Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

Postby Primitivist37 » Mar 20, 2010 5:53 am

I just noticed this new camera as an update on the FT1.

I'm fairly certain this is the one for me but thought I would see what others say. I need a camera that does a bit of everything. I like to hike, cave, canyon, run, travel etc. and need a camera that can do all these things and doesn't require me to lug gear along for semi decent pictures. I am careful with everything I own, but I think just knowing that the camera can take a modicum of abuse will set my mind at ease and allow me to take more photos than I currently do.

I would love to get reasonable photos in caves and canyons without going to the effort of the DSLR route and one of the features that draws me to this camera is it's choice of exposure times. Up to 8s in night mode and then 15s, 30s, and 60s in starry mode. Am I correct in thinking that this should open up some options in terms of light painting or slave flashes?

Anyway here is a good review and the manufacturers website. Let me know what you think.
http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/ ... t2_review/
http://www.panasonic.net/avc/lumix/comp ... index.html
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

Postby John Lovaas » Mar 20, 2010 8:26 am

Cool camera! Haven't looked at the price yet ;-) I see that it is a DMC-TS2 in the US market; -FT2 is the UK name.

I've been torn between going with one of the Lumix series versus a DSLR at this point in my life as well. I've only read a little about the DMC-FT2, but here's what I noticed at dpreview:

- Doesn't seem to have a manual exposure mode. Doesn't seem to have a shutter or aperture priority setting, either.

- There is a "scenery mode", but no manual focus mode. The scenery mode can be used to "trick" the camera into focussing at infinity, but that mode might (I'm speculating) prevent you from modifying other settings.

- The camera has a folded optical path- there's a prism between the lens and the CCD. There's always a compromise in image quality with a folded path, as compared to a straight optical path. Would it be noticeable? It'd be a good idea to look at full res test shots just to see what the lens can do.

There's a lot of cool stuff about that camera, though. Very caving friendly design- and I see a High Dynamic Range Scene mode, which would be most useful for caves and/or canyons.

And it has a Happy Mode. When your trip turns to crap, just switch your camera to Happy Mode.

As to shutter speeds- I can't imagine you'd need more than 8 seconds for slave shots, unless you are firing the slaves more than once. The longer shutter speeds would work for light painting- if your lights were strong enough to cope with the camera to subject distance. I think that your longer exposures will have more noise, so that might be an issue.

I see the DMC-TS1 is $150 less than the TS2; only appreciable difference is 12 MP image size, versus 14 MP in the TS2. The sensor size is the same- so I'd go with the DMC-TS1. More pixels isn't necessarily better, and you save $150.



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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

Postby pub » Mar 20, 2010 5:46 pm

Well, if the FT2 has the same Image Quality (IQ) as the FT1 then it would still be a winner in dpreview's Q209 underwater camera group test.

John Lovaas wrote:so I'd go with the DMC-TS1

I agree, I don’t think the additional cost is worth the new changes especially crowding the already overly crammed sensor and some features have even been reduced. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the two. Although this is an underwater camera, some who have a camera in this class still protect it with a pelican or otter case just to be sure.

Also not having manual settings is a concern of mine. I’m sure both would work for slaved flashes but a bit restrictive for light painting or other long exposure techniques. It’s good they both go all the way to 60s but in only four increments. You’ll have no control of the aperture and ISO; the camera will probably choose wide open (limiting depth of field) and maybe push to its higher ISO (degrading IQ).

John Lovaas wrote:And it has a Happy Mode. When your trip turns to crap, just switch your camera to Happy Mode.
:rofl: :laughing: :clap: :laughing: :rofl:
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

Postby Primitivist37 » Mar 20, 2010 10:33 pm

Wow! thanks guys for the already interesting replies.

I suppose it is a real shame that there are no manual controls for so many of the features i.e. ISO, f/ number, etc.. Are there any P&S camera's in the 'outdoors' range that do have control of these features? To me that seems to be one of the fundamental differences between compacts and semi compact/ DSLRs.

I wonder if there are any owners on the forums that could confirm what happens to settings once you go into 'scenery' mode. I was under the impression that most camera's defaulted to their lowest ISO when this happened. However, on Panasonics specs page (http://www.panasonic.net/avc/lumix/comp ... tions.html ) it seems to indicate that there are three focus settings (ignoring macro) Normal: Wide 30 cm (0.98 feet) - infinity / Tele 30 cm (0.98 feet) - infinity. Without having seen the camera I would guess that these are accessed through a manual setting.

As for full res test shots, I am very new to this and have never really owned a camera before, I can tell a difference in image quality between the two camera's. As I'm new to this I have no knowledge of where to look in digital photos to compare quality. However, in the test shots I compared photos of comparable ISO, f/ number, and shutter speed and there seems to be more noise in the TS1/FT1 than the TS2/FT2. Perhaps you could also do a little comparison and see if I am imagining a difference.
TS1/FT1: http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/ ... le_images/
TS2/FT2: http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/ ... le_images/

The long shutter speeds might be nice for more artistic type shots. Dark foregrounds and little people in the distance type things. I have a 2000lm head lamp (yes you did read correctly) which can be used at various settings to flood the scene with light.

