at least anecdotally, faster.
One of the issues many consumers had with the FT1 was its exposed lens. The FT2's lens is much the same, with no sliding lens cover, and the lens specifications remain unchanged too; 28mm wide-angle with a 4.6x optical zoom. A 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD screen completes the main specifications but, like the FT1, it is still difficult to see in direct sunlight.
The FT2 comes in four colours (blue, orange, yellow and silver) and will be available in April for AU$599.
Alexandra Savvides travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Panasonic.