With the holiday season looming for many of us, Panasonic has taken the wraps off its latest rugged compact camera, the Lumix TS7 (known as the Lumix FT7 outside the US).
It's some five years since the launch of the TS7's predecessor, the Lumix TS5 / FT5, and there are a number of improvements, the most notable of which is Panasonic making the Lumix TS7 / FT7 waterproof down to a staggering 31m/102ft, the best rating in its class.
It should be able to survive a drop of 2m/6.6ft, while if you're really unlucky or careless with your new toy it's crush-proof up to 100kg/220lbs. You should also have no problem taking it on the ski slopes, as it's freeze-proof down to -10°C/14°F.
The Lumix TS7 / FT7 sticks with the same (4.6x) 28-128mm optical zoom lens, although it's no longer Leica-branded as on the older model, while Panasonic's Mega O.I.S. anti-shake system is on board.
Unique for a waterproof compact is the inclusion of a built-in electronic viewfinder, which should help with composition in bright, sunny conditions when it can be tricky to see the rear screen. The 3.0-inch, 1.040k-dot rear display features tempered glass to withstand the high water pressures the camera could be subjected to should you go diving with it.
Unlike the rival Olympus Tough TG-5, which dropped down to 12MP from the TG-4's 16MP sensor, the Lumix TS7 / FT7 adds more pixels, jumping up from 16.1MP on the TS5 / FT5 to 20.4MP. There's also 4K video capture and Panasonic's 4K Photo tech, enabling you to shoot a burst of 8MP images at 30fps.
The camera comes with Wi-Fi connectivity, an altimeter and a compass, as well as a built-in LED light to aid shooting in low-light conditions.
Panasonic says the Lumix TS7 / FT7 will be available in "early summer" – so possibly June/July – for $449 / £399 (Australian pricing is still to be confirmed), with the choice of orange, blue or black finishes.