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Panasonic, maker of the ToughBook series of notebook computers, has launched its first rugged digital camera: There’s no optical viewfinder, with the Panasonic TS1 instead opting solely for a 2. The minimum focusing distance for the Panasonic DMC-TS1 is ordinarily 30 centimeters, but drops to just five centimeters when switched to Macro mode. That rugged body is one of the biggest selling points, though, dmc-ys1 of surviving some pretty harsh usage.

Note, though, that to maintain this level of waterproofing, Panasonic recommends annual replacement of the camera’s seals, a service that must be paid for.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1

The Panasonic DMC-TS1 has an point multi-area autofocus system which also includes a single-point “high speed” focusing mode. As with many digital cameras these days, there’s also a face detection function, with Panasonic’s implementation using the information to adjust both focus and exposure to properly capture your subjects’ faces. Panasonic has gone a step further by enabling the Lumix DMC-TS1 to recognize specific individuals’ faces, and prioritize these over other detected photos when capturing photos, or search for photos containing a specific face in Playback mode.

The Panasonic Lumix TS1 also has an implementation of autofocus tracking, which can monitor a subject as it moves around the frame, continuing to update autofocus as required. Panasonic’s AF tracking is linked to the face detection system, allowing the camera to fmc-ts1 tracking a face even if it briefly turns to a side profile although it should be noted that the face detection system does require the subject be looking toward the camera to achieve its initial detection.

A whopping selection of twenty-seven Scene modes let users tailor the look of their images, useful given that the Panasonic TS1 doesn’t offer aperture- shutter-priority, or fully manual modes. There’s also an Intelligent Scene Selection function, which can automatically select from a subset of the available scene modes. A five-mode lmuix strobe includes red-eye reduction capability, and has a rated range of up to 5.

MultiMedia cards are also supported, luimx for stills only. There’s also a generous 50MB of built-in memory. Connectivity options include a USB 2. Power comes from a proprietary lithium-ion battery, rated as good for shots on a charge to CIPA testing standards.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1

What’s built like a truck and takes pictures? Though it’s not the first ruggedized digital camera to hit the market, it certainly looks the part. Panasonic’s long history of building ToughBook computers seems to be an inspiration for the industrial design of the Panasonic TS1.

The new camera is waterproof, dustproof and shockproof, just like most of that impressive line of computers; having used several, I can attest to their ruggedness. The Lumix TS1 was not built to handle quite the same abuse as a rugged notebook, but it was designed for the average consumer photographer who tends to be careless with his precious camera: Dmct-s1 the Lumix TS1 was also built so you could use it outdoors, at the beach, on the boat, and majual under the water when snorkeling or just swimming.

Given that Panasonic is merging with Sanyo, a known contract manufacturer of digital cameras, might that be the joint source for the innards of these similar cameras? Tough to say, and fmc-ts1 could be Panasonic itself that’s the source; regardless, the similarities are noticeable, even if the outer skin looks very different. The lenses look the same when you djc-ts1 down inside, the doors function with the same locking dmc-ta1 sealing mechanisms, the dials are very similar, and the TS1 is the first non-Olympus rugged camera to offer a bright white LED to illuminate subjects at close range the GE G3WP is the other new camera to offer this feature, and it too has the same dial, door, and lens arrangement.

Still, there are plenty manuzl differences built into dkc-ts1 Panasonic TS1, many of them particularly related to the HD video capability of the TS1, so it’s more curiosity as an admirer of cameras that makes me seek out the similarities.

It feels like the Panasonic TS1 has more room to take a hit and still protect the components inside. One thing’s for sure, it stands out in both a shirt and a pants pocket thanks to its thickness and bold edges, making it better suited for a jacket pocket. The brushed metal finish looks almost gun-like, and though it’s not as thick as a pistol slide, the metal does feel substantial, mamual giving when I press mqnual on it.


For service outdoors, though, I prefer a bit more substance in a digital camera. For a little extra security, Panasonic has included a wrist kumix with a sturdy toggle lock which you can tighten around your wrist.

Turning on the Panasonic TS1 can be frustrating, because unlike most digital cameras on the market, you have to hold the button down for a second or two. Turning it off is much easier, requiring just a momentary press. This does make it less likely that the lumic will turn on accidentally in a bag, so there’s at least a plus side. The shutter button is large, with a knurled surface, which helps when the camera dmc-t1 wet.

I’m not as fond of the zoom slider, which is clumsy to use and so close to the shutter release that you can easily activate one while using the other. Your thumb rests on the knurled Mode dial when you’re shooting with the Panasonic TS1, and the knurl protrudes up from the dial, so you can turn it with just the surface of your thumb, rather than having to pinch the dial with two fingers, as is necessary on the Olympus Tough cameras.

Though I said these dials were very similar, this is the one way they differ. The navigation and menu buttons below are metal and fairly easy to press and use.

The Four-way buttons are beveled, making for easier activation with a larger thumb. The controls are still fairly cramped, though, so if you’re not very dextrous with your thumb or are wearing gloves, you might have some trouble here.

Regardless what mode you’re in, you can begin recording video at any time by pressing the red Record button just below the Mode dial. Lately I shoot about fifty percent video and fifty percent stills, so I like features like this.

Of course there is a danger you could press this button without knowing it, but the Mode dial is tall enough that this should pumix rare. The Panasonic TS1’s 2. You can see the pixels, because it’s not one of the new-fangled K pixel screens, but it really is nice at showing you both what you’re about to capture and what you’ve shot, even in sunlight.

There’s an option to automatically brighten or dim the LCD display as the light changes, which I recommend lujix on by default. I also turn on the histogram to help judge the relative exposure when shooting, because an adjustable LCD can sometimes fool you. The Panasonic TS1’s access doors are sturdy, releasing with a springloaded latch.

