Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS16 review
Dependable photo and video quality, great controls and a stylish design; a strong contender that just misses out on an award.
Review Date: 20 May 2011
Price when reviewed: £120
Reviewed By: Ben Pitt
It's not unusual to find a camera with a 14-megapixel sensor, 4x wide-angle zoom lens, 720p video recording and 2.7in screen for just £120, but they're rarely as stylish as the FS16. With its aluminium shell measuring just 19mm from front to back, it could easily pass for a premium compact camera.
The plastic buttons around the back give the game away, but these controls are a pleasure to use. A Q.MENU button provides quick access to the autofocus area, white balance, ISO speed, continuous mode and various other settings without having to delve into the main menu. Unlike many cameras at this price, the camera responds instantly to button pushes, so changing these settings takes a second or two whereas it can take 10 or more seconds elsewhere. We also like the physical switches for power and playback, which for some reason feel more satisfying to use than buttons.
There are no bells or whistles on the 720p video mode, with fixed zoom and focus for the duration of clips, basic M-JPEG compression and maximum clip lengths of just over eight minutes. However, both picture and sound quality were excellent. This camera won't replace a dedicated camcorder but for occasional clips it doesn't disappoint.
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