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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 review

Ben Pitt
22 Mar 2010
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
130
inc VAT

With a sleek design, fast performance, some great features including 720p video and a low price, we could live with the unremarkable image quality.

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Specifications

1/2.33in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 4.6x zoom (28-128mm equivalent), 131g

The FP8’s aluminium body is slim, stylish and reassuringly tough. We love the red finish, but it’s also available in black or silver.

It’s remarkably well equipped for such aa cheap camera. Battery life is great at 380 shots, and the optical stabilisation system is exceptionally effective, keeping around 80 per cent of shots sharp when zoomed right in and using a 1/8-second shutter speed. The 720p HD video mode is another highlight, with sharp details, low noise, smooth automatic exposure, continuous autofocus and access to the optical zoom. Sound quality isn’t fantastic but it doesn’t spoil the show.

Performance is excellent, too. We measured just 1.5 seconds between switching on and capturing a shot, and subsequent frames arrived every 1.7 seconds. The 1.5fps continuous mode lasted for just three shots, but after a couple of seconds it was ready to capture three more.

It’s also efficient when it comes to adjusting settings, with a Quick Menu button providing direct access to key photographic options. The buttons are backlit for visibility in low light but their labels aren’t, so this is only helpful once you’ve learned what they all do. The screen could be better too, with poor colour reproduction when viewed at anything other than head on.

The lens and digital image processing performed superbly in our tests, producing sharp details and natural colours in a wide range of shooting conditions. The sensor was the weak point, though, exhibiting a little noise even in bright light and lots of it when low light demanded high ISO speeds. Panasonic’s noise reduction did an excellent job of disguising it, though, and overall, image quality was better than average for a camera with a 12-megapixel 1/2.3in sensor. The superior stabilisation helped, too, as it meant that high ISO sensitivities were less often necessary.

We can’t bring ourselves to recommend this camera unreservedly because of its noise problems. However, if your budget is tight and HD video is a must, the FP8 is an excellent choice.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
CCD effective megapixels12.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.33in
Viewfindernone
Viewfinder magnification, coverageN/A
LCD screen size2.7in
LCD screen resolution230,000 pixels
Articulated screenNo
Live viewYes
Optical zoom4.6x
Zoom 35mm equivalent28-128mm
Image stabilisationoptical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution4,000x3,000
Maximum movie resolution1280x720
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; QuickTime (M-JPEG)

Physical

Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied40MB internal
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)380 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV, component, DC in
HDMI output resolutionN/A
Body materialaluminium
Lens mountN/A
Focal length multiplier5.6x
Kit lens model nameN/A
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables
Weight131g
Size60x96x20mm

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£130
Supplierhttp://www.play.com
Detailswww.panasonic.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modesauto
Shutter speed8 to 1/1,300 seconds
Aperture rangef/3.3 to f/5.9
ISO range (at full resolution)80 to 1600
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 4 presets, manual
Additional image controlsdynamic range
Manual focusNo
Closest macro focus5cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, tracking, face detect
Metering modesmulti, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer