on April 21, 2012
I bought this for a family member who knows nothing about cameras or photography and who has no interest in learning more than just push the button. :) So, when shopping for a camera for her, my criteria was - how good will it do on full auto. It needed to focus quickly and accurately and I wanted it to have reasonably nice image quality. I bought this and tested it out for a few days.
The focus is fast and accurate just as I was expecting on a Panasonic - they usually have very good focus (accurate) on full auto in the point and shoot camera category. On the widest angle setting, outdoors, the picture quality is very nice. Once you start to zoom, picture quality is not the greatest but still OK. Macros are very good on this too. It's very easy to operate if you are a novice. You can set it on iA (intelligent auto) and the only buttons you have to operate are the shutter button (press half way down to focus; press the rest of the way down to take the picture) and the zoom toggle on the top of the camera.
I wasn't super happy that there was no dedicated movie button (it's in the menu) but I knew she would not likely use the movie function. I also knew that most of the photos she might take would be of her son and grandson, so mostly wide angle (better photo quality) would be fine for her and a little zoom on this still gets you a decent image in terms of quality. I liked the size and weight of this - slim and light weight. I liked the size and shape of it so much that I almost bought one for myself but I prefer different features and better image quality when fully zoomed out.
Bottom line is - she loves it and actually uses it! Before this, any camera was too complicated for her to even give it a try. This one is not intimidating. This camera has plenty of settings to try out too and I encourage you to try those (sports, portrait, landscape, etc) as you can often get even better results with those.
It was between this and Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with Full 1080p HD Video (Silver). I thought the Elph might actually be too small for her to be comfortable with AND you have to be willing to work the settings more to get the best photo. I find the full auto on the Elph does not consistently lock in on the right subject when focusing - so I knew any camera she had to "fiddle with" would not be the best choice for her. The image quality on the Elph is a bit better but ONLY if you work with the different settings and modes (it also didn't have 8x zoom).
If you want a budget camera that you can put on full auto and get the right subjects in focus, this is the one I would recommend. 16MP is too many for this small sensor. 9 or 10 would be much better in my opinion in terms of image quality BUT, in terms of what I was looking for and the budget P&S camera category, it is a 4.5 star rating. In terms of all point and shoot cameras in the world, I would say 3-ish so I gave this 3 stars. I wish camera manufacturers would stop playing the mega-pixel race game and concentrate on image quality.
I've uploaded several sample photos taken on iA too, so check those and others out for more of a feel of what you can expect from this camera.
I try to make my reviews as helpful as possible so please feel free to ask a questions in comments. I am happy to answer if I can. :)
I purchased this because I was very unhappy with the new Canon A3300 that I also purchased just a week before this one. I did extensive photo tests with both cameras because I felt the Canons overall sharpness was bad. Both cameras are 16mp and although i'm a Canon fan I have to say they failed on the A3300. Even with setting custom sharpness, contrast and saturation, the normal straight out of the box settings on the Panasonic were way better.
The two big problems with the canon were most photos even bright outdoors had way too much noise. The other problem was no matter what setting and focus type, only the center areas were in ok and i mean ok focus. All four corners of the photos were on the blurry side and that's just unacceptable. Compared to this Panasonic...wow, much better and much sharper. When fully zoomed in there was a bit of noise but its expected. Night shots depending on how you take them also have noise but again depending on how and what you can work around it a bit.
There are minor differences with the two cameras like the zoom smoothness was a bit better on the canon and the user interface and menu screens were also a bit better on the canon. Not a deal breaker at all because I'd rather have quality over cosmetic things. The other minor things i found were that the Panasonic has the af assist light very close to the top corner of the camera where you put your fingers. Also the on off and photo/play aren't buttons they are switches which i'm a little worried about breaking so we'll see how they last.
One of the biggest differences is that this camera is faster. I found that saving photos is almost instantaneous on the FH25 but on the canon it was about a 4 sec pause to save before you could take another (a "busy" icon shows up. Most of all the functions on the FH25 are faster and i like being able to grab the camera and take photos quickly.
Overall i'm all about quality and sharp photos and this camera does that. If you don't care about the spare battery cost or that the user interface and menus look like 20 years old, i think you'll be happy with this camera.
Photos for the most part are well exposed and using the full Ai seem to always come out perfect. There will be a slight bit of noise in certain shots but sharpness is never an issue. The whole thing about higher mega pixels is better isn't completely true, its all about the sensor size. Do some research about that as I did but believe me, this camera really does a great job. I've posted a few sample photos.
Still loving the picture quality of this small camera. I even tested out the new Canon SX230 and again this FH25 was sharper and photos were exposed better. The full iAuto setting is amazing and it really
does a great job, I've taken photos with it that I will be publishing in my second book next year. That's how good I feel the quality is.
