"Good Camera"on by ditt1605
Pros Waterproof/shockproof capabilties. Pictures are better than on the Olympus "tough" options. HD Video recording.
Cons Not as waterproof/shockproof as the eqaully price olympus "tough" cameras.
Summary I am not a camera expert and I really don't understand what all the bells and whistles do. I just want my pictures to look decent and I wanted a camera that I could take pretty much anywhere I went. That narrowed it down to the Olympus "Tough" cameras or this one. I didn't like the Canon tough version. While the Olympus' were better for their shockproof/waterproof capabilities, I choose the panasonic for it's picture quality. While not as good as other point and shoots out there for this price, it was way better than the olympus versions. The panasonic also have HD video recording which works really well.Having the camera now for about 5 months I thought I would go back and see what I initially wrote. Everything still applies and I was surprised how dead on the review was. No complaints for me except for what CNET pointed out about some indoor pics coming out yellowish unless you change a setting. The IA mode is really nice for auto switching between "scene" modes.
While it would have been nice to have the "tougher" camera, I would really be using it mostly as a regular camera and only ocasionally in the water. Even then, i don't think I would be taking a camera with me any deeper then 10 ft. So bottom line, I thought that this was the best waterproof/shockproof camera for my needs: a regular camera that can withstand occasional abuse/water.
Updated on Sep 1, 2009
Pros This camera is a good size, and takes good pictures most of the time
The HD videos are great, with image stabilization
The underwater capability is a novel addition
Water resistance meant I could take it to the beach without concern
Cons Cannot charge short-lived battery in-camera
USB for offloading drains battery quickly
Default settings (ISO?) make nighttime photos (with or without flash) hit-or-miss
AVCHD Lite HD video codec unuseable in my Mac with iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD
Summary I like this camera, which replaced a Sony DSC-P100. The pictures are about the same quality, but the videos are so much better with the HD. For a father of two young children, this is a very capable video camera, which is small enough to always keep nearby. I gave up on the AVCHD-Lite format for the videos, as none of my video editing SW understood it, so it required conversion. But the QuickTime format is still excellent and is directly imported into iPhoto, with the pictures, and I could directly insert and edit in iMovie HD
I looked at this camera because of a beach vacation, and the waterproof feature was novel fun and allowed me to video my pre-schooler learning to swim (underwater and above), and also video Shamu splashing us all at SeaWorld. I wish I had this camera for previous vacations with sailing or snorkeling, where I dared not even take my camera in the boats. Flash underwater is useless due to reflections from nearby "particles", so 10 foot limitation is mostly irrelevant as you need ambient lighting.
I loved not having to worry about the camera, whether for water, or even handing it to the kids, who drop things all of the time. I do have one worry - whether the battery will be dead after only 30 photos and 20 minutes of video. And I only wish it was as convenient when I get back home - I have to pull out both the flash card to offload the photos and the battery to charge it.
Pros Takes normal rough treatment without failing. Pictures and movies are great (add a 16GB chip). Small enough for shirt, jacket or purse.
Cons No though viewfinder, so I need to wear my glasses to compose on the LCD. Doesn't talk bluetooth or wifi, so I need to keep the photos safe until I can get wired to my PC.
Summary My earlier cameras were top of the line. Both lost their lives when the extended lenses were twisted in a fall and a sat-on incident. This one makes standard movies, has standard mini-USB connection and a small battery charger (folding plug). It has so many features, I still use the instruction manual. Basically an excellent point and shoot. I would buy again (the wife needs her own!) or give as a gift.
Pros Great pictures and pretty good menu structure. Not as easy to use as my previous Canon digital point and shoots but still good. The waterproof feature is great for beach and pool use.
Cons Don't buy it for the shock-proof claim. It's still a digital camera and not guaranteed to survive an outdoor fall of 2ft. Actually I've dropped my Canon digital Elphs from higher up and had only cosmetic damage not structural.
Summary I like the camera for the waterproof & shockproof features in a pocket camera and chose it over another Canon for that reason. I also tried the Olympus Tough 8000 for 1 month and returned it since the indoor pictures were poor quality. Waterproof worked as advertised but the camera took more damage than I expected from a seemingly minor fall. Basically my camera fell out of my pocket onto an outdoor tile floor from about 18inchs & hit just right to crack the glass lens. This is well within the 5ft shock-proof advertisement and the camera is only 5 months old, but the technicians say it must have been higher. It may have been 24inches but still not even half the tested height. As of now I'm told the cost of repair is $190 since dropping it voided my warranty.
Pros The camera looks great and seems to take good pictures, however...
Cons Broke immediately. With no shock and only a few inches of water my camera was broken, mid-trip. Horrible return policy and a bad design makes this camera a complete waste of money.
Summary Under no stress of shock and under a few inches of water my brand new Panasonic Lumix camera was toast. Poor customer service followed this disaster (not to mention being abroad without a camera).
I did a ton of research to find this camera after many happy years with my Olympus Stylus camera that was actually shockproof and waterproof. I seriously regret this "upgrade."
After no luck haggling with Panasonic "customer service" I will probably end up with another flawed, yet brand new Panasonic Lumix camera, which I will only trust to use as a paperweight. I do not have enough bad things to say about this experience, this camera or Panasonic. I will never buy another Panasonic product ever again.