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Launched in January 2011, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS37 has a 16.1Mp sensor and 8x optical zoom which can be extended upto 18x thanks to the Extra Optical Zoom. The DMC-FS37 costs £179 and is available in silver and black.
The sensor has an impressive 16.1Mps, taking pictures is made easy by the Intelligent Auto mode and Mega Optical Image Stabilisation. The DMC-FS37 is capable of shooting at ISO100 - 1600 although this can be furthered to ISO6400 using the high-sensitivity scene mode.
There aren't many buttons to be found on the camera, the majority of the settings are changed via the 3in TFT LCD touch screen.
If you like to shoot videos then there is a 720p HD movie mode which can be uploaded easily onto YouTube and Facebook via a PC. The camera is also able to shoot videos in VGA (640 x 480).
- 28mm Wide-angle 8x Optical Zoom LEICA DC Lens
- 16Mp sensor
- 3in LCD touch screen
- 10x Intelligent Zoom with Intelligent Resolution Technology
- iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode with MEGA OIS (Optical Image Stabiliser)
- HD Movie Recording (1,280 x 720 pixels at 24 fps in Motion JPEG Format)
- ISO100 - 1600 (High Sensitivity mode ISO1600-6400)
- 5cm macro mode
- Scene modes: portrait, soft skin, transform, self portrait, scenery, panorama assist, sports, night portrait, night scenery, food, party, candle light, baby1, baby2, pet, sunset, high sensitivity, hi-speed burst, flash burst, starry sky, fireworks, beach, snow, aerial photo, pin hole, film grain, high dynamic and photo frame.
Navigation of the menus can also be somewhat of a mystery at times. It mainly relies on pictures to represent what each setting means. Some are easy and logical to work out, however setting one of the various scene modes can involve a little work. Pressing and holding a symbol will give you an explanation of what it means, but if it's not the setting you're after it can be difficult to remove your finger without pressing the option.
The camera has several modes which take a set of pictures including burst, flash burst and high-speed burst. The latter two are only capable at a reduced image size.
During use the focus speed is quick and when in single shot mode the camera takes between 2 and 3 seconds in between shots.
The camera is ready to take pictures within a couple of seconds of switching on. The battery is capable of 250 pictures (CIPA Standard), during testing it was only charged once and showed no signs of running out of power.
ISO and Noise PerformanceNoise is handled really well by the DMC-FS37 at ISO100 and ISO200 with only slight signs of image quality suffering at ISO400. Noise is a touch worse at ISO800, then at ISO1600, the highest ISO that can be set manually, there is plenty of noise which has affected quality but the images are still quite good.
The DMC-FS37 takes excellent portrait images, whether using the flash or not although there was a tendency for a hint of red-eye when shooting with the flash. Skin tones are pleasing and the images are flattering for the model.
Using the sport mode the camera is able to capture the water droplets from the fountain although for subjects moving really fast the camera struggled to take sharp pictures. The Dynamic mode is an excellent feature which retains plenty of detail in the highlights and shadows.
With the DMC-FS37 there are many options when it comes to zoom. When using Intelligent Auto (iA) the 1.3x Intelligent Zoom is automatically applied so the optical range is 1-10x which can be extended to 22x using Extra Optical Zoom.
Put the camera into Normal Picture mode the Optical Zoom range becomes 1-8x, with 8-18x available using Extra Optical Zoom with can then be extended to 72x combining this with the 4x Digital Zoom.
Combined with the Mega Optical Image Stabilisation the 18-72x extra zoom is capable of taking pictures that you wouldn't typically be able to shoot using a compact camera. The images aren't going to make great large prints but they are certainly suitable for use on the web.
There is a minimum focus distance of 5cm and when switching the camera to Macro mode the camera takes superb close-up pictures, such as the daffodil below.
White-balanceAuto-white balance does a really good job and it's unlikely you'll ever need to move away from this setting. In our studio, AWB performance was particularly pleasing under the fluorescent lights.
Video ModeThe DMC-FS37 can record motion pictures in HD (1,280 x 720 pixels at 30 fps in Motion JPEG format) which can then be uploaded onto YouTube or Facebook via a PC. VGA videos (640 x 480) are also possible.
Value For MoneyCameras with 16.1Mp sensors and 8x optical zoom are quite rare. The Nikon Coolpix S6100 has 7x optical zoom, 16Mp sensor and costs £199. If you are attracted by the extra zoom possibilities of the DMC-FS37 then you may want to consider the Sony Cybershot H70 which has a 16.1Mp sensor and a 10x optical zoom lens also priced at £199.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS16. The results achieved with the full range of zoom are impressive and well worth the extra premium. The touch screen did prove to be troublesome at times and the menu system could be easier, but these should not deter you from purchasing the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS37.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS37: ProsLots and lots of zoom
Intelligent Auto mode gives great results
Auto white-balance performance
Noise is handled well throughout the range of ISO speeds
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS37: ConsTouch-screen doesn't alway respond
Menu system is not the easiest to use
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
|Optical zoom||8x optical zoom, 5-40mm (28-224mm in 35mm equiv.), f/3.3-5.9|
|Max image size||4608 x 3456|
|Focus points||Normal / Macro, Zoom Macro, Quick AF (Always On), AF Tracking, Touch AF/AE|
|ISO sensitivity||ISO100 - 1600 (High Sensitivity mode ISO1600-6400)|
|Metering system||Program AE|
|Exposure compensation||1/3 EV step, +/-2 EV|
|Shutter speed range||1/1600 - 8sec (Starry Sky Mode : 15, 30, 60sec)|
|Image stabilisation||Mega Optical Image Stabiliser|
|Movie mode||720p HD|
|Monitor||3in TFT Touch Screen LCD Display|
|Media type||70MB Internal, SD, SDHC, SDXC Memory Card|
|Interface||AV Output (PAL), USB2.0 High speed|
|Power||Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 660mAh)|
|Box Contents||Stylus Pen, Battery Charger, Battery Pack, AV Cable, USB Cable, AC Cable, Hand Strap, CD-ROM|
|Size||99.2 x 56.5 x 27.7 mm|
|Weight||159g (with battery and memory card)|
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS37 costs £179.00 and is available from Warehouse Express here:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS37