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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 review

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.

Specifications

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

http://www.play.com

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 megapixels 12.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.33in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 2.7in
LCD screen resolution 230,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 4.6x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 28-128mm
Image stabilisation optical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution 4,000×3,000
Maximum movie resolution 1280×720
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG; QuickTime (M-JPEG)

Physical

Memory slot SDHC
Mermory supplied 40MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 380 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, component, DC in
HDMI output resolution N/A
Body material aluminium
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier 5.6x
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 131g
Size 60x96x20mm

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £130
Supplier http://www.play.com
Details www.panasonic.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed 8 to 1/1,300 seconds
Aperture range f/3.3 to f/5.9
ISO range (at full resolution) 80 to 1600
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 4 presets, manual
Additional image controls dynamic range
Manual focus No
Closest macro focus 5cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, tracking, face detect
Metering modes multi, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer