Previously, an EVF has just been another component that would need protecting so all rugged compacts have either had an optical finder or just a monitor screen. The FT7’s ‘Live View Finder’ has a resolution of 1.17 megadots and a magnification of 0.45x (35mm equivalent), and compliments a 7.5 cm LCD monitor screen which has a resolution of 1.04 megadots and is protected by a special tempered glass faceplate.

The FT7 also boasts a built-in compass, an altimeter and an LED torch so it’s very much designed for the great outdoors. The reinforced bodyshell is waterproofed down to 31 metres, shock-proofed to withstand a drop of two metres, pressure resistant to 100 kgf and freeze-proofed to enable operation in temperatures down to -10 degrees Celsius. Obviously the extensive sealing – which actually makes the bodyshell air-tight – also prevents the intrusion of either dust or sand.

On the inside, the FT7 has a 1/2.3-inch BSI-type CMOS sensor with a total pixel count of 21.1 million (20.4 MP effective) and a sensitivity range equivalent to ISO 80 to 3200 with a one-stop extension to ISO 6400. The 4.6x zoom employs a ‘folded’ optical design to eliminate any protrusions and its focal range is equivalent to 28-128mm in the 35mm format. The maximum aperture range is f3.3-5.9 and Panasonic’s ‘Power OIS’ optical image stabilisation gives up to four stops of correction for camera shake.

Photo: Panasonic

The zoom is linked to a 49-point contrast-detection ‘Light Speed’ AF system and the minimum focusing distance is five centimetres (at 28mm). Continuous shooting is possible at up to 10 fps with the AF/AE locked to the first frame and at 5.0 fps with frame-by-frame adjustment. However, as the FT7 can record 4K video, Panasonic’s ‘4K Photo’ functions are available, capturing 8.3 MP stills at 30 fps. These include ‘Post Focus’ which enables a desired focusing point to be selected from a sequence of images after they’ve been captured. Using the MP4 format, 4K video is recorded in the Ultra HD resolution of 3840x2160 pixels at 25 fps or at the 24 fps ‘cinematic’ frame rate. The FT7 can also record HD video at 100 fps for slow-mo effects. Sound is recorded via built-in stereo microphones with an automatic wind-cut filter. Time-lapse and stop-motion animation video modes are also provided.

Other notable features include a selection of 22 ‘Creative Control’ special effects, auto exposure bracketing, a programmable self-timer, a top shutter speed of 1/16,000 second (via a sensor-based shutter), program or manual exposure control, and WiFi connectivity (but no Bluetooth).

There’s a choice of black or orange colours and the Lumix FT7 will be available in Australia in July priced at $599. For more information visit http://www.panasonic.com.au