Thanks for that link Jerry, it seems that there has been some reduction in features, namely, max shutter speed, normal focus range, the number of continuous fps in burst mode, and white balance overide settings. However, the only one of these that is likely to have much of an effect on my photos is the max shutter speed. My question is, will I see a noticable difference in normal photography with 1/3000s vs 1/1300s? Will 1/1300 still capture waterfalls well without blur? (I'm thinking canyons not cave waterfalls)

Honestly, I'm not too worried about price. I would be worried though if there was a significant difference in picture quality toward the TS1/FT1.

Perhaps I should go down to a store and check out the menus on the TS1/FT1 and see if they allow enough manual settings.
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

Postby pub » Mar 21, 2010 5:18 am

You’re welcome Jacob! I sure wouldn’t notice the difference between 1/3000s & 1/1300s. I guess those speeds are good for shooting on the go like when you’re hanging next to a falls. For falls I tend to go for slower speeds, 1/2s or more, to get the soften effect but it requires a tripod.

Primitivist37 wrote:Are there any P&S camera's in the 'outdoors' range that do have control of these features?
Nope, I don’t think there are any in this specialized “outdoors or underwater” group. There are regular compacts with full manual capabilities; here was my drool list for last Xmas: List for Santa.

Primitivist37 wrote:what happens to settings once you go into 'scenery' mode
This may help answer some of your questions until others chime in, unfortunately the manual does not tell the all the settings for each scene: DMC-TS1 Operation Instruction

Primitivist37 wrote:I would be worried though if there was a significant difference in picture quality toward the TS1/FT1.
The sample photos of both look good with a cursory look and most may not notice any difference unless they are pixel-peepers. The decision if any difference is significant is subjective and on your part.

Primitivist37 wrote:Perhaps I should go down to a store and check out the menus on the TS1/FT1 and see if they allow enough manual settings.
Always a good idea to see a camera first hand before buying.

At least they beefed up the environment-proofed-ness of the FT2. BTW, here a good discussion on this type of camera in the caves: Perfect camera for caving???

Good luck and let us know what you got…
Balincaguin comes from the Zambal phrase, "Bali lan caguing" meaning "house of bats."
This was the former name of the Municipality of Mabini, Pangasinan, when it was part of the Province of Zambales (of Mt. Pinatubo Volcano fame).
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

Postby Steven Johnson » Mar 21, 2010 11:22 pm

Not clear if you need a fully waterproof camera or not... if you can make do with something compact, you might consider the Canon S90, which I recently got for caving. It's P&S sized (and fits perfectly into a Pelican 1010 case) but has full manual control and better-than-average low-light sensitivity (same sensor as the Canon G11). It's not water/dust proof, so it's not suitable for photos in actively wet situations, but the small size (even in a case) makes it much easier to lug along. I've been really happy with mine so far.
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

Postby pub » Mar 22, 2010 1:08 am

I agree with Steven. If you don’t REALLY need a waterproof camera I would consider on of those compared in my drool list I posted earlier. I feel you are giving up a lot to have such a specialized camera. Consider how often you’ll need to actually shoot in a very wet situation.

All of those in the drool list have larger sensor than a waterproof camera and full manual capabilities. If I had the money I would go for the Lumix GF1. It has a DSLR size sensor without the SLR legacy parts (mirror, prism) so it is relatively compact.
Balincaguin comes from the Zambal phrase, "Bali lan caguing" meaning "house of bats."
This was the former name of the Municipality of Mabini, Pangasinan, when it was part of the Province of Zambales (of Mt. Pinatubo Volcano fame).
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

Postby Primitivist37 » Mar 22, 2010 7:01 am

Thanks for talking me around guys. I think an OtterBox and a clean towel might just be the way to go.

I would really love to go the GF1 route but alas I don't quite have the money to get there (or the skills and capacity to work with such a great camera).

I do however like the S90 and would be interested on your thoughts of comparison between it and the Lumix TZ10. The TZ10 also has full manual control but from specs the sensor looks very crowded. However the images look much better and more so in the lower light pictures. Actually all the 10MP looked slightly more smudged at full size, and quite noisy at low light.

I also quite like the look of the Canon powershot SX200 IS and the new SX210 IS.

I put a few more here to compare, but I don't think I could afford the olympus (certainly looks impressive though). http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare ... s&show=all
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

Postby Dwight Livingston » Mar 22, 2010 9:29 am

I'm looking at maybe getting a Canon Powershot D10 for caving. I've destroyed a few cameras in caves, including a digital camera. That one was a Fujifilm which did work okay with a Firefly slave but I had a lot of focus problems. I transport in a box, but once I get to taking pictures I know it's going to end up in my pocket. I usually take pictures as I go, to record what we're doing and what we find, rather than spend a lot of time to set up shots. Dust and mud are a bigger problem to me than water, and I'd really like to wash the camera, prefereably in running water.

