Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20 Digital Camera Review$179.99
Ease of Use
- Automatic Features
- Buttons & Dials
- Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
- Instruction Manual
For completely automated shooting, an Intelligent Auto mode is available from the dedicated Mode button. It works pretty well but, like all full-auto modes, has a tendency to rely on flash too much for our taste. A few options are still unlocked in this mode, like burst mode and image size, and depending on the user's competence, this could either be a source of hindering confusion or of welcome flexibility.
Buttons & Dials
On the rear panel, buttons are laid out in a rather typical way. There's a directional pad, with shortcuts for exposure compensation, self-timer, flash, and macro settings; although the labeling is engraved and practically illegible. Surrounding the d-pad are four hotkeys, mode and playback buttons on top, and display and quick menu buttons below. The buttons below the d-pad feel fine, as does the menu/OK button in the center of the pad. But the mode and playback keys are more recessed into the body, and may require some use of the thumbnail.
Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
Scene modes are typical, with options like Portrait, Food, Sunset, Pet, and two varieties of dedicated Baby modes. There's nothing here that can't be found on another camera. As for picture effects, there is only one: the highly fashionable Miniature Effect.
Just like the TS4, the TS20's menu system isn't particularly well designed or thought out, however it's so fast and responsive that this almost doesn't matter. For example, although the quick menu is very convenient, it isn't possible to set a custom white balance from here. Instead, the user must exit the quick menu, open up the main main, choose the Rec option, scroll down to white balance, and finally scroll down to the awkwardly-named "White Set Setting."
Then again, at least you'll never have to wait around for the camera to finish thinking, and for that we're grateful. It seems sluggish menus are becoming ever more common in the compact camera space, so it's nice to operate a device that can follow along quickly.
The camera ships with a vague Basic Owner's Manual in printed form, and we do recommend popping in the CD-ROM to find the full length manual. This document is certainly more helpful, though we did occasionally find some missing information over the course of this review.