Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS15 review

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

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS15
The FS15 is a low-end cheap compact that aims to make taking photos as easy as possible

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For those of us who prefer to take control of our cameras, there's the Normal Picture mode.

This is still semi-automatic, but among other accessible settings, you can access a dedicated Macro mode, adjust or switch off the flash, and dial in Exposure Compensation. Plus 2-second and 10-second self-timer options if you want to be in the family portrait picture you're about to take.

The Macro mode enables you focus on objects just 3cm away. You need to be on the wide angle end of the lens for the Panasonic FS15 to focus, unless you select the special AF Macro and Macro zoom, which we found both worked better for taking close-ups

Flash settings include Auto, Auto/Red-Eye, Force Flash On and Force Flash Off so you decide exactly when the flash fires.


The Exposure Compensation is a major bonus as it enabled us to manually adjust the exposure so our shots appeared as we wanted. We were able to adjust in Exposure Compensation up to +/- two stops to make our images brighter or darker; this was helpful when taking portraits without flash and with a bright background and we wanted to brighten up the people in the scene.

Autofocus modes

In Normal Picture mode you can also choose from four AF modes; AF tracking – to help you focus on moving subjects; 11-area-focusing – which works much like the Auto AF Point Selection on a DSLR by using all focusing points to try and achieve focus on what the camera thinks you want to focus on. We found this generally tried to focus on whatever item was closest to the camera, not necessarily the item we wanted to focus on.

There's 1-area-focusing – which is basically the same as selecting the single central focusing point on a DSLR, and is helpful when you want to focus on whatever you've positioned in the centre of your composition. The final AF mode is Face Detection, as discussed above.

Scene modes

In Scene mode, you have a choice of 26 Scene modes (very similar to those available on the Panasonic ZX1) that suit a variety of situations. Most of more of a gimmick that really helpful and we rarely resorted to using any of them to be honest. But you might find the Sports, Sunset or Fireworks settings useful one day.