Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 Review

August 19, 2014 | Jack Baker | |
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Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

Given that the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 costs roughly the same as a fairly ordinary, non-toughened compact camera, you’d be forgiven for expecting hefty compromises in image quality. In fact the FT25 delivers surprisingly good results that impress right from the off with punchy colours and accurate exposures.

Detail isn’t great at close range and there’s some smearing of more distant subjects, but it’s no worse than many pricier tough cameras. Grain noise is apparent even at the lowest ISO100 sensitivity setting, but again you could spend a lot more and still get similar results. At ISO400 there’s only a marginal increase in grain and colour speckling is almost completely supressed, however images are starting to look quite soft as noise reduction processing is kicking in hard. Shots are softer still at ISO800, but image noise is still very well controlled. Even at the maximum ISO1600 setting images look relatively clean and uncorrupted by noise, but fine detail has paid the price.

The 16.1MP CCD sensor’s dynamic range is less impressive though, as despite the camera’s exposure metering system accurately exposing images, highlight detail is prone to blowing out and there isn’t a great deal of shadow detail to compensate.

Optically the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 puts in a great performance, as the lens has very good corner sharpness and doesn’t exhibit any sign of distortion at either end of the focal range. Chromatic aberration (purple fringing) is also very well controlled with only minor amounts visible in very high contrast scenes if you pixel peep.

Noise

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 has five sensitivity settings available at full resolution, ranging between ISO100 and ISO1600. That’s a relatively low maximum sensitivity and many similar cameras will go higher, but often excessive image noise at these settings make them almost unusable.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso200.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso800.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

 
iso1600.jpg  

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Unfortunately you can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Focal Range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25’s 4x optical zoom lens gives you a focal range of 25-100mm (in 35mm-camera terms). Panasonic’s Extended Optical Zoom allows this to increase up to 9x if a smaller image size is selected, whilst Intelligent Zoom can double an available magnification with minimal detail loss. Conventional Digital Zoom allows up to 4x enlargement, but with a noticeable downturn in image quality.

25mm

100mm

focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 handled chromatic aberrations pretty well during the review, with limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Macro

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25’s macro mode allows you to focus down to 5cm from your subject. It’s close enough to capture plenty of detail, but can’t match the impressive results you can get from the 1cm macro modes offered by some tough cameras.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg

Flash

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25’s built-in flash includes four modes when shooting in Normal Picture mode: Auto, Auto/Red-Eye, Forced Flash On and Forced Flash Off. In our testing the FT25 successfully avoided red-eye regardless of flash setting, but did produce some noticeable wide-angle vignetting from a distance of 1.5m.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Forced Off - Telephoto (100mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (100mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Auto/Red-eye Reduction settings caused any red-eye.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Night

Use this mode to shoot a long exposure of a dimly-lit scene with reduced image noise. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 captures an 8-second exposure at ISO100, making a tripod essential to avoid camera shake.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Sunset Mode

Although the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 doesn’t include a fancy multi-shot HDR mode, the Sunset scene mode helps preserve rich, bright highlights in a dusk shot. It works by capturing a shorter exposure so the overall scene looks darker but with less highlight blowout. Some extra colour saturation is then added to boost vibrancy.

Sunset Mode On

Sunset Mode Off

sunset_off.jpg sunset_on.jpg

 

Image Stabilisation

Panasonic’s Mega O.I.S. image stabilisation system does a great job at ironing out the effects of camera shake, although the relatively short zoom reach doesn’t make it as essential as on longer-zoom cameras.

Image Stabilisation On

Image Stabilisation Off

antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg

Advanced Filters

Twelve Creative Control filter effects are available and previewed live as you shoot. Choose from Expressive, Retro, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Dynamic Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Miniature Effect and One Point Colour. Check out the example images to see what effect these have.

Expressive

Retro

creative_control_01.jpg creative_control_02.jpg
   

High Key

Low Key

creative_control_03.jpg creative_control_04.jpg
   

Sepia

Dynamic Monochrome

creative_control_05.jpg creative_control_06.jpg
   

Impressive Art

High Dynamic

creative_control_07.jpg creative_control_08.jpg
   

Cross Process

Toy Effect

creative_control_09.jpg creative_control_10.jpg
   

Miniature Effect

One Point Color

creative_control_11.jpg creative_control_12.jpg

Panorama

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25’s automatic Panorama Shot mode lets you pan up to 180° by simply sweeping the camera left, right, up or down. It’s easy to use, but the final stitched images are significantly downsized and detail is poor.

panorama1.jpg