Panasonic has made some impressive cameras over the last few years and has been at the forefront of technology that now comes on many other manufacturers models, notably with the introduction of Image Stabilisation, which features on all its cameras as standard. It's no surprise then to see the technology employed on the FS5 from the company's latest range of digital compacts.
While it may look like just another digicam, albeit a small and attractive one, there's more to this 10MP compact than meets the eye. The FS range (also including the new FS20 which features a larger 3" LCD) is similar in most respects to Panasonic's FZ range, with the notable addition of a wider lens, offering the equivalent of 30mm in 35mm terms. This makes it ideal for those looking to shoot landscapes or large groups, or if you need to pictures in more cramped areas than usual. The wider angled lens is also ideal for adding drama to images, especially useful to the more creative photographer.
Panasonic hasn't reduced the telephoto end though, offering an equivalent of 120mm, ideal for portraits and close ups. The added advantage of the Panasonic lens is that the Image Stabilisation is there to reduce camera shake, caused by using slow shutter speeds when the light is poor or from simply holding the camera at arms length to take pictures.
Panasonic has added more to this than just a lens though. The sensor is new, as is the processor, now upgraded to the Venus Engine IV, which Panasonic claims offers better resolution and low image noise in low light.
Older technologies, grouped under the Intelligent auto menu, that we've seen before in Panasonic cameras include face recognition, so the auto focus can quickly identify a persons features and automatically lock onto them; as well as automatic scene recognition, where the camera recognises the subject to be photographed, for example landscape or portrait and so on and sets the camera setting accordingly. Incidentally the camera has a vast array of 20 scene modes.