Competent But with Caveats
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5
inclusion of the Quick Menu button. Instead of having to access the sub-menu and search for various settings, the Quick Menu button will bring up a list of settings that you will most likely access during shooting such as ISO values. The FT5 also offers the choice to switch between two aperture values at any focal length, which isn’t ground-breaking, but still a handy option to have if you ever need to quickly switch between wide or narrow apertures.
Connectivity-wise, the FT5 also features NFC, Wi-Fi and GPS. Battery life will take a hit with all these features turned on, but when used judiciously, the FT5 ends up with as one of the best in its class where battery life is concerned, taking about 370 shots before going flat. Wi-FI implementation is excellent too, with the Panasonic Image app sharing shots to a wide selection of services, including Facebook. The app also allows for remote control.
Charging the battery is done via an external charger,instead of the in-camera charging common on a number of newer cameras such as the Sony RX100 Mark II.
Performance-wise, the FT5 produced images that were generally well-exposed and vibrant. The FT5 scored 1800LPH both vertically and horizontally in our resolution test, with slight detail loss noticeably as early as ISO100, which wasn’t very encouraging. Of course, we felt comfortable with overall image quality all the way up to ISO800, after which the detail loss becomes too obvious to look past.
Overall, the FT5 is mixed bag. The mostly-metal construction offers a rugged and reassuring feel, but the protective lens cover attracts far too many fingerprints for comfort. While its rear display is one of the better ones when viewed under bright sunlight, its low resolution and washed-out colors don’t do the camera justice. The FT5 is a still competent camera considering its image quality, but the small selection of flaws prevents it from being one of the better tough cameras around.