With a sleek design, fast performance, some great features including 720p video and a low price, we could live with the unremarkable image quality.
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.
|CCD effective megapixels
|Viewfinder magnification, coverage
|LCD screen size
|LCD screen resolution
|Zoom 35mm equivalent
|optical, sensor shift
|Maximum image resolution
|Maximum movie resolution
|Movie frame rate at max quality
|JPEG; QuickTime (M-JPEG)
|Battery Life (tested)
|USB, AV, component, DC in
|HDMI output resolution
|Focal length multiplier
|Kit lens model name
|USB and AV cables
|one year RTB
|8 to 1/1,300 seconds
|f/3.3 to f/5.9
|ISO range (at full resolution)
|80 to 1600
|auto, 4 presets, manual
|Additional image controls
|Closest macro focus
|multi, centre, tracking, face detect
|multi, face detect
|auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
|single, continuous, self-timer