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Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Review

Daniel Bell reviews the ultra-compact Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1.

| Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 in Compact Cameras

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Review: Panasonic Lumix XS1

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 was announced in January 2013 and is an ultra-thin entry level camera. It has a 16.1 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom and available in white, black, violet and red for £86.52.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Review: Panasonic Lumix XS1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Features

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 has a 16.1 megapixel CCD sensor and 5x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent 24-120mm. This can be extended to 8x when using Intelligent Zoom. To help keep images as sharp as possible there is Mega OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation).
The XS1 has Intelligent Auto mode to make picture taking as easy as possible as well as Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent Scene Selector, Intelligent Exposure and Face Detection. There are 11 filters which can be applied in Creative Panorama mode as well as 13 filters in Creative Control mode. The filters can also be applied in playback by using the Creative Retouch option.
Videos are recorded in 720p HD.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Review: Panasonic Lumix XS1

Key Features

  • 16.1 megapixel CCD sensor
  • 5x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24-120mm)
  • Mega OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation)
  • 2.7 inch 230k dot LCD screen
  • Thin 17.6mm body
  • 720p HD video recording
  • ISO 100-6400
  • 5cm minimum focusing distance
  • Creative panorama mode
  • Creative control
  • 1.0 fps full resolution continuous shooting
  • Available in white, black, violet and red
Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Review: Panasonic Lumix XS1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Handling

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 is indeed an extremely tiny camera and it looks stylish, so it's ideal for carrying in your pocket or handbag when going out with friends. It has a metal body and uses a Micro SD card to keep the size down.

The buttons are also tiny so might not be ideal for those with larger fingers, we found the on / off switch particularly hard to press. This is on top alongside the shutter release. Buttons on the back include mode, video recording, playback and delete as well as a zoom buttons and d-pad. This gives access to exposure compensation, timer and flash and menu and is also use to navigate the menu as well.

The menu is easy to navigate, with a sentence at the bottom of the screen to explain what the option highlighted does. The screen is small as you'd expect for such a tiny camera with just a 230k dot resolution, but is clear to see in all light.

Battery life is rated at 260 shots according to CIPA test results, which is remarkably good for a small camera. We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response   0.2 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.4 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.5 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   3.1 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   2.5 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   2.7 secs
Burst   0.8 fps
Hi-speed Burst   10 fps
Flash Burst   0.8 fps

The camera is a little slow at starting up, but focus speed is good. Burst shooting records at full resolution, but Hi-speed burst and Flash Burst are limited to 3 megapixels.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Review: Panasonic Lumix XS1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 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-XS1 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images have good colour reproduction and are generally well exposed. Portraits have good skin tones, but red-eye is a common problem.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Image detail isn't the XS1's strongest characteristic but as most users will resize their images for sharing on the web this won't really be an issue, just don't expect quality large prints. There is some purple fringing in contrasting areas but this is kept under control. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 5cm which allows for a fairly decent macro shot.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 100 and 200, with images becoming a little soft at ISO 400.  Images become softer still at ISO 800, and even softer at ISO 1600, but not much detail is lost.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - The Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under both the incandescent and fluorescent lights. There is an incandescent preset, which gives a slight colour cast under the incandescent light, with no fluorescent preset available, so you have to rely on the AWB here.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Review: High Dynamic Panorama | 1/800 sec | f/9.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 3200
High Dynamic Panorama | 1/800 sec | f/9.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 3200

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Review: Dynamic Monochrome Panorama | 1/640 sec | f/9.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 800
Dynamic Monochrome Panorama | 1/640 sec | f/9.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 800

Panorama mode - You can shoot panoramas using filters, which is quite a unique feature. They are well stitched together but detail isn't great, again fine for sharing on the web though.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Digital filters

Digital Filters - The XS1 has colour modes to choose from when using normal picture mode. But if you're in Creative Control mode there are a wide range of filters to choose from, with examples above.

Video - Below is a video recorded in 720p HD, quality is good. You can't use the optical zoom during recording but there is digital zoom, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.

Value For Money

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 is available for £86.52. Other entry-level cameras include the Fujifilm FinePix AX650 at £49.99, Nikon Coolpix L27 at £49.99, Olympus VG-180 at £64.99Canon PowerShot A1300 at £55.80 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS50 at £73.42.

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-XS1 Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 is an ultra-compact camera that is going to appeal to the younger generation. Yes, image quality isn't the best, but for sharing on the web you can't complain. It has a metal body, available in a variety of colours and battery life is fairly respectable. There are cheaper entry-level cameras on the market, but you'll struggle to find a smaller, more stylish one.


Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Pros

Well made, compact metal body
Respectable battery life
Decent noise performance at higher ISO settings
Available in a variety of colours
Lots of effects and panorama effects

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Cons

Image quality isn't great
Buttons may be a little too small for some
No optical zoom when shooting videos


Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/6.9
35mm equivalent24mm - 120mm
Optical Zoom5x
Image Sensor
Pixels16.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.33
Sensor Size (width)6.16mm
Sensor Size (height)4.6mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor2.7in
Screen resolution230k
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus5cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1600sec
Shutter speeds longest60sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • Multi Pattern
ISO sensitivity100 - 1600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting1fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS30fps
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoNo
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • Micro SD
  • Micro SDHC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium-Ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)260shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data

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josa Avatar
josa 11 25 Czech Republic
26 Jun 2013 8:11PM
This might be the worst Panasonic ever....ok for small prints.

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