Panasonic DMC FS35 Review

Mid Zoom Digital Cameras

16 Megapixels    8x Zoom

Dimensions: 99.2 x 56.5 x 27.8 mm    Weight: 152g

Good Points: Turn on time, macro shot, extra zoom flexibility, wide angle shot

Bad Points: One test photo had a hazy look, flash light could be stronger


Panasonic DMC FS35 Shutter Lag Rating par Ease of Use par Camera Name Rating

Overview

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FS35 is small enough to fit into a large pocket. One of its main attractions is the 8x zoom lens in what is a relatively compact body size. It has 16 megapixels.

The Lumix DMC FS35 has one or two extra features for this type of mid range digital camera. This includes High Definition movies and image stabilisation.

In terms of operation this is a fairly typical point and shoot digital camera. All the main settings are controlled automatically by the camera.

Panasonic have produced four different coloured versions. These are red, purple, silver and black.

Why Buy the Panasonic DMC FS35

The extra zoom in a small sized body is the main reason for buying this camera. It also looks good and handles well.

Features

Plenty of Megapixels

Panasonic have packed 16 megapixels onto the sensor. That is as many as any digital camera offers at the time of writing this review. You don't need anything like that many to make snapshot sized prints, but there are a couple of added advantages of having so many megapixels at your fingertips. To start with you can crop or trim your photos to create a tighter composition and still be able to make a print.

8x Zoom

The lens is made by Leica. They are renowned for the optical quality of their lenses.

How to Increase the Amount of Zoom Available to You

Another advantage of having a digital camera with so many megapixels is you are able to decrease the number of megapixels you are shooting at in return for an increased amount of zoom. So when you are unable to zoom in close as you would like to you have the option of decreasing your resolution and increasing the range of the zoom. A maximum 18x zoom is available when you reduce the resolution to 3 megapixels.

Image Stabilisation for Sharper Photos

Panasonic have built image stabilisation into the Lumix DMC FS35. This compensates for any tiny movements of the camera while a picture is being taken. This is a worthwhile feature on a camera with this much zoom. It can make your photos look the shade crisper.

Capturing Wide Scenes

If you use the Extra Zoom features described above you have plenty of power to zoom in on a subject. The Lumix DMC FS35 also offers you the flexibility to squeeze wider scenes into your pictures. This is because it has a focal length equivalent to 28 - 244mm in 35mm format. A minimum focal length of 28mm gives the camera a wide angle of view.

LCD Screen Size

The LCD screen is 2.7 inches in size. You may find other cameras of a similar nature offering a larger 3 inch LCD.

A Built in Brain for Better Pictures

Panasonic have equipped the Lumix DMC FS35 with what they call an Intelligent Auto mode. When you place the camera in this mode it attempts to detect the type of picture you are going to take. It will then choose what it considers to be the optimum settings for the shot. There are also a set of pre programmed scene modes. When you match you photo opportunity against a scene mode the camera knows for certain the type of shot you are about capture and can then set the controls accordingly.

Get Close in Using Macro Mode

For close up work the Lumix DMC FS35 is able to focus from 5cm away from subject.

Capture Your Own High Quality Movie Footage

You can capture High Definition movies with the Lumix DMC FS35. Most digital cameras at this price offer this feature.

Upload Your Photos and Movies Easily to Facebook and YouTube

If you are an avid user of Facebook or YouTube then the Lumix Image Uploader is likely to come in handy. This makes it easy for you to upload still images and video clips to social networking sites.

Select Your Ideal Picture Shape

When you take a picture it is stored as a certain rectangular shape. There are three shapes you can select from with the Lumix DMC FS35. The first has an aspect ratio of 4:3 and is ideal for viewing your photos on an older computer screen or non widescreen television set. The next one is 16:9 and is the perfect fit for a widescreen television. The final aspect ratio is 3:2. If you are planning make 6:4 inch prints with you pictures this is the ideal aspect ratio as the image will not need to be trimmed at all to fit the print size.

