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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS5 - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS5

By Jamie Harrison

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

The metal shell of the camera has a pleasant matte sheen, with gloss details and the slim profile is impressive considering the 4x zoom lens that's enclosed in the case.

It's one of the smaller cameras on the market and easily fits into a shirt pocket, yet is just as easy to hold, with small but mostly easily pressed buttons, thanks to their raised profile. A n exception is the menu button, which is set almost flush into the body but can still be easily pressed.

The top plate features the power switch the shutter release button with a zoom ring around the outside. It's a little tricky to get an accurate zoom action thanks to the stepped and over eager speed of the lens action, but I'd rather have a faster action than a ponderous zoom. A new addition on the top plate, and to the range is the E-Zoom button, which quickly extends the zoom from the wide to telephoto in one press. Press again and it goes back to wide. Lovely.

On the back of the camera is the 2.5" LCD. It's not the biggest on the market, (the FS20 is identical but with a 3" LCD), but it's bright and fairly easy to see in most conditions. I had some trouble in very bright sunlight, partly due to the highly glossy screen, but on average it's one of the best I've used.

The menu system has had a slight makeover since the last round of Panasonic cameras, with an easy to read and bright system, with a white background and black tyeface, with large type. A smaller quick menu is also available for those users that like to play around with the photographic controls.

Images are pretty good for a Panasonic, usually notable for their high noise levels - especially on higher resolution models. Lower ISOs are fine, and even ISO 800 is relatively clan. By ISO 1600 though the noise reduction system turns the images a little mushy. They're usable but detail gets lost as the NR attempts to hide any image grain.

Colour is good, with punchy and saturated colours, they're warmer than some cameras, but tests have shown that consumers prefer this, so it's understandable.

The 10MP sensor captures plenty of detail and the lens maintains good sharpness across the image frame, with minimal image falloff at the picture edges, though there is signs of very faint fringing in some areas on close inspection. On the whole the images are pretty sharp though I found the macro mode's focussing accuracy can be hit and miss. On the other hand the face recognition is very good and always hit the spot.

The built in flash is useful and along with the exposure system I rarely got a duff exposure.

Verdict

This is a good-looking camera with some genuinely useful technology under the bonnet, rather than the gimmicks found on other cameras. I'm not generally a fan of many high-resolution compacts, finding images can look too ‘digital' but the Panasonic FS5 produces natural looking images with plenty of punch and not too much noise.

Simon Hall

November 9, 2008, 9:44 pm

I recently bought this camera due to many positive reviews on other sites and on this one, and I have to say that I am very dissapointed with the camera. My previous Camera was an Advent MP8 (PC world/Currys own Brand) and the Advent camera produces images of far superior quality to this Panasonic. There are also other flaws with the Panasonic that I was not expecting, movies are created in quicktime (Why not Divx or other windows media viewer formats?)


The camera often fails to focus correctly on faces, especially indoors, whilst outdoor images lack detail, even with the lowest ISO100 setting. (a lower setting would be better for bright days)





The camera also requires the battery to be removed from the cemera to be charged, which is a pain.


In the end I returned the camera and got a refund. I am looking to replace with a different make of camera.

Martin 9

June 23, 2009, 8:41 pm

On the contrary, I'm very satisfied with my new Lumix FS5.


The battery charger is small, and it's really not that much job removing the battery from its slot. The battery also lasts quite a while, longer than I'd expected. The pictures are of (what I would call) high quality. As it is a 10 mpx camera, you can't expect more than the FS5 delivers.


(


http://i41.tinypic.com/dnmvcj....


http://i44.tinypic.com/9bdvs9....


http://i41.tinypic.com/qqv5l5....


http://i41.tinypic.com/2ptq9fa...


)


To not miss any details when fx. outdoors, using the different scenery modes in different circumstances works out just about flawlessly. The camera is also stuffed with other modes, such as the High-speed burst mode (which I, as a 16-year-old find amusing when taking pictures in ie. a volleyball match).





The movies should indeed not be saved in QuickTime-format, but converting the movies isn't that hard, really. Also, if you're going to record film, using a digital still-image camera isn't the best choice in the first place.

Struth

July 4, 2009, 10:08 am

After much online searching, was leaning towards the FS5 - only to find out they're discontinuing it here (NZ) and replacing with the FS12. Struggling to find any reviews on the FS12. Anyone aware of it? Should go for it without the insight of other buyers' opinions? (alternative on the shortlist is the Canon A2000IS)? {Do the reviewers have any upcoming reviews maybe or is this not going to be on offer to the UK market?}. Many thanks.

T.Miller

July 27, 2009, 12:05 am

I've used the DMC-FS5 for a 'sketchbook'; excellent for slipping into the handbag or pocket. While it may not produce exhibition quality work, it has been a great workhorse all around. Sadly, a black sooty spot has developed on the LCD, after 8 months of use and not sure how to get rid of it. Anyone who knows please send advice...thanks.

Hellfire

September 2, 2009, 2:00 pm

I just got this cam (2 months) from my dad who's buying a new and more expensive cam. I like it very much this far, and I love the colours it captures on a pic. It's small, but not TO small,, I look forward to the winter and snow, to try it then.


Also today I'mgoing to visit a place where they got HUGE star telescope, and I'll try to take some pics into that :-)


And as Martin sayin his comment, it's just not right to complain about the video format, because it's made to take pics, not make movies. And in any case, if you just know a little bit about what you're doing, converting them to DivX or Xvid is very easy.





As for T.MILLER and the black spot on the LCD, you don't say how big it is, but it's my guess that it's just a dead pixel or two. You cannot do anything about that, but the warranty say something about how many dead pixels there can be before they change the screen for free. But if it'sreally in the way for your photographing, take it back to the shop, and baybe they'll do it for you for free.

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