Panasonic Lumix FS20

After a little camera with a lot of quality? I think I might just be able to find what you’re after…

Finding a camera is one of those things that is often harder than people realise. First you’ve got to find one with the features you want. Then you’ve got to see how it feels in your hand as no one wants to buy something that feels like they’re carrying a brick they might want to hurtle in the air.

Then you might buy it and find the image quality sucks, and that’s the last thing you probably want to have happen. Who wants to waste all that cash on something you don’t like?

It’s good to know then that the good people at Panasonic have come up with a camera that even our picky reviewer likes (which is me, in case you hadn’t noticed).

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS20 is pocket camera in every sense of the word. Measuring at nine and a half centimetres wide by nearly six centimetres high, you’ll find that the small profile makes this comparable to other small digital cameras on the market. It’s what underneath that really makes this different from other companies offerings.

Take for instance a fairly wide angle lens as far as digital compacts go. Giving you the equivalent of 28 to 100 millimeters in a ten megapixel sensor, you’ll find this is excellent at parties and social gatherings for those easy portraits. It even fares well at times when there just isn’t enough light to work with like at a nightclub or a concert with more light sensitivity than most cameras would give off. If the numbers mean anything to you, the Lumix FS20 offers a mode where you can get between 1600 and 6400 ISO for ultimate sensitivity.

And for what it’s worth, the sensitivity handles well. Even at 1600 – which is what most cameras don’t like venturing to – the Lumix FS20 works well. It does show the makings of pixel noise which is expected, but it handles fairly well especially when you’re talking about a consumer point & shoot camera.

Along with features like that, the FS20 comes complete with an anti-shake system as well as facial recognition that works quite well. Taking a picture of several people at the same time? Well the camera focuses on all of them allowing you to get the best short of everyone you need to.

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This camera really doesn’t fall short on things you can do with it. Stick it in Intelligent Auto Mode and the camera will work out what you’re taking a picture of and optimise your settings accordingly. Or stick it into one of the other modes and work by yourself. Things like that really do make this camera an excellent camera for a beginner or a pro who wants something very flexible.

And then there’s the image quality which is really good. Panasonic’s use of glass from well-known camera company Leica has really paid off as the quality is some of the best we’ve seen in a while.

Overall, I quite liked the Lumix FS20 here and if you’re after a great little point & shoot camera, I suggest heading to your local photography store and giving it a try.

Should you buy it?: Like all cameras, you’re going to have to go in store to see if you like it. But I’m a hard camera man to please and I liked it a lot.

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Product: Panasonic Lumix FS20

Vendor: Panasonic

RRP: $549

Website: Panasonic Lumix FS20

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark