The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 was our first dive camera and has travelled with us far and wide. It has worked beautifully for years and years, despite even being dropped onto the sea floor once or twice. The camera is depth-rated to 12 metres without a case (which is why we bought it at all!); but in practise, we’ve used it below that.
In Okinawa, Japan, 2016.
…In fact, one too many times: at the limit, the camera behaves as if random buttons are being pressed. After one too many limits, some of the buttons become “sticky” and don’t easily unpress.
The sad end of the Lumix age came when one or two buttons just stayed that way.
Huck pushing the camera’s limits in Banderas Reef, Cancún, México.
Following the first “stuck buttons”, we purchased the marine casing (also by Lumix) to protect against further damage regardless the depth. After this, we’ve pushed its operating depth to 30+ metres. (It’s rated to 40 metres.)
Our only complaint about the Lumix is that the lens fogs from time to time, and the only way to de-fog it is to put it in the sun for a little bit. Very annoying if you’ve arrived at your dive site and realise your camera needs to be de-fogged!
Getting a macro shot in Hithadhoo Point, Laamu Atoll.
Would we suggest a Lumix? Yes—as a great starter camera. It has all that one needs: GPS, depth reading, video, and works perfectly with gphoto2 via the SD card. It even supports “program mode”, allowing manual adjustment of the f-stop, although using this mode in situ is challenging due to the button configuration.
And for being able to dive without the casing to 12 metres is an excellent start for new free divers!
The next camera we purchased was the Nikon Coolpix AW130.