• Recommended by TR
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7


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It's always nice to get an early review of a new camera, but this one's so new it's not even in the shops yet. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7 was only announced a couple of weeks ago, but I've been lucky enough to receive an early review sample of this elegant new pocket compact.

Panasonic's FS series is relatively new, having been launched about this time last year, and has just been expanded by the addition of four new models. As a series, the FS models are simpler and slightly less sophisticated than Panasonic's premium FX models, and are designed to appeal to those looking for an easy-to-use but stylish ultra-compact. The FS7 is a mid-range model in the series, featuring a 10.0-megapixel CCD sensor, 4x optical zoom Leica lens and a 2.7-inch wide-view LCD monitor.

The FS7 has quite a lot of competition in this sector of the market, such as the excellent Canon IXUS 870 IS (£204), the equally excellent Nikon CoolPix S560 (£144), the ultra-slim Sony Cyber-shot T77 (£181) and even the Casio Exilim EX-Z200 (£165). The FS7 will be going on sale at the end of the month with a recommended retail price of £169.99, although some online retailers will undoubtedly be selling it for less.

Despite that very reasonable price, no corners seem to have been cut in either design or manufacture. The FS7 has a strong all-metal body finished in an attractive brushed texture, and is available in black, bright pink or the plain silver shown here. It is a very small and lightweight camera, comfortably into ultra-compact territory. It measures 97 x 54.4 x 21.7 mm and weighs just 139g including battery and SD card. You could slip it into a shirt pocket and barely know you're carrying it.

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February 13, 2009, 10:25 pm

And another one... officially off my bookmark list! But the sponsor will be happy...


February 13, 2009, 10:30 pm

@Singularity - you're very silly.


February 13, 2009, 10:39 pm

@ Singularity, I see what you are saying, if you look at the reviews on this site Panasonic seems to come out ahead more often than not. I cannot comment on cameras much less this particular model but Panasonic really does make great electronics, especially their TVs.


February 13, 2009, 11:26 pm

Singularity, please seek help. It can't be healthy for one person to be harbouring such nonsensical conspiracy theories.

On the other hand, it must be good for the TR site in terms of hits with all that page refreshing you must be doing every couple of minutes while waiting for the next review of a Panasonic product - just so you can be sure you get the first comment in. I'd hate to see what your F5 key looks like, it must have taken a battering...


February 14, 2009, 12:07 am

Have you ever held the product singularity? Or are you simply unable to accept in some bizarre manner that Panasonic is incapable of creating a good product? (Something which from my experience they've been doing very consistently recently)


February 14, 2009, 1:42 am

In fairness, I can appreciate where Singularity's coming from as you could argue there is a fairly large back catalogue of 'evidence' that is damaging our innocent pleas. Indeed the office collectively winced in anticipation of the latest wave of Panasonic conspiracy comments when we saw that Cliff had given this camera an award (Cliff works from home so we often don't know what he's working on until it's posted up on the site).

That said, we will defend our reputation to the last, no matter how many times people question it.

Here's hoping our sales team sort another takeover sometime soon (form another company obviously) just to prove that Panasonic isn't a 'sponsor' any more than any other advertiser.

Cliff Smith

February 14, 2009, 2:13 am

Wait, so we have a sponsor now? I wish someone had told me. I must call Panasonic on Monday and see where my cheques have got to.

Seriously though, I've been writing product reviews for a living for about 12 years, long enough to know that you won't get very far in this business if you show bias toward any one manufacturer.

Whatever you may think, the truth of the matter is that if Panasonic is getting good review scores on this site it's because they are making some very good products, and for no other reason.

Who knows? With the financial problems that Panasonic has reported over the past couple of weeks, including massive layoffs and factory closures, all that could change. If it starts cutting corners on quality to save money I'm sure you'll see that reflected in falling review scores.


February 14, 2009, 2:57 am

Well you TR guys don't do yourselves any favors by running those ridiculous PR puff pieces 'sponsored' by Microsoft. It shouts at me you'll write anything for money. That said I believe your reviews are (subject to acceptable doses of hyperbole and inevitable matters of personal opinion) decent and honest .

Its usually easy enough to pick out reviews that are 'out of synch' with other sites and unwarranted favoritism of (or sucking up to) particular manufacturers is often easy to spot. Panasonic is a well respected brand whatever they make. Their bread machines are first rate.

Jay Werfalli

February 14, 2009, 3:02 am

Sorry guys, I think we should listen to Singularity (it is Friday the 13th after all).

So let's give low scores to good products because, obviously, that makes complete sense(!)


February 14, 2009, 3:07 am

I don't know why everyone is talking about these Panasonic ads, all I see are these Barix Clinic weight loss ones...

And right before Valentines Day too, well done TR!

Martin Daler

February 14, 2009, 3:29 am

"but I've been lucky enough to receive an early review sample of this elegant new pocket compact"

So how does this whole "luck" thing work? Who gets lucky, and why, in the world of tech reviews? Actually, I can't believe it is luck, I mean do they really just spin the wheel at the Panasonic press centre? Or maybe that opening line ought to read:

"but I've been especially chosen by Panasonic to receive an early review sample of this elegant new pocket compact"


February 14, 2009, 3:33 am

"I must call Panasonic on Monday and see where my cheques have got to."

Uh, I don't think they have the spare money!

Cliff Smith

February 14, 2009, 7:40 pm

Martin Daler asked "So how does this whole "luck" thing work?"

