Panasonic DMC FS40 Review

Simple and Easy

14 Megapixels    5x Zoom

Dimensions: 96.4 x 55.5 x 19.9mm    Weight: 119g

Good Points: Picture quality, fast shutter response, small size, value for money

Bad Points: Wide angle shots can lose sharpness


Panasonic DMC FS40 Shutter Lag Rating fast Ease of Use easy Camera Name Rating

Overview

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FS40 is a simple, pocket camera with a low price tag. Based on the features it has, picture quality and ease of use it offers very good value for money. In fact it is hard to beat if you are looking for a relatively inexpensive camera to slip into your pocket.

It has 14 megapixels and a 5x optical zoom lens.

Compared with other digital cameras at this price point the Lumix DMC FS40 has the following:

Plus Points

  • HD Movies
  • Fast Shutter Response Times
  • Image Stabilisation
  • Easy Facebook / YouTube Upload
  • Extra Zoom feature to increase zoom to a maximum 10.5x

Negative Points
  • No 360 degree panoramas

Why Buy the Panasonic DMC FS40

The Lumix DMC FS40 performs very well for a cheaper digital camera. It has a few extra features and picture quality compares well against rival models. It offers very good value for money.

Features

Megapixels and Zoom

This camera has 14 megapixels and a 5x optical zoom lens. The Extra Zoom feature gives you added flexibility as you can choose to reduce the number of megapixels you are using in order to increase the amount of zoom available to you. A maximum 10.5x zoom becomes available when shooting at 3 megapixels and below.

Memory Cards

You can use SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards. There is also a small amount of built in memory for emergencies.

Batteries

Power is supplied by a lithium ion battery. Both the battery and a charger are supplied as standard. Panasonic suggest you can take up to 280 pictures before the battery needs recharging.

Movie Mode

High Definition movies can be recorded. These have a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and a maximum recording speed of 30 frames per second.

LCD Screen

The LCD screen is 2.7 inches in size.

Shooting Modes

There are a number of preset shooting modes you can use. The benefit of these modes is that when you indicate to the camera the type of photo you are about to take it has a better chance of selecting the ideal settings for the shot. The shooting modes are Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Food, Baby 1, Baby 2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Glass Through and Photo Frame.

Macro Mode

For close up shots the Lumix DMC FS40 can focus from 5cm away from your subject.

Uploading Photos and Movie Clips

The camera is supplied with software that makes it easy for you to upload your still photos and movie clips to Facebook and YouTube.

Image Quality

Picture Quality Summary

The Lumix DMC FS40 performs well in most situations compared with other simple, pocket cameras. You should be able to take plenty of bright, colourful pictures with this camera.

As you might expect for a camera at this level there are one or two issues with picture quality, but these are only likely to become noticeable if you plan to make quite large prints.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

This scene is challenging owing to the high levels of contrast between the light and dark areas in the shot. In the main these are handled well. There are high levels of detail showing in the lightest areas of the photo and the camera scores highly for sharpness too.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

Panasonic have pushed technology to the edge with the lens they have used for the Lumix DMC FS40. The lens has a minimum focal length of 24mm. What this means is that the lens is very good at squeezing in wide scenes. This is likely to be attractive to you if you plan to photograph landscapes or groups of people. The downside of having a lens capable of such wide angle shots is that it often leads to a loss of picture quality, especially in cheaper digital cameras.

That proves true here. This is the weakest of the test shots taken with the Lumix DMC FS40. There is a softness to the focusing as you move towards the edges that is quite marked and there is also purple fringing showing too. This is where a purple line is added to the edge of bright objects where they are caught by light from the sun.

These issues probably sound a lot worse than they are. These imperfections are unlikely to show in your photos as long as you keep print sizes relatively small. It is also worth bearing in mind that these are common problems with entry level digital cameras.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

Using full zoom eradicates most of the problems of the previous shot. Sharpness levels are good, especially towards the centre of the shot.

Outdoor Building

Overall this is a sharply focused shot with a good level of detail showing in the brickwork. There is a small loss of sharpness towards the edges, but not to a level where it is likely to show in reasonably sized prints. All in all this is another example where the Lumix DMC FS40 outperforms digital cameras with a similar price tag.

Outdoor Portrait

Working closer in is no problem for the camera. It handles portrait shots well, as do most digital cameras. There is a natural look to the skin tones and the Lumix DMC FS40 is capable of producing portrait shots with a touch of warmth.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

Light is spread evenly over the face. The amount of light used is controlled well and ensures that plenty of colour is retained in the skin tones and any washed out look is avoided.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

You should be able to produce window lit portraits without the need to use flash. In darker situations indoors, flash is likely to be required to improve picture quality.