A rubber seal presses against a dmc-ts ridge that surrounds each vital area. The Panasonic TS1 reminds you when dmc-tss1 enter sports modes to check the seals for dust, sand, and hair when entering wet environments; failing to do so could easily result in leakage and subsequent damage to the camera.

It’s better to do this when you load the camera’s battery, checking and cleaning both the connector and battery doors before you leave home to dmc-rs1 your water activity so that you don’t contaminate the ulmix in a place where you can’t really clean the seals as well. Overall, the Panasonic TS1’s controls are easy to use dmcc-ts1 follow the lumiz conventions, making it easy to switch from another brand to this one, and despite the clumsiness of the zoom slider, I’d call the TS1 a pretty well-designed digital camera.

Like most of its competitors’ waterproof designs, the Lumix TS1’s lens is a folded optic that zooms internally. It’s a smart approach to rugged camera design, because no lens elements extend from the front of the camera where they could get damaged by impact. Unlike Olympus and GE’s offerings as of this writingmanuxl Panasonic TS1 offers a wide-angle zoom lens that ranges from mm equivalent.

In an outdoor setting, a wide-angle lens is particularly important, especially for scenics, but also for getting more of your friends and even yourself in your pictures.

As with every Panasonic digital camera, the Lumix TS1 has Mega Optical Image Stabilization built in, where an element inside the lens is moved in response to camera movement, resulting in more clear shots overall.

You can set it to compensate in all four directions Mode 1 or just one as you pan after a moving subject Mode 2 ; I prefer to just set it to Auto and let the camera detect what’s happening. It’s also noteworthy that the Panasonic TS1 doesn’t have a lens cover of any kind.

We’re dmc-s1 it has a very hard cover glass, but dkc-ts1 can’t confirm it as of this writing.

The Mode dial selects among the seven major modes for the Panasonic TS1: Intelligent Auto is probably the best mode for the unsophisticated lumiix, as it guesses pretty well. Earlier attempts at intelligently guessing what a scene contained didn’t work quite as well as this, but most companies have this down pretty well. Most cameras have a good selection of Scene modes designed to optimize the camera’s performance for an array of photographic circumstances, but companies observed that most people didn’t use them much.


Face detection goes a long way to helping the camera decide whether to shoot in Portrait mode, optimizing exposure and color settings for better skin tones. But the camera as quickly switches to Macro mode when it nanual a close object, nearly eliminating out-of-focus closeup shots that are so common among those unfamiliar with a camera’s Macro setting. Panasonic further deduced that most people use Sports, Snow, and Beach modes, especially with a camera designed to be used outdoors, so those are the only Scene modes lmuix left on the dial.

Clipboard mode is a special mode for storing copies of documents, maps, and other important items you might need to access quickly in a digital form. You can select from one or two-megapixel image sizes, and the camera will store them in internal memory so that they’re always available regardless whether you change memory cards mid-trip. Watch a short video demonstrating the Panasonic TS1’s new face recognition feature. Click here for a larger version.

Face detect vs recognition. The terms used to be interchangeable, but the Panasonic TS1 includes actual Face Recognition in addition to detection, maanual you can teach the camera which faces to watch for and quite literally focus on. It’s intended both to prioritize which face is usually in focus, but also to help you find pictures of your family members as you look through your photographs later on your computer. I did a quick test using a few photographs around the office and put together a video to show the feature in action.

Results were mixed at best, but remember that this isn’t exactly a real-world test, and some of the faces were captured in low light.

I’m unsure how much the camera will learn as it goes along, but I don’t think I’d rely on it to organize a set of photos at this point.

It’s still interesting technology. Movie mode is interesting, though when it was announced we were told that the Panasonic TS1 would be able to capture 60 frames per second at p in the AVCHD Lite format; however, the manual only states that the camera can record at 30 frames per second in this format. You can also choose to record in Motion JPEG format, which is much simpler, though still limited to 30fps. As you can see, quality is quite poor, and there are no options to output or upload a higher quality file.

Also note that most older PCs and Macs can’t play HD videos in either format, because it requires a more modern processor or graphics card; so you may need to upgrade your computer to play the HD videos you capture with this camera.

AVCHD files are saved in an unusual format, consisting of multiple files that span a few directories on the card, so they’re not just “drag and drop” simple. The quality is much better.

Motion JPEG also offers more resolution options, including 1, xxxand xall at 30 frames per second. That means you can start zoomed in and zoom out, or vise versa without much noise being captured in the movie.

There is some clicking from the shutter button or zoom slider as you move the lever, but it’s not bad. There’s only one zoom speed, though, so you can’t subtly zoom back or in for dramatic effect. It’s a little confusing, because the screen also goes blank for the first one to three seconds after you press the button, so you’re never sure when your video actually begins recording.

PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-TS1 Operating Instructions Manual

Despite the initial buzz, there’s less to be excited about with the Lumix TS1’s Movie mode. Two things that do still stand out, though, are recording HD with a 28mm lens, and zooming in and out while recording. If the TS1 had multiple speeds for the zoom, this would be one great little pocket video camera.

The Panasonic TS1’s Record menu is divided into three tabs, located on the left of the screen: Camera, Movie, and Settings. Navigation is pretty easy, and while each tab has oumix than one screen, these screens are numbered in the upper right corner, so you can tell where you are in the list.

You drill into menu levels with the right arrow, and back out with the left, for the most part, then you select among lists with the up and down arrows, pressing the center button to select. Letters are luimx and readable, with accompanying icons to help explain each item.

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