Panasonic has announced a new waterproof, shockproof point-and-shoot camera. The Panasonic Lumix TS3 replaces the TS2 as their top-of-the line rugged outdoor point-and-shoot camera. It increases the waterproof depth rating from 33 to 40 feet (12.2 m), bumps video resolution to 1920 x 1080 full HD, adds GPS and 3D shooting; and a new 12-megapixel Hi-Speed CCD sensor decreases resolution from 14-megapixels to 12-megapixels. That’s right – the TS3 has lower resolution than its predecessor. And that’s a good thing. Keep reading and I’ll tell you why.
The Panasonic Lumix TS3’s new 12-megapixel Hi-Speed CCD sensor is its most important feature. Camera company marketing departments like to sell us things that are easy to understand. With a digital camera that usually means more megapixels. “More” is easy to understand and more is always better, right?
Point-and-shoot cameras like the TS3 have tiny sensors, about the size of a pinky fingernail. As resolution is increased, the size of each individual pixel gets smaller and eventually image quality is compromised. That’s why all the current high-end compact cameras – Panasonic Lumix LX5, Nikon P7000, Canon G12 – have 10-megapixel sensors now. Last year I was disappointed in the image quality of some of the top waterproof point-and-shoots that had increased resolution – especially the 14-megapixel cameras. If the Panasonic TS3 is able to improve image quality over the TS2 – one of the most popular rugged outdoor cameras on PhotographyREVIEW.com – then the TS3 is going to the top of my point-and-shoot wants list.
Besides potentially better image quality, the Panasonic Lumix TS3 also has built-in GPS for location tagging – just make sure to turn it off if you don’t want everyone on your favorite photosharing site to know exactly where you live! Some features I haven’t seen before in a camera are a compass, altimeter and barometer. Maybe these are in other GPS-enabled cameras but it’s the first I’ve noticed them. The TS3 also has a super-quick 0.005-second shutter reaction time and 7 FPS burst rate. That’s gonna make it a top choice for on the go outdoor action sports photographers like myself.
The Panasonic Lumix TS3 should be available for purchase in March 2011. The price will be announced about a month before the camera is in stores.