Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS37 Review - Features and Usability Review


A ‘High Sensitivity’ option can also be found within the Scene mode sub-menu, and this pushes ISO up to 6400 while reducing maximum resolution to 3MP. As might be expected, images taken on this setting aren’t the greatest quality and don’t stand up well to enlargement, however if you’re facing a near-darkness situation and unable to use the camera’s built-in flash then it’s something to fall back upon.

Also tucked away in the Scene mode menu are a series of digital filters including: Pin Hole, Film Grain and High Dynamic image. Finally, there’s also a Photo Frame tool for adding a limited selection of slightly cheesy borders to frame your images with in-camera.

My Scene mode is the final shooting mode and is basically just a ‘quick-access’ option to your favourite scene mode without having to scroll through all of the alternatives. It’s possible to change your desired My Scene option with a few jabs of the touch-screen.

Optics come courtesy of Leica, with the FS37’s 8x optical zoom offering the equivalent of 28-224mm in 35mm terms. The FS37 does offer additional telephoto reach beyond this using a combination of Intelligent Zoom, Extra Optical Zoom and Digital Zoom technology, although it can initially be a little difficult to comprehend what they all do. It doesn’t really help that the 8x badge stamped onto the body of the camera is complimented by a 10x sticker directly above it.

To explain, the FS37’s extended telephoto capabilities are entirely dependent on which shooting mode you are using, and whether or not you’ve enabled the Digital Zoom option within the shooting menu.

In iAuto mode the FS37 combines the standard 8x zoom with the camera’s built-in 1.3x Intelligent Zoom technology to offer a maximum10x zoom range, with all images recorded at the full 16MP resolution.

In Normal Shooting mode, however, this Intelligent Zoom option is switched off, allowing for the standard 8x optical zoom at 16MP. This can then be extended using the Extra Optical Zoom option to 18x, with all images recorded at a maximum resolution of 10MP or less. Switch on the Digital Zoom function from here and it’s possible to go all the way to 72x, albeit at a reduced maximum resolution of 3MP.

In use, the spring-loaded zoom ring wrapped around the shutter button moves through the FS37’s focal range quickly and smoothly yet remains sensitive enough to fine-tune your compositions with. The E.ZOOM button found on the top of the camera is a handy addition that enables you to jump straight from 28mm to 224mm (and beyond) with a single button press. It’s also possible to use the touch-screen to perform all of these functions.

With this being a touch-screen compact, other physical controls are few and far between, leaving the 230k-dot TFT touch-screen monitor to dominate the back of the camera.

Constructed primarily from tough plastic and finished with a metallic top-plate, the FS37 feels solid enough. Small ridges on the front and back provide something extra for your fingers and thumb to secure a better grip, without unduly compromising the camera’s minimalist design.

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