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Gear Review: Panasonic Lumix TS20

A compact (read: lightweight and highly packable) camera that's under $200.
Panasonic lumix 445x260Panasonic Lumix TS20 (Ben Fullerton)

If packability and price are your top priorities, the TS20 is for you. Key numbers: 4.9 ounces and $180. Yet it still proved capable of bringing home good action shots. One tester, a climbing guide in Vermont, used the TS20 to shoot his clients on the move. “When I’m guiding, my primary job is to take care of my clients, not my camera,” he says. “So I love the way this deck-of-cards-size camera can disappear into my pocket and take a beating while I’m climbing.” His favorite feature: the high-angle mode, which amps up the brightness and contrast of the 2.7-inch LCD screen to make viewing easier from oblique perspectives.

“When I got to the top of a cliff, I could just switch the TS20 into high-angle mode, hold my arm out over the edge, and shoot my clients as they climbed up to me,” he says. “Even though the camera was pointed down and away from me, I could still see the screen well enough to compose my shots.” Housed in an impenetrable, sleek shell, the 16-megapixel sensor has plentiful resolution to capture crisp detail, but testers deemed the colors and contrast a little washed out. Sacrifices: The miniscule size and price mean a lower-quality video resolution (1280 x 720 pixels instead of the standard 1920 x 1080), and with no on-board GPS, it doesn’t geotag your images. $180; 4.9 oz.; panasonic.com

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