Actually, to a certain extent they do "spin the wheel". Companies will allocate a certain number of units of any new product as review samples, which will then be loaned out to journalists. Since there are far more journalists than there are available samples, and the number of units allocated for review varies at the whim of the marketing departments, it's often a bit of a lottery as to who gets the new products first, although higher-profile sites and magazines tend to be higher up the 'pecking order'. Fortunately as TrustedReviews has become more popular it has given me greater leverage with the camera companies, and thus I'm able to get some new products early.


February 14, 2009, 7:59 pm

Cliff, you don't happen to have any shots of the corner shop near the bus station with a long haired guy wearing a black trench coat, do you? I tend to find my way there every lunch time, so it's only a matter of time until I'm caught in one of these!


February 15, 2009, 12:51 am

Good review. I fully expected the FS7 to be a very good camera, consistent with the high quality of the previous FS cameras. I was surprised when I read a negative review on another site. The photos posted here look very good and I'm confident other camera review sites will agree with Cliff's very positive assessment.

I read the other day that Panasonic is completely getting out of the TV business. I hope it's not going to abandon its camera business as well.


February 15, 2009, 1:25 am

@ AndyfromVA

Any rumour that Panasonic is getting out of the TV business is likely to be false, they produce panels for numerous other companies who rebrand them. Maybe you heard the rumour about Pioneer canceling their production of screens and choosing to source from Panasonic instead?


February 15, 2009, 1:40 am

In all fairness, what I saw when examining the actual sample pics posted here did not really match the summary I read in the review. At ISO 80 and 100 I was already seeing noise in dark areas, which isnt great. By ISO 200, there was IMO alaready trouble, but the reviewer suggested otherwise.

I had Panasonics before, they are very well designed physically and menu-wise. However they have been increasigly plagued by noise reduction problems and soft image quality, none of which seemes to be reflected in the reviews here.

I wouldnot go as far as to say that there was a sponsor conspiracy - who knows, I dont. But personally I could understand where the person above is coming from - the review is really putting an unnecessaty shine, on what is at best mediocre image quality.


February 16, 2009, 5:57 am


I checked again and you're right. It's Pioneer, not Panasonic, that's going to stop making its own TV's.


February 17, 2009, 4:22 am

I usually end up reading reviews from a number of places before deciding - I suspect most people do. I still get thrown out of my stride by a site that tests entry level DSLRs with 1.4 prime lenses, although their tests seem rather thorough. It would be interesting to know what method is used here - do you have lots of gear to test the things?


February 17, 2009, 3:26 pm

I agree 9/10 for IQ may seem a bit excessive based on the test images - although looking at the ISO tests I am impressed that detail isn't completely smeared away at higher ISOs - unusual for most compacts, especially a Panasonic.

Anyway otherwise I can see exactly why Cliff rated the camera so highly. Panasonic's compact camera range has been excellent. Their build-quality is excellent, better than what the big names of optics offer in the same price range, and they incorporate features like Intelligent Auto which are of tangible benefit to most digital camera buyers. As for those of us who want more control, yes most lack manual mode but then they also put EV Comp on a button instead of burying it in a menu.

Of course none of this will impress Singularity, who will presumably go off to another review site until he is shocked to discover that they also rate Panasonic devices highly. Panasonic's agents are everywhere!

Simon Hall

February 17, 2009, 9:34 pm

After being very dissapointed with a Lumix FS5 I don't think I would buy a Panasonic again.


February 18, 2009, 2:49 pm

The camera I recommended for my parents when they asked for the best long-zoom-range compact on the market at a reasonable price was the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5. Having used it myself, nothing beats its combination of excellent (metal-body) build and image quality, optics and ease of use. It has either won or co-won (with the Canon SX110) every round-up in its class I've read on any photography site on the net.

But of course as MrGodfrey apparently knows, Panasonic's arm is long and strong ;). After all, it's not like we ever recommend other brands' products.

Cliff Smith

February 19, 2009, 4:06 pm

@Splogbust: I believe that the best way to test any product is to use it in exactly the same way that an average buyer would use it, so wherever possible my test shots are "real world" pictures, rather than contrived, artifically-lit studio shots. Even the ISO test shots are done using natural light with no more special equipment than a reflector and a white background. Apart from that the only other equipment I use is a stopwatch for the various timings, and a caliper and postal scale to check size and weight, since the offical figures for these are wrong surprisingly often.


February 21, 2009, 8:26 pm


thanks for response. I would not go as far as to say that I'm an advocate of either approach. Incidentally, I'm still waiting for a good affordable Pentax DSLR to come along - lots of Pentax lenses, but so far not been tempted away from my Fuji S5600. That was why I was so keen on the Samsung prizes - not that my photos are ever up to it, unfortunately.


March 14, 2009, 11:18 pm


(I couldnt find a way to send u this messege so I am posting it here hope u will see this and answer it)

My question is very simple... In the features table, there is a property called manual focus. If it is "Yes" then I think it gives me the ability to zoom in however and whenever I want right? I am between two models right now. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7 vs. Nikon CoolPix S560. In the properties of panasonic it is stated as there is no manual focus and I couldnt understand why. I know it can auto focus but not a single person in this world wouldnt want to adjust the zoom time to time by their will. I am kindda confused at this point. I completely believe the sincerity of your work although some other people think that you are getting money from the manufactures. I also wanna thank you for your efforts for this site. It is awesome.

Looking for your answer...

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