Panasonic has launched a swathe of new LUMIX compact digital cameras, with various models featuring a confluence of integrated wireless technology, tough construction and slim designs.
Two new flagships in the Panasonic LUMIX line-up are the DMC-FT5, a tough camera from the long-running FT series, and the TZ40, a new travel-zoom camera packing a very versatile lens into a slim body.
The DMC-FT5 should be more than rugged enough to fulfil every role that a tough camera should. It’s rated to survive a drop from up to 2m in height, is freezeproof to -10ºC, is dustproof, and a new internal design means a waterproof rating of 13 metres and a crushproof rating of 100kgf.
The FT5 uses a new 16.1-megapixel sensor, which supports the same high-quality Full HD 1080p50 movie recording as the last model while boosting photo resolution, while keeping the same 4x optical zoom lens with a range of 28-128mm (full-frame equivalent).
The DMC-TZ40 continues a very long tradition of Panasonic stuffing a versatile super-zoom lens inside a reasonably svelte compact camera body. The TZ40’s 20x lens is paired to an 18.1-megapixel sensor, which like the FT5 is capable of 1080p50 Full HD video. This lens is unique in Panasonic’s digital camera line-up, with a Hybrid OIS+ image stabilisation system borrowed from the company’s camcorders.
The TZ40’s lens has a wide 24mm minimum focal length, but can zoom all the way in to 480mm (full-frame equivalent). It can shoot full-resolution photos at up to 10 frames per second in continuous shooting mode.
Panasonic’s wireless tech trifecta
By far the most interesting aspect of the FT5 and TZ40 is both cameras’ integration of three separate wireless technologies. Both compact digital cameras have integrated GPS chips, to allow photos and video to be tagged with geographic information down to the local place name level. Both cameras also include Wi-Fi, which can be used to transfer photos to a PC or VIERA TV via a home network, but which also works with another new feature — NFC.
By tapping the side of either camera to a NFC-capable smartphone or tablet, Panasonic is able to quickly and simply pair the camera through Wi-Fi Direct, allowing the paired mobile device to upload photos or video directly from the camera. This is all done through the Panasonic Image App, available for both Android and iOS. Pairing through NFC also lets shooters use the smartphone screen to view what the camera is seeing, too; manual control including zoom and focus and a remote shutter button is possible.