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There are many digital cameras available for less than £100, but very few of them are worth buying. Most have badly-made plastic bodies, low quality lenses, slow and clumsy performance and worse image quality than some mobile phone cameras. At this price level even models from well-known brands are best avoided. Rather than buying the cheapest camera you can find, it's usually a better idea to save up another £30-40 and get something that's actually worth having.
While this is a good rule of thumb, like all rules there are one or two exceptions, and some of them are quite surprising. Panasonic has a well-earned reputation for making some of the best digital cameras you can buy, but it has a parallel and equally well-deserved reputation for those cameras being very expensive. However at the bottom of Panasonic's compact camera range we find the Lumix DMC-FS62, featuring a 10.1-megapixel sensor, a high quality Leica 4x zoom lens complete with optical image stabilisation, and a decent 2.5-inch monitor screen all wrapped in an attractive and durable all-metal body. It has the kind of performance you'd expect from a top-of-the-range model, with image quality to match, but costs as little as £100 from some online retailers.
Most budget cameras look cheap, but the overall design of the FS62 is, at first glance at least, almost indistinguishable from Panasonic's top-of-the-range consumer compact the £200 DMC-FX60, and it certainly looks and feels a lot more expensive than it actually is. It's a very slim and stylish camera, measuring 97 x 54.4 x 21.2mm and weighing just 136g including battery and memory card, making it an ideal companion for social snapshot photography.
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