More Advanced Options to Fine Tune Your Pictures

There may be times when the picture you take is not quite how you want it to look. Panasonic have included a number of more advanced features that can give you some extra control over the way your photos will look. These features include white balance, ISO levels and exposure compensation.

Image Quality

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

Levels of sharpness are good. The brickwork of the building in the centre of the shot is in sharp focus. Only a small amount of that sharp focus is lost as you move away from the centre towards the edges of the shot.

Some detail is lost from the boats in the foreground of the shot. This suggests that the Lumix DMC FS35 may struggle with lighter elements in a scene, especially in bright, sunny conditions.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

Compared to other digital cameras with a wide angle lens this shot is very sharp. This may be because Panasonic have not given the lens quite as wide an angle of view as many camera lenses have. Many digital cameras struggle with this shot, so this is an especially good result.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

There is a hazy look to this shot. Perhaps this is because with the lens zoomed right in the camera is presented with a greater degree of detail and it struggles to take it all in. It may also be the case that the pixels are a very small size to fit onto the sensor and in areas of a shot where there is not a great deal of contrast it is difficult for the camera to really pick out the fine detail. That is the challenge in this picture and it is the trees where there is little contrast and the leaves are dense and dark that the Lumix DMC FS35 struggles the most.

Outdoor Building

With the lens not pushed to its limits the result is better. Although the brickwork on the building does not offer a great deal of contrast it is a light colour. The definition is not crystal clear, but it is certainly good enough unless you are planning to make A3 sized prints.

Outdoor Portrait

Moving in closer the definition in the shot is very good. The camera has used the light available in the evening to produce a photo with a warm glow to it.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

The lighting from the flash unit is not quite strong enough to reach all the key areas of this photo. That leads to some darker areas. This is especially noticeable in areas of the hair. This slight under exposure looses a degree of detail from the photo.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

Just like the shot taken with flash this shot lacks a bit of brightness. Again this leads to darker areas in the hair lower down in the photo. Aside from that point the level of definition showing in the shot is very good for a smaller compact. This is because noise levels in the shot are very low.

Macro

The macro shot is excellent for a smaller compact. It is able to produce pin sharpness in the centre of your subject and then throw the surrounding elements out of focus to highlight the central subject of the photo. The colours also have an extra touch of warmth that you often see from Panasonic digital cameras.

Colours

On the whole colours are well balanced. The photographs take on a natural look with the scenes being a fair reflection of the way they looked when the photos were taken.

Noise

Noise does not appear to be much of an issue with the Lumix DMC FS35. Even in more shady areas of shots this camera manages to control noise as well if not better than most small cameras. This is an area where Panasonic cameras generally do well. Of greater concern is the lack of detail and degree of haziness in the outdoor shot where the lens is fully zoomed in.

Picture Quality Summary

Picture quality is good without being outstanding. There are one or two issues that the camera could handle better.

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Nikon Coolpix S9300 Rating 86/100

For a camera that is small enough to take anywhere the Nikon Coolpix S9300 has a lot of features packed into it. If you are planning to take a holiday GPS tracking will tell you where you were when a picture was taken. The length of the zoom lens also gives you plenty of scope when it comes to picture opportunities. Although there is plenty of completion in this category the picture quality on offer here combined with the features makes this camera very attractive indeed. Recommended.

Read Review: Nikon Coolpix S9300 Review

Canon Powershot SX260 HS Rating 86/100

The Canon Powershot SX260 HS is one of the very best digital cameras in this category. In fact if you are happy to miss out on features such as 3D photography and 360 degree panoramas it is very hard to beat. It has a great set of features packed into its relatively compact body size and picture quality helps to make it stand out from the competition. Although it is one of the more expensive cameras in this field it still offers good value for money.

