Hands-On Review: Panasonic TS2
Panasonic’s new tough camera is seemingly quite the trooper. I got some personal fondling time with the TS2 recently with Panasonic’s invite. The camera seems to be quite impressive from my brief hands-on time with them. Tech specs, handling, etc after the jump.
Author’s Note: Please note that I handled a pre-production model of the camera. Because of this, I couldn’t put an SD card in there to get sample images. Additionally, my experiences with it may not be the same as yours.
Edit: The TS2 is shockproof from 2 meters, which is approximately 6.6 feet.
New Technical Features
The Intelligent Zoom feature uses the intelligent resolution feature to give the cameras a bit of a boost in zoom without loosing image quality through digital means. It’s essentially a special type of digital zoom. I’ve seen prints with Intelligent Zoom and for the consumer market, I approve of this feature.
Yes, I never thought I would say that either about digital zoom.
This all works because of what Intelligent Resolution can do and how it works. In digital zoom, one usually sees lots of jagged lines and lots of detail missing. Somehow or another, the processing fixes this all. When seeing it, I thought that perhaps it will just add image noise to get the areas more detailed. However, this isn’t what it does at all.
It digitally corrects almost any error that you may find. It’s really quite fascinating and for consumer uses I’ll take it. I’m not too confident yet about it for professional uses as I need to see it in action more and I did see pre-production models.
Tech Specs at a Glance
- 14.1 MP (1/2.33inch CCD sensor)
- 4.6x Optical Zoom (F3.3-5.9)
- Intelligent Zoom gives it a 6x zoom.
- 720p Movie mode. Quoting from their spec sheet:
NTSC Mode: NTSC model: 60p(CCD output is 30p) / PAL model: 50p(CCD output is 25p)
(AVCHD Lite, SH: 17Mbps / H:13Mbps / L:9Mbps )
/ 30fps (Motion JPEG)”
The Panasonic TS2 is a small point and shoot that is Panasonic’s latest update to their product line. It is very slim and comfortable to hold. In fact, the form factor may work very well for it. The reason why I say this is because of an experience I had in B&H Photo Video. A grandfather and his wife were looking to get a tough camera of some sort. When they picked up the D10, the wife said that it was ugly and too bulky. To be fair though: the younger and hipper generation find it cute (also heard from experience. Think the girl next door that had a pet turtle in her room.)
The buttons on top are laid out very simply and users should not have a problem taking a picture with the shutter button and zooming. Note though, that these two buttons are very close to one another. The microphone is also up top.
Up above is the lock and seal for the ports. I have to say that it was actually a bit hard for me to get to them until I actually figured out how to do it. That doesn’t mean that it will be hard for you though. It’s actually quite simple, and there is always the manual that can be read.
The lock is for extra protection. There is no way that water, sand, pixie fairies ;), dust, snow or little creepy crawlies can get in there. It just can’t happen as this thing is built almost like an impenetrable box.
And that’s basically what it is. The lens zooms internally, so there are no external moving parts. From the front, it also looks like a brick. I mentioned to the rep that this is basically and essentially little kid proof. He went into particular stories about how confident he would be to give something like this to kids as the world is so much different from their point of view.
They can drop it all they want and you can be confident that it will still work.
The menu dial is on the back; as are the movie recording button, play button and the menu/function buttons. If this all confuses you, you should check out my guide to these buttons. The screen and display seem to be standard for point and shoots. It’s nothing special really.
When I was shooting the photos you see right now and holding the camera, I couldn’t get over how much it actually reminded me of a bar of soap. Soap is sometimes dropped in the shower and something like this can be dropped with confidence.
It seemed to be suffering from some of the auto-focus problems that the ZS-7 had. Once again though, this was a pre-production unit that I got to test out.
I had limited time with the product so I didn’t get to drop it, throw it around, etc. However, I will try to get my hands on a review unit to really put it through some crazy torture tests.