Macro

You can't really expect macro perfection at this price point, but the Lumix DMC FS40 is capable of producing some impressive close up shots. It is able to isolate your main subject by throwing the rest of the photo out of focus. You will be hard pressed to find a camera capable of delivering better macro quality at this price.

Colours

The pictures produced by the Lumix DMC FS40 are colourful without the colours being too strong. If you wish to fine tune the colours in your photos this camera has a white balance setting of shady. This setting is not always available with other brands. This can help to pep up the colours when required.

Noise

Noise levels are kept to a minimum. You can expect to see some noise in larger prints when you are taking pictures in lowlight or there are shady areas in your photos, but on the whole noise should not be an issue.

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Canon Powershot A4000 IS Rating 84/100

You get quite a lot for your money with the Canon Powershot A4000 IS. If you only plan to make small sized prints or share your photos on the Internet you may not see a great deal of difference between the photos taken with this camera and those taken with other models available at around the same price. What you might notice is that the pictures have a touch more clarity. This is likely to become more evident if you make larger prints. To sum up, if you are looking for a handy compact camera, at a reasonable price, that can cope very well with most photo opportunities this camera is hard to beat.

Read Review: Canon Powershot A4000 IS Review

Panasonic DMC S5 Rating 84/100

If you are looking for a cheap pocket sized digital camera it is difficult to find one offering better picture quality than the Panasonic Lumix DMC S5. It is such a small camera and very easy to use. It is almost the ideal snapshot camera if you do not want to spend a great deal of money.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC S5 Review

Panasonic DMC S3 Rating 84/100

The Panasonic Lumix DMC S3 is an excellent value for money pocket camera. It is very hard to beat when compared alongside its direct rivals. Picture quality and features have an edge over many of its competitors while the rapid response times are also a big plus point. If you are looking for a cheaper compact digital camera then you can’t go far wrong with the Lumix DMC S3.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC S3 Review

Related Pages

Panasonic DMC FS40 Specification

Panasonic DMC FS40 Sample Images

Digital Camera Reviews

Panasonic Digital Cameras

Review Date

Review Date: April 2012

Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FS40 offers very good value for money. It has a few extra features compared to rival cameras and takes a good quality snapshot. You will be hard pressed to beat it at this price level. This camera offers point and shoot simplicity at its best.

Ratings

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

9
8
8
8
8

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

Total:

8
8
8
8
9

82

Main Features

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

14
5x
2.7 inches
96.4 x 55.5 x 19.9mm
119g
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:

0.23 seconds
7.79 seconds
0.49 seconds
13.96 seconds
2.49 seconds

Shutter Lag Table

Handling

General Handling

Despite its small size you can still take a good hold of the Lumix DMC FS40. By using a zoom ring on top of the camera rather than using more standard zoom buttons, Panasonic have created extra space in the back of the camera for you to place your thumb. The thumb area is also stippled. This gives you a little extra help when it comes to ensuring a good grip.

Flash Positioning

The flash unit is found at the top of the camera and is offset from the centre. In many ways this is the ideal position as it is out the way of any fingers.

LCD Screen Quality

The LCD screen quality is about standard for this price level. You should be able to see the screen clearly enough except when the screen is in direct sunlight.

Turn on Time and Shutter Delay

The Lumix DMC FS40 has some very impressive shutter response times. These are 0.23 seconds for a single photo and 7.79 seconds for five shots. Times with flash are hard to beat too. These are 0.49 seconds for a single photo and 13.96 seconds for five photos. The camera also managed a fast turn on time of 2.49 seconds.

Design and Build Quality

In terms of looks the Lumix DMC FS40 is a fairly typical pocket camera. The edges are rounded off. It is available in black, yellow, pink and blue. Build quality is inline with what you can expect from an entry level digital camera.

Camera Controls

On the top on the camera is an on / off button and the shutter button. A ring for controlling zooming in and out wraps round the shutter button.

On the back of the camera sits the main control section. This circular area has controls for exposure compensation, setting flash, changing the LCD display and setting the self timer. In the centre of the section is a button for accessing the menu system and confirming a selection. There are three other buttons on the back of the camera. These are for selecting the shooting mode, reviewing images and deleting unwanted photos.

Product Shots

Front View

Panasonic DMC FS40 Front View

Back View

Panasonic DMC FS40 Back View

Top View

Panasonic DMC FS40 Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4