Read Review: Canon Powershot SX260 HS Review

Sony DSC HX20V Rating 85/100

There is a lot to like about the Sony Cybershot DSC HX20V. As well as being crammed with features it is a very reliable when it comes to taking pictures. It can handle most photo opportunities without breaking sweat. The amount of zoom power and other features available gives you a great deal of flexibility. Competition between similar cameras is very tough, but this model performs very well when put up against its main rivals. I would happily own this camera.

Read Review: Sony DSC HX20V Review

Related Pages

Panasonic DMC FS35 Specification

Panasonic DMC FS35 Sample Images

Digital Camera Reviews

Panasonic Digital Cameras

Review Date

Review Date: May 2011

Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FS35 looks good and can take a impressive photo. The features it has include a couple of useful extras that you will not find on all other cameras at this pricing level. The Lumix DMC FS35 is not perfect, but it can cope well with most photo opportunities. The camera functions especially well for close up and wide angle shots. That certainly gives it an edge over a lot of its rivals.

Ratings

Ease of Use:
Features:
Movie Mode:
Build Quality:
Colours:

8
8
8
8
8

Photo Quality:
Style:
Indoors:
Macro:
Value for Money:

Total:

8
8
8
9
8

81

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:
Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

16
8x
2.7 inches
99.2 x 56.5 x 27.8 mm
152g
5cm
Yes
No
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
SD/SDHC/SDXC

Shutter Lag Times

Single Shot:
Five Shots:
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:

0.41 seconds
8.94 seconds
0.94 seconds
12.72 seconds
1.83 seconds

Shutter Lag Table

Handling

Taking a Firm Hold

Being that bit bigger than the smallest digital cameras makes it easier to get a good grip of the camera. On the front Panasonic have placed a very small grip. This gives you something to brace your finger against to improve your hold on the camera. Near the top on the back of the camera is a dimpled area. This is the space for resting your thumb. Neither of these features make a significant difference, but they do make it that bit easier for you to hold the camera.

Flash Unit Out of the Way of Your Fingers

The flash unit is tucked in near the lens unit. This means it is well out of your way when it comes to your fingers. You should have no problem with a finger accidentally blocking out some of the light from the flash unit.

The LCD Screen and Taking Photos with the Camera Up High

The LCD screen quality is average.

One feature you may find comes in handy occasionally is the Panasonic High Angle screen setting. When you place the screen in high angle mode it becomes easier for you to see if you need to hold the camera up above eye level to take a shot. This can happen if you are trying to take a photograph over the top of a crowd.

Shutter Delay and Camera Turn On Times

The time taken to turn the camera on and take the first picture is quite rapid. The time taken to capture a single shot is about average, as are times to fire off a quick burst of shots and to take pictures when flash is being used.

Controls on Top of the Camera

There are four controls on the top of the Lumix DMC FS35. These are an on / off switch, shutter button, zoom ring and an easy zoom button. When you press the easy zoom button the lens automatically zooms in to its maximum capacity. If it is already zoomed right in it will automatically zoom out completely.

Controls on the Back of The Camera

Near the top is a switch for placing the Lumix DMC FS35 in review mode. Next is a button to change the shooting mode. Below this comes the main circular control area. This area has a control on each of its four compass points. These are to set exposure compensation, activate the self timer, place the camera in macro mode and select the flash mode. In the centre is a button to access the menu system and confirm a setting. The final two buttons change the information on the LCD screen and to access the main features in a mini menu. When the Lumix DMC FS35 is in review mode this button is used to delete an unwanted image.

What's Missing?

There is no dedicated button to start shooting a movie. Although these are not available on every digital camera they are becoming increasingly common. The advantage of a dedicated movie button is that you do not have to first place the camera in movie mode before you are able to start recording your movie.

What's in the Menu?

The main menu runs to four pages and has a total of 14 options. Help text runs along the bottom of the LCD Screen in a ticker that explains a selected menu option. There is also a setup menu. This runs to 16 menus options.

Product Shots

Front View

Panasonic DMC FS35 Front View

Back View

Panasonic DMC FS35 Back View

Top View

Panasonic DMC FS35 Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4