Panasonic just dropped the bomb few days ago by releasing its new tough waterproof camera for the premium segment, a segment that not every manufacturer is dare to play today. This new camera called Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7, or alternatively known as Panasonic Lumix DC-TS7 in the US. Titled as first Panasonic’s waterproof camera that equipped with electronic viewfinder, can this camera beat its competes? Here is the review of Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7.
Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 Design
Representing the tough muse it brings, Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 has solid design with strong cut and typical tough camera look. Camera body is constructed from strong plasticky material with rubber padding and reinforce glass, makes handling felt so solid and strong on this camera. Talking about measurement, the camera looks a bit chunky with weights around 319 grams including battery. While for the dimension, it is 116.7×76.1×37.3 mm. Certainly, this dimension makes FT7 looks bigger than its strong competes such as Nikon CoolPix W300 and Olympus Tough TG-5.
Sitting in the tough camera line, Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 capability to be your travel companion is not a joke. Based on the company’s claim, the FT7 is dustproof, 2 m shockproof, waterproof for 31m, and 14F freezeproof. Moreover, this imaging device is also said as the company’s first underwater camera to have built in electronic viewfinder. This viewfinder itself has been equipped with dioptre adjustment technology. But, it’s still not equipped by eye detection, which is actually quite tolerable because this is an underwater camera.
Button arrangement of Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 is also pretty simple. But, it is a bit disappointing that the button size is quite small, making it a bit hard to push especially for those who have big fingers. For the button and dials arrangement, you will see shutter release button, on/off button, and video record button on top of the camera. While at the rear side, there are several buttons and controls there. These controls and buttons are easy to reach, even though the size sometimes felt a little bit smaller.
Camera Viewfinder and Screenfinder
Move to the viewfinder, user can activate viewfinder when it’s needed only. And to switch between electronic viewfinder to screen finder and vice versa, all it takes is just a simple a touch of a button, which is obvious because there is no eye detection technology in this camera. The viewfinder itself has 0.2 inch size with 1170K dots resolution and 0.45x magnifications. On the rear side, we can find a 3 inches non-touchscreen LCD with 1040K dot resolution which can act as screenfinder as well. This screen is clear and bright with 100% field view, which is good because you can see the whole object inside the frame.
Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 Specification
As heavy duty camera, the features of Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 are pretty amazing. In the sensory, this camera is powered by 1/2.3inch-sized BSI “Live MOS Sensor”. So, for you who hope for Leica-branded lens, this camera will not satisfy your brand desire this time. While for the resolution, it is now 20.4 MP WITH 4.6x optical zoom ASPH lens capability and f/3.3-4.9, and is equivalent to 28-128mm. This is a big resolution jump from the previous 16 MP resolution on Panasonic DC-FT5.
In term of ISO sensitivity, Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 has quite wide range of ISO. It ranges between ISO 80 until ISO 3200, which can still be expanded to be ISO 6400. Continuous shooting in mechanical shooter reaches 10 fps, but when it uses Continuous AF, the rate will be decreased to be 5 fps only. And to support its rough camera concept, there are several typical features that will be very useful when you use the camera outdoor, which are compass and altimeter.
Moreover, for those who worry about shake during shooting, you can employ the Power Optical Image Stabilizer that’s equipped within the camera. So, you can create more steady video footages or free-blur images. While in video recording capability, Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 is able to record 4K UHD in 24, 25, and 30 fps. Recording high speed video with resolution 128×720 can be conducted at 120/100fps. And in addition to this video feature, manufacturer also adds stereo sound and optical zoom features.
Battery and Connectivity
Autofocus perform pretty decent in this camera. It even can be said as great for an outdoor camera. The Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 USE Light Speed type AF system with 49-point contrast-detect autofocus. And based on Panasonic’s claim, this AF system can follow moving subject in 5 fps.
Moving to the power supply, the camera’s battery has capacity of taking 300 shots in one single charge. And this capacity will decrease by 250 shots per single charge when we’re shooting with electronic viewfinder. It’s such a disappointment since the previous generation the FT5 is able to take 370 pictures in one single charge.
For the connectivity sector, Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 has been equipped with wireless connectivity with Wi-Fi 2.4GHz (IEEE802.11b/g/n) protocols. And yes, there is no Bluetooth in it, but WiFi connectivity is already enough to connect the camera to your personal device. As for the wired connectivity, you can find HDMI port as well as MicroUSB port, which can be used for charging. And in storage system, the camera supports SDXC UHS-I Memory Card for fast writing when you do 4K video recording.
Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 Price and Impression
Overall, using Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 is pretty much fun and the camera has many things to like. Let’s say the excellent tough impression of it. It has everything; dustproof, 2 m shockproof, waterproof for 31m, and 14F freezeproof. So, definitely, the camera is perfect for your outdoor activity. And also, the addition of electronic viewfinder is very nice touch.
However, the unfortunate thing on this camera is the absence of RAW format shooting. This seems not good news especially when rival such as Olympus Tough TG-5 offers this kind of feature. As for the price, Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7 goes face to face with Olympus Tough TG-5 and Nikon Coolpix W300 in $449/£399 price range.