Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3

panasonic-lumix-dmc-ft3

A camera with good features

The FT3 model launched by Panasonic seems to offer good performance and a lot of features. However, a digital camera with a display of 230 000 points and a high price is very disappointing, even for all fans of Panasonic !

Expectations before the test

Apparently Panasonic is decided to attack all market opportunities, because after the bridge family and the compact ultra-zoom cameras, the time has come for point and shoot devices. If you look back you will see that in just two years, Panasonic has succeeded, with with its FT family, to establish itself as a powerful brand in the world of compact reinforced cameras . The new brother in the FT family is the FT3, which represents the third generation for the Japanese manufacturer. However, we want to know if this is just a design change or more for the FT line. Let’s see the test ! 🙂

Reality

panasonic-lumix-dmc-ft3You probably know that the FT2 model was very close to its brother, the FT1. At first view, the FT3 model seems to have done a lot of effort to change its look and to evolve. The aesthetic is changed: the unfinished exterior was somehow softened by a handle, a case with light shapes and rounded corners. However, we like the new look of the FT series and Panasonic seems to have evolved at this chapter.

Another positive thing can be noticed very quickly: the old-dial button access (right above the unit), which was harder to engage and difficult to handle with gloves in the previous versions (FT1 and FT2), was replaced by two keys (positioned on the back of the camera). This idea seems to improve the overall experience and the new positioning is much more convenient, compared to the previous localization. If you think that this camera is not resistant you must know that the FT3 experienced many falls from about 1.5 m on the floor without any damage. Seems to be a camera which is very resistant against shocks.

Decreased resolution

If you follow the products launched on the market you will see a trend. The producers prefer to decrease the megapixels from a sensor compared with the previous generation. They do this just to have an improved management of digital noise at high sensitivities and in low light conditions. Anyway, with this model Panasonic didn’t make any miracles, because the resolution was decreased from 14.1 Mpix to 12 Mpix. However, even in such conditions we can see a significant improvement for pictures taken at ISO 800, which have less color issues.

Compared to its brother (the FT2), this model offers slightly better image quality, but the differences between these digital cameras are not very visible. The Panasonic FT3 is able to capture pretty pictures, but the sharpness of the optics elements (with the the “fishing” photos effect) and the periscope is a little weak. However, this is a normal problem with this kind of approach. The optical zoom is not so powerful (just x 4,6), but you have the possibility to use the wide angle to take photos.

Good optical stabilization and speed

The camera speed is good and after less than 2 seconds you are able to start capturing images. Compared to its predecessors, this model seems to be closer to compact medium or high range models. The CCD sensor is not able to win the fight against CMOS sensors (like the excellent Sony Exmor R, for example), but its responsiveness makes it a pleasant digital camera. As usual for Panasonic, the optical stabilization worked very well in our tests. We report no problems. The stabilization system is able to make calculations and a lot of corrections when you take pictures and is able to capture good images, even in low light with the camera at arm’s length.

Good video movies but weak display

Another good point for this camera is the ability to take quality videos. The specifications are good: you have access at 720p movies (1280 x 720 pixels) and 1080i (1920 x 1080 dots) videos. This is a good point for a compact HD digital camera.

However, there is a problem with Panasonic’s concept: the display only has 230 000 pixels. This value is unacceptable for a camera which costs about 400 euros! If we go back two years ago, that was acceptable. The FT2 was launched with the same weak point. However, technology evolves, but Panasonic seems to have stayed in the same place at this chapter. We expected from the FT3 a resolution of 460 000 pixels for this price.

A high consumption GPS

The GPS of the FT3 is another problem because the loading time is high. And another weak point is that the entire system close quickly. That’s because the battery can’t last this energy-sucking GPS. A good idea is to have a lot of extra batteries with you. This way you will be sure that the GPS will guide you to your destination.

The FT3 was somehow simplified because all the connectors of the camera (video, battery and memory card) now have a single access door, located on the left side of the gadget. This simplification is good because you have quicker access to the camera’s connectors.

Review conclusion

After this test we can say that, when it comes to image quality, Panasonic is still the best of today’s markets. But for how long ? However, with its compact reinforcement and its design, the FT3 will be the point of attraction for its users. However, the differences between it and it’s ancestors is that in this moment, on the market, the FT3 has a lot of competitors. This camera is a very good device if you ignore the low quality display and its high price.

Technical specifications

AFYes
Sensor TypeCCD
Resolution Width in Pixel4000
Max12.5
Resolution Height in Pixel3000
FlashYes
Viewfinder TypeLCD Monitor
CaseCompact
Memory TypeInternal and External
Optical Zoom5
Digital Zoom4
Width103.5
Weight175
BluetoothNo
Depth in mm26.5
Megapixel12.1
Height in mm64
Lowest Focal Length in mm28
Focal Length in mm130
Interchangeable lensNo
PictBridgeYes
Screen Size2.7
Video CaptureVideo + Sound
XDNo
Secure DigitalYes
Micro DriveNo
MMCNo
Compact FlashNo
Memory Stick / Memory Stick ProNo
Memory Stick Duo / Duo ProNo
FiNo
SDHCYes
Internal Memory size in MB19
Continuous shootingYes
Resolution in Pixel230000
Max Resolution Mode Video Width1920
Max Resolution Mode Video Height1080
Ability to save files in RAWNo
Maximum Aperture Tele5.9
Maximum Aperture Wide3.3
Shutter Speed Fastest in Second1 / 1300
Shutter Speed slowest in Second60
Sensor Size1/2.33 ‘
Battery Type0
Image StabilizerOptical Stabilizer
BridgeNo
DebuggingFace Detection
HDMIYes
Shutter PriorityNo
Aperture PriorityNo
Number of frames per second in video mode30
SDXCYes