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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS18 review

An affordable introduction to simple, quality digital photography

Our Verdict

The FS18 is ideal for those looking to give young teenagers or older family members an introduction to digital photography

For

  • iA mode works very well
  • Price
  • Ease of use
  • Size
  • Image quality

Against

  • No dedicated Movie button for instant switching
  • Maximum ISO 1600
  • You Tube / Facebook software is Windows only

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS18 Review: Overview

Panasonic has released the Lumix DMC FS18 as a continuation of the successful Lumix DMC FS range of ultra compact cameras.

The Lumix FS18 is equipped with a Leica DC Vario-Elmar Aspherical 4x optical zoom lens, which covers a useful range of 28mm-112mm, and when combined with the Optical Image Stabilisation gives excellent shake free images.

To maximize image quality, the camera it is equipped with what Panasonic terms Intelligent Resolution Technology. This detects outlines, fine detail and soft gradation and applies different signal processing (sharpening etc) on a pixel by pixel basis.

Panasonic has incorporated 5 shooting modes into the Lumix DMC FS 18, from Intelligent Auto through to HD movie.

Intelligent Auto (iA) is a mode in which the camera attempts to recognise the scene and choose from six pre-loaded scene modes (Portrait, Scenery, Macro, Night Portrait, Night Scenery & Sunset) to apply the appropriate white balance, exposure and sharpening settings.

Intelligent Auto (iA) comes with the option to adjust the colours between Standard, Black & White, Sepia, or if you prefer your images with increased saturation and contrast you can choose Happy. Happy mode can make the greens seem a little over powering in some situations.

Intelligent Auto mode is designed to make photography easy and the scene analysis is quick and accurate, so I expect that most users will choose this mode, as the results are excellent.

Normal mode gives more user choice, with options for Image Stabilisation to be turned on or off, multiple frame burst, the camera to choose from eleven focus-points, manual white balance, ISO choice, image ratio (3:2, 4:3 & 16:9) and file size. There is also a screen option in Normal called High-Angle; when the 2.7" 230k dot screen is viewed normally at this setting it appears bright and low contrast, but when held high in the air; at a concert for example, the on-screen image appears normal and is easy to view. It is a clever idea and works very well.

Next on the menu is a mode called 'Food', an intriguing choice that even offers focus tracking in capabilities.

The last of the still shooting options is Scene containing of 28 scenes to choose from, including useful effects such as Pin-Hole, Film Grain and Panorama assist. The fifth and final shooting choice is Movie, in which the Lumix DMC FS18 can shoot in High Definition (1280x720 pixel) video.

Whether shooting still or movies the 2.7in 230K dot screen gives a clear and accurate live view.

As you would expect for a camera in this class, the Lumix DMC FS18 metering is taken care of by a standard evaluative meter, so user input is minimal. Exposure compensation is available in Normal, Food, Scene and Motion Picture mode to +/- 2EV.

The Lumix DMC FS18 offers up to four focus modes. Firstly there is single point, with the brackets in the centre of the screen; off centre focusing is achieved by half-pressing the shutter button, which locks the exposure and focus, before recomposing, and fully depressing the button takes the shot. The shutter, in all situations, is quick to respond and shutter lag is negligible.

Secondly the 11-point AF facility allows the camera to choose between 11 focus points as the focus point.

Portraits are simplified with Face detection, that finds and focuses on faces. Finally, the Lumix DMC FS18 has focus tracking, which made good attempts to track the subjects, but overall was not as successful as I would have liked, and occasionally I missed a shot.

Panasonic have included the ability for in camera tagging of videos for YouTube and photos for Facebook for a simple upload to these sites, using the included software but it only runs on Windows.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Effective Camera Resolution16.1 Megapixel
USBYes
Wide AngleNo
PictBridgeYes
Product FamilyLumix
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourViolet
Optical Zoom4x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NamePanasonic
FeaturesFace Detection, Continuous Shooting Mode
Screen Size6.9 cm (2.7")
Video FormatsQuickTime Motion JPEG
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)104 g
Image Sensor Size1/2.33" (6.13 mm x 4.60 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4608 x 3456
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height53.5 mm
Width94.3 mm
Depth18.8 mm
Focal Length5 mm to 20 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelDMC-FS18
Product NameLumix DMC-FS18 Compact Camera
Product LineLumix
Exposure Control

Program AE

Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDMC-FS18EB-V
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

The DMC-FS18 features a 28mm wide-angle 4x optical zoom LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens (35mm camera equivalent: 28-112mm). The 28mm wide-angle lens lets you easily capture large groups of people indoors or expansive architectural structures and scenes with dynamic width and rich perspective. The 4x optical zoom lens captures beautiful shots of people or landscapes with 16.1-megapixel resolution. The Extra Optical Zoom function uses the center part of the CCD to extend this 4x zoom ratio to powerful 9x zoom at a resolution of 3-megapixel or less.

Package Contents
  • Lumix DMC-FS18 Compact Camera
  • Battery Charger
  • Battery Pack
  • AV Cable
  • USB Cable
  • AC Cable
  • Hand Strap
  • CD-ROM
Limited Warranty1 Year