Panasonic TS3
Follow Waterproof Depth: 40ft
Shock Proof: 6.6ft
Freeze Proof: Yes
Resolution: 12.1MP
Zoom: 4.6x
Focal length: 28-128mm

Panasonic TS3

Site Score
4.8
Good: Sharp HD video and photos
Bad: GPS is erratic
Retail
$399

A great comeback — that’s what we feel about the Panasonic TS3.

We like the fact that Panasonic has decided to equip this camera with only 12.1 MP resolution instead of the 14.1MP like they did disastrously last year. They have also added a GPS to make your pictures more memorable and a new software to make sharing your adrenaline pumping adventures on YouTube far easier than before.

The pictures and videos are sharp, the body is as solid as ever and the GPS has certainly make the pictures faster to find. If you don’t mind spending a little more money for a tough camera, we wholly recommend the Panasonic TS3.

The Good
  1. Waterproof to 40 ft. Perfect for snorkeling or deeper underwater adventure.
  2. Beautiful, vivid videos.
The Bad
  1. Battery Life. It won’t lasts as long as the previous model.
  2. Lack manual controls.
  3. High price.
The Verdict: How Good Is This Camera ?
We ReviewWe FoundRating
Picture QualityCompared to the previous models, the TS3 gives better sharpness and color whether on land or underwater. And while indoor pictures are relatively softer, they are not riddled with noise. Grains will only start to appear when you push the ISO higher than ISO800.

The 4.6x optical zoom could be limiting but overall we are happy with what we see – the stabilizer works great and the intelligent mode is smart enough to pick the right setting for most of your shots.
A
Video QualityLike the TS1 & TS2, the video quality of this model is far better than any other waterproof camera brands in the market.

The TS3 also has two more enhancements. Firstly, there’s a dedicated recording video button to help you change your shooting mode in an instant. Secondly, you could record your video in 720p 30fps mode to make it easier to upload them to YouTube and Facebook.

The only minus point is the mono sound recorded may not be enough for some people.
A+
Ease of UseShooting sharp pictures and videos is easy with this camera. The bright 2.7 inch LCD handles sun pretty well. And it smartly adjusted its brightness according to the surrounding light.

The TS3 controls are also relatively simple and key features like the ISO speed, white balance and continuous mode could be accessed quickly.

But those who shoot with their gloves on may have trouble with the normal size buttons.
B+
Battery LifeFrom a full charge, this camera can muster around 310 shots. This is lower than the previous models but is much higher than any of its rivals. You’re looking at 2 to 3 hours of continuous use before you need a fresh battery.A
Built QualityThe TS3 feels solid and is more ergonomic than the TS1 or TS2. When you hold it in your palm, you’ll get the impression that this tank-like camera could handle mud and water as well as a Land Rover jeep.

We like the bulging right hand grip because it helps keep the camera in our wet hands, but we hate the fact that Panasonic has moved the zooming button to the back of the camera.
A+
SpeedThis camera is faster than the TS2. You can shoot your first picture within 3 seconds of powering up with less than 0.5 seconds of shutter lag. Shot to shot time is good at less than 1.5 seconds.

If fast action water sport photography is in your blood, this is a great camera to buy.
A+
ToughnessThe casings are made of brushed metal with rivets holding the shells intact. The battery, memory and connection ports have also been also been housed in only one compartment to ensure less water leakage.

Panasonic claims this freeze-proof and could be used up to 12 meters underwater. We didn't test this camera to the limits. But the industrial design makes the claims believable.
A
Number of FunctionsThis camera has more features than you will ever need to use. But like most waterproof cameras, you won’t have much manual controls.

One important feature of this camera is the smart Beach & Snorkeling mode. Instead of changing your camera setting back and forth when snorkeling and when on the beach, this one mode saves you plenty of time by automatically adjusting itself to detect whether you’re on land or on shallow water.

Panasonic has also added an altimeter, a barometer , a compass and a GPS to this camera. Except for the GPS, they all work fine. The GPS performance is erratic and will not work as fast as a dedicated GPS.
A

-The Panasonic TS3 is also known as the FT3 in certain countries like Japan
-Your GPS won’t work in China.

 

 

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13 Comments

  1. Crystal
    April 26, 2011, 7:22 pm

    I love to see you make a comparison with the Canon D10 and the new Panasonic TS3.
    Your comparison from the TS2 and TS3 was great.
    I find your site very useful and straight to the point. I feel that I’m getting great advice to make a waterproof camera choice.
    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  2. admin
    April 26, 2011, 7:35 pm

    Crystal,
    Thanks for the compliment. Some people hate the fact that I spend more time talking about the benefits rather than the nitty gritty details of these cameras.
    When time permits, I’ll compare the D10 and the TS3. But if I were to choose, I’ll definitely go for the TS3.

  3. Steven
    May 2, 2011, 12:10 am

    Hi! I was wondering what you thought of the Sony Cybershot TX-10. I am searching for a good rugged waterproof camera that could take good photos and is reliable under water, I constantly hear horror stories of water seeping in. Also would you say the TS-3 is the best model out of the Lumix TS series? Because I keep hearing mix opinions about different TS models.
    Thanks!

  4. admin
    May 2, 2011, 6:51 pm

    Steven,
    We can’t say much about the TX10 because we are still waiting for our review unit.
    Yes, the TS3 is the best so far. The only thing to complain is the erratic built in GPS.

  5. Matty
    May 17, 2011, 7:38 am

    I love that they moved the zooming button on the back. the top rocking zoom was horrid and the only other zoom i’d prefer would be canon style zoom on the shutter button.

    It frees your index finger for the shutter button and allows your free thumb to do the zooming for you. You’ll be silly if you still can’t hold the camera with the rest of your fingers and palm.

    I agree with everything else, the battery life might not be better but its still better than many of the other compacts coming out now. GPS is fine, maybe a little slow but still great. So is compass, barometer, altimeter are nice touches and the hand grip is so much nicer.

    The actual exterior is great! Feels like it won’t fail on you.

    The biggest gripe i have is the lack of stereo sound or mic input. Love to see them match Sony at the sweeping panorama mode. That mode is genius.

    Also would love to have seen more filter modes too but its great that you can take advantage of those modes in film. the Video looks awesome and AF is great!

  6. Florent
    June 5, 2011, 3:56 am

    There is a great difference with sony TX10 : A clap to protect the lens, I mean do I always need to carry my TS3 in a bag in order to protect lens ? even if the lens is protected by a resistant glass : what a about a scratch when it failed ( even turned off).
    what about oil if carry in my beach bag. Do I have always to wash it before taking photos ? Sony DX10 clap seems definitly a must be for me. And of course their CMOS sensor deinitly make the difference. Of courese, Because I Don’t need a GPS to remember my photo shots places, mainly if it cut my battery life.. Don’t see any detail about it around here. I really got a great feeling for TS3 at first. Not at final.

  7. Crystal
    June 10, 2011, 5:28 pm

    I ended up getting the TS3 and I love shooting with it. Really easy menu, I learned how to shoot with it in no time when I got it.

    My question is, why can’t I see my movies? I’ve looked through all the folders and I see nothing. All the picture show up. I feel like I got bit of a dud camera for a MAC computer. Doesn’t seem to want to “talk” to it.

  8. Crystal
    June 10, 2011, 5:36 pm

    Just just turned off the GPS and all the other extras. The waterproof mode is what I wanted. And going through all the menus and features were great, happily surprised with the sunset mode.
    Battery life, when I turned all the stuff off. It worked like any other camera.

    The 3D mode is a bit of a joke if you don’t have a 3D TV, which I don’t.
    And the program that it comes with is for Windows/PC only not a Mac.

    To shoot with it was so easy. Going through each menu, a child could do it. I like the buttons, I didn’t want rubber buttons because with extended use it would wear out and leak. The screen was easy to see, even underwater. As far as the screen and how scratch proof it is, you wouldn’t put your $400 sunglasses in your bag without a case, so why would you put your camera without on in you beach bag when you aren’t using it? Just a thought.

  9. Esther
    July 21, 2011, 3:08 pm

    hey i see that you’ve covered several waterproof cameras
    i’d love to snap some pictures while enjoying water sports but I’d really prefer to keep my camera right now.. which is a cyber-shot.
    Do you know of any cases that would enable me to easily snap pics while underwater?

  10. admin
    July 21, 2011, 5:34 pm

    Esther,
    I’d suggest you look at some DiCaPac casings for your Cybershot. The price will depend on your camera model, but they normally start at $25.

  11. Heather
    November 10, 2011, 3:49 am

    I was very excited to get this camera (mainly to use for snorkeling in the Maldives), and used it several times or twice in a pool before going. However the first day in the water in the Maldives, the camera DIED. Water leaked into it, though I can’t imagine how, when the seals were always checked! So only got a dozen images on our 5 days in coral and fish heaven, and am truly disappointed. Any idea how their warranty is for such things??? We don’t live in the U.S.

  12. admin
    November 10, 2011, 8:14 pm

    Heather,

    We are sorry to hear that. Especially when it happens on the first day of your holiday.

    From what we know, most warranty for waterproof cameras do not cover water leaks (maybe they know that one way or another water will find way into the camera).

    But we know that some people do get replacements for such incidents. So, we suggest you go to your nearest Panasonic repair centre and try your luck.

  13. Daryl
    April 10, 2012, 11:33 am

    I had a similar issue as Heather, it died within minutes of entering the water, first day on vacation. I was extremely careful in following the instructions that came with the camera.

    Sadly, Panasonic wants almost as much to repair the camera ($180) as it cost to purchase it originally. I am attempting to dispute this, but looking at Amazon and other places, this is not an uncommon issue. Fingers are crossed I can get Panasonic to warrenty this camera, as I loved it for the short period it worked.

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Toughness

Water Proof Depth: 40feet

Shock Proof: 6.6feet

Freeze Proof: -10degrees Celcius

Picture Taking Ability

Resolution: 12.1MegaPixel

Zoom: 4.6x

Focal length: 28-128mm

LCD Size: 2.7inch

Picture Taking Assistance

Image Stabilizer: yesMechanical

Face Detection:
yes15 Faces

Scene Modes:
yes26 Options

Viewfinder:
no

Video Taking Ability

Type: Full HD

Zoom:
yes

Max Shooting Duration

Photos: 310photos per charge

Video: 110minutes per clip

Memory & Battery

Memory Type:
SD, SDHC, SDXC

Battery Type:
Lithium-ion 940 mAh
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To get the most out of the TS3 camera:

  1. Upgrade your camera to the latest firmware. This helps improve the GPS performance.
  2. Buy the fastest memory card you could find. We suggest “Class 6″ or higher.
  3. Use the silicon cover when going underwater. It helps provide an extra protection against water and sand.
  4. Turn off the Auto Power LCD Mode and Power LCD Mode if you need to squeeze more pictures from the battery.

We suggest you :

  1. Buy an original Panasonic backup battery. Third party batteries probably won’t work.
  2. Check for water droplets or fingerprints on your uncovered lens. The LCD will not show you any of them. Shake or wipe them off so that your won’t end up with blurred vacation photos.
  3. Get a floating strap if you plan to take it to the sea.
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