At the end of last year I reviewed the Panasonic FS62, a budget-priced 10MP 4x zoom ultra compact, and one of the cheapest cameras on the market to feature optical image stabilisation. The FS62 was – and still is – the base model of Panasonic's extensive and growing range of consumer compacts (currently 20 models), but it's not the only bargain. For those of you looking for a slightly better specification Panasonic has recently launched the FS10, a 12.1-megapixel ultra-compact which features a 5x zoom lens equivalent to 28-140mm, a 2.7-inch LCD monitor, 720p HD video recording and optical image stabilisation. It's currently selling for around £139, which is a very good price for that specification.
By way of a comparison, the new Canon IXUS 105 (12.1MP, 4x zoom) will be available for £189, while the IXUS 110 IS with a similar spec is £265. The 12MP, 5x zoom Nikon S570 is £135, but that has no image stabilisation. The Nikon S640 does have mechanical IS, but it costs £180. However you look at it, the FS10 offers a lot of camera for the money.
Often with low-cost cameras corners will be cut on build quality, but happily this is not the case with the FS10. It has a well-finished all-aluminium body with a similar overall design to the new range-topping FS33 (£299), which was launched at the same time. It measures 98.4 x 55.2 x 23.4 mm and weighs 145g including card and battery, so it's small and light enough to slip into a shirt pocket for a night out. It's available in black, turquoise blue, bright pink and the plain silver finish shown here.