As is often true with fashion-conscious pocket cameras, image quality can play second fiddle to the exterior when it comes to toughened compacts. Will the Panasonic Lumix FT4 buck this trend and reveal that we can get results with real impact, not just a camera that can withstand them?
If you ignore the fact that Panasonic provides an on-screen prompt about the camera's waterproof capabilities on power-up, you can be shooting with the FT4 in as little as two seconds. The camera glides through the entirety of its optical zoom range in around three seconds.
Take a shot and, unless Miniature mode or suchlike has been chosen - whereby the camera takes around 10 seconds to process the effect at the point of capture - users can be shooting again within two to three seconds.
The Panasonic FT4's 3D mode can be set to generate a 2D Fine or Normal quality JPEG alongside a 3D file in the MPO format that is only then visible on a suitable TV set or monitor. At least this way you have an image to view on the back of the camera just after you've captured the scene, which involves panning the camera in a tight arc.
Although the result is an elongated widescreen ratio image, the 2D shot resembles a low-resolution video grab at just over 1MB in size, so is probably best just for reference only.
When taking regular stills, bright sunshine and reflective surfaces such as water can produce lens flare, but when dunking the camera in the wet stuff that's probably the least of your concerns.
Although the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4 held up to our standard test for ruggedised models - being dunked in the Stygian depths of the local pond - upon retrieval we did notice some beads of moisture around the rim of the battery and card compartment when we opened it. So water had got inside it - if only to a limited degree.
With that happening at an arm's length dip, we would feel nervous about testing it to the full 12m.