Previous news story    Next news story

Just Posted: Panasonic DMC-FH7 compact camera review

By dpreview staff on Sep 7, 2011 at 18:29 GMT

Just posted: Our review of the Panasonic DMC-FH7. It's the first of a new style of short review, that we'll use to allow us to review more compact cameras, between the big large-sensor-camera reviews. The Panasonic FH7 is a 4x (28-112mm equiv.) zoom compact with a 16MP CCD sensor. Impressively for the price, it includes a customizable touch-screen and optical image stabilization.

Click here to read our Panasonic DMC-FH7 review

1
I own it
0
I want it
0
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 38
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Sep 13, 2011)

It's great that you are giving some love to the compact crowd.

But.....

I concur the FH7 is an odd choice.

I think most folks would have been much more interested in the FXZ8 (F2.5 5X 25mm wide, 3.5" touch screen, lists for $349 but is selling for $264 on amazon)

I'm missing the "Timings and file size"

Here's an example from the S95's great grandfather, the S50

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canons50/page10.asp

While all of these small compact have the same small sensors and similar IQ there can be huge differences in battery life (from 200 to a 1000!) and camera speed.

Ditch the apologetic tone . You seem to be saying, "Yes it's horrible but for the price it's ok." NO it is not OK if the touch screen is a pain in the neck. There are too many other cameras in this price range that are not a pain in the neck.

Keep up the innovation and I can't wait to read your next review.

0 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Sep 13, 2011)

Sorry that was a Panasonic FX78 not FXZ8 offered as an example of a slightly more interesting Panasonic 2nd tier point and shoot.

0 upvotes
schaki
By schaki (Sep 11, 2011)

What is the point of reviewing yet anothe not very interestingr compact which starts at 28mm and too many pixels? Better do a grouptest with a gang of similar candidates.

0 upvotes
panini98
By panini98 (Sep 10, 2011)

I find the camera comparison tests much more helpful than these sporadic compact camera reviews. (If there were more compact camera reviews it might be a different story because then we can do the comparison ourselves)

Sure the FH7 is an OK camera, but how does it compare to comparable Canon, Nikon, Sony, Oly, Pentax, Fuji cams is the million dollar question.

1 upvote
JesperMP
By JesperMP (Sep 9, 2011)

If you look at the preselected cameras in the studio comparison tool, you can see that there is a marked quality difference between cameras, even at this price level.
My mom wont pore over such a review, but she may ask me what camera I will recommend to her.

It is also interesting to know how far these low-end cameras have come with respect to image quality.
It is irritating to see that the megapixel race has started again.

0 upvotes
So_called_expert
By So_called_expert (Sep 8, 2011)

These types of reviews are great for people like myself who work in retail. We sell both cheap and higher-end consumer cameras and I can't be bothered to learn the insignificant differences between cheap cameras. This is helpful just for telling me what it's good at and bad at. That is really all people need to know on basic compacts. Also it can't hurt to broaden DPReview's audience to include the average joe a bit more like this does.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Sep 8, 2011)

The obvious point is this: too many budget compact cameras appear each year to allow full reviews of all. Enthusiasts may not care about such cameras, but consumers at large want at least some independent reference.

It might be more useful and cost-effective, though, to score such cameras by means of annual group roundups of competing models, as done recently in the case of rugged and water-resistance devices.

I am impressed that CCD sensors are making a comeback in some devices. Is there a generic reason? Perhaps it reduces rolling shutter in video mode, but what else?

0 upvotes
Scott Burns
By Scott Burns (Sep 8, 2011)

I think the compact review format is perhaps TOO brief. I don't even see the lens aperture range listed anywhere? Was the physical size of the sensor mentioned? Please be sure to give us essential specs like this!

0 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Sep 8, 2011)

we're experimenting with the formula, and all feedback is appreciated.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Sep 8, 2011)

Both good points Scott, and as Simon has already said, we're looking for feedback and will incorporate it in future reviews of this kind.

0 upvotes
Thomas K.
By Thomas K. (Sep 8, 2011)

i agree with scott... the specifications must be in the review. and you already have them anyway... so it's one additional page with useful data without any additional work.

0 upvotes
Kim Seng
By Kim Seng (Sep 8, 2011)

Would have brought this camera if it is 10mp with F2.8-5.6. 28-112mm.....

