By Andrew Liszewski
Panasonic announced a bevy of new compact P&S digital cameras today, including an update to last year’s rugged TS2, not surprisingly dubbed the TS3, which improves some of its outdoorsy-ness. But what has me most excited is that Panasonic has chosen to bump the TS3′s resolution down to 12.1 MP, compared to the TS2′s 14 MP sensor, which should obviously improve the camera’s low-light performance. And hopefully it’s a sign that the MP wars might finally be coming to an end.
But back to what the TS3 does best. In addition to snapping photos that 12.1 MP sensor is also able to capture full 1920×1080 HD videos in the worst of conditions. It’s now waterproof down to 40 feet, 7 more than the TS2, able to survive a drop from around 6.6 feet, can survive and keep snapping away to temperatures as cold as 14ºF and on top of all that since the housing is completely sealed it’s even dustproof. And since it’s designed to accompany those who are particularly adventurous there’s also built-in GPS for geo-tagging your shots, as well as a compass, altimeter and barometer.
Not surprisingly in this day and age the TS3 even has a 3D photo mode, which gets around the fact there’s only a single fixed lens by rapidly snapping 20 consecutive photos, overlaying the 2 best shots to create a 3D photo that can be enjoyed on your Panasonic VIERA 3D HDTV. The images are also MPO, or Multi-Picture Object, compatible, which means they can be viewed on any hardware that supports that open format. The Lumix TS3 will be available sometime in March of this year, with pricing still to be announced. Though you can probably expect it to fall somewhere below $300 like the currently available TS2.