Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 Review

August 19, 2014 | Jack Baker | Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


If you’re after a tough, waterproof camera and have at least £200/$300 to spend, you’ll be spoilt for choice. It’s much tougher to find a tough camera for less money, but Panasonic has come to the rescue with the Lumix DMC-FT25/TS25 which can be had for a more budget-friendly £129.99/$179.99. It’s a not built to survive the same level of abuse as it’s bigger brother, the DMC-FT5/TS5, but the FT25 will keep shooting 7m underwater and after a 1.5-metre drop. It’s also freezeproof to -10°C and also dustproof. Elsewhere the FT25 is a close match for much pricier rivals as it packs a 16.1-megapixel CCD sensor and 4x optical zoom lens with a 25-100mm-equivalent focal length and optical image stabilisation. Extra features like HD 720p video recording, twelve creative filter effects and a clever automatic time-lapse capture mode make the FT25 shape up well on paper compared to rivals like the Nikon Coolpix S32 (£99.99/$129.95) and Fuji FinePix XP70 (£169.99/$229.99). Now let’s see how it fares in the real world…

Ease of Use

Compared to the pumped-up, day-glow designs of some tough cameras, the FT25 has refreshingly subtle styling. At only 20mm thick, it’s also slightly slimmer than most rivals and slips easily into a jeans pocket. You don’t get quite the same feeling of solidity as some beefier tough cameras, but in our hands the FT25 survived plenty of drops from the rated 1.5 metres and a few from a bit higher, though it did occasionally need to be switched off and on again to keep shooting. Just like the fanciest cameras in the class, the FT25 features a double-locked door covering the battery and card slot which is unlikely to be opened accidentally when underwater.

Despite the slimline styling Panasonic has still incorporated a small ridge on the front panel to give you some grip, though it’s not particularly pronounced or rubber-coated. You won’t find much on the back to secure your thumb either, meaning the camera is easily droppable when wearing gloves.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25
Front Rear

The ergonomic issues also extend to the small, awkward controls. The shutter release is easy enough to press, but tiny power and video record buttons alongside it require a fingernail prod to work. Things don’t get any better on the rear panel, where the zoom controls could really do with being larger and raised higher. The zoom mechanism itself is also on the slow side, so even with a modest 4x optical range to play with, going from one extreme to the other can be sluggish. But the award for most inaccessible controls goes to the mode and playback buttons, which are both tiny and recessed to help keep all but the pointiest thumbs at bay. This all makes the camera frustratingly fiddly to use in average every day scenarios, but go underwater or don a pair of gloves and the FT25 is a struggle to operate.

Unfortunately the 2.7” LCD screen doesn’t help matters. It’s 230k-dot resolution is low by today’s standards and makes both image previews and menus look pixelated. However, limited viewing angles are more annoying as they cause the screen to wash out when composing a low-angle shot and darken considerably when reaching up for a photo. Panasonic has implemented a high-angle brightness pre-set to help with the latter, providing you’ve got time to activate it before snapping your shot. The screen’s colour and contrast also shifts considerably depending on your viewing position though, making it almost impossible to accurately review images on the go.

Thankfully setting up the FT25 is pretty easy, partly due to there being relatively few extras to bog you down, but also a result of the logical menu interface. Accessing image, video and general settings is done via the Menu/Set button located in the middle of the directional pad, or you can press the Q.Menu button in the lower left of the camera to bring up a quick settings overlay for fast access to options like image size and focus modes.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25
Front Side

Assuming you’ve got fingers pointy enough to press the mode button, this’ll give you the choice of the default, scene-detecting Intelligent Auto mode, or the standard Normal Picture auto mode that allows control over white balance, autofocus and ISO settings. The camera’s dozen filter effects are accessible via the Creative Control mode, plus you can also select Sports, Snow, Beach & Surf and Advanced Underwater modes directly from the main mode menu. The remaining scene pre-sets are contained in the Scene Mode submenu, and lastly there’s an automatic panorama mode.

This captures pans as you sweep the camera right, left, up or down and handily it gives you the option of adding a Creative Control filter effect to the panorama before you start panning. The system also lets you stop the pan whenever you like, rather than forcing you to cover at least 120° like many cameras do. It’s certainly one of the nicer systems of its kind to use, but unfortunately the results let the side down. At under 600 vertical pixels, the FT25’s stitched panoramas are some of the smallest you’ll find from a current compact camera. Consequently huge amounts of detail is lost, resulting in images that are only really suitable for low-resolution social media sharing.

The camera’s Time Lapse Shot mode is much more like it though. This automatically captures images at pre-set intervals, letting you record slow-moving subjects like clouds or star trails for a selectable duration or until the camera runs out of juice. The image sequence can be played back as a slideshow in-camera, but additional software is required if you want to compile the images into a video. Nevertheless, it’s a nifty feature and a welcome inclusion on a camera at this price point.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25
Top Battery Compartment

Shooting regular still images with the FT25 is also a generally pleasant experience. The camera’s autofocus system is fast enough and finds its mark almost instantly in good light. Darker conditions slow things down fractionally, but not as much as you might expect for an entry-level model. However, the system isn’t totally reliable, as it occasionally indicates successful focussing when a scene is obviously blurred.

