Panasonic DMC S5 Review

Simple and Easy

16 Megapixels    4x Zoom

Dimensions: 97.9 x 56.6 x 20.6mm    Weight: 112g

Good Points: Picture quality, small size, value for money

Bad Points: Blue tint to indoor shots under artificial lighting


Panasonic DMC S5 Shutter Lag Rating slow Ease of Use easy Camera Name Rating

Overview

The Panasonic Lumix DMC S5 is small enough to fit into a tight pocket. In addition it is one of the cheapest pocket sized cameras available from a known brand.

As you might expect the Lumix DMC S5 does not have all the latest, advanced features. The advantage of this is it helps to make sure it is easy to use.

On top of size, price and ease of use another attraction is picture quality. It takes a surprisingly good snapshot for its price. In fact picture quality is better than a lot of more expensive cameras produce.

Compared with other pocket digital cameras at this price point the Lumix DMC S5 has the following:

Plus Points

  • Image Stabilisation
  • High Definition Movies
  • Extra Zoom to boost zoom up to 9x
  • Image Upload software for Facebook and YouTube

Negative Points

  • No 3D photos

Why Buy the Panasonic DMC S5

If you are not looking to pay out for a really expensive digital camera, but would still like a touch of quality when it comes to taking a picture this could well be your ideal digital camera.

Features

Megapixels and Zoom

The Lumix DMC S5 has 16 megapixels and a 4x zoom lens. The lens has a focal length equivalent to 28 -112mm in 35mm format. Panasonic have also added a feature called extra zoom. This gives you the option to reduce the number of megapixels you are using and getting more zoom instead. This works on a sliding scale with an increasing amount of zoom becoming available as you decrease megapixels. The maximum zoom available is 9x zoom at 3 megapixels. 3 megapixels should still be enough for you to make a small, 6 x 4 inch print.

Memory Cards

Images can be stored on SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards.

Batteries

A rechargeable lithium ion battery is used to power the camera. Panasonic supply the battery and all you need to charge it with the camera.

Movie Mode

You can shoot High Definition Movies. The maximum resolution is 1280 x 720 pixels.

LCD Screen

The LCD screen is 2.7 inches in size.

Scene Modes

Scene modes help you take better pictures. When you use a scene mode, the camera knows the type of picture you are about to take. It then uses what it considers to be the optimum settings for the shot. The scene modes available with the Lumix DMC S5 are: Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Food, / Baby1(birthday only), Baby2(birthday only), Pet(birthday only), / Sunset, High Sensitivity, Glass Through and Photo Frame.

Macro Mode

For when you need to get very close in the camera can focus from 5cm away from your subject.

Image Stabilisation

Panasonic have equipped the Lumix DMC S5 with Image Stabilisation. This helps to compensate for any slight movement of the camera when you are taking a picture. It should lead to sharper looking shots.

Uploading Images to the Internet

Special Image Uploader software comes with the camera. This makes it easier for you to upload still photos and movie clips to websites such as Facebook and YouTube.

Image Quality

Picture Quality Summary

The Lumix DMC S5 performs much better than a number of more expensive digital cameras. It can handle most photo opportunities you are likely to come across. Based purely on picture quality this camera is a bit of a bargain.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

There are a number of plus points on display in this picture. Noise levels are controlled well in areas of light shade. This helps to improve the overall clarity of the shot. Focusing is sharp and is maintained well as you move towards the edges. There is some loss of detail showing on the boats where they are under direct sunlight. The level of detail lost is controlled well for a camera with a low price tag.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

This is a pleasant looking photo with plenty of blue showing in the sky. Focusing is a lot better than many cameras manage, especially away from the centre of the shot. Part of the reason for this is the type of lens Panasonic have used. Although it is capable of photographing wide scenes like this one they have not pushed the lens to extremes.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

Zooming in works just as well as zooming all the way out. The resulting shot is surprisingly sharp.

Outdoor Building

As in some of the other tests this camera manages to produce a level of quality other cameras struggle to match. A plus point with Panasonic digital cameras is that even their cheapest models have extra focusing options. Although you may not want to keep dipping into the menu to change settings you will be rewarded with a touch of extra sharpness in your shots.

Outdoor Portrait

A number of digital camera were tested at the same time and in the same conditions. The majority of the cameras were a lot more expensive than the Lumix DMC S5. Despite that this camera outperforms the majority of those cameras. Most of that is down to the amount of colour and brightness that the camera manages to pack into the shot.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

The flash unit used in this type of digital camera is not the most powerful you are likely to find. This test shot show that as long as you are able to get relatively close to your subject there is more than enough power available. The subject is evenly lit with enough light available to brighten the hair and show its true colour.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

Panasonic digital cameras often show a blue tint when used indoors under artificial lighting. You may be able to get round this by adjusting the white balance setting, but ideally it would correct the problem automatically.

Macro

This camera is fine if all you are after is the occasional close up snapshot. It is hard to ask for much more from this type of camera.

Colours

The colours produced are impressive throughout the tests. They help to give the pictures a vibrant look. This is true for the outdoor scenic type shots, the outdoor portrait, the portrait with flash and the macro shot.

Noise

There are no issues with noise. Sure if you are taking photographs when the light is poor or if there is heavy shade in your photos you may see some noise. For such a simple compact camera noise is handled well.

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 S5 Specification

Panasonic DMC S5 Sample Images

Digital Camera Reviews

Panasonic Digital Cameras

Review Date

Review Date: July 2012

Verdict

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.

Ratings

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

9
7
8
8
9

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

Total:

9
8
8
8
10

84

Main Features

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

16
4x
2.7 inches
97.9 x 56.6 x 20.6mm
112g
5cm
Yes
No
Lithium Ion
SD / SDHC / SDXC

Shutter Lag Times

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

0.45 seconds
9.93 seconds
0.47 seconds
10.09 seconds
2.6 seconds

Shutter Lag Table

Handling

General Handling

When you pick up this camera you get the impression of it having an extremely small size. The buttons on the back of the camera are quite small and it is not always easy to see the symbols on them. In terms of the layout Panasonic have ensured there is enough room for your fingers and thumbs. This makes it easy to hold the camera steady when you are taking a photo.

Flash Positioning

Panasonic tend to position their flash units to the left of centre when you look at the camera. This positioning works well. It makes it quite difficult to accidently block out any light from the flash.

LCD Screen Quality

I found the screen quality to be good. Although conditions were bright when I used the camera I was able to view the screen easily.

Turn on Time and Shutter Delay

Turn on times and shutter lag are standard for this type of digital camera. Unlike a lot of digital cameras the Lumix DMC S5 does not slow down very much when flash is being used.

Build Quality

The build quality is fairly typical for this level of digital camera. Areas that sometimes cause concern such as the battery compartment door seem durable enough as long as you handle them sensibly.

Camera Controls

As this is such a simple camera there are not a great deal of buttons and controls. On the top you have the on / off and shutter buttons. On the back there is the zoom control, as wells as buttons to change the shooting mode, review images and delete images. The main control section gives you access to exposure compensation, setting flash, changing the LCD screen display information, setting the self timer, accessing the menu and confirming a setting.

Product Shots

Front View

Panasonic DMC S5 Front View

Back View

Panasonic DMC S5 Back View

Top View

Panasonic DMC S5 Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4

Buy the Panasonic DMC S5

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GBP 49.99
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