Most helpful critical review
58 of 72 people found the following review helpful
Best Camera but for HD Video Only
on April 23, 2010
This camera is 100% Macintosh compatible, however this is not made clear or obvious on the reviews nor in the included manual. A professional editor would immediately know to switch the settings from AVCHD to MPEG video recording for easy editing on both Mac and PCs. MPEG files are larger, so, if you do not plan to edit your movies, choose AVCHD mode. There is hardly any difference in quality between the two.
UPDATE: Finally I returned this DMC-TS2 and purchased the older DMC-TS1. Reason? The HD video is the same on both which is what I need it for. The older model is $100 cheaper. The extra megapixels do not make up for the lousy grainy still photographs that both models provide. Use it for HD Video only guys, nothing else. Also after careful examination I have to say this camera is not design for divers. It is more of a "toy" camera for people that like to take photos on a pool or near the beach. However, if you buy the Waterproof Enclosure, you get a nice portable underwater system. Here is the rest of the old review:
This is a preliminary review (I have not tested it underwater yet)
My first impression upon unboxing was a bit of disappointment, I was expecting a solid camera but the Lumix "feels" rather cheap, it does not feel sturdy enough. Fortunately, the box includes a thick silicon protector which wraps around the camera enclosure. I leave it on all the time just in case I drop it.
Photos come out noisy and it has good contrast and color balance, however, you can not shoot against bright lights (fireworks, sun reflections) without getting those dreadful purple artifacts.
For stills photos, I always set the camera to "iso80" and the stabilizer to "mode2", this is the ONLY setting that does not produce a noisy photograph. Sadly, this setting also increases the chances of getting motion blur even with the stabilizer turned on, I do not have to fiddle with the controls so much with any other camera.
This is not a good camera for photographers and I would never recommend this model as a still camera to anyone if it didn't have other extraordinary features, like its underwater capability. Fortunately for me, I am only interested in using this camera for underwater HD video, I like having the zoom capability underwater, the zoom will allow me to get nicer close-ups of marine life. This is not possible with any other camera.
The Lumix DMC-TS2's camera manual and interface is some of the worse I have ever seen and I have seen plenty of bad ones. The manual is filled with undecipherable icons, made-up jargon, cumbersome instructions that serve no useful purpose. The camera comes hyper-loaded with excessive useless "features". The camera lens does not have a cover. It may scratch or get dirty easily.
Experienced divers already know that no camera is water-proof in the hands of careless people, the Panasonic Lumix is no exception. Read the instructions before submerging this camera in water.
Now for the good news: The HD video quality is good at the maximum resolution of 1280x720, it is not full HD but it has good color balance. You will need a fast processor on your computer or an HD TV to playback the footage in real-time. If you don't have that then stick to the lowest video resolution available.
There isn't much space on a memory card for HD video so you may want to buy an extra memory card (class 6 is recommended but not required)
Video comes in two flavors: AVCHD (Sony) and MPEG (Apple Photo/JPG??) Both play perfectly on a Macintosh but only MPEG can be edited easily. AVCHD requires "MPlayer" player on OS X. PC Windows users may want to stick to AVCHD, it takes less space anyway.
I will update this review as soon as I have done more testing in the real world, so far I am not displeased.
Note: First time users, make sure the seals are clean before taking this camera underwater. If you are a surfer then you already know that a wave can put enough G-force on this camera to brake the seal. Do not let children touch it, it is not a toy. And if you drop this camera on concrete floor, you can kiss the waterproof warranty goodbye...literally.