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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7

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.
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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.
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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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