Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 Review + 5 Tips For Taking Photographs At A Water Park

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 Review + Water Park Photography Tips

 

I was selected as a Panasonic Brit Blogger a year ago now, and my review of their tough [waterproof] compact, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 has been a long time coming! I put the camera through its paces during our summer holiday in August 2014 , then life got in the way, as it does, and before I knew it, months had crept by and I hadn’t so much as looked at our holiday photographs!

I decided I would save this review until the new year, when the weather was cold, grey and miserable and bring some bright sunshine into your life (and mine!) with my photographs of our day at a waterpark in Orlando, Florida. I thought it would be nice to add some tips, for those who are thinking about buying an Lumix FT5 and aren’t quite sure if they should spend the money on a dedicated tough, waterproof camera.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5

If you are a long time reader of The Purple Pumpkin Blog, you will know that I’ve been using Panasonic Lumix cameras for several years now. My daily photography Project 365 are [in the majority] taken on my Lumix DMC-FZ200, I’ve taken photos on previous holidays using our DMC-FT2, and our camcorder is a Panasonic V720. I do still have my compact DMC-TZ18, which doesn’t get as many outings as it once did, and my friend begged me to sell my old bridge camera, the Lumix DMC-FZ18 to her when I upgraded to the FZ200. To say I am a Panasonic camera girl is an understatement! I wouldn’t use them if they were not any good…so now that I’ve told you my ‘history’ with this brand, let me get on with this review.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 is a tough compact and for good reason, just look at this specs:

  • Waterproof down to 13m/43ft
  • Pressure resistance 100kgf
  • Shockproof up to 2m/6.6ft
  • Freezeproof down to -10C/14F
  • Dustproof

So with all that awesomeness, you can take this camera into the pool/river/sea/bath/other body of water; walk along and drop it without fear of it breaking into bits, take it out on the piste when skiing or snowboarding, or just out in the snow when it falls and you want to build a snowman!

Blizzard Beach - Disney Waterpark (9)

All photographs in this post were taken on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5, I’m writing this review as a person who loves to take [lots of] photographs and I will be talking about the features that I used on this camera, how I used this camera (at a water park) and what I can give you in terms of my knowledge of the camera thus far. There are lots of really detailed, full of specs and numbers reviews online, which, in all honesty, just blow my mind. I want to know just a few simple things when I looking to buy a camera –

  1. Is it easy to use?
  2. Is the photo quality good?
  3. Is it good value for money?

Yes, there are lots of bells and whistles on this camera, but just like the smartphone you have in your pocket, you may never end up using all of them; and after owning many cameras over the years, there are still functions on them that I have never used. This review really is for the average user, who is thinking about buying a waterproof camera to take on holiday and not worry about breaking it when using it at the beach or on a day out to, ooh, I don’t know… a water park?

Blizzard Beach - Disney Waterpark (15)

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 is available in four colours – orange, blue, silver and black; mine is orange which I think is the perfect colour for a camera like this, simply because you could easily spot it if you dropped it in the pool or into a pile of snow!  The camera feels sturdy and can easily be held with one hand. There is a bit of weight to it (approx 214g), but I don’t find it a particularly heavy camera. There is a strap  which you can affix to the camera, which is a good thing. What I didn’t like about the strap was that you couldn’t tighten it  around your wrist. I know my old FT2 had a strap you could secure, so this was a disappointment for me as I was worried it would slip off when I was going around the lazy river.

Blizzard Beach - Disney Waterpark (33)

The battery and memory card compartment has a lock on it so that you can be sure that you don’t accidentally open it whilst using the camera in tough conditions, and I think is a great feature – you don’t want that to open up under water. When you first turn the camera on, it also reminds you to check that you have locked it.

The shutter button is of a good size, and there is a dedicated button for taking video. The other buttons (including the video button) themselves are quite small and could be a bit fiddly, especially if you have big fingers, but I didn’t have a problem with them.

The camera has a 4.6x optical zoom (with extra optical zoom 5.9x (4:3 / 10M), 8.4x (4:3 / 5M), 10.5x (under 3M) , intelligent zoom of 9.3x and a digital zoom of 4x. The zoom is activated by two buttons (one to zoom in, and one to zoom back out) that sit side by side on a rocker button, and the zoom is pretty fast. The Panasonic Lumix DMc-FT5 also has the benefit of having the lens inside the body of the camera, so there is no popping out of it when you are zooming into your subject – this also means that you don’t have to worry about that getting damaged if you should accidentally drop it.

I was very impressed with the zoom capabilities and the quality of the images I could get with it. I took this photo below whilst I was travelling around the lazy river and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the pine cone from a distance. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 is 16.1 megapixels.

