Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM
I've liked Panasonic cameras for sometime now, but their budget area is, like so many other manufacturers, hopelessly crowded and, in my opinion, unnecessary. Adding another line to the mix isn't helping. Also not helping is the lack of any pricing information on these cameras at this time.
To start with, we have four FH-series cameras. They are the Lumx DMC-FH2, DMC-FH5, DMC-FH25, and DMC-FH27. The FH2 and FH5 share the same 4x 28-112mm equivalent f/3.1-6.5 (really slow) lens, 2.7" LCD screen, and 720p video mode. The former uses a 14 megapixel sensor, the latter a 14 megapixel one. The FH25 and FH27 are both 16 megapixel shooters with an 8x 28-224mm equivalent f/3.3-5.9 lens (which is now Leica branded) and the now-common 720p video mode. The FH27 has a 3" touchscreen instead of the 2.7" screen.
The FP-series gets an update too. The DMC-FP5 features a 14 megapixel sensor, a 4x 35-140mm equivalent zoom lens packed vertically inside the camera, optical image stabilisation, a 3" touchscreen LCD, and 720p video. The DMC-FP7 has a 16 megapixel sensor instead, and upsizes the touchscreen to a 3.5" one. It also has a glossy exterior instead. On that basis alone I would pick the cheaper camera.
Finally we have the new S-series cameras; cute rounded shapes ahoy! The DMC-S1 has a 12 megapixel CCD (it's funny to think how 12 megapixels is now considered "budget"), an optically stabilised 4x 28-112mm equivalent f/3.1-6.5 lens not unlike the one in the FH2 and FH5, 2.7" LCD screen, and 720p video. The DMC-S3 comes equipped with a 14 megapixel CCD instead.
One feature that would have been interesting is the Lumix Uploader, which allows you to tag photos onto the camera for social networks... but then you have to connect the camera to the computer to complete the upload. Wasted potential if you ask me.
Oh, and more pictures at the links!