Advantages Good build & picture quality, Ease of use, 10x zoom, ISO can be set manually.
Disadvantages No seperate viewfinder, manual settings or supplied SD card, High ISO picture blurring.
|Range & Quality of Features|
|Ease of Use|
OverviewThis review is based on my own reviews of this camera elsewhere and has been edited for the pupose of posting on here, I hope you will find it useful.
Normally I use large DSLR or bridge camera, but I wanted a small camera that would fit in my pocket when I don't want to carry a large camera with me, this camera is just about small enough to fit into a large pocket.What attracted me to this particular model was its 10x zoom range from 28mm to 280mm (35mm equivalent) and its reasonable 9.1mp resolution.
I went out and took some pictures with this camera, and some more almost identical pictures with a Canon EOS DSLR, Whilst a compact can never match a good DSLR in image quality, the pictures from the Panasonic fared resonably well in comparison.I was expecting the picture quality from a 10x zoom on such a small camera to suffer, but I was pleasantly surprised, the pictures were sharp throughout the focal range, even at its longest focal length, and there was no apparent chromatic aberrations, (colour fringing around high contrast subjects) plus the image stablizer worked well in all but very dim light conditions.
As in all compact cameras the image censor is very small, and cramming 9 or 10 megapixels onto such a small censor often causes problems with digital noise, especially at higher ISO settings, This camera also fared very well here with digital noise not apparent at all at ISO 100 and very little at ISO 200. but It gradually worsens at higher ISO settings, (I keep mine set on ISO 100 for daytime shots) but it is still well within acceptable levels for a compact camera, the cameras built in noise reduction causes some fine detail to be lost at higher ISO settings, but this is mostly apparent at higher magnifications of the image.At very low light levels this camera performs reasonably well compared to some of the other compacts, and flash exposures are excellent, full of detail and well exposed.
The autofocus is reasonably fast and accurate in most cases, only struggling in very low contrast or difficult to focus subjects, and the face detection works well, macro, whilst not true macro, will focus as close as 5cm at the 28mm setting giving you a reasonable close up.The camera itself feels solidly built, the menu's are logically laid out and fairly easy to navigate, and you will soon get to grips with it, it has an excellent printed manual.
There are more than enough modes on it to keep the budding photographer happy, with 2 auto settings and 22 auto scene modes to cover most conditions, and an exposure compensation setting of (+/- 2 at 1/3 stop increments) for those awkward situations when one of the auto modes will not give a correct exposure, it is a pity there are no manual settings however, which would have made this camera much more flexible in use.The LCD monitor is a large 3" monitor, and is very clear and bright, making it easy to compose your pictures and to view pictures afterwards, although such a large screen could be vulnerable to damage so a good quality padded camera case is recommended.
A seperate optical viewfinder would have been a welcome addition, making the taking of moving subjects easier, especially at longer focal lengths, but many compact cameras do not include them anymore.It does have a video and sound recording function, but I have not tried that yet, (I will update this review when I have) so I cannot comment on that, except to say that the microphone is positioned on the top left of the camera where it could easily be covered by a finger, causing sound problems.
PROSWell built and easy to use.
CONSNo SD card supplied, so you will need to buy one seperately.
Verdict.This is a good camera for anyone who wants to replace a cheaper outdated camera with something that will take decent pictures and has a good zoom range, and for anyone who wants a small camera as a backup to a larger camera.
It is availlable for as little as £194.99, and is very good value at that price.All in all this is a very good little camera for the price, with very little to be said against it, and it comes highly recommended.
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