Tech

Head to Head: Panasonic Lumix TS20 vs. Panasonic Lumix TS4

We put Panasonic's 2012 toughcam family together in a Head to Head face-off. And just like real brother-on-brother fights, this one is unfair and may end in tears.

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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 is one of the best toughcams around, and certainly the best released so far in 2012. Against the aggressively-priced, smaller TS4...well, let's just say this should be a pretty short Head to Head.

To read our in-depth, hands-on review of the Panasonic TS20, click here.

To read our in-depth, hands-on review of the Panasonic TS4, click here.

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Image Quality

This is no contest. The TS20 takes poor photos that lack sharpness and color accuracy, and are prone to distortion and image noise at every focal length and ISO level. At under $200, the TS20 is one of the least expensive toughcams available, but the TS4 is well worth the price gap.

Winner: Panasonic Lumix TS4, easily

Design & User Experience

The TS4 includes every single feature the TS20 is capable of, plus much more, including an outstanding GPS suite and simplified time-lapse photography. Despite the extra cost, the TS4 is still the better deal, offering all those features without the image quality sacrifice. Menu navigation is exactly the same on each camera, and so is physical handling. So we're giving this one to the TS4, purely by virtue of its feature set.

Winner: Panasonic Lumix TS4

Conclusion

The Lumix TS20 is best as a mid-vacation impulse buy, purchased moments before the swimming, diving, skiing, or whatever outdoor activity begins. Otherwise, adventurous photographers seeking a legitimate tool for extreme environments should stay well away from the TS20. The TS4 is far superior and worth every penny of its larger price tag.

Overall Winner: Panasonic Lumix TS4