Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Waterproof Camera Review

We review the compact waterproof Panasonic Lumic FT20 to see how it performs under water as well as out and about.

| Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 in Compact Cameras

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Waterproof Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix Ft20 Orange Front

The Panasonic Lumix FT20 (aka TS20) is an entry level waterproof camera from Panasonic, and features a wide angle 4x optical zoom lens, 16.1 megapixel sensor, 2.7inch screen, and is also drop proof and freezeproof. 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Features

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Waterproof Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix FT20 Orange Angle
The Panasonic Lumix FT20 features a bright, colourful metal body, shown here in orange, but it's also available in red, blue and black. It features the latest features introduced to this year's range of Panasonic cameras, including auto panoramic mode and miniature effect. It's also one of the cheapest waterproof cameras available that works up to 5 metres under water with most other entry level cameras waterproof to 3 metres. 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Waterproof Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix Ft20 Orange Bottom1

Key Features 

  • 16.1 megapixel CCD sensor
  • 4x optical zoom lens equivalent to 25mm - 100mm
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • 2.7inch 230k dots screen
  • 720p video 
  • ISO100 to ISO6400
  • Miniature effect / panoramic shot
  • 5m waterproof
  • 1.5m shockproof
  • Freezeproof, Dustproof
  • Available in a number of colours: Orange, Red, Black and Blue

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Handling

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Waterproof Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix Ft20 Orange Top

Handling - The camera features a metal body, on/off button with rear mode and playback buttons making it easy to switch the camera on and change between modes. There is a dedicated video button on top making it easy to start recording videos. There is some grip on the front of the camera thanks to the raised bar and just an area of raised dots on the back. As the camera is waterproof, a wrist strap is highly recommended, especially if using the camera underwater. The camera feels solidly built, as you'd expect for a camera that is water, dust and shock proof with the memory card and battery compartment featuring a locking mechanism to ensure it stays shut.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Waterproof Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix Ft20 Orange  Rear

Menus – The Panasonic menus are very easy to use with the camera providing clear text and built in help showing what each option does. Where there are a number of icons, such as the scene modes, each one is explained clearly when highlighted. The number of options available in the menus changes depending which mode you are currently in, making it very easy to use even for the beginner. To get quick access to common settings you simply press the Q.Menu button on the back, and this will overlay the options on screen.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Waterproof Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix Ft20 Orange Battery

Battery life
- Panasonic do not state the CIPA life of the camera, however we were able to take over 270 shots before the battery went flat which is pretty good for such a small battery. 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Waterproof Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix Ft20 In Water
Panasonic Lumix FT20 In Water

Speed - We tested each camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.

Panasonic FT20 Panasonic TZ25
Shutter Response <0.05 <0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
0.2 0.15
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.3 0.3
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.9 1.6
Shot to Shot (without flash) 1.2 0.6
Shot to Shot with Flash 2.1 1.2
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) 1fps 10fps (4 shots)
Continuous AF Shooting (JPEG)
Continuous 3 megapixels
Continuous 2.5 megapixels
6fps (3m)
5fps (5 shots)
40fps (40 shots)
60fps (30 shots)
Continuous Shooting (with Flash) 1.5s 2fps (5 shots, 3m)

Focus speed is good, as is shutter response. Shot to shot is a little sluggish and continuous shooting is a little slow, unless you switch to a lower resolution, where it can shoot at 6fps at 3 megapixels.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review and product ratings.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Colour reproduction is good with bright saturated colours and decent flesh tones. The camera performs particularly well outdoors on bright clear days. Unfortunately red-eye is high in the portrait shot with flash.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Lens test images

