Panasonic DMC-FT4 pictures and hands-on

Panasonic has announced a new update to its FT-3 tough camera adding a host of new features and we've already had a chance to have a quick play at a secret location behind closed doors.

While that means that we haven't been able to test the camera or take away shots, we can bring you some of the low down on the new features and report that if it takes pictures to the usual Panasonic Lumix standard adventurers should be in for a treat.

The new camera, which will be available in a range of colours will be Panasonic's toughest camera yet being waterproof to 12m, shockproof to 2m, freezeproof to -10 degrees C and oh dustproof too.

If that wasn't enough to withstand you giving it a beating, the DMC-FT4 also comes with a built-in GPS geotragging option with over a million place names pre-installed, a compass, altimeter and barometer so you can see exactly where you were when you took the picture.

All that information is displayed on the screen at the time of you taking the picture if you want to be overloaded with data, and although we were locked away in a room we were still able to see a change of results standing on a chair or pointing the camera in a different direction. 

Clad in rubber and metal the camera also includes a rather small 2.7-inch display, but the AR Coating should ensure you can see it in sunny conditions.

That's the tough bit, what about the camera side of things? Well Panasonic haven't disappointed here either. First there is the 12.1-megapixel Hi-Speed CCD sensor and the advanced image processing LSI Venus Engine, then there is the LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR 4.6x optical zoom (35mm equivalent: 28-128mm).

For video you'll get 1920x1080 full HD recording functionality in AVCHD (h.264/MPEG-4).

But it isn't just the usual stats, Panasonic has also been creative elsewhere adding a time-lapse feature that should appeal to the Philip Bloom fans of this world.

With the Time Lapse Shot, once you set the start time, the interval and the number of picture to shoot, the camera can automatically snap consecutive images with you able to leave it on the side of the mountain or your window ledge if you aren't feeling so brave.

Those quick enough to wonder how the battery will last that long we will be pleased to hear Panasonic has thought about that too. Panasonic has made sure the FT4 is clever enough to turn off in between the shots to conserve power which is a really clever feature in our books.

Ultimately this combined with the waterproofing featuring means you'll be able to set up some great time lapse shots without the fear of damaging your camera if it starts to rain or snow.

Following Olympus's move with its "art effects" you also get a Miniature Effect mode that is basically just another name for the tilt shift effect that has become popular in recent years and panoramic mode to capture the full extend of those amazing vistas you are no doubt planning on seeing.

The new model will out shortly. Panasonic has yet to confirm a price. 



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