The camera’s exposure metering system is more dependable, invariably striking a good balance between preserving highlight and shadow detail. Auto white balance also works well and didn’t introduce any unwelcome colour casts during our testing. Activating Panasonic’s Mega O.I.S. image stabilisation system really helps iron out camera shake and is a huge help when shooting at arm’s length and zoomed in.

Lastly there’s the FT25’s battery capacity, which at 250 shots-per-charge may not be overly impressive, but it’s at least on a par with plenty of pricier tough cameras and even beats a few of them. We couldn’t replicate the exact CIPA testing standards, but after a day’s on-and-off testing, our battery life had only dropped one of three bars.

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.


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)



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.



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


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 (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


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


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 (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.



creative_control_01.jpg creative_control_02.jpg

High Key

Low Key

creative_control_03.jpg creative_control_04.jpg


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


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.


Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 camera, which were all taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1280x720 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 15 second movie is 20.2Mb in size.

Product Images

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 / Image Displayed

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 / Main Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Top of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Bottom of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25

Memory Card Slot / Battery Compartment


Toughened cameras are great at letting you shoot almost anywhere, but you’ll often pay handsomely for the privilege and still end up with average image quality and a restrictive optical zoom range.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 still has these limitations but it works almost as well as its top-end rugged rivals, yet crucially it costs as little has half the price. You don’t get quite the same level of toughness, but that needn’t be a deal-breaker if you’re only likely to shoot some occasional snorkelling and don’t plan on treating the camera like a hockey puck.

Of course it’s not just the FT25’s toughness that’s been downgraded to bring things in on budget, as you don’t get many extra features either. The Creative Control filters and Time Lapse mode are nice touches, but you’ll have to make do without Wi-Fi, GPS and a decent panorama mode.

It’s also hard to ignore the cheap, low-resolution screen and fiddly controls. These are bearable in normal shooting conditions, but spend some time underwater or in the cold with gloves on and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25’s ergonomic issues become difficult to tolerate.

Image quality and performance are hard to fault at this price point though. Sure, detail isn’t pin-sharp and there’s some grain visible if you scrutinise, but the results are easily a match for most other tough cameras, regardless of cost. Apart from an occasionally iffy autofocus system, the camera also captures photos with minimal fuss.

Ultimately the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25 doesn’t excel in any particular area but it delivers a respectable overall performance for the money. If you don’t need the last word in toughness and can put up with a poor screen and tiny buttons, the FT25 is a good buy.

3.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3
Features 3
Ease-of-use 3.5
Image quality 4
Value for money 4.5

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25.

Canon PowerShot D30

The Canon PowerShot D30 is an action compact camera that's waterproof to an impressive 25m, as well as being dust, freeze and shock proof. The Canon D30 also offers12 megapixels, a 5x zoom, 1080p HD video, built-in GPS and a 3-inch screen. Read our in-depth Canon PowerShot D30 review now...

Fujifilm FinePix XP70

The Fujifilm FinePix XP70 is a tough water, freeze, shock and dust proof 16 megapixel compact camera. The XP70 also offers built-in wi-fi, 10fps burst shooting, 1080i HD movies, a 5x zoom lens and a 2.7 inch LCD screen. Read our expert Fujifilm FinePix XP70 review now...

Nikon Coolpix AW120

The Coolpix AW120 is Nikon's latest all-action compact camera. The 16 megapixel Nikon AW120 has a 5x zoom lens (24-120mm), 3 inch OLED 921K-dot screen, built-in GPS and wi-fi, 8fps burst shooting and can record full 1080p video. Read our Nikon Coolpix AW120 review to find out if it's the right tough camera for you...

Olympus Tough TG-3

The Olympus Tough TG-3 is a new water, freeze, shock and dust proof compact camera for 2014. Boasting a fast f2.0 aperture high-speed lens, the 16 megapixel TG-3 also offers built-in wi-fi and GPS connectivity, 1080p HD movies, a 4x zoom lens and a 3 inch OLED screen. Read our Olympus Tough TG-3 review to find out what this all-action camera is capable of...

Pentax Optio W90

The Pentax Optio W90 is a new all-action, go-everywhere camera. The W90 is shock, freeze, dust and water proof, and features 12 megapixels, 2.7 inch LCD, a 5x zoom lens and HD movie recording. Available for less than £250 / $275, Gavin Stoker gets to grips with the Pentax Optio W90 in our latest in-depth review.

