PROS / You can capture pictures in really dark lighting with slow shutter speeds.
CONS / The underwater photos aren't sharp.
VERDICT / This camera is a decent inexpensive option for a secondary camera that can handle getting banged up and wet.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS30R is one of the most inexpensive waterproof cameras in our comparison. This underwater camera is one of the smallest and lightest of the bunch. It only weighs 4.4 ounces and measures 4.1 x 2.3 x 0.8 inches. The small size makes it easy to carry around in your pocket or take with you to the beach. The Lumix is rated to handle going 26 feet below water as well as withstanding a drop from 4.9 feet, which is impressive for a camera this cheap.
The Lumix DMC-TS30R didn’t fare well in either our underwater or dry-land image testing. The camera was submerged to capture images of our underwater test scene. The images the Panasonic underwater camera captured were not as vibrant, clear or appealing as the best cameras in our lineup. The Lumix rendered the water a deep teal color. The image looks like it was taken on the outside of a fish-tank. This left the test scene looking blurry and lacking color saturation. Other cameras make the test subject look clear and vibrant.
The dry-land test photo features a lot of picture grain (noise) when you zoom in. In fact, the entire image looks somewhat fuzzy. The lines between different colors are not sharp or definitive. The picture noise was even more evident when we zoomed in on the black and white boxes in our test image. Some of the darker gray boxes look like television static. This camera simply doesn’t take sharp pictures like the best waterproof cameras in our lineup.
This Panasonic Lumix only captures 720p quality video, when all other cameras in our lineup record 1080p. Full 1080p resolution is considered the standard for HD video recording, so the fact that the Lumix isn't up to par is disappointing. The Panasonic waterproof camera also doesn't feature Wi-Fi capabilities or GPS. The best waterproof cameras in our lineup have Wi-Fi compatibility, which allows you to upload photos from your camera to your mobile device without any wires. GPS can add geo-tags to your photos so you know exactly where you were when the picture was taken.
The camera does have impressive slow shutter speed options. If you want to capture images in really dark lighting, such as a starry night, you can set the shutter speed for 15, 30 or 60 seconds to capture as much light as possible. Outside of these extremely long shutter speed times, the shutter speed usually ranges from eight seconds to 1/1300 of a second.
The menus are little bit confusing. For instance, if you are in playback mode and you click the menu button, it brings up a list of options that relate to playback, but if you are on normal shooting mode and press the menu button, a whole other list of menu options pop up. Make sure the camera is on normal mode if you want full access to all the menu options. In Intelligent-Auto mode, most of the camera's parameters are not adjustable. This can be confusing to a first-time user. The way the menu options are displayed looks outdated. All of the menu options are represented by little icons that look a bit like Windows 95.
The Lumix waterproof camera is powered by a Li-ion battery that lets you take 250 pictures on a single charge. This is on the lower end of battery life considering that the best cameras let you take up to 380 pictures on a single charge.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS30R is an inexpensive waterproof camera with a few nice features. It doesn't go as deep or take as good of video or images as other cameras, but it can serve as a passable secondary camera to take to the beach or pool.