"Best of the 'Rugged' Cameras!"4.5 starson by J-Caywood
Pros: + Outstanding exposure balance
+ Battery life was great
+ The burst shooting works amazingly well for a P&S
+ Excellent color balance. Images are not over-saturated
+ There is comparatively little barrel distortion when close to subjects
Cons: - Accurate and rapid focusing is poor
- The macro feature is especially frustrating
Summary: I purchased this camera as an upgrade from my Fuji xp10. I also bought an xp30 and the Panasonic consistently blows it away.
GPS: First sat aquisition takes a while, that is to be expected. After than in clear view (no trees, etc) I have gotten quick consistent signals in Hawaii and decent signals in Washington. Hawaii is much better as would be expected because there are more available sat's the closer to the equator. If you are expecting performance on par with your Garmin device, you will be disappointed. If you are expecting the tiny gps sensor to work under most reasonable circumstances, then you will be pleased. The GPS data on the display screen is a nice bonus but again, don't fool yourself into expecting dedicated gps device performance.
Underwater camera: I've snorkeled in 75 degree salt water for four days in a row for not less than 3 hours. In clear water the underwater pictures are amazing. I never got anything close to this quality out of the XP10 and it is a good camera. It completely blows the XP30 away. The full 1080 movies underwater are also excellent, though to be fair I've only watched them on the 720 laptop screen. The camera has gotten a rinse in fresh water after each ocean bath and plenty of time to air dry. So far very good. I can't say enough about how much better the images are from this device.
Battery: yet another custom sized battery and accompying charger. I'm not going to pick on companies for having a custom sized battery too much, but for my sanity, please just make the darn camera charge over a standard usb plug. I see how having a seperate charger coudl allow me to run with one and charge another but really, the battery life is very good (2-3 hours of actual snorkeling with the camera on all the time and still only using about 60% of the battery.
Outdoor picture quality: Good. lots and lots of specific modes (everything from portrait, to sunset, to fireworks, etc..) good enough general use that I left the canon SX100 at home but I do miss the 10x zoom. I'm willing to trade off the zoom for the one device and the massive improvement in ruggedness.
Haven't done much indoor shooting yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if this camera gives up a little bit in that side of things. There are LOTS of good cameras for shooting indoors, but there aren't many that you can take snorkeling in the morning, drop on the gravel road loading up the car, and then rise and dunk into a snowbank in the evening. This camera impresses me more every day of vacation. I brought the xp10 as a backup but it hasn't even gotten out of the suitcase.
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