Pentax Optio WG-3

The Pentax Optio WG-3 is a new shock, freeze, dust, water and crush proof compact camera. The Pentax WG3 offers 16 megapixels, a 3-inch LCD, a 4x zoom lens, Full HD movie recording and built-in LED macro lights. Available for £279.99 / $299.95, read our in-depth Pentax Optio WG-3 review now...


Metrics Dimensions (W x H x D) 103.7 x 58.3 x 19.7 mm
Weight Approx. 125g without Battery and SD Memory Card (0.28 lb)
Pixels Camera Effective Pixels 16.1 Megapixels
Sensor Sensor Size / Total Pixels / Filter 1/2.33-type CCD Sensor / 16.6 Total Megapixels / Primary Color Filter
Lens Aperture F3.9 - 5.7 / 2-step (F3.9 / 9.0(W), F5.7 / 13.0(T))
Optical Zoom 4x
Focal Length f=4.5 - 18.0mm (25 - 100mm in 35mm equiv.)
Extra Optical Zoom (EZ) 5.1x (4:3 / 10M), 7.2x (4:3 / 5M), 9.0x (under 3M)
Intelligent Zoom 8x
2- Speed Zoom -
Optical Image Stabilizer/Five Axis Correction MEGA O.I.S. (On with Active Mode (Only for Motion Picture) /Off) / No
Digital Zoom Max. 4x
Focus Focusing Area Normal: Wide 50 cm - infinity / Tele 100 cm - infinity
AF Assist Lamp Yes (On/Off), LED light in motion picture
Focus Normal, AF Macro, Macro Zoom
AF Metering Face / AF Tracking / 23-Area / 1-Area / Spot
Shutter Shutter Speed approx. 8 - 1/1300 sec
Finder Viewfinder -
File File Format Still Image: JPEG(DCF/Exif2.3), DPOF
Recording Modes Mode Dial / Mode Button Intelligent AUTO, Normal Picture, Creative Control, Sports, Snow, Beach&Surf, Advanced Underwater, Panorama Shot, SCN
Creative Control mode Expressive, Retro, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Dynamic Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Miniature Effect, One Point Color
Still Image Scene Mode Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Food, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Starry Sky, Glass Through
Continuous Shooting Mode Full-Resolution Image, approx. 1.3 frames/sec
Motion Picture Recording (*2) HD Video 1280 x 720 pixels, 25 fps (HD: 10Mbps / MP4)
STD Video 640 x 480 pixels, 25 fps (VGA: 4Mbps / MP4)
Continuous recordable time (motion pictures) AVCHD -
MP4 approx. 100 min (HD)
Actual recordable time (motion pictures) AVCHD -
MP4 approx. 50 min (HD)
Exposure Parameters Exposure Auto(Program AE)
Exposure Compensation 1/3 EV step, +/-2 EV
Auto (AE) Bracketing 1/3 -1EV step, Max +/-1EV, 3 frames
Light Metering Intelligent Multiple
ISO Sensitivity I.ISO / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600
Picture Quality Still Picture Recording [1:1] 3456x3456 (12M)
Image Quality -
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / White Set
Photo Style / Film Mode -
Color Mode / Color Effect / My color Color Mode : Standard, Black&White, Sepia, Vivid( Normal only), Happy (only in iA Mode)
Aspect Bracketing  -
Other Digital Red Eye Correction (Red-Eye Removal) Yes
Wi-FI -
Zoom in Motion Picture Yes
Self Timer 2sec / 10sec
Display Playback Mode All, Slideshow, Filtering Play (Picture Only, Video Only, Category Selection, Select Date, Favorites), Calendar
Thumbnails / Zoomed Playback 12,30-thumbnails / Yes
Calendar Display / Dual- Image Playback Yes / No
Set Favorites / Rotate Image Yes / No
Show Histogram -
Show Highlights -
DPOF Print Setting / Set Protection Yes / Yes
Edit Retouch Creative Retouch / Auto Retouch / Color Reproduction
Resize / Cropping / Aspect Conv. / Leveling Yes / Yes / No / No
Copy / Title Edit / Text Stamp Yes / No / Yes
Cut Animation -
Video Divide Yes
PictBridge Support Single / Multi / All / Favorites / DPOF
Setup OSD language Japanese, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Netherlandic, Turkish, Portuguese, Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Greek
Monitor LCD Monitor 6.7cm (2.7") TFT Screen LCD Display (230K dots)
Flash Built- in- Flash Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off, 0.3 - 4.4m (Wide / i.ISO), 1.0 - 3.0m (Tele/i.ISO)
Media Recording Media Built-in Memory, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card
Built- in- Memory Approx.70MB
Audio Microphone / Speaker Mono / Mono
Interface Interface AV Output (PAL/NTSC), USB(AV/USB Multi)
Power Power Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V / 680mAh / 2.5Wh)
Battery life (approx.) 250 pictures (CIPA Standard)*1
Standard Package Included Software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 9.0 SE
Standard Accessories Battery Pack, Battery Charger, AC Cable, USB Cable, Hand Strap, CD-ROM

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