The Panasonic Lumix DMC FS45 is a no fuss pocket camera. It is available for a comparatively low price. Picture quality compares well against other digital cameras in this price bracket. This camera is also easy to use. There are a couple of extra features that help to make the Lumix DMC FS45 an attractive proposition compared to other digital camera that are available for a similar price.
At 19mm wide you should have no problem slipping this camera into your pocket. It is also a lightweight camera weighing in at 123g when the battery and a memory card are loaded.
Compared with other digital cameras at this price point the Lumix DMC FS45 has the following:
The Lumix DMC FS45 has a couple of features that help it to stand out against its immediate competition. Add in the fact that picture quality is a bit better than most cameras at this price point and you have a camera that is very good value for money.
Megapixels and Zoom
The Lumix DMC FS45 has 16 megapixels and a 5x zoom lens. The lens has a focal length equivalent to 24 - 120mm in 35mm format. One of the attractions of Panasonic digital cameras is that they usually offer a feature called Extra Zoom. Extra Zoom allows you to swap megapixels for zoom. Unless you are planning to make extremely large prints or to crop your photos then you will not necessarily need 16 megapixels. Therefore when some extra zoom would come in useful you can reduce the number of megapixels you are using and more zoom becomes available. The maximum zoom available is 11.3x at 3 megapixels.
You can use SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards to store your photos.
A lithium ion battery provides power. Panasonic suggest you should be able to take up to 260 pictures before recharging is required.
The Lumix DMC FS45 can produce High Definition movie clips. These have a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels.
The LCD screen is 3 inches in size.
The predefined scene modes available to use are Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Food, / Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Glass Through and Photo Frame.
For close up work you can focus from 5cm away from your subject.
Panasonic have built image stabilisation into the camera. This helps to reduce any unintentional picture blur caused by the camera not being completely still when a picture is taken.
Picture Quality Summary
The Lumix DMC FS45 copes well with the majority of photo opportunities. The only test shot it really struggles with is when the lens is zoomed right out. That is a test where most digital cameras find the going tougher.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
The first test shot checks to see how the camera copes with a scene where there are high levels of contrast. There are plenty of very light areas as well as lots of shade. The Lumix DMC FS45 does well when it comes to the lightest areas of the shot with good levels of detail showing on the boats. The detail showing in the shady areas is inline with expectations.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
This scene puts digital cameras under a lot of pressure, especially those at the cheaper end of the market like the Lumix DMC FS45. Digital cameras often lose sharpness as you move out towards the edges of the shot. In addition purple fringing (where a purple line is added to the edge of objects) often appears.
That is the case with this camera. This is clearly the weakest test shot of the group. There is a noticeable loss of sharpness towards the edges of the shot. What does this mean for you? Although you should be able to make larger prints of other types of shots such as portraits you may need to be careful with print sizes for wide scene photos. You are unlikely to see too many problems if you keep any prints to snapshot size. Likewise if you are planning to use your photos for sharing on the Internet then you are unlikely to be able to detect these problems.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
Picture quality improves when you zoom right in. There is still a small loss of sharpness as you reach the edges of the photo, but not enough to be significant. Purple fringing is minimal in this shot.
Using around 50% of the zoom gives optimum picture quality. The resolution of this shot is far superior to that shown in the second test shot. There is still a small amount of slippage when it comes to sharpness out towards the edges, but this is unlikely to be enough to cause any problems.
Moving in closer removes all the problems that the more distant scenes create. Focusing is sharp from edge to edge. Panasonic include an extra white balance setting of shady compared with most camera brands. You can try this setting if you would like the colours in your photos to have a little boost.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
This is another shot where the Lumix DMC FS45 does well. There are no problems with sharpness and the light from the flash unit is evenly spread. Another plus point is the amount of colour showing in the skin tones.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
Without flash the Lumix DMC FS45 produces a shot that is above average fro this type of digital camera. The definition showing in the picture is impressive and noise is kept under control.
Although it is asking for too much to see the perfect macro shot with this level of camera this is a decent effort. You should be able to produce good quality macro snapshots.
Panasonic digital cameras produce vivid, well balanced colours. There is no longer that much difference between the main brands when it comes to colours.
Noise levels are controlled well when you take into account the price tag of this camera. As ever noise can show in darker areas of photos and in photos taken in lowlight, but this is an area where the Lumix DMC FS45 has an edge over similar digital cameras.
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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.
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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.
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Canon Powershot A2400 IS Rating 83/100
The Canon Powershot A2400 IS gives you a clear choice between a camera that has the edge when it comes to picture quality and ones with the latest bells and whistles. Picture quality is likely to be hard to beat at this price point.
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Review Date: April 2012
If your are looking for a no fuss pocket sized digital camera that can take a decent snapshot then the Panasonic Lumix DMC FS45 is a good choice. When it comes to picture quality it is able to match or better its main rivals. The features it offers also compare well with other cameras available for around the same price. The 3 inch LCD screen and the flexibility that comes from the Extra Zoom feature help to make this camera that bit more appealing too. All in all the Lumix DMC FS45 offers good vale for money.
Ease of Use:
Value for Money:
96 x 57.1 x 19.4mm
SD / SDHC / SDXC
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:
The buttons on the back of the camera are on the small side. This may make them a bit fiddly. The upside of that is that it means there is extra room on the back of the camera for thumb placement. Panasonic have created a small stippled area where your thumb goes. This makes the area non slip. You should have no problem gripping the camera when you are taking pictures.
The flash unit is off centre towards the top of the camera. This is the ideal position to avoid any stray fingers blocking out light.
LCD Screen Quality
The quality of the screen is inline with most cameras in this price bracket. What makes it different is the slightly larger size at 3 inches as opposed to the more standard 2.7 inches. That may not sound like very much, but it can help when composing and reviewing your photos.
Turn on Time and Shutter Delay
For a cheaper compact camera the response times are impressive. A single shot was timed at 0.25 seconds. Five shots took 7.48 seconds. Turning flash on slows the camera down as you might expect, but times are still very respectable. With flash a single shot took 0.53 seconds and five shots took 10.3 seconds. Turn on times were good too. To turn on the camera and take the first shot took 2.2 seconds.
Design and Build Quality
There is not a lot that marks out the Lumix DMC FS45 as different to all the other smaller compact cameras you can choose from. Panasonic have rounded off the edges and the lens is the dominant feature on the front of the camera. It is the same when it comes to build quality. It appears to be a solidly built camera without feeling radically different to other models.
On the top of the camera sit the on / off button, a shutter button and a button to record movies. A ring to control zooming in and out encircles the shutter button.
On the back if the camera is a switch to review photos. Beneath that is a button to select the shooting mode. This is followed by the main control area. At the four points of the control area you have access to exposure compensation, setting flash, placing the camera in macro mode and exposure compensation. In the centre of this area is a button to access the menu system and confirm a setting. Towards the bottom of the camera is a button to change the LCD screen display and one to delete photos. This button is also used to display a menu of the most popular functions.