Beach testing the new Panasonic Lumix FT4 Tough Camera

By Patrick Avenell

Panasonic Australia has officially unveiled its new Lumix FT4 Tough Camera. Available from April 2012 for RRP $449, the FT4 is waterproof to 12 metres, shockproof to 2 metres, freezeproof to -10° Celsius and dustproof.

Although it’s hard to find subzero temperatures in Australia in February, Current.com.au did have the opportunity to take this new model out for a swim over the weekend. The in-build GPS correctly identified our location as Norfolk Island, one of the most historically significant locations in the Pacific Ocean.

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Here is a selection of images captured with the FT4, which has a 28mm wide-angle Leica DC lens, a 12.1-megapixel sensor, Full HD AVCHD video recording and Sonic Speed AutoFocus (AF) for capturing images at the speed of fish.

Setting the scene: the reef at Norfolk Island is the second most southerly in the world. In 1790, the First Fleet flagship HMS Sirius was wrecked on the reef.

Fishy business: Using the FT4's dedicated Snorkelling mode, the camera automatically adjusts the settings to account for fast moving objects and the changing light levels experienced underwater.

Angling for a shot: This shot was taken from a distance of around three metres.

Pine needles: The Norfolk Island Pine, which is endemic to the island, provided a great divider of sky and sea in this over water image.

Colourful: Available in black, silver, blue and orange, the FT4 is almost as colourful as this benthic character.

Deep blue: Also unveiled last week is the new Panasonic HX-WA2 Vertical Camcorder. Waterproof to 3 metres, this Full HD camcorder also captures stills at 14 megapixels.

The FT4 also has Full HD video recording. We made this short video to test out its underwater credentials, as well to scare away one of the local fish. Before passing judgment on the quality, readers should be aware that it's much harder to film while holding your breath than first thought.

And here is the camera itself:

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