Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS2 Review
Panasonic DMC-LS2 Operation
Designed for beginners, the LS2 offers rudimentary control in an easy-to-use package. Turn the power switch to "on" and you're basically ready to go. Whether you're in the Normal picture mode (signified by a small red camera) or the Simple mode (signified by a heart) shooting is pretty straightforward. I would recommend the Normal picture mode to most users because it's not much more difficult than the Simple mode and gives you more control over such things as the MEGA O.I.S. Once you're in the menu system on the LCD, wheeling around from one adjustment to another is also not difficult thanks to Panasonic's easy-to-read fonts and straightforward interface. Scene modes are easy to access via the mode dial.
Record Mode Display: In any record mode, the Lumix LS2's LCD display shows either the image area with information, image with information and live histogram, an alignment grid with no information, and image with no information. Pressing the Display button cycles through the available displays. When the information display is active, it reports battery life, resolution and image quality settings, the number of available images, Record mode, orientation, and a handful of exposure settings (including the predicted aperture and shutter speed).
Playback Mode Display: The Lumix LS2's Playback mode also offers three display modes, including the image only, the image with information, and the image with expanded information and a histogram. Aperture and Shutter speed are displayed in the expanded display. You can also display nine, sixteen, or twenty five thumbnail images at a time on-screen with the index display mode, or zoom in by up to 16x on captured images to check fine details, focus, or framing.
Panasonic DMC-LS2 Modes and Menus
Record Mode: In Record mode, the camera can capture still images or movies depending on the dial position, with a range of options available through the Settings menu. The Lumix LS2's LCD menu--accessed by pressing the Menu button in any record mode--provides the following exposure options (some options are not available in all modes):
- Record Menu: Available in all Record modes on the Lumix LS2, but depending on camera setup, it may take a second press of the Menu button to access the menu from the Scene modes. The Record menu offers the following selections:
- White Balance: Sets the white balance to Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Halogen, Manual, or White Set modes. (White Set isn't a separate white balance mode, it's just the option for manually setting the white point that's selected by the Manual option.)
- Sensitivity: Adjusts the camera's sensitivity setting. Choices are Auto, 80, 100, 200, or 400 ISO equivalents.
- Aspect Ratio: Sets the aspect ratio to 4:3, 3:2, or 16:9
- Picture Size: Sets image resolution to 5 megapixel, 3 megapixel, 2 megapixel, 1 megapixel or 0.3 megapixel (640 x 480).
- Quality: Sets the image compression to Fine or Standard.
- AF Mode: Sets the AF area mode to Five-Area, Three-Area, One-Area, or Spot.
- Slow Shutter: Selects the slowest shutter speed the camera can use, giving you some measure of control over exposure in poor lighting conditions. Choices are 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, or 1 second.
- Digital Zoom: Enables or disables the digital zoom option.
- Color Effect: Selects a color effect, with options of Cool, Warm, Black and White, or Sepia.
- Picture Adjust: Offers three settings - Natural, Standard, or Vivid. The natural setting gives a softer image, while the Vivid setting offers increased sharpness, as compared to the default Standard setting.
- Scene Menu: For each Scene mode option, you can press the left arrow button on the Lumix LS2 to receive a brief description of the mode.
- Portrait: Utilizes a larger aperture to decrease the depth of field, and emphasizes flesh tones, resulting in a sharply focused subject in front of a slightly blurred background.
- Soft Skin: Smooths any skin tone it detects in the image.
- Scenery: This mode fixes focus at infinity, and is best for capturing wide vistas and landscapes.
- Sports: Employs a faster shutter speed to "freeze" fast-moving action.
- *Night Portrait: As with the mode above, the camera uses a slower shutter speed for better color in night shots. However, the flash is set to Slow-Sync with Red-Eye Reduction mode.
- Night Scenery: In this mode, the camera slows the shutter speed to as long as 8 seconds, capturing more ambient light and preserving color in darker exposures. (The flash is disabled.)
- Food: Takes a macro shot of food with a more natural hue than the ambient lighting may provide.
