With the popularity of Olympus' mju range of ruggedized compacts, and Pentax's waterproof Optio W series, it was only a matter of time before Panasonic decided to cut itself a slice of the outdoor sports camera market.

The DMC-FT1 is the first Panasonic compact to be waterproof, dustproof and shockproof. It's a pretty distinctive camera, with a brushed steel body and macho-looking protruding bolt heads, although those are most likely cosmetic. I suppose there are only so many ways that one can sensibly design a rugged pocket compact, so any resemblance to the Olympus mju 770 SW is no doubt coincidental.

The FT1 is waterproof to a depth of three metres, drop proof from a height of 1.5m, and fully dust proof, making it a good choice for the beach or ski slope. It features a 12.1-megapixel CCD sensor, an internal 4.6x zoom lens with a 28mm wide-angle, and a 2.7-inch 230k LCD monitor that is specially thickened for extra protection. The screen brightness automatically adjusts in 11 steps as the surrounding brightness level changes.

The FT1 is a point-and shoot camera, and features Panasonic's Intelligent Auto function. It also features HD video recording, and like the TZ7 it uses the AVCHD Lite recording format to maximise recording time.

The camera also has an improved Face Recognition feature. When a face is recorded several times, the camera will prompt you to register the face. If the familiar face appears into your frame again, the camera will display the name you specified for that person and prioritize focus and exposure so that the registered face is bright and in sharp focus.

The FT1 will be available from March in a choice of sleek silver or cool blue.



January 28, 2009, 7:39 am

Panasonic seem to specialise in ugly tech, and by the look of this update, today is no exception.


January 28, 2009, 8:32 am

Well, IMHO, "Handsome is as handsome does", as they say. And in this department, Panasonic is really bringing home the bacon.( This AFTER they ditched the thrice-accursed Venus II and III with their osmium-handed NR, which made their high-iso shots look like they had been taken of blobs of paint run over by a Mack truck.) Now the positive aspects of their cameras really stand out, such as the excellent lens (great range and crispness - though still rather "slow", aperture-wise), their ease of use, their build quality, thir speed and their great IS. All of that had been essentially watered down by the crummy IQ at anything above base ISO. Hopefully this Venus V won't revert to impressionistic renderings of images.


January 28, 2009, 1:23 pm

Some sites are saying that the new 'AVCHD Lite' mode shoots 720p at 60fps.


January 28, 2009, 2:25 pm

I've had a look on the Panasonic site and 720p at 60fps would appear to be correct. I wonder can you use the zoom whilst recording?

Espen Ruud

January 28, 2009, 4:51 pm

According to Sweedish manual p52 for TZ-5 is 720p 30fps max performance. Zoom is operating slower, and zoom noise "might be" recorded according to same page.


January 28, 2009, 8:45 pm

@Espen Ruud - we're talking about new TZ6/TZ7 here, not TZ5 :)


February 4, 2009, 5:21 pm

Hey PS3&#189 - from Panasonic's own site, it specifically states that the optical zoom CAN be used while recording for the TZ6 and the TZ7, which is pretty ace news. Linky:


February 15, 2009, 10:56 pm

I can't believe it. They're releasing the DMC-TZ7 with what looks like better sound quality for video capture. Only bought my TZ5 back in December!

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