Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS15 review

A 12-megapixel digital compact camera packed with hi-tech features

TODO alt text

For

  • Quick start up
  • Pocket sized
  • Great features for the price
  • Stylish
  • Vibrant images

Against

  • No mode dial
  • Focusing and shutter lag
  • Delay when firing flash
  • High noise levels at high ISO
  • Small buttons

The Panasonic Lumix FS15 is a very slim, small and cheap compact digital camera, and the latest addition to Panasonic's FS series.

The FS15 is a slick-looking little number with a stylish brushed metal casing and boasts a 5x optical wide-angle to telephoto Leica DC zoom lens – that's 29-145mm in old 35mm film SLR money. This is backed up further with a 4x digital zoom.

Not much bigger than an Apple iPod, there's still room inside the Panasonic FS15 to stash a 12-megapixel sensor ready to record 4,000x3,000-pixel JPEG images. A large and clear 2.7-inch 230,000-dot LCD fills the rear of the camera leaving room for the bare minimum of buttons.

With the lack of a mode dial, the Panasonic FS15 fits into its range as a slighter smaller sister to the Panasonic Lumic ZX1, itself a younger sibling to the more powerful Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7.

But the Lumix FS15 doesn't need a mode dial or masses of buttons as it aims to do all the hard work for you. Leave the camera in iA (intelligent Auto) mode, and it'll activate AF (autofocus) tracking, Intelligent Exposure, Face Detection, Intelligent Scene Selector, as well as the built-in Mega O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), and Intelligent ISO Control.

fs15

All the clever iA modes work together to try and make sure your photos are in focus – or focusing on people's faces – and well exposed.

There's also the Normal Picture mode, giving you access to the Macro mode, flash setting, exposure compensation and the self-timer. There is a dedicated Portrait mode plus enough Scene modes to keep two football teams and several substitutes busy (there are 26 Scene modes).

fs15

Like all Lumix cameras, the Panasonic FS15 can take 1,920x1,080 pixel high-definition quality photos that are ideal for full-screen viewing on a wide-screen (16:9) HDTV. You can also record WVGA (or 848x480-sized) videos at 30 frames per second (fps) for up to 15 minutes.

Switch the FS15 to Burst mode and, in the lower 3-megapixel picture size, it'll rattle off 5.5fps – that's faster than most entry-level DSLRs. Although remember you're capturing smaller images.

fs15

The Panasonic also has a few other fun functions such as a choice of tunes to listen to when watching slideshows in Playback mode.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution640 x 480
Effective Camera Resolution12.1 Megapixel
USBYes
Product FamilyLumix FS
HD Movie ModeNo
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, MultiMediaCard (MMC)
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourSilver
Optical Zoom5x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size6.9 cm (2.7")
Video FormatsQuickTime Motion JPEG
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)116 g
Maximum Image Resolution4000 x 3000
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height54.4 mm
Width97 mm
Depth21.7 mm
Product SeriesFS
Focal Length5.60 mm to 26 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelDMC-FS15
Product NameLumix DMC-FS15 Compact Camera
Product LineLumix
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDMC-FS15EB-S
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

The DMC-FS15 features a 29mm wide-angle 5x optical zoom LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens (35mm film camera equivalent: 29-145mm). Renowned in the film camera world for its superb performance and compact size, the LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens inherits its outstanding quality and form. The 29mm wide-angle lens can be used to capture groups of people at parties and other indoor scenes, as well as magnificent architectural structures and landscapes. The 5x optical zoom allows you to capture distant subjects without degrading image quality.

Package Contents
  • Lumix DMC-FS15 Compact Camera
  • Battery Charger
  • Battery Pack
  • Battery case
  • AV Cable
  • USB Connection Cable
  • AC Cable
  • Hand Strap
  • CD-ROM