We purchased the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS35 in early September, after our Canon Ixus started making strange noises. We didn’t spend a huge amount of time researching the camera – we considered a couple of alternatives such as upgrading to the latest version of the Canon Ixus (which we had been happy with until its untimely demise) – but the main deciding factor behind our purchase was that friends had a previous version of the Panasonic Lumix and were very happy with it. We were also attracted by some of the features promised by the Panasonic Lumix FS35, namely the 16.1 megapixel resolution, the 8x optical zoom, the optical image stabilizer and the Leica lens.
Visually, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS35 is a lovely camera. It is black with a large silver lens on the front. Once switched on the lens pops out and extends / retracts depending on the level of zoom that you require.The back has a very large LCD screen (2.7 inches) which makes it easy both to line up a photograph ahead of capturing the shot and to view the results afterwards. I really like the LCD screen as it brings up sharp images and it is easy to ‘zoom’ in while viewing the photographs to check for the kind of facial expressions which make you want to delete a photo before you upload it. I feel that it is a very stylish model which manages to look good while feeling a bit more like a ‘traditional’ camera that some of the smaller digital models. The flash is a thin light along the top of the camera to the left of the lens and is positioned in a location that makes it difficult to accidentally block it with your finger.
Essentially, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS35 is a point and shoot digital camera, although it is a mid-range model which possesses a few additional features. My basic requirements from a camera are that it is simple to use, takes good clear photographs, has an effective flash and can cope with relatively fast moving subjects (essential with two small children who don’t tend to stay still for long) and this camera definitely fulfils all of those criteria. Image sharpness is very good on this camera – it is particularly good when shooting outside in good light and the definition of facial features is excellent. When taking photos inside, the flash is effective and warms up quickly, enabling you to capture those special moments without having to wait an age for the flash to work. In terms of image quality, I feel that the flash works well to illuminate subjects in the foreground, but it won’t necessarily provide the same quality to background images. As most of my indoor shots tend to be of people, rather than views, this doesn’t matter to me. The camera has several different modes – the easiest, and the one that I use most, is ‘Intelligent Auto’ . This is where the camera attempts to predict what type of photograph you are going to take and adapts its settings accordingly to ensure that it has the optimum settings for the shot. To be completely honest, I don’t really understand how it does this, but I have been very satisfied with the results so far. The battery life of the camera is very good – we have taken a lot of photos in the two months since we bought the camera and have only had to charge it up once. Charging the battery is a very straightforward process as you simply remove the battery from the camera, slot it into the charger and plug the charger into the mains.
- The camera has an 8x optical zoom feature which I have found creates clear, sharp photos. There is also the possibility of zooming still further, up to 18x but this involves reducing the resolution right down to 3MP – I have not felt the need to do this. Using the normal zoom is very simple as you simply flick the dial on the top of the camera until you reach the ideal level of zoom. I have found that this captures my subjects well, and enables me to take pictures of the kids when they don’t know I’m photographing them – ideal for capturing their ‘real’ expressions instead of the ‘cheese’ faces that they employ when a camera is pointed at their faces.
- There are several modes on this camera in addition to the ‘Intelligent Auto’ mode outlined above. ‘Scene Mode’ has a range of pre-set settings including ‘Transform Mode’ which enables you to capture an image with the effect of stretching or slimming, a ‘Portrait’ mode to enable you to enhance skin tone in photographs, a ‘Sports Mode’ which uses a faster shutter speed to improve your chances of capturing that sporting success and settings for ‘Fireworks’ and ‘Snow’. ‘Motion Picture’ mode allows you to shoot home movies with audio. I haven’t had the chance to really play around with the modes, other than several family shots using the ‘Portrait Mode’. I think if you are into your photography then these could be an exciting addition but, for me, I’m happy sticking with the tried and tested method of ‘point and shoot’ (with the added help from the ‘Intelligent Auto’) – besides, the kids don’t stay still long enough for me to be messing around with the settings.
Lumix Image Uploader
- This makes it easier to share photos with friends and family. According to the blurb, all you have to do is mark the photos you want to share with a tick and connect the camera to a PC. You can then follow the simple instructions to upload your photos, allowing you to add comment and notify your friends via e-mail . Facebook can be used for photos and YouTube for movies. I haven’t actually tried this yet – I have put photos from the camera on to Facebook but have done it the old-fashioned way.
The RRP for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS35 is £199.99 although it is currently available on Amazon for £107. We have the black version but it is also available in blue, red and purple. I feel that it is worth the money at the full RRP but is a bargain at the current Amazon price.
I have been really pleased with the performance of this camera and the quality of the photographs that I have captured on it, and I would definitely recommend it. Like all digital point and shoot cameras, it is not necessarily one for the professionals, or those who take their photography seriously, but if you want a camera that will capture the highs and lows of family life then this is a great product. I am giving it the full five stars because I enjoy using it so much and I have been so happy with the results.