Panasonic DMC-TS3 Waterproof GPS Camera

Panasonic DMC-TS3

It’s summer. And if you’re like me, you want to get out and take pictures. But wait. Are you forgetting something? Yes, you forgot about your crushing fear of dementia which will inevitably make you forget where the photos were taken. Well, there’s a solution for that.

It’s the Panasonic DMC-TS3, my favorite adventure camera with built-in geotagging (the ability to add location metadata to the photo). This allows you to see where the photo was taken from iPhoto, Flickr, and other photo tools.

The DMC-TS3 isn’t a battery hog like other GPS cameras. But it does checks its position periodically so that it doesn’t take too long to find its new location.

(Panasonic DMC-TS3 with the Lowepro Rezo 30 case.)

Here’s a map of geotagged photos from within iPhoto of my bike trip along the Great Allegheny.

Other Geotagging Solutions

There are unfortunately very few cameras with GPS tagging built-in. Cell phone cameras such as the iPhone will geotag photos automatically. You can use any camera with the neat iPhone app GeoLogTag but this requires several extra steps to add the location information later. I’d love to have geotagging built into a larger sensor compact camera like the Canon S95.



While the Panasonic DMC-TS3 won’t produce the same low-light shots a S95, it has the additional advantage of being waterproof. It takes amazing underwater photos and videos.

Being waterproof, it’s also great for skiing or any outdoor sports where rain or sweat would attack a normal camera.

The only thing I wish the DMC-TS3 kept from the DMC-TS2 is the rubberized case which made me feel better about bouncing it off rocks. It’s not a huge deal. I’ve put a little bit of black electrical tape on the camera to make it more grippy in wet situations (see photo).

Canon S95 versus S90

King of Pocket Cameras, Improved

Canon just replaced their PowerShot S90 with the S95, so I did the same. The Canon S90 was my favorite camera ever so I wanted to see what Canon could do to improve it.

The S95 retains everything that made the S90 great.

  • a relatively large 1/1.7″ CCD sensor capturing 10 megapixels (same sensor as Canon G10 and G11)
  • excellent built quality
  • lots of manual controls that can be assigned to ring on front of camera

What’s improved?

  • body finish is more grippy
  • wheel on back has stop clicks (many people didn’t like the freely spinning wheel on the S90)
  • added 720p movie mode (only 24 fps though) with stereo recording
  • High Dynamic Range scene option
  • better image stabilization
  • can be used with a neck strap (holes at both sides of the camera)
  • just a little bit thinner (see photo). Some will complain about the camera being too small and losing the little thumb grip, but I prefer a camera to be as pocketable as possible.


There are loads of  pocket cameras to chose from that will take good shots in brightly lit situations. It’s in the poorly lit situations that the larger sensor of the S90/S95 really helps. It’s not about the number of megapixels, but about how good the image sensor is at collecting light. The image sensor on the S90/S95 combined with image stabilization makes the camera worth the money for me. By adding a plethora of manual controls, Canon has made a camera that many professional photographers will be comfortable using when they don’t want to carry their big DSLR.

Currently costing $399 at Amazon, the S95 is not a cheap camera. It isn’t a necessary purchase if you already own the S90. But the Canon S95 is the current best camera that can fit in a pocket and it’s a worthy successor to the S90.

Geotagging to arrive on Nikon Compact Camera

Nikon Coolpix P6000

Nikon recently announced their new flagship digital compact camera called the Coolpix P6000.

Expected in September for $500 list, this camera has a 13.5-million-pixel CCD. It can shoot in raw mode, meaning that it does not have to apply any lossy compression at all. It has a feature called d-lighting which fixes otherwise underexposed images caused by excessive backlighting. The P6000 even has an ethernet jack.


But the feature that interests me most is geotagging. The camera has a built-in GPS which allows it to embed the location of the camera in every shot.

Geotagging will allow you to look at a photos of your trip on a map. You will always be able to find out exactly where your pictures were shot.  You can embed the pictures in Google Maps or in Flickr with the location link.  Eventually applications such as iPhoto should be able to sort photos by location instead of just by date taken.

Until now, we needed to go through a complex process if we wanted to add GPS information to photos. Ricoh and some pro cameras have offered this feature as an add-on, but it has never been built into a mainstream camera. Hopefully we will see geotagging in more cameras to come.