The Lumix FT3 is water proof (12 metres), shock proof (2 metres), freezeproof (-10 degrees Celsius), dustproof, comes with altimeter (measures altitude), barometer (measures atmospheric pressure), compass, GPS, records 12 mega-pixel images and Full-HD, with 28-128mm f/3.3-5.9 lens... I mean, you can bring this device anywhere on Earth!
The Lumix FT3 does not have that as many features as the earlier Lumix FX78 and TZ20 cameras I have reviewed. What it does have are:
Intelligent Auto (iAuto)
30 SCENE modes
3D Photo mode (MPO format)
LED Light for video recording
LUMIX Image Uploader
Resize, Cropping and Video Trimming
What I like about the FT3:
The camera starts up rather fast, just like the FX78 and TZ20. This allows me to capture spontaneous moments easily.
The camera shutter and shot-to-shot responses are speedy too - plus points for candid shots.
The hardware buttons are responsive and easy to press.
The LCD monitor viewable angle is very wide without affecting display contrast.
The lens does not protrude, so I can conveniently place the camera face-down even when the power is on.
Built-in LED light for video, not powerful, but still, useful.
Screen captures of a video shot on FT3.
Reservations about the FT3:
Heavy image blooming when light hits on the lens.
Tele-end of the lens does not deliver good optics.
Although shockproof, FT3 body will still be damaged. The review unit I am using already has "battle scars".
I have always wanted to get a waterproof camera myself, but I understand it is not possible for a waterproof camera to achieve the same image quality and features as a normal camera. The Lumix FT3 does not differ far from this truth. Nevertheless, it's impressive that the handling of FT3 is on par with the compact cameras like Lumix FX78: under normal lighting situations the image quality is actually comparable to the Lumix TZ20. So I would say that the FT3 comes close to what I would want for a waterproof camera, except when blooming appears on the images. My search continues.