Blizzard Beach - Disney Waterpark (38)

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 has several creative controls that you can use before you take the shot, or retrospectively. These creative retouches are:

  • Expressive
  • Retro
  • High Key
  • Low Key
  • Sepia
  • Dynamic Monochrome
  • Impressive Art
  • High Dynamic
  • Cross Process
  • Toy Effect
  • Miniature Effect
  • Soft Focus
  • Star Filter
  • One Point Color

And here are some examples that I went back and did to the photo above of the pinecone to demonstrate some of them. These retouches are fab if you love to put filters on your photographs.

There are also colour modes that you can set:

  • Standard
  • Happy
  • B&W
  • Sepia

I personally love the higher level of colour, brightness and vividness that comes with the happy mode, so I generally have it set on that all of the time.  You can also turn the auto flash off which is something I always do as well.

There is also a Burst mode and a Time Lapse Shot which I have literally just discovered as I was going through the various camera settings to write this review. The file format of the finished time lapse is .mpo which I do not know how to open – I can view it on the camera, but not on my computer, so I can’t show you :(

Recording modes include:

  • Intelligent Auto which I’m sure most regular users would use – it picks the best settings for the conditions you are taking photographs in.
  • Manual Exposure which given the way I was using this particular camera I didn’t explore, but can adjust aperture and shutter speed here.
  • Sports Mode for capturing the fast action shots.
  • Snow, Beach & Snorkelling and Advanced Underwater mode
  • Panoramic Shots – which came out great! (see below, click for larger view)
  • Scene Mode where you can choose even more options including portrait, landscape, night mode, high sensitivity and even 3D.

Blizzard Beach - Disney Water Park Panoramic

Finally, the Panasonic DMC-FT5 is has Wi-Fi capability which means you can control the camera with your smartphone or tablet! You can remote shoot, transfer photos, remote view and geotag your photographs. The GPS is very good, I’ve got it on now and it’s picked up the local church which is just steps away. You can also print and view wirelessly and sync with the cloud too.

I haven’t even touched upon the video mode for this camera. Unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to go to Discovery Cove where I took some wonderful photos and video underwater whilst swimming in the Grand Reef the previous time we went to Orlando. You can see those on my post here from 2013 and here from 2011 – I used the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2 for those.

In fact, here is one of my videos, just so you can see what a Panasonic can do under the water…

 

My videos from Blizzard Beach Water Park which is where I tested out the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 are not too exciting I’m afraid, but here is one. The video on this camera is full HD. The camera also comes with a HDMI cable to hook up to a HDTV.

 

 

There are so many different features on this camera and you can read more about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 over on the Panasonic website.

Overall I’m very happy with this camera, it suits my needs for holiday photo taking in a water park, which is the sole reason we bought a waterproof camera (the FT2) several years ago. On looking more fully through all of the different modes, I would like to play about with them, and may revisit this review with some photo examples and comparisons after I’ve tried them all out.

Straight out of the box, it is a breeze to use, is very responsive and I think produces lovely vibrant photographs. I used this camera whilst on holiday in Orlando, Florida, so I had the wonderful benefit of lovely bright sunshine, plus some vibrant colours around the water park.

I’ll close out with some photographs that I took on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 tough camera along with my 5 tips for taking photographs at a water park!

Blizzard Beach - Disney Waterpark

Blizzard Beach - Disney Waterpark

Blizzard Beach - Disney Waterpark

Blizzard Beach - Disney Waterpark

Blizzard Beach - Disney Waterpark

Blizzard Beach - Disney Waterpark

Blizzard Beach - Disney Waterpark

5 Tips For Taking Photographs At A Water Park

  1. Ensure that the strap is fixed securely around your wrist – that way, if it slips out of your hands, it’s not going to sink to the bottom of the pool!
  2. Wear goggles or a scuba mask to take photographs under the water – I know I can’t keep my eyes open under the water!
  3. Capture the splashes – let the kids (and the adults!) splash about, making as much spray as they can, they make for fun action shots!
  4. It’s in the details – maybe it’s just me, but I love capturing my surroundings when out for the day, they might be the smallest of details, but they are great for bringing back memories when the holidays are long over!
  5. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself – if you’re the one behind the lens, don’t forget to enjoy your day out! Pass the camera onto someone else so they can photograph you – you need to see in the photos that you were there too!

Of course the very obvious tip is to make sure you have a waterproof camera, and I would highly recommend the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5! If I got back to the questions I ask myself of a new camera…

  1. Is it easy to use?
  2. Is the photo quality good?
  3. Is it good value for money?

My answers to myself would be that it is very easy to use, the photo quality is great, and whilst I received this camera as part of my role as a Panasonic Brit Blogger, the price tag is value for money and it’s a camera I would put my hand into my pocket and purchase. I can’t wait to use it again on our next family holiday adventure to Orlando this year!