review of Lumix waterproof camera

Review of the Lumix DMC-TS25 waterproof digital camera

Review of the Lumix DMC-TS25 waterproof digital camera from Panasonic. Note: The photos below have not been enhanced or retouched beyond what the camera gave me, just resized for this post.

Lumix DCM TS25
Waterproof, shockproof, dustproof–and virtually kid proof.

I spend a lot of time schlepping around a camera that weighs more than I like in conditions where I fear for its life on our family’s adventures and on some of my own. Still, if you want to really get out there and hit the rapids, zip line upside down over the alligators, or SUP the lake with a kid or two on your board, there are times you’ve got to give up the B.A.C.*

 Lumix DCM-TS25
The snorkel selfie: No time for your B.A.C.* (taken instead with the Lumix DMC-TS25 digital waterproof camera).

Sometimes, you just need a solid, rugged camera you can slip in your pocket–or onto your wrist with a float strap–that will capture the most active moments of your family’s adventures without breaking the bank. That’s exactly what I was hoping for in Panasonic’s entry-level compact, shockproof, dustproof, waterproof Lumix DMC-TS25.

back of Lumix DMC-TS25
Fairly foolproof and fumble-proof buttons even when hands are wet and cold.

The Lumix DMC-TS25 weighs just a quarter of a pound, is scarcely over 4″ wide, and retails for $179. Over the past few months, I’ve had the good fortune to test out at some great watery destinations —while snorkeling at Dry Tortugas National Park and swimming at Tiger Tail Beach in Florida; while tubing the Deschutes River through Bend, Oregon; and my favorite: while paddle boarding among the blue-footed boobies at Las Marietas Islands off the Pacific Coast of Mexico (what a lucky camera!). It’s still going strong.

Review of The Lumix DMC-TS25
A day trip to remember: The Lumix DMC-TS25 journeys out to Dry Tortugas National Park.

Wouldn’t you know that by the time I’d finished the whirlwind of adventures, Panasonic would have a newer model on the market? Well, at least in name. In a side by side comparison of specs, the Lumix DMC-TS25 and the new DMC-TS30 only differed on one point that I could see: The TS30 can be used up to 1 meter deeper in water than its predecessor (8 meters instead of 7 meters, or 26 feet instead of 23 feet).

Lumix tough digital camera sports mode
The mode I use most often as a mom? Sports! As you can see, this little Lumix did not let me down.

Otherwise, the Lumix DMC-TS25 and -TS30 models are physically identical and the same basic specs apply (and you’ll still see both models for sale around the web):

  • 16.1MP 1/2.3″ CCD Sensor
  • 4x Optical Zoom 25-100mm DC Vario Lens
  • 2.7″ 230k-dot TFT Color LCD Display
  • 720p HD Video Capture
  • Shockproof/Freeze Proof/Dust Proof
  • MEGA Optical Image Stabilization
  • High Speed Burst Shooting of 8fps
  • Intelligent AUTO Mode
  • Panorama, Underwater & Time Lapse Modes.
Review of Lumix waterproof camera
Sea tunnel selfie: Pretty decent results even in challenging conditions like a sea tunnel to a hidden beach in the middle of an island with low light and occasional tidal surges.

Overall, I’m pleased with the photos taken both in the water and out, and the video quality is acceptable (though nothing to boast about). But where I feel it really falls short is in zoom shots.  For the typical family swim/snorkel/beach vacation, that probably will not matter much, but if you’re looking for a more all-purpose compact/waterproof solution (and leaving the B.A.C. behind altogether), you might be happier spending a bit more on a waterproof model that boasts a better zoom or a different compact that can be used with a waterproof housing.

The upgrade? While it doesn’t offer a noticeably better zoom, Panasonic also offers the similarly sized Lumix DCM-TS6 for about $100 more. It offers a few more settings and dives all the way down to 13 meters/43 feet, but the biggest advantage over the TS30 as I see it is the WiFi capability, which means no waiting around to upload your latest shots while your camera dries and acclimates before opening it up.

Interested? Click here to see offers and customer reviews for all of these Lumix waterproof digital cameras at Amazon–and thanks for supporting this site!

*Bigger Asset Camera

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Shelly Rivoli

Founder, Editor, & Chief Adventure Officer at Family Travel 411 and Travels with Baby
Shelly Rivoli is the award-winning author behind the Travels with Baby guidebooks and Travels with Baby website and blog, and is the founding editor of Family Travel 411. When she isn't traveling with her husband and three children, she hangs her hat in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow her on Twitter: @travelswithbaby and Facebook: Shelly Rivoli.
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