Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7 Review
|Full model name:||Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7|
|Dimensions:||3.8 x 2.1 x 0.9 in.
(97 x 54 x 22 mm)
|Weight:||4.9 oz (139 g)
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7 offers a sensor resolution of 10.1 effective megapixels from a 1/2.5" RGB CCD image sensor, and Panasonic has coupled this to an image stabilized, Leica DC Vario-Elmar branded 4x optical zoom lens with a 33mm-equivalent wide angle. There's sadly no optical viewfinder, with the Panasonic FS7 instead opting solely for a 2.7" LCD display with 230,000 dot resolution on which images and videos are both framed and reviewed. The Panasonic FS7's lens has a maximum aperture that varies from f/2.8 to f/5.9 across the zoom range. The minimum focusing distance for the Panasonic DMC-FS7 is ordinarily half a meter, but drops to just five centimeters when switched to Macro mode.
The Panasonic DMC-FS7 has a 9-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. The Panasonic Lumix FS7 also has an implementation of autofocus tracking, which can monitor a subject as it moves around the frame, continuing to update autofocus as required. Panasonic's AF tracking is linked to the face detection system, allowing the camera to continue tracking a face even if it briefly turns to a side profile - although it should be noted that the face detection system does require the subject be looking towards the camera to achieve its initial detection.
ISO sensitivity ordinarily ranges from 100 to 1600, with the ability to extend this as far as ISO 6400 equivalent in High Sensitivity Auto mode. Shutter speeds from 1/2000 to 60 seconds are possible. The Panasonic DMC-FS7 uses Intelligent Multiple metering, and offers seven white balance settings including Auto, Manual, and five fixed presets. A whopping selection of twenty five scene modes let users tailor the look of their images, useful given that there are no aperture- or shutter-priority modes on the Panasonic FS7. There's also an Intelligent Scene Selection function, which can automatically select from a subset of the available scene modes. A four mode flash strobe includes red-eye reduction capability, and has a rated range of up to 6.3 meters at wide angle, or 3.0 meters at telephoto. There's also digital red-eye correction, and Panasonic's Intelligent Exposure and Intelligent ISO functions as seen on past models. Also included is Intelligent Auto, which can now also enable the AF Tracking and Intelligent Exposure functions.
As well as JPEG still images, the Panasonic FS7 can capture movies with sound at up to 848 x 480 pixel resolution or below, although the compression used is the older QuickTime Motion JPEG type. Movies are captured at 30 frames per second with audio. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7 stores its images and movies on Secure Digital or MultiMediaCards, including the newer SDHC types. There's also a generous 50MB of built-in memory. Connectivity options include a rather dated USB 2.0 Full-Speed connection, plus standard definition NTSC / PAL video output. Power comes from a proprietary Lithium Ion battery, rated as good for 360 shots on a charge to CIPA testing standards. The software bundle includes PHOTOfunSTUDIO Viewer v3.0, ArcSoft MediaImpression, and ArcSoft Panorama Maker.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7 will ship from March 2009, with expected pricing of $160 or thereabouts.
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