So I went to the Digital Photography Review site that was mentioned above and used their Buying Guide tool. That is a really handy thing! I looked for waterproof, image stabilization, manual focus, built-in flash, and only current models. What came up was the Sony DSC-TX5 and the Canon Powershot D10. The D10 has a more powerful flash and a 15 second max exposure. It's thick, almost 2 inches, but maybe I can put up with that. I don't know what else to look for.
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

Postby captnemo » Mar 22, 2010 2:05 pm

If you're giving thought to non-waterproof models like the canon powershot s90, remember that most canon point and shoots also have a U/W housing available. You can see the one for the
S90 herehttp://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/653409-REG/Canon_4041B001_WP_DC35_Case_for_Canon.html

These have the advantage of being much more waterproof then the water resistant cameras, meaning you can actually use them for scube diving etc. You don't have to purchase them right away, and if something happens to the housing- banged on a rock etc. the camera should still be good :) They do make the camera pretty bulky though.

I have a housing for my canon elph(sd500), and my G9 (it was cheaper to buy the g9 and the housing then just the housing for my DSLR) and have been happy with both. I used the elph in it's housing a lot in Guatemala since we were swimming through most of the caves and I didn't want to pull out my Dslr and risk it getting a bath.
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

Postby pub » Mar 22, 2010 6:30 pm

Dwight wrote:once I get to taking pictures I know it's going to end up in my pocket.
Sound like the ticket for you since you’re looking for pocketable cam; it did beat all others in dpreview's Q209 underwater camera group test. :camera:

Dwight wrote:It's thick, almost 2 inches, but maybe I can put up with that. I don't know what else to look for.
Hmmm… 2” bulge… maybe you’ll have to worry about what the ladys “are looking for” if they think “you are just happy to see them!” :kidding:

captnemo wrote:I used the elph in it's housing a lot in Guatemala since we were swimming through most of the caves
Great shot! :clap: :woohoo: :clap:
Balincaguin comes from the Zambal phrase, "Bali lan caguing" meaning "house of bats."
This was the former name of the Municipality of Mabini, Pangasinan, when it was part of the Province of Zambales (of Mt. Pinatubo Volcano fame).
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

Postby Steven Johnson » Mar 24, 2010 12:42 am

Actually, it's not (just) the water that (usually) worries me -- it's the dust. First digital camera I used for caving (a basic Nikon P&S) died because too much dust got into it and crapped up the works. (Waterproof usually means dustproof too, so it's all good...)
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

Postby Primitivist37 » Mar 24, 2010 7:33 am

Well I've uhmed and ahed a lot and have decided to bite the bullet, spend the money and buy a decent camera. Jerry your sugestion of the DMC-GF1 set me on the path. However after many (many) hours of comparison and the like I have decided to go with the Olympus PEN e-pl1. Virtually the same camera with a few other neat tricks and features. I would say they are on par if all options were considered but I prefer the e-pl1s user friendliness and onboard IS. The lens that is on the GF1 seems to be THE killer lens at the moment and with f/1.7 at 20mm why wouldn't it be. I think for caves the ability to shoot that low light is very handy and much better than the standard kit lens with the e-pl1. So, in the next few months I will probably end up getting that panasonic lens anyway.

If the stated dimensions are correct I should be able to fit it cleanly in an otterbox and will add some medium density foam for some shock absorption when caving or canyoning (should be okay in a pouch when hiking or traveling)

Here are some reviews of the Olympus PEN e-pl1 and the dpreview of that lens if any are interested.
http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/ ... l1_review/
http://www.dpreview.com/previews/olympusepl1/
http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/pan ... 0_1p7_o20/
http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/revie ... /slideshow
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

Postby pub » Mar 24, 2010 9:06 am

Good for you Jacob! I think you made not just a good choice but a GREAT choice. I glad you stayed away from the small sensor cams. :clap:

I was looking at the GF1 and E-P2 last year and didn’t like the no-flash setup of the E-P2. This is the first time I heard of the E-PL1 which is a simplified E-P2 (so it’s less expensive) with not only a built-in flash but wireless flash control! Super Kewl! Be sure to get one of the R-series flashes to take advantage of this feature.
This will also be a good all around cam for regular shooting (out of the caves or canyons). :camera:

CHEERS! :toast:
Balincaguin comes from the Zambal phrase, "Bali lan caguing" meaning "house of bats."
This was the former name of the Municipality of Mabini, Pangasinan, when it was part of the Province of Zambales (of Mt. Pinatubo Volcano fame).
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

Postby rlboyce » Jul 26, 2010 10:13 am

Keep in mind that moisture in the air might also be an enemy to non-waterproof cameras in caves. Another caver and I went into a new cave and took some pictures while surveying, and when he went to upload the pictures to his computer a few days later he found the card could not be read. This could have been a result of something other than moisture, but I have no trouble envisioning moisture penetrating the camera housing and wreaking havoc on the internal components, including the memory card. A waterproof case such as an otterbox may not save you if you choose to take the camera out of the box.
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