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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Digital Camera Review

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Digital Camera Review - Daniel Bell reviews the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45, a digital compact camera with a bright f/2.5 5x optical zoom lens.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45
Price : £110
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Lens Extended

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 was announced in January 2012 and features a bright f/2.5 lens which has previously only been features on Panasonic's higher spec cameras. It is available in black, gold, silver, red and violet for £109.95.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Front

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Features

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 has a 16.1 megapixel sensor and 5x optical zoom f/2.5 lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 24-120mm, with the zoom extendible to 10x when using intelligent zoom. The f/2.5 allows plenty of light in to allow the use of a faster shutter speed, particularly ideal when shooting in low light. To reduce the effects of camera shake there is Mega OIS (Optical Image Stabiliser).

Picture taking is made easy by using iA mode, with the correct settings automatically detected for the scene and changed accordingly. Other shooting modes include miniature effect, panorama and beauty retouch. There is also face detection AF/AE, AF tracking, intelligent scene selector and intelligent exposure. Panasonic claim the FS45 has Sonic Speed AF, offering a high-speed response when focusing the camera and pressing the shutter.

Videos are recorded in 720p HD, although optical zoom is not available.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Top

Key Features

  • 16.1 megapixel CCD sensor
  • 5x optical zoom f/2.5 lens (35mm equiv: 24-120mm)
  • Mega OIS (Optical Image Stabiliser)
  • 3.0 inch TFT 230k dot LCD screen
  • iA (Intelligent Auto) mode
  • 720p HD video recording
  • ISO 100-1600
  • 5cm minimum focusing distance
  • Miniature effect
  • Panorama shot
  • Beauty retouch
  • Available in black, gold, silver, red and violet
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Rear

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Handling

The FS45 has a very compact, metal body and is easily small enough to carry around in your pocket. There is a sliding on / off switch alongside the shutter release, zoom rocker and movie record button. On the rear is a d-pad with the menu / set button in the middle. There is also mode, display and Q. menu buttons as well as a switch which takes the camera from shooting mode to playback.

The camera menu systems are easy to use, with explanations given for each option, great for a first time user. The 3 inch LCD is bright, clear and easy to view in varying lighting conditions. The battery has a CIPA rating of 260 shots, we managed over 600 during testing, a good return.

We tested the camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average.

Shutter Response   0.15 seconds
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.2 seconds
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.35 seconds
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.0 seconds
Shot to Shot (without flash)   1.2 seconds
Shot to Shot with Flash   2.4 seconds
Burst
  0.96 fps
High-speed burst
  7.5 fps
Flash burst   0.8 fps

Burst mode records at full 12 megapixel resolution, high-speed burst records at 3 megapixel, as does flash burst.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Battery And Memory Card

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Sample Photos


Sample Photos - The FS45 images are well exposed with really good colour reproduction. Portraits have decent skin tones, with a hint of red-eye when shooting with the flash. Portraits can be enhanced using the retouch menu.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Lens test images


Lens Performance - Image detail is OK whether shooting wide or with the full optical zoom, but images are prone to purple fringing in contrasting areas of the image. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 5cm, which does allow you to get close enough to take a good macro shot.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - Images are free of noise at ISO 100, with only a small amount appearing at ISO 200. There is a little more noise at ISO 400, with images becoming a little soft at ISO 800. Noise increases quite dramatically when switching to ISO 1600, with lots of detail lost. The FS45 can shoot at ISO 3200 when using high-sensitivity mode, an example of which can be seen below.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance performs quite well under Tungsten light with the Tungsten preset doing little to improve the image, instead giving it a slight orange cast. Auto White Balance performs very well under fluorescent lighting.

Panorama | 1/800 sec | f/9.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 800
Panorama | 1/800 sec | f/9.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 800

Panorama | 1/500 sec | f/9.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 800
Panorama | 1/500 sec | f/9.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 800

Panorama mode - Panorama's don't have loads of detail, but are generally stitched together nicely and look good for use on the web, rather than large prints.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Other sample images


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Digital filters


Digital Filters - As well as standard, there are three other colour modes to choose from, with examples of each above.

Video - The video below has been recorded at 720p HD, optical zoom is available during recording, with an example on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.



Value For Money

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 is available for £104.00. Others to consider are the Samsung PL210 at £79.00, Olympus VG-170 at £79.95, Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3 at £84.00, Canon PowerShot A1300 at £89.95, Nikon Coolpix S3300 at £94.95, Canon PowerShot A3200 IS at £99.00 and Olympus VR-340 at 99.00.

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Verdict

The FS45 is a fairly typical compact camera, offering decent image quality, good colour reproduction and a fast f/2.5 lens, making it easier to shoot in low light conditions. Images were prone to purple fringing, but this won't affect you if you generally share your images on the web, rather than printing them in a large format.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Pros

Bright f/2.5 lens
Compact metal body
Can shoot a 7fps, albeit at 3 megapixels
Images have good colour reproduction
Decent noise performance up to and including ISO 800
Battery lasted longer than expected

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Cons

More expensive than most cameras with a similar spec
Panoramas don't have enough detail to view in large format
Purple fringing quite common

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Specifications

ManufacturerPanasonic
Lens
Max Aperturef/2.5 - f/6.4
35mm equivalent24mm - 120mm
Optical Zoom5x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels14.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.33 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.08mm
Sensor Size (height)4.56mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution230,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Min Focus5cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • AF Tracking
  • Face Detection
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1600sec
Shutter speeds longest8sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Multi Pattern
ISO sensitivity100 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting1.3fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS25
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoNo Data
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMINo
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiNo
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLi-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 680mAh)
CIPA Rating260
Box Contents
Box ContentsBattery Pack, AC Adapter, USB Cable, Hand Strap, CD-ROM with PHOTOfunSTUDIO 8.0 Advanced Edition / Adobe Reader
Dimensions
Weight106g
Width96mm
Height57.1mm
Depth19.4mm

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Photographs taken using the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Sunset over London
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