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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS62 - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS62
The control layout is very straightforward, with a D-pad, three buttons and Panasonic's usual slider switches for power and record/playback modes, but instead of the rotary mode dial of more expensive models it has a simple button which cycles through the various shooting modes. The FS62 has both a main menu and an on-screen live menu, and both are well designed to make the camera very easy to use, and all the controls operate quickly and smoothly.
As with most budget compacts the FS62 isn't exactly overloaded with features, and lacks one or two useful refinements including spot metering or colour controls such as saturation, contrast and sharpness adjustment, but on the plus side it does have Intelligent Auto mode with automatic scene recognition, as well as a useful selection of 25 scene mode programs and an option to save your own My Scene Mode program as well.
It's very rare to find a budget camera with anything other than digital image stabilisation, but the FS62 has Panasonic's excellent Mega OIS optical image stabilisation system, although it may be an older version of the system. I found that hand-held shots at shutter speeds as fast as 1/20th of a second were still prone to blurring caused by camera shake.
The LCD monitor is a little small by recent standards at only 2.5 inches, but its 230 resolution is nice and sharp, and it has a very good anti-reflective surface. It does however have a somewhat restricted angle of view, especially when viewed from below, which is annoying if you need to hold the camera above your head, such as when shooting over the heads of a crowd.
The video recording mode is also a bit basic by recent standards but is better than many other budget cameras, shooting at 848 x 480 (WVGA) resolution at 30fps, with clips limited to 15 minutes. As usual with cheaper cameras the optical zoom cannot be used while recording.