Camera - - WHAT’S NEW -

THE lumiX FT7 is Panasonic’s lat­est ruggedised dig­i­tal com­pact cam­era and it’s par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing be­cause it has an elec­tronic viewfinder for the first time. Pre­vi­ously, an EVF has just been an­other com­po­nent that would need pro­tect­ing so all rugged com­pacts have ei­ther had an op­ti­cal finder or just a mon­i­tor screen. The FT7’s ‘Live View Finder’ has a res­o­lu­tion of 1.17 megadots and a mag­ni­fi­ca­tion of 0.45x (35mm equiv­a­lent), and com­ple­ments a 7.5 cm LCD mon­i­tor screen which has a res­o­lu­tion of 1.04 megadots and is pro­tected by a spe­cial tem­pered glass face­plate.

The FT7 also boasts a built-in com­pass, an al­time­ter and an LED torch so it’s very much de­signed for the great out­doors. The re­in­forced bodyshell is wa­ter­proofed down to 31 me­tres, shock-proofed to with­stand a drop of two me­tres, pressure re­sis­tant to 100 kgf and freeze-proofed to en­able op­er­a­tion in tem­per­a­tures down to -10 de­grees Cel­sius. Ob­vi­ously the ex­ten­sive seal­ing – which ac­tu­ally makes the bodyshell air­tight – also pre­vents the in­tru­sion of ei­ther dust or sand.

On the inside, the FT7 has a 1/2.3-inch BSI-type CMOS sen­sor with a total pixel count of 21.1 mil­lion (20.4 MP ef­fec­tive) and a sen­si­tiv­ity range equiv­a­lent to ISO 80 to 3200 with a one-stop ex­ten­sion to ISO 6400. The 4.6x zoom em­ploys a ‘folded’ op­ti­cal de­sign to elim­i­nate any pro­tru­sions and its fo­cal range is equiv­a­lent to 28-128mm in the 35mm for­mat. The max­i­mum aper­ture range is f3.3-5.9 and Panasonic’s ‘Power OIS’ op­ti­cal im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion gives up to four stops of cor­rec­tion for cam­era shake.

The zoom is linked to a 49-point con­trast-de­tec­tion ‘Light Speed’ AF sys­tem and the min­i­mum fo­cus- ing dis­tance is five cen­time­tres (at 28mm). Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing is pos­si­ble at up to 10 fps with the AF/AE locked to the first frame and at 5.0 fps with frame-by-frame ad­just­ment. How­ever, as the FT7 can record 4K video, Panasonic’s ‘4K Photo’ func­tions are avail­able, cap­tur­ing 8.3 MP stills at 30 fps. Th­ese in­clude ‘Post Fo­cus’ which en­ables a de­sired fo­cus­ing point to be se­lected from a se­quence of images after they’ve been cap­tured. Us­ing the MP4 for­mat, 4K video is recorded in the Ul­tra HD res­o­lu­tion of 3840x2160 pix­els at 25 fps or at the 24 fps ‘cin­e­matic’ frame rate. The FT7 can also record HD video at 100 fps for slow-mo ef­fects. Sound is recorded via built-in stereo mi­cro­phones with an au­to­matic wind-cut fil­ter. Time-lapse and stop-mo­tion an­i­ma­tion video modes are also pro­vided.

Other notable fea­tures in­clude a se­lec­tion of 22 ‘Cre­ative Con­trol’ spe­cial ef­fects, auto ex­po­sure brack­et­ing, a pro­gram­mable self-timer, a top shut­ter speed of 1/16,000 sec­ond (via a sen­sor­based shut­ter), pro­gram auto or man­ual ex­po­sure con­trol, and WiFi con­nec­tiv­ity (but no Blue­tooth).

There’s a choice of black or orange colours and the Lumix FT7 will be avail­able in Aus­tralia in July priced at $599. For more in­for­ma­tion visit

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