Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT10

If you want a basic tough camera and can live with its quirks, the FT10 is a decent enough choice.


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As the baby sibling to the other tough cameras in Panasonic's Lumix range, the Lumix FT1 and FT2, the FT10 seems a little more demure. It's like an FT series-lite, if you will, sharing some rugged features and eschewing others.

Design and features

On the outside, this camera could easily be mistaken for any number of other Panasonic Lumix mid-range cameras, with its box-style exterior and flat panels. But you certainly couldn't throw any of those cameras down the stairs or submerge them into water and expect them to survive the test.

The FT10 is shockproof from drops up to 1.5 metres, waterproof up to 3 metres and freeze proof to -10 degrees Celcius which sounds kind of like the specifications found on the average Olympus tough camera (the 6010). Around the camera body, at the base and the side, are two lockable flaps that house the battery and memory card, plus an AV out and power input. While useful to have these lockable flaps, they can be awkward to get open. While we're on the topic of awkward, like all other tough Lumix cameras, the front lens element isn't protected by a flap; it's left exposed to the elements.

Panasonic FT10Panasonic FT10Panasonic FT10Panasonic FT10Panasonic FT10Panasonic FT10

Click through for a complete photo gallery. (Credit: Panasonic)

Further around the back is a 2.7-inch LCD screen, with 230,000 dots, paling in comparison to lots of other Lumix cameras from the 2010 range, but on par with many other tough cameras. Buttons around the back and the top of the camera are coated in silver and are utilitarian in appearance. There's an intelligent auto button just next to the shutter button, but there's no one-touch record movie button. Other features include Panasonic's Mega OIS (optical image stabilisation) and HD video recording at 720p in motion JPEG. A 4x optical zoom completes the specifications.

In the box, the FT10 comes with a rubberised protective case, as well as an instruction manual and AV cables. Like any other waterproof camera, there are stringent measures that need to be taken to preserve this feature, all of which are documented on the box itself, and via on-screen prompts.

Compared to

FT10 vs. 6010 vs. 8010

Panasonic Lumix FT10 Olympus Tough 6010 Olympus Tough 8010
14 megapixels 12 megapixels 14 megapixels
2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD
Waterproof to 3m, drop proof to 1.5m, freeze proof to -10 degrees Celcius Waterproof to 3m, drop proof to 1.5m, freeze proof to -10 degrees Celcius Waterproof to 10m, crushproof to 100kg, drop proof from 2m, freeze proof to -10 degrees Celsius
HD video (720p, motion JPEG) Video (VGA resolution, motion JPEG) HD video (720p, MPEG-4)
AU$399 AU$399 AU$499

Performance

General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Time to first shot
  • Shutter lag
  • Shot-to-shot time
  • Panasonic FT101.90.81
  • Olympus Tough 80104.50.94
  • Olympus Tough 60102.10.92

Image quality

As with most other tough cameras on the market, at least in this price bracket, you need to keep your photo quality expectations in check considering this camera's rugged focus and price point. The first issue that the FT10 has is its tendency to underexpose images in daylight and overcast situations. Colours are accurate, except for at high ISO levels (see below).

FT10 image sample

An example of the FT10's underexposure. (Credit: CBSi)

Then, at low ISO levels there's a fair amount of digital artefacts across the image. At higher ISO levels, like 800 and 1600, the over-processing starts to cause some colour-shifts. This is as much to do with the megapixel count as the image processor; we only wish Panasonic left the megapixel count the same as the FT1 (12.1-megapixels).

FT10 vs. 8010

The same image taken with the FT10 (top) and Olympus 8010 (bottom) with 100 per cent crops inset. (Credit: CBSi)

Video quality doesn't fare all that much better, with discernible flares and purple fringing appearing on the image, while the microphone has trouble picking up clear sound when the camera is submerged. Still, it does the job if all you need to do is capture some underwater footage.

Image samples

Click each image below for JPEGs straight from the FT10. No post-processing has been done to alter these photos.

Exposure: 1/200, f/5.8, ISO 200

Exposure: 1/400, f/7.1, ISO 100

Exposure: 1/25, f/4, ISO 1600

Exposure: 1/400, f/5.6, ISO 80

(Credit: CBSi)

Conclusion

For close to AU$400, the FT10 doesn't seem like it's worth the money given the image quality we've come to expect from other Lumix cameras. Better still, the older original tough model (Lumix FT1) pairs better image and video quality in a package that's just as rugged.

The FT10 is decent enough; just keep your photo and video quality expectations in check given its position in the Lumix tough range.

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Olympus Mju Tough 8010

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ScottP3 Facebook
1
Rating
 

"Follow the strict instructions...and still get ripped off."

ScottP3 posted a review   

The Good:reasonable picture quality and easy to use

The Bad:this camera was not waterproof, even when following the strict instructions.

