Review Price £99.98
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS10 - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS10
It's always nice to see a camera design where just as much attention has been paid to handling as to appearance. The FS10 is a good looking camera, but it still handles extremely well. The controls are small but clearly labelled and sensibly laid out, leaving plenty of room to hold the camera, and the flash is positioned well clear of any obstructing fingers when holding the camera. The buttons all operate with a nice positive 'click', and Panasonic's trademark slider switches are solidly mounted and operate smoothly. The zoom control is particularly nice. It isn't stepped, and has a proportional speed control, so it moves faster the longer you hold it. This means that it is possible to frame shots precisely, while still zooming in fast when needed.
As with all of Panasonic's compacts the FS10 has a dual menu system; a quick menu for often-used shooting settings including image stabilisation mode, drive mode, AF mode, white balance, ISO and image size, as well as a main menu which duplicates all of these and adds camera set-up options. Despite its impressive specification the FS10 is a pretty basic point-and-shoot camera, so it does lack a few useful features, for instance it has no metering options, relying only on multi-zone evaluative metering. The AF options are also very simple, with only multi-zone, centre-zone or face priority. There are a few colour options and automatic red-eye correction, but that's about it for the camera's features. The camera's main shooting mode is the novice-friendly Intelligent Auto mode, and there is a dedicated button on the top of the camera to activate this mode for easy automatic operation.
The FS10 does have 720p HD video recording at 30fps with mono audio, but then so does just about every camera on the market by this point. Video clips are restricted to 8mins 24 secs in length at full resolution, and it has to be said that the audio quality is not very good. As usual the optical zoom cannot be used while recording.
My only real complaint about the FS10 is the LCD monitor, which has a rather narrow angle of view by modern standards. It's not too bad horizontally, but tilt the camera up or down and the screen becomes very dark, inverting completely by about 45 degrees, which is annoying if you need to hold the camera over the heads of a crowd.