Traveller, Photographer, Mountaineer, Human

Panasonic TS3

Eversince I’ve gotten a DSLR, there’s no going back in image quality.  As such, point-and-shoot cameras are out of the question.  The Fuji X10 is a compromise between size and image quality (and it produces beautiful colors).

However, all of these cameras have one thing in common, water (particularly seawater) is their enemy.  My Canon 60D broke because a strong wave splashed water all over it.  It can still be repaired but the repair cost would be too high that it was more practical to buy something new.  Also, I miss photographing fun moments when we’re in a beach or underwater.

Thus, my resolve that the only point-and-shoot camera I’d buy would be waterproof camera.

Before I settled on any model, I did a lot of research and price comparison.  I would have wanted the Canon D20 (I’m sort of a Canon fanboy but not much) but it’s still not available.  I would also like the Fuji models in the hopes of getting the Fuji colors but the reviews of their waterproof cameras are not that good and the film simulation (particularly Velvia) is not available in these models.  Pentax looks cool (and I would love the purple model) but they are expensive and reviews are so-so.  Panasonic seems to offer the best compromise.

Pig’s nose underwater (that’s me).

As an underwater point-and-shoot camera, it works as intended:  water doesn’t get inside the camera and it takes good pictures in good light.

In dim lighting, it is forced to use flash and I really don’t like the way the flash renders skin tone.  It seems that the skin is always rendered reddish.  Now I do not know if this is really the case or I and my buddies really have reddish skin tone due to weekly trips to the beach.

Last weekend, we were in Puerto Galera for Ella’s birthday celebration and my Panasonic got its first use.

Jason’s dive shots in Puerto Galera.

Ella, the birthday girl.

As a camera, it is really fun.  Taking shots while enjoying the water is such a nice feeling.  In terms of images, more effort must be made to ensure that there is good light (as much as can be controlled) and that the subject is not backlit (since the camera produces only JPEGs, tweaking in Lightroom renders the picture almost like a painting).

A shot I’ve wanted to have for a long time.  Half underwater, half above water.

The user interface and menu is pretty straightforward.  Though as a point-and-shoot, I can just leave it at auto and take pictures.

The manual states proper care for the camera like ensuring that the double lock is put securely, putting the camera in freshwater after seawater use, making sure not to open the battery and memory card compartment when wet, and making sure that no sand or other particles are on the compartment’s rubberized door.

The pictures are not all good, some are a little bit blurry, dynamic range is limited, pictures are noisy in dim lighting without a flash, white balance is not perfect, etc.  But in terms of fun factor, well just think of the memories you’ll capture while running or swimming in the beach.

On all of these, I just focus on composition (and this pretty much means cropping most of the time).  It’s the man or woman behind the camera that matters, not the camera.


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