Panasonic DMC-FH1 Review

 
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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH1
Resolution: 12.10 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/2.33 inch
(6.1mm x 4.6mm)
Kit Lens: 5.00x zoom
(28-140mm eq.)
Viewfinder: LCD
Extended ISO: 80 - 6400
Shutter: 60 - 1/1600
Max Aperture: 2.8
Dimensions: 3.9 x 2.2 x 0.9 in.
(98 x 55 x 23 mm)
Weight: 5.1 oz (145 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $160
Availability: 02/2010
Manufacturer: Panasonic
Full specs: Panasonic DMC-FH1 specifications

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12.10
Megapixels
5.00x zoom 1/2.33 inch
size sensor
image of Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH1
Front side of Panasonic DMC-FH1 digital camera Front side of Panasonic DMC-FH1 digital camera Front side of Panasonic DMC-FH1 digital camera    
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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH1 is a stylish compact digital camera with an effective resolution of twelve megapixels from a 1/2.33" RGB CCD image sensor, which Panasonic has coupled to a Lumix DC Vario branded 5x optical zoom lens with a useful 28mm-equivalent wide angle. Importantly, the Panasonic FH1's lens features a true optical image stabilization system with which to fight blur caused by camera shake. The Panasonic FH1's lens has a two-step aperture that offers F2.8 and F9.0 at wide angle, or F6.9 and F20.0 at telephoto. The minimum focusing distance for the Panasonic DMC-FH1 is ordinarily 50 centimeters, but drops to just five centimeters at wide angle when switched to Macro mode.

There's sadly no optical viewfinder, with the Panasonic FH1 instead opting solely for a 2.7" LCD display with 230,000 dot resolution on which images and videos are both framed and reviewed. As compared to the almost-identical Panasonic FH3, the FH1 removes the cover glass over the LCD panel for a slight cost saving. The Panasonic DMC-FH1 has a nine-point multi-area autofocus system which also includes a single-point "high speed" focusing mode. As with many digital cameras these days, there's also a face detection function, with Panasonic's implementation using the information to adjust both focus and exposure to properly capture your subjects' faces.

ISO sensitivity ordinarily ranges from 80 to 1600, with the ability to extend this as far as ISO 6400 equivalent in High Sensitivity mode. Shutter speeds from 1/1,600 to 60 seconds are possible. The Panasonic DMC-FH1 uses Intelligent Multiple metering, and offers six white balance settings including Auto, Manual, and four fixed presets. A whopping selection of twenty five scene modes let users tailor the look of their images, useful given that the Panasonic FH1 doesn't offer aperture-, shutter-priority, or fully manual modes. There's also an Intelligent Scene Selection function, which can automatically select from a subset of six commonly used scene modes. A five mode flash strobe includes red-eye reduction capability, and has a rated range of up to 6.8 meters at wide angle, or 2.7 meters at telephoto. The Panasonic DMC-FH1 also includes the company's Intelligent ISO and Intelligent Auto modes as seen on past models.

As well as JPEG still images, the Panasonic FH1 can capture 30 frames-per-second movies with monaural sound at resolutions of 1280 x 720 pixels or below, although the compression used is the older QuickTime Motion JPEG type so file sizes are likely to be hefty. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH1 stores its images and movies on either SD or SDHC cards, as well as the latest SDXC types. There's also a generous 40MB of built-in memory. Connectivity options include a USB 2.0 Full-Speed connection (rather than the much faster USB 2.0 High-Speed connections found on most current cameras), plus standard definition NTSC / PAL video output (or NTSC only for North America). Power comes from a proprietary Lithium Ion rechargeable with ID-Security feature that prevents use of counterfeit or third-party batteries, and is rated as good for 310 shots on a charge to CIPA testing standards. The software bundle includes PHOTOfunSTUDIO v5.0, Quicktime, and Adobe Reader.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH1 ships from mid-February 2010, priced at about $160.

Panasonic DMC-FH1

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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