0 upvotes
JesperMP
By JesperMP (Sep 8, 2011)

The 16 Mpix is just silly. The studio scene comparison tool reveals it painfully.
Clearly the Lumix FH7 lens isnt sharp enough to take advantage of the sensor resolution. It is just a waste. In stead, the FH7 is handicapped with poor hi-iso performance as well. And with a lens starting at f3.1 and going to f6.5 when zoomed, that is a bad combo.

There havent been any recent revolutions, 16 Mpix is far too much for such a small sensor. And clearly, the higher number of pixels, the more the camera will sell.

0 upvotes
ChipTz
By ChipTz (Sep 7, 2011)

Totally agree with having shorter reviews like this. Despite most of the users coming to this site usually have some knowledge and are looking for advanced cameras, I don't see a reason why not to have light reviews for less tech users that just want a few more information to help decide which camera to get (after all we're all consumers and looking for information in order to make the best possible acquisition of our next camera).

If that doesn't deviate dpreview from their major audience, I can't see what could be bad about having those reviews, it will help consumers in other levels of demand with usefull information, it will help dpreview having more audience and ultimately it will help bring to dpreview more resources to further be able to review high tech products.

Perhaps the expert users can also take some of their time and use their knowledge in forums and help less experienced users to buy a good compact camera, without just saying that if it is not a DSLR it won't be good.

2 upvotes
ChipTz
By ChipTz (Sep 7, 2011)

For some users maybe a DSLR xpto model is just not be best camera, as it will depend on what user expects to do with it.

(no space on previous post)

1 upvote
Neoasphalt
By Neoasphalt (Sep 7, 2011)

I wonder to know why DPReview withdraw all sensor pixel density values from specifications, cause it's the main number to determine low light performance (and overall output quality as well). I have some suspicion that its been done as a result of pressure from some manufacturers.
Those where main numbers when I started to compare different cameras!
It is clear, if people get more knowledge about these values, unnecessary (but profitable) megapixel race would be under the risk.

2 upvotes
h2k
By h2k (Sep 8, 2011)

I was quite surprised about "the loss of pixel density" too, especially as it was DPR that made me aware of the relation between pixel density and image noise.

I wish you'd bring this number back!

And yes, i believe too that the pixel density value puts the all multi-megapixel enthusiasm into perspective.

I remember the omission of pixel density has been discussed elsewhere on DPR previously. It is the only fact about cameras that you deliberately do not mention - compared to endless, endless rows of less interesting data you do mention.

2 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Sep 8, 2011)

as discussed ad nauseum in the forums we removed it because it was misleading and was being misinterpreted as some kind of absolute indicator of IQ/noise performance in exactly the way shown above. Its time had come, and gone.

1 upvote
trevmar
By trevmar (Sep 8, 2011)

Simon, How is pixel density not an absolute indicator of IQ/noise performance? Each of the most sensitive cameras I have used had a lower density value. Sure, CMOS vs CCD vs MOS is an issue, but surely the pixel density data is an important evaluator to assess?

Incidentally, I don't care what discussion has been on the forums. If I have to go elsewhere to get data, then I will do so. This density data is one of the most useful parameters I scan when looking over a range of cameras, IMO.

DPreview has always been my first stop for info. But saying "Its time had come, and gone" has really disillusioned me with the technical prowess being displayed here. Sorry about that. But its the truth.

1 upvote
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Sep 8, 2011)

Technical prowess aside (we started this whole pixel density thing in the first place). I would suggest that your answer is again a perfect example of how misleading a pixel density figure is. Look, this isn't the place to discuss this (hence my reference to the extensive discussions about pixel density, which we've been involved in). Pixel density is a crude figure that ignores changes (improvements) in material science, sensor and processor design and efficiency, implies higher is always worse (when it actually depends on many factors, including the application), and ignores the effect of downsampling, lens quality and a dozen other variables. The belief that higher is always worse can be disproved immediately by picking two cameras from different generations and comparing their results. The problem is that 'all other things being equal' is a qualifier too far, and that even if all things were equal, for many applications a higher PD is actually better.

1 upvote
rocklobster
By rocklobster (Sep 7, 2011)

This review just proves how badly high pixel density affects image detail and noise. As another poster said, keep these cameras in the group reviews.

0 upvotes
FRANCISCO ARAGAO
By FRANCISCO ARAGAO (Sep 7, 2011)

Please more p&s reviews!!
Many people here buy compacts.

