If you have been reading my posts that precis the current ranges of waterproof camera you will have read that I have already briefly covered the Panasonic DMC-FT2. Well, recently I happened to acquire one. For free even. I’d like to thank Panasonic for their generosity but I can’t. Unlike Fuji and occasionally Olympus, they won’t give me one. Anyhow, I digress…
I have been using the FT2 whilst paddling and I can say it is rather good. It’s not perfect, though. Here are some pros and cons:
- Video quality is very good and is activated by a single button. Nice when your hands are cold and you’re in some rough.
- Still image quality is better than Olympus – by a long way.
- Build quality very good. Battery latch fit for purpose.
- Sluggish turn on time and handling in general
- There is a waterproofing warning at switch-on that is frustrating and hard to turn off
- Menu system is OK for land use but rubbish in water.
- The zoom control is dreadful.
- Supplied software is hopeless. Buy a Mac instead.
Overall, it is a useful kayaker’s camera. I just wish that for once the designers would actually have a clue about the environments these cameras are going to be used. Then they would put on a big robust zoom toggle that cold, wet hands can use. The single button for video is a positive step but should be bigger and overall handling performance really need to be stepped up. Forget megapixels, we all know it’s bullshit. Give us an 8 megapixel, low noise sensor with lightning speed and 7x optical zoom with 22mm wideangle and full HD video, rubberized buttons for basic controls on the top of the camera for one handed use. A flick in polarizing filter would be a fantastic feature as well. This would be the perfect camera. It would never needed to be upgraded so you could keep it in production for years and outselling every other waterproof. As things are now, though, if you want the best waterproof compact for kayaking or other water sports, the FT2 is it. Even better would be to find the FT1. At 12mp it has better stills.