- Party: Best for taking pictures under dim indoor lighting with a flash, you can select between Forced Red-Eye Reduction and Slow-Sync Red-Eye Reduction modes. Biases white balance for indoor lighting.
- Candle Light: For capturing the atmosphere of candle-lit subjects. Tripod recommended.
- Fireworks: Here, the camera uses a slower shutter speed and enhances color slightly to capture the full pattern and color of fireworks.
- Starry Sky: For taking pictures of extremely dark subjects like a starry sky. Requires a tripod.
- Snow: This mode adjusts the white balance and exposure to counter the bright snowy areas of the scene, preventing the camera being fooled into underexposing the shot.
- Baby 1 & 2: Enhances flesh tones and tones down the flash when used. During playback, the baby's age can be displayed when the birthday is set in advance in the Baby scene dialog box. There are two settings for families with more than one baby to track.
- Play Menu: This menu is only available in the Lumix LS2's Review mode when set by the dial (not by use of the REV button). It lets you erase, protect, and rotate captured images or movies; or set up images for printing on a DPOF compatible device. The Play menu offers the following selections:
- Slide Show: Automatically plays all images in a slide show format. You can designate the display interval for images from one to five seconds.
- Favorite: Enables or disables Favorite display.
- Rotate Display: Selects whether images that were tagged as rotated by the camera's orientation sensor, or using the next menu option, should be shown rotated on the LCD display.
- Rotate: Rotates captured images in steps of 90 degrees using the Exif tag only. The actual image data is not touched, which may confuse other programs that do not look at the Exif orientation tag.
- DPOF Print: Marks individual or multiple images for printing on a DPOF compatible printer, or cancels marking of images.
- Protect: Write protects the currently displayed image, protecting it from accidental deletion, except by card formatting. There's also an option for protecting multiple images at once, or to cancel protection of images.
- Resize: Lets you resize an image to a smaller resolution and save a separate copy.
- Trimming: This option lets you trim an image and save it as a separate file. To trim the image, you use the Playback zoom and pan functions to select the area of the image that you want to retain on the display, and then press the shutter button to save the cropped image.
- Copy: Lets you copy the picture data from the built-in memory to a card or vice versa.
- Format: Formats the SD/MMC card, erasing all files (including those that were protected using the Protect menu option).
- Setup Menu: The Setup menu provides universal camera control options that remain the same in both Shooting and Review modes. This menu is accessed by depressing the Lumix LS2's Menu button once and scrolling to the right with the Multicontroller. Following are the available settings:
- Battery type: For selecting Alkaline (LR6), Ni-MH batteries, of Oxyride batteries.
- Clock Set: Sets the camera's internal clock and calendar.
- Monitor: Adjusts the brightness level of the LCD monitor in seven steps.
- Auto Review: Disables the automatic image review, or sets the review time to one or three seconds. A Zoom option displays the captured image for one second, then zooms it 4x for one second. The Zoom option does not zoom images shot in burst mode, with auto-bracketing, or with audio clips recorded.
- Power Save: Lets you enable or disable the camera's auto power off feature, and change the time before the LCD display sleeps to 1, 2, 5, or 10 minutes.
- Beep: Turns the camera's beep sound on or off, with low and high volume settings.
- No. Reset: Resets file numbering with each new SD/MMC card (Yes setting), or continues file numbering from card to card (No setting). (Continuous file numbering is very handy to avoid accidentally overwriting images you've previously copied to your computer's hard drive.)
- Reset: Resets all record-menu settings to their factory defaults.
- USB Mode: Sets the USB mode to PC or PictBridge (PTP).
- Video Out: Sets the video output timing to NTSC or PAL. (NTSC for the US and Japan, PAL for most of Europe.)
- Scene Menu: Sets whether to automatically display a Scene mode menu when Scene mode is selected on the Mode dial or use the last selected mode, accessing the options by pressing the Menu button.
- Language: Selects the menu language from English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese Traditional and Japanese.
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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.