Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS6 review
The camera arrived on Dec 26th and since then it has not had any rest. I was off to test it soon after it arrived. First thing after I opened the box, put the battery to charge. It took almost 90-100 minutes to get charged fully. With the first charge I clicked around 230 photos, including two long sessions of more than 30 minutes each shooting outdoors which meant at times I put LCD to high brightness mode.
Camera is almost really point and shoot. With the iA picture mode, the camera really takes okay pictures. However, putting the camera to "Normal mode" I was consistently able to improve the picture but I do not think many users will want it, so I guess iA will be useful which i found works well. In fact when I was struggling with setting it right under low light I set the camera to iA, took a picture and then use the settings used by camera as base setting to further tweak improve the picture. It worked well.
AWB - This one is important for me. And the camera is fantastic with AWB. Excluding some lighting conditions the camera was consistently able to produce good results.
Low light - One major consideration in these cameras is low light performance. The camera beat my expectation. To be honest I wasn't hoping such a good performance from such a low priced camera. Camera doesn't insist on choosing higher ISO. I experimented with forcing it to choose higher ISO, couldn't get great results. But I have several dozen low and very low light pictures by now which are not shanken or blurred at all. That says a lot about the camera.
Image Quality - Honestly, I'd have loved to have a bit better quality. But then that's a wish. I could also wish to have it record HD videos. Anyway, the picture has a bit of sign of Noise reduction if you look closely at pixel level. This is more evident in low light photos than day-light photos. But I am pretty damn sure they will not be visible in prints upto 6x8.
I must add that images look a tad bit under saturated and flat, though they contain details. I guess it isn't good to expect too much from a camera costing this less. I needed to put the mode to Vivid to get the desired color saturation. Though this color mode may not be desirable for portraits and family photos.
Controls - are pretty straight forward. Didn't take me long to memorize the menu settings and their locations. Best thing is the QMenu is well organized. If it could also have various image sizes at various aspect ratios, it could have been the only button needed to be used during shooting.
Flash - is decent for the price. I have many shots with flash on and the pictures are not washed out. Not sure about the range though, with my shooting habbits I never needed to throw flash at distant subject (I think in those cases I just use the available light).
Speed - Operation is generally smooth. There is no noticeable lag. Though it could also be due to the fact that the factory default is to hold the picture for review for two seconds after recording it. Whereas that provides the user to preview the image, it gives camera the time it needs to prepare for next shot.
Burst shooting - I tried the burst shooting. It isn't so useful if you try to take pictures in different directions moving the camera fast. Almost at the same place in same direction it works and I was able to take several consecutive shots.
Build quality could have been better. Particularly Play/Record button doesn't feel solid. Though lens seems solid, I banged it against a rough surface on 2nd/3rd day and my heart stopped, but I found it is still okay though I have a dent on the front of my new camera.
Usual problem, zoom is fast and difficult to control. You need to be patient to get the right zoom.
Zoom is pretty limited (but then for this price)