Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH27 digital camera
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH27 review: A digital camera that has a good lens but a fiddly touchscreen
- Good quality lens
- Fast zoom
- Poor touchscreen
- Mediocre image quality
Panasonic's LUMIX DMC-FH27 is a compact digital camera that has a good 8x Leica-branded zoom lens. However, the 3in touchscreen can be a pain to operate and doesn't offer many advantages over traditional buttons. The camera's 16-megapixel sensor is also average at best, with poor quality movies and images that are only at their best when there's good lighting.
Price$ 349.00 (AUD)
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH27 is a compact digital camera that gets the job done for general-purpose photography, but we feel it could have been a lot better with some changes to controls. Its lens is a good quality Leica-branded 8x zoom which operates quickly and takes sharp pictures. The 16-megapixel sensor is only able to provide noise-free images when it's taking a photo in bright lighting, though.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH27: Design
The LUMIX DMC-FH27 is very simply laid out — all physical controls are on the camera's top, with a zoom rocker and shutter button, power switch and 'E.Zoom' button all the controls on offer. Every other function is controlled by the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH27's 3in touchscreen, which has a good-but-not-great 230,000pixel resolution. The battery of the Panasonic LUMJIX DMC-FH37 is good for 2050 shots according to Panasonic, but we'd expect that real world use would drive this to around the 200-photo mark.
We found the touchscreen to be more trouble than it was worth, despite the advantage it offers in selecting where to focus easily. Physical, tactile controls are always more intuitive and easy to operate quickly than a touchscreen interface, and this was apparent in the slow speed with which we navigated the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH27's menu structure. Using a touchscreen also means multiple presses are required to change simple options like disabling the flash, where a physical directional pad only takes a couple of taps — and there were a few instances where we had to tap the LUMIX DMC-FH27's screen hard for an input to register.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH27: Picture quality and performance
When you're looking at pictures taken with the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH27 on a computer at full resolution, you can see graininess and digital noise reduction smoothing out parts of the image. This is a trait common to all photos taken with compact digital cameras, though — only large-sensor digital cameras and digital SLRs escape excessive noise reduction.
Images taken at the base ISO of 100 and at ISO 200 are reasonably detailed, and you can see good levels of detail in macro shots. ISO 400 and 800 are acceptable although there's a slight colour cast and significant colour noise as well as increasing levels of graininess. The camera's maximum ISO of 1600 is very grainy and excessive noise reduction smears out significant amounts of detail.
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH27's Leica-branded 8x zoom length, with a focal range of 28mm-224mm, has a reasonably wide maximum field of view. The zoom operates quickly and smoothly, and hitting the E.Zoom button quickly runs through the entire zoom range to get you to maximum zoom without delay. The lens is sharp and clear at all focal lengths and we couldn't find any significant faults like barrel distortion.
The LUMIX DMC-FH27 starts up a little slower than competing cameras — we counted 2.8 seconds before we were able to take the first photo. Shot-to-shot times of just over two seconds are slow but not unbearable.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH27: Conclusion
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH27 is an acceptable camera if you don't need to delve into menus and are content to let the camera choose your shooting settings. Its high quality lens means images are sharp and clear and exhibit good colour, but in anything but the best light the 16-megapixel sensor falls short. Photography enthusiasts will find the camera's limitations quickly but casual shooters will be acceptably served.
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