Tough, waterproof cameras are not just for hardcore adventure seekers or snorkelers. They make excellent worry-free family friendly cameras too since they can be thrown in a diaper bag, purse, or even a cooler. Best of all, it can come to the beach with you and if it gets in the sand, no problem. Just rinse it off.
- Extremely durable, shockproof to 2m (6.6′) and waterproof to 31m (102′)
- 4.6x optical zoom
- 4K video resolution
- Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, a compass, and altimeter
- Price Point: $579.99
I brought the new Panasonic TS7 on holidays with my family to test it out. For most of our vacation, we were camping on the Shuswap lakes in interior British Columbia. We spent our time relaxing, building sandcastles, swimming, and floating alongside my
When I was planning my trip, I specifically arranged to bring the TS7 since it has a couple new features that other waterproof compact cameras don’t. The viewfinder intrigued me because I was planning to use the camera at the beach in the bright sunlight. Shooting photos with an LCD in the middle of a gorgeous sunny day just doesn’t work very well. The 1170K dot electronic viewfinder works great, offering a clear and bright image, even in direct sunlight. I don’t think it has much use underwater, but it is nice to have when you are on dry land.
The TS7 also has great video features. It offers a 4K video mode which is a must for my family if I want my clips to match up with what my husband shoots on his GH5. It also has a nice slow-motion feature that is always fun for capturing action (slow motion video can be captured at 120fps at a resolution of 720p). When shooting video with a waterproof camera, you have to be aware that the sound is not going to be great due to the waterproof sealing. In my opinion, the video clips are ideal for montages.
It’s a fairly large compact camera, but, since the one I brought with me is fairly big and bright orange, it makes it easy to find if you drop it in the lake or are trying to dig it out of a big beach bag. The shutter button is also generously large and textured which could come in handy if you were using it for scuba diving, snorkeling, or even in the winter while wearing gloves. The zoom rocker on the top is fairly small in comparison and easy to accidentally tap, causing you to zoom in when you might not want to be.
The camera’s waterproof locking system is very reassuring. The SD card and battery slot have a sealed door on the right of the camera with a double catch lock – one to close, and one to lock. When the door is in the unlocked position, the locking tab shows a red warning tag. It also displays a reminder on the screen when you turn on the camera after opening the door.
Overall the image quality is decent. The lens is 28mm -128mm F3.3-5.9 giving you a nice zoom range to work with, but if that is not wide enough for, say, a landscape photo that you want, the extremely easy-to-use 180-degree panoramic mode is excellent. It stitches the images together in the camera giving you a printable, 8176 x 1744 pixel file.
The other shooting modes are fun to use as well, from soft backlit portrait mode to a cute dessert mode. Personally, I always love photographing wildflowers on holidays, especially when the light is nice. The macro mode on the TS7 works well and the lens has a minimum focusing distance of 5cm. It also has a program auto mode and a full manual exposure mode that will give you two aperture values to choose from and allow you to control the shutter speed. But, there is not an Aperture or Shutter Priority mode. That being said, I don’t believe that is a deal breaker for this style of camera.
Overall, I think this camera is a great choice for families who like to get outdoors. Anyone can shoot with it including the little ones, and you don’t have to worry about it being dropped or splashed. At the end of the day if it gets dirty or sandy, just toss it in the bath (without the suds) and give it a rinse.