Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FS7 digital camera

A small Panasonic digital camera that's perfect for inexperienced photographers

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Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FS7
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FS7
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FS7
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FS7

Pros

  • Excellent focusing, crisp picture quality, easy to use, 25 scene modes

Cons

  • No built-in panorama mode

Bottom Line

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FS7 has every feature that a novice user might require and its features work as advertised. It's worth considering this digital camera if you don't want to spend more money on a model with a bigger zoom lens or a higher megapixel count.

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Panasonic's LUMIX DMC-FS7 is a compact digital camera that's simple to use, and it takes excellent photos. It has a minimal set of controls, it's small enough to slide into a side pocket, and it's well suited to taking photos at parties and other casual outings.

The LUMIX DMC-FS7 is one of three different 10-megapixel cameras in Panasonic's compact range (the others being the LUMIX DMC-FS62-R and LUMIX DMC-FS42-K). Although it has similar photo-taking credentials to those cameras, it has a larger 2.7in LCD screen (as opposed to a 2.5in screen). You also get more scene modes, which give you better flexibility when taking photos at night or in bright conditions. Furthermore, you get cool features such as film grain mode and pin-hole mode, which allow you to take really nice black and white photos and photos with vignetting.

Along with a 10-megapixel sensor, the LUMIX DMC-FS7 has a 33mm zoom lens, which has a 4x optical zoom that can reach up to 132mm (35mm equivalent focal length). This makes the LUMIX DMC-FS7 a good all-round compact camera, but its zoom range might be a little too short if you're looking for a camera to take on an overseas trip. For travelling you're better off opting for something with a little more reach, such as the Panasonic LUMIX TZ7, which will allow you to get much better close-ups of buildings and landmarks than the DMC-FS7.

To start shooting with the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FS7, you can choose one of the scene modes, or from normal or intelligent auto modes. Intelligent auto mode takes care of every exposure setting for you, while normal lets you adjust the ISO speed, white balance, image stabilisation mode and focus mode. Like all compact cameras these days, the LUMIX DMC-FS7 has face recognition, and it works brilliantly. It picks up faces almost immediately and can track them across the screen if they are moving. It also detects multiple faces and different sized faces without any problems.

The automatic focusing mode is very intuitive: you don't even need to press the shutter button halfway in order to see your subject in focus. The camera will continually focus as you move it; the LCD viewfinder will display whatever you are aiming the camera at in focus, all of the time. This makes the LUMIX DMC-FS7 one of the easiest digital cameras to just pick up and use — especially if you've never used a camera before because. Even if you forget to press the shutter halfway before taking a picture, the focus will still be okay.

In our tests, the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FS7 produced crisp and vibrant photos. Colours were rich and tones were accurate. Noise was not an issue below ISO 400, but the camera performed very well with slow shutter speeds, so it can be used effectively in low-light situations where you don't want to use the flash. Pictures taken with a shutter speed as slow as 1/8th of a second while holding the camera were surprisingly clear and indicate that the built-in optical image stabilisation does its job very well.

The LUMIX DMC-FS7 has an automatic aperture range of f/2.8 to f/8.0 at its wide angle and f/5.9 to f/16 when it's zoomed in (you can't change the aperture manually). The wide aperture of f/2.8 is useful for low-light shots, and it also means that the LUMIX DMC-FS7 can produce good depth of field. You can easily take macro images with clear foreground images and nicely blurred backgrounds. They can be taken from a couple of centimetres away from your subject; any closer and the camera will not be able to focus.

The only thing the LUMIX DMC-FS7 lacks is a built-in panorama mode. Apart from that, it has every feature that a novice user might require and its features work as advertised. It's worth considering this camera if you don't want to spend more money on a model with a bigger zoom lens or a higher resolution.

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