0 upvotes
BayAreaWZ
By BayAreaWZ (Sep 7, 2011)

If we're getting extra mini reviews that don't delay the bigger cam reviews, then I say keep em coming.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Sep 8, 2011)

That's basically the idea. We're not doing these instead of the longer reviews, they're intended to be pushed out during the gaps between those longer articles, and provide a little welcome change of pace for the reviewers :)

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Sep 7, 2011)

Honestly.... I think "group reviews" are the best way to handle these mundane cameras.

This site seems to specialize in reviewing enthusiast level gear, and they should do more of that and less of this. There are other sites that review every camera released, and do a better job reviewing low end products.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Sep 7, 2011)

The key difference here is that group tests can be hugely time-consuming. Reviews like this can be produced in far less time, which allows us to be much more flexible with our editorial resources.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Sep 7, 2011)

We're still going to produce group tests, by the way.

0 upvotes
SamTruax
By SamTruax (Sep 7, 2011)

I love Panasonic cameras but I don't know why every Panasonic point & shoot seems to take priority on this site. I am guessing there are some politics involved.
We have been waiting for a review of the Sony HX100v for ever (and finally we had some studio shots added) but it seems that every Panasonic that comes out gets special attention.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Sep 7, 2011)

Nonsense. The FH7 was reviewed because we happened to have it in the office, and it suited this new review treatment. The HX100V review is underway, but is necessarily taking more time.

1 upvote
rocklobster
By rocklobster (Sep 7, 2011)

Barney,
Good to hear you sticking up for the way you do things even if I did say that these cameras don't deserve as much 'focus'.

0 upvotes
SamTruax
By SamTruax (Sep 8, 2011)

Thanks for the response Barney. However, I still don't understand how it took until just recently for you guys to get your hands on an HX100v. Canada seemed to be the last place on the planet to get stock and I have had mine for a couple of months now. The FZ150 isn't even available to the public yet but there has been plenty of coverage so far.
I am not suggesting a bias, I just wonder what the difference is in DPReview's relationship with Panasonic as compared to Sony. Is Sony just not interested in what anyone thinks because they are doing so well without the help?
Thanks

0 upvotes
Ashley Pomeroy
By Ashley Pomeroy (Sep 7, 2011)

"Dpreview was great when they actually did reviews of any camera category."

To be fair, there was a time when the compact camera market was pretty diverse; Fuji had their SuperCCD technology, Kodak had their unusual twin-lens design, and there was still a fair amount of differentiation between compact models.

Nowadays compact cameras are a commodity, not aimed at the kind of people likely to pore over full-sized samples. People buy them because they're on offer in the local Argos, or they like the colour. They're broadly the same in terms of performance, often using the same sensors and lens units, which puts DPReview in the awkward position of either repeating itself, or becoming ever-more obsessed with tiny trivial differences. The group tests are a good solution in this respect.

0 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (Sep 7, 2011)

They gave up reviewing generically specced compacts for good reason: there was nothing to say, and, for the London crew, it wasn't worth wasting resources on.

I'm not too happy to see the return, or to be more accurate I couldn't care. Clearly preview is changing from a test-centric site to a information-centric site, aiming to be the repository of everything to do with digital photography. As even large sensor camera technology matures I suppose it is inevitable.

0 upvotes
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (Sep 7, 2011)

It's nice to see DPR reviewing less featured cameras, but I do not agree to review every camera. I think they can make their own pre-selection before posting a review, for most DPR visitors don't need to have reviews of all cameras, but of those that reach at least an above average performance in general. But as exceptions, they of course should continue to review those cameras (ultracompact or not, cheap or not) that are highly claimed or expected to be great cameras but aren't, as a kind of warning and demystification caused by overrated reviews or exaggerated (or well appealing) ads.

0 upvotes
Mayank B
By Mayank B (Sep 7, 2011)

Wow, a compact camera review after ages, DP review is becoming exciting again!!!

0 upvotes
d3xmeister
By d3xmeister (Sep 7, 2011)

Maybe this is the sign that dpreview is back. For some years they only reviewed some cameras, mostly big cameras, and left the majority of P&S and other cameras. Dpreview was great when they actually did reviews of any camera category. Let's hope they are back.

3 upvotes
GeorgeZ
By GeorgeZ (Sep 7, 2011)

Finally! You should have done this years ago and we wouldn't be stuck with tons of previews that only get to be reviews when interest in the camera has already waned. Kudos!

0 upvotes
Thomas K.
By Thomas K. (Sep 7, 2011)

i like the new style! compact but still points out the important facts and has the studio image for comparison. to get a wider coverage of cameras i hope to see many reviews like this as an addition to the existing reviews.
good job!

0 upvotes
Total comments: 38