Lens test images - Images are sharpest in the centre with the corners becoming slightly softer. Noise is visible in some of the sky in the corners, even at ISO100. Distortion is low with very little purple fringing visible. Exposure is generally very good, with the camera produces reliable results. Macro performance is reasonable allowing the subject to be roughly 5cm from front of lens at the wide-angle setting.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - ISO100 and 200 provide reasonable results and it's not till ISO400 that you start to notice noise in the image. At ISO800 noise increases to become more dominant in the image and there is a slightly drop in colour. ISO1600 is best avoided as noise increases reducing detail and colour saturation. ISO3200 produces a resized photo and the image is very soft and therefore best avoided if possible.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance performs quite well under Tungsten light with the Tungsten preset doing little to improve the image, instead giving it a slight orange cast. Auto White Balance performs very well under fluorescent lighting.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Waterproof Camera Review: Panoramic | 1/500 sec | f/9.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 800
Panoramic | 1/500 sec | f/9.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 800

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Digital filters

Digital Filters - The camera has a miniature mode, but little else in the way of digital filters, instead it has a few colour modes: Standard, Vivid, B&W, Sepia, as well an auto retouch option in playback. A panoramic scene mode is included. The panoramic mode automatically stitches the photos together as your pan the camera around.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Other sample images

Video - Video is recorded at 720p, and it is possible to use optical zoom while recording video, an example can be viewed on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel. The camera also does a decent job recording video under water.

Value For Money

Available for around £149, this camera is good value for money as an ultra-compact waterproof camera and is one of the cheapest available rated up to 5 meters.

Waterproof Shockproof Freezeproof Price
Kodak Easyshare Sport C123 3m - - £50.00
Nikon Coolpix S30 3m 0.8m - £95.00
Olympus Tough TG-320 3m 1.5m -10°C £119.00
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 5m 1.5m -10°C £149.00
Fujifilm FinePix XP50 5m 1.5m -10°C £189.00
Pentax Optio WG-1 / (GPS) 10m 1.5m -10°C £204.00 / (219.00)
Olympus Tough TG-620 5m 1.5m -10°C £214.00
Canon PowerShot D10 10m 1.2m -10°C £214.99
Fujifilm FinePix XP150 GPS 10m 2m -10°C £219.00
Olympus Tough TG-820 10m 2m -10°C £252.00
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3 12m 2m -10°C £259.00
Sony Cyber-shot TX10 5m 1.5m -10°C £269.00
Nikon Coolpix AW100 10m 1.5m -10°C £294.95
Pentax Optio WG-2 / (GPS) 12m 1.5m -10°C £299.00 / (£339.00)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4 12m 2m -10°C £329.00
Canon PowerShot D20 10m 1.5m -10°C £349.00
Ricoh G700 5m 2m -10°C £449.00

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix FT20 offers excellent value for money as one of the cheapest waterproof cameras available rated at depths up to 5 metres. This combined with bright colourful images and an easy to use camera make it a good option. Some of the features are a little slow such as the miniature mode and the camera only has 720p video, but for the price these features are quite reasonable. The camera also offers some useful features such as AF tracking and automatic panoramic stitching and is available in a number of colours.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Pros

Good value for money
Rated up to 5 metres waterproof
Tough metal body
Good colour
Automatic panoramic stitching
Easy to use

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Cons

FT20 / TS20 - Different names, same camera
Miniature mode takes 11 seconds to record
Average noise performance


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.9 - f/5.7
35mm equivalent29mm - 108mm
Optical Zoom4x
Image Sensor
Pixels16.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.33 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor2.7in
Screen resolution230,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus5cm
Focusing modes
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1300sec
Shutter speeds longest8sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Multi Pattern
ISO sensitivity100 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting1.3fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS25
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLi-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 680mAh)
Battery Life (CIPA rating)No Data
Box Contents
Box ContentsPHOTOfunSTUDIO 8.0 Standard Edition / Adobe Reader

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Photographs taken using the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20

Geometric skyStarburstSunsetBrindabella MountainsBlossom frameSydney stairsNormanville BeachMt Stromlo Observatory

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ebelpq Avatar
ebelpq 10
2 Jul 2013 2:02PM
I have the FT3, it is the best waterproof camera , i have had it for a month now and it is great quality with waterproof and shockproof while also taking great HD pictures and movies. I would suggest this camera to anyone!
There are alot of different modes to choose from which helps decide the picture settings while the intelligent auto does that for you and was great!

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