Stay right away from this camera. I spent a little extra to buy this camera for underwater use, followed all of the rigorous instructions for preventing water getting inside and...........well you can guess the rest.
It is now a useless piece of junk.

No point in following up on replacement as there is a disclaimer that if there is a microscopic fibre in the seal (ie not visible to the naked eye) - then 'bad luck'.

It took reasonable enough photos prior to it's first trip underwater.

emmahilton
1
Rating
 

"broken"

emmahilton posted a review   
Australia

The Good:quality

The Bad:breaks after one use

great for one day , then it died.
i bought this camera and instantly thought it was amazing.
it took amazing images and i was ecstatic with my new purchase.
then decided to try it underwater. took all the precautions as directed before entering the water. i began to film underwater and loved it.
unfortunately after one use it broke...
now all it does is turn on and occasionally it will let me press the record button.
it will not let me use any other buttons... NOTHING
now i feel like leaving it at the bottom of the ocean.
i have a fear it wont be able to be saved.

brie_cheese
8
Rating
 

"Great Handy Camera"

brie_cheese posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Small, Durable and no problem!

The Bad:Nothing! (the only colour left was black?)

I bough this camera originally for a festival that was expecting rain (as I'm sick of mine getting ruined) and it has turned out to be a great investment.

Water: I have taken mine snorkeling numerous times on the reef and frequently submerge it in our large fish tanks to film fish (its more exciting that it sounds....)

Cold: in -15 snow slopes I had no problems with the camera at all. obviously the battery life is shortened in the cold but I could still get a solid day (and some embarrassing ones of the night) of photos and filming in. I ensured I kept it inside my jacket close to body heat when not in use.

Shock: I drop things.... alot.... No problems at all.

Conclusion: Overall I found this camera so easy to use I even got my Mum one so she could always have a camera no matter the condition. Shortly after my uncle bought one as well.
None of us have had any problems. :)

BD

SteveR1 Facebook
3
Rating
 

"problem after water use"

SteveR1 posted a review   
Australia

about 40 mins after useing in water the camera seems to have mind of its own starts taking photos one after the other by itself until sd card full ------leave for about 2 hrs all ok again then spend 1 hour deleting dud photos

 

rollo posted a comment   

Didn't have much luck at all. When I took night photos had over exposure down right hand side. Day photos even were over exposed tried different settings which were better but thought a lot a mucking around to take photo. Just wanted camera to point and shoot. For a 14 MP camera photos should have been sharper. When camera went back to Panasonic they said it tested OK and said the problem with the photos was condensation. Yeah sure this camera was built to handle all sort of conditions. On return battery door didn't close and couldn't use camera. Finally returned camera didn't want it.

CARO
8
Rating
 

CARO posted a review   

The Good:good photos, so far. Not taken to colder climes -yet

The Bad:I want the date on the front of the printed photo.So many calls to Panasonic, some helpful-most not. Many returns to Harvey Norman-helpful, but my problem NOT RESOLVED. ALL I want is the date, please send help!

neat, good, camera. I find clear prints, in close-ups and scene. Simple to use-- even for an oldie like me!
Will test the anti-freeze-in snow country-- later this year
I would like simple steps for TEXT STAMP.
I know the date-on-print is no longer an option, which is a shame, as a simple feature of yes or no would be a lot easier than the convoluted steps, ONE EVERY single photo to have this option just to have the date on the front.
Thanks

 

anthony posted a comment   

The Good:wanting to buy it

The Bad:bad reviews

dont know if its the people or the camera bu i think the lumix is just so much more better that the olypus 8010. But whats holding me back is the bad reviews. i mean is it really that bad?

TheGreat
5
Rating
 

TheGreat posted a review   

The Good:water proof

The Bad:bad battery

overall a okay camera, but have the following issues:
1. short battery life. For some reason, the battery can only charge up to 2/3 after 2 months I bought it~~~~ Warranty did nothing about it....
2. can only get into the water for 60 mins.... come on.. If you go snorkelling, you will do more than 60 mins.
3. well, the waterproofing design seems to be faulty. One of the screws start rusting in 3 months ( I admit I went underwater nearly every weekend, but I clean it as per instruction every time.......)


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User Reviews / Comments  Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT10

  • ScottP3

    ScottP3

    Rating1

    "Stay right away from this camera. I spent a little extra to buy this camera for underwater use, followed all of the rigorous instructions for preventing water getting inside and...........well you..."

  • emmahilton

    emmahilton

    Rating1

    "great for one day , then it died.
    i bought this camera and instantly thought it was amazing.
    it took amazing images and i was ecstatic with my new purchase.
    then decided to try ..."

  • brie_cheese

    brie_cheese

    Rating8

    "I bough this camera originally for a festival that was expecting rain (as I'm sick of mine getting ruined) and it has turned out to be a great investment.

    Water: I have taken mine sno..."

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