Review Price £99.98
The FS10 has astonishingly good performance for such a relatively cheap camera. It can start up and take a picture in approximately 2.5 seconds, and in single-shot mode it has a shot-to-shot time of approximately 1.6 seconds, which is very quick by any standard, and faster than some cameras costing twice as much. In continuous shooting mode it is even faster, zipping along at nearly two frames a second, and apparently able to keep it up until the memory card is full. The only very small fly in the ointment is the autofocus system, which is a little bit on the slow side, but only when compared to other more expensive cameras. It works well in low light though, and the camera has a good AF assist lamp with a range of around three metres.
In terms of image quality the FS10 performs very well, although it's not going to be making any LX3 owners regret their purchase. The lens doesn't bear the Leica brand name of Panasonic's more expensive cameras, probably because it does suffer from quite significant barrel distortion at wide angle, however the edge-to-edge sharpness is very good and there is almost no chromatic aberration. As usual with 12MP ultra-compacts the FS10 is lacking in dynamic range, and has no contrast compensation to correct this, so high-contrast or back-lit shots do lack shadow and highlight detail.
Colour rendition and exposure metering are very accurate and reliable, and image noise is also handled well. The noise reduction system does cause some loss of fine detail at 400 ISO, but even at 800 ISO colour gradients are relatively smooth and images are far from disappointing. All in all the FS10 performs exceptionally well for the money.
With the Lumix DMC-FS10 Panasonic proves once again that its budget cameras are every bit as good as its more expensive prestige models. The FS10 has an excellent specification for the price, and backs it up with superior build quality, outstanding performance and very good picture quality. Once again it's top marks for value.