Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 Review

Quicky review on the DMC-TS3.

I’ve lived with mine for about a year now.

Pro:

  • Totally waterproof.  I’ve had mine completely in the water, on numerous occasions…along with countless hours in sweaty jersey pockets.  No problems of any kind.
  • Pretty bombproof.  I’ve dropped mine (in the garage, onto a concrete floor), endo’d with it in my back pocket (and landed on it), and otherwise abused it pretty heavily.  It’s held up well, and no performance issues.  You can see a few scars on it in the pics above.
  • Works fine in all temperatures, cold or hot.
  • Great battery life.  I usually have it for a ride or event, and take 20-40 pics on it.  I’ll go months without charging, and it’s ready for use.  The battery display is also pretty darn accurate…meaning that it doesn’t drop quickly.
  • Good picture quality.  The ‘beauty shots’ on this blog are typically from my 4 year old D300 (mmmmm.  Nikon).  The vast majority of other shots are from the Lumix.  (Some are from my iPhone).  It does a good job, in most conditions.
  • It takes SD cards, of any size.  I run a 32GB card, and that’s room for THOUSANDS of pictures (6,347 to be exact).
  • Pretty smart, overall.  Good at face recognition, selection of ISO and aperture, etc.  For a point and shoot, I’m impressed with the functionality.

Bad:

  • Shutter delay.  This is my biggest single complaint.  The camera is just short of useless for action photography.  It isn’t consistent, either.  If the lag was consistent, you could plan on it, and trigger the shutter accordingly.  Because the lag is inconsistent, you shoot and pray.  And once you take a shot, it’ll take you a few seconds before you can shoot again.  God help you if you’re shooting with the flash.
  • Lowlight performance blows.  Srsly.
  • If you’re in it for the video, know that the built-in mic is not very good, and is susceptible to wind noise.

Up to You:

  • There is a LCD screen only, no viewfinder.  I don’t mind this at all…the LCD works good and isn’t too big of a drain on battery life.  Fitting a viewfinder into this camera would make it much larger.
  • Zoom is acceptable to me–very versatile zoom range.
  • Like nearly all cameras, it is set up for right handed shooting.  That makes shooting in a paceline difficult, unless you’re willing to endo in order to get the perfect shot.   (Insert criticism of taking photographs while in a paceline here).

There are a lot of rides where I like to have a camera with.  Until Apple comes out with a waterproof iPhone, my phone lives in a bag, and is inconvenient to whip out, unwrap, and shoot a photo with.  So on rides where I’ll be rolling and shooting, I bring the Lumix.  See examples here or here.

If you’re looking for a camera to do light video and a lot of trail shots, this is a good option.  If you’re looking to capture your friends hucking the gnar, I’d keep looking, and find something with faster reaction times.  If I had known how much (variable) delay it has when I got it, I would have kept looking.  In the end, I’ve come to appreciate that on many rides, the best riding is had when not worrying about taking pictures…but that’s a pretty lame comment for a camera review.  It just simply doesn’t function as an action photography camera–be advised.  But it works good for many other things.  And it’s very, very durable.  Most of my mechanical blog posts on here (rebuilding drivetrain, etc.) use the Lumix…and when it gets greasy, I just wipe it off.  It’s very good in that regard.

Ultimately, unless you’re not worried about capturing action photos, I cannot recommend the Panasonic Lumix DMC TS3.

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