Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42 digital camera

A cheap compact digital camera that does the basics well

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Vibrant colours, cheap, decent low-light performance

Cons

  • Images could be sharper, nothing to make it stand out from the crowd

Bottom Line

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42 is an ultra-affordable compact camera that does the basics well. It might not excel in any one area, but at this price, it's not supposed to. A good choice for skint casual users.

Would you buy this?

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42 is an entry-level compact digital camera aimed at casual photographers and shoppers on a budget. It’s the most modestly priced camera that Panasonic offers, trumping the dirt-cheap Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS62R by $80. As you’d expect, image quality and manual features are not strong points of this camera, but it offers a decent performance for the asking price.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42 is quite attractive for a sub-$200 camera. Okay, so there’s no mistaking it for a Canon IXUS 120 IS or Leica C-LUX 3, but it cuts an elegant figure nonetheless. There are three different colours to choose from: black, silver and pink.

Measuring 98x55x22mm and weighing a mere 112g, the DMC-FS42 strikes a good balance between portability and usability — it’s neither too small, nor too large. This helps to keep the user interface roomy and uncluttered, with decent sized buttons.

Despite its small size, the 2.5in LCD display does a good job of displaying images -- handy for passing around amongst friends. You can even add dinky borders to the frame before shooting, if you like that sort of thing.

Like the DMC-FS62R, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42 produces acceptable results, especially for unfussy shooters. The 10.1-megapixel CCD sensor is capable of taking surprisingly vivid images that are more than suitable for medium-sized printing. Despite being a little on the soft side, our test shots exhibited no glaring flaws (unlike certain other entry-level cameras we could name). Naturally, the DMC-FS42 works best in bright, sunny environments, with noise coming to the fore at ISO 400 and above.

If you can stomach the presence of grain, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42 does a pretty good job in dim environments, too. When we used the camera at night, it captured a fair amount of detail in shadowy, dimly lit areas. Unlike the DMC-FS62R, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42 lacks an optical image stabiliser. This means you’ll need to employ a tripod or keep a steady hand when using slow shutter speeds.

But this is a pretty small quibble — compared to other cameras in its price range, there really isn’t much to complain about. The 4x optical zoom lens is nothing to sniff at either. (Most entry-level units offer 3x optical zooms.)

Like many budget-level point-and-shoot cameras, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42 doesn’t have any manual modes to speak of. Thankfully, the Intelligent Scene Selector does a good job of adjusting shutter speed and exposure on the fly. For those who prefer a slightly more ‘hands-on’ approach, a brace of scene modes, colour effects and white balance presets await you in the menu screen. Naturally, face detection is also included, along with Intelligent ISO (which delivered mixed results) and a so-so SD video mode.

All up, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42 is an average all-rounder that neither wows nor disappoints when it comes to image quality and features. Nevertheless, it remains well-worth considering thanks to the ultra-low asking price.

Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: Panasonic, photography, digital cameras
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?