Update: there are batteries available for only $10.00 making this camera a great choice.
on June 15, 2011
Lot's of positives for this camera:
Advertised as 8x optical zoom but that's video. It's 10x in photo mode, 22.5x if you employ the digital zoom as well.
16.1 mp is amazing for a camera in this price range. I actually used the max digital zoom and still got good resolution photos.
About 2 dozen scene modes (portrait, beach, sunset, etc) that work well and are easy to select. Text scrolls across the screen explaining its use as you you move from mode to mode.
Very easy to use. About 1/2 hour with the manual and camera and you can understand and begin using all the features.
Image stabilization sems very effective. I shot every thing hand held even at max zoom and liked the results.
Great battery life. I chrged it 1x on a week vacation but that was just in case. Could have gone all week with 100s of shots.
Like most digitals the camera has very little built in memory so you need to buy a memory card. I chose the PNY 16 GB that has more room than I think I'll ever need.
One negative this camera shares with most point and shoots: you miss a viewfinder in very bright sunlight. But the screen is bright enough to make it manageable so I still rate this very highly.
on July 29, 2011
I don't offer too many reviews, but this one was worth the effort. If you are looking to purcase a point and shoot, the Panasonic DMC-FH25 is probably the best camera for the money. I did quite a bit of research and was taken by the 8x Zoom and 16.1 MP. And it wasn't much more money than those cameras with fewer megapixels and features! It's easy to use - whether you are taking close-ups, or panoramic shots, the controls are intuitive and handy. With flash, without flash, macro, zoom... it's really just a few simple clicks and your taking great shots. Right out of the camera with no touch up the photos are well balanced and accurate.(I've uploaded some of the shots on the Panasonic DMC-25K page above.) I didn't even bother to read the manual, I was too excited to start playing with the 16.1 Mega Pixels! :) I've seen some reviews where the reviewer was less than enthusiastic about a feature or two... these are probably the kinds of people that complain about everything! They probably should have purchased a DSLR and been done with it! My guess is they'd find something to complain about THAT too. I digress... The fact is, for the money, I'm really pleased and happy with this purchase. The only thing I need to do is read the manual and I'll be all set. Oh, one other really fun feature that I found accidentally... When I hooked the camera up to an HDTV, (with included cable), there is a slide show function that has MUSIC built in!! Five or so different songs that play in the background while you watch the images fade and slide across the screen. That is a really nice touch Panasonic! It should tell you how much thought went into the design of this Lumix. Thanks for reading!! :)
on June 29, 2011
I have been using this camera for about a month and it is fantastic! I have taken photos using both the
automatic intelligence mode, where the camera does all the settings, and the My Picture mode, where you
can choose options such as ISO, flash settings and so forth. I have also tried various optical zoom lengths.
Some of the pictures were taken in less-than-optimal conditions, like in the rain and under fluorescent lights.
All of them came out great, sharp and with excellent color. I have noted several reviews that mention
problems with color rendition. All of my images have been taken using the "Natural" setting, which is
one of several "color bias" settings. It is worth noting that the color bias selected will be used even
when the iA mode is selected and, before I realized that, I had some pictures with terrible color
because I had left the camera set to "Vivid". I have not yet used Macro but have tried various optical
zoom lengths and have not had any of the problems with poor focus or decreased clarity, also mentioned
in some reviews. I have posted several images. The 4 kitten pictures were taken under fluorescent light
and the leaves and flower were taken in the rain. All were done using the highest resolution setting,
automatic white balance and "natural" color setting and ISO 200. The camera was hand-held. No editing
was done except for cropping of the images of the white kitten (the full image pre-crop is also shown)
and the book/leaves. Both were tightly cropped to the center portion of the image, and remain very
sharp and detailed. I am especially impressed by the white kitten, where multiple tones of white can be
seen. I was concerned at first by the lack of a detailed manual instead of just a CD and I originally
planned to print out the manual after loading it on my computer, so I could have carry-along instructions.
However, after going through the manual, most of the settings are easy to find and use and I may only
print a couple of the more difficult to find directions, like how to format an SD card. This is a wonderful
camera which takes excellent pictures and I am very glad I purchased it, despite the negative reviews.
Additional information: I have now been using this camera for 7 months and still love it. The only
criticism I have is in regard to the lever used to zoom; it is small, with a narrow range of motion
and it can be difficult to stop at the exact distance you want. It is a minimal problem but one
that can interfere with my photographing my favorite subjects; kittens waiting for Forever Homes at the
SPCA. I have also discovered that this camera has a surprisingly powerful flash that can "wash out"
pictures if I am not careful. I prefer natural light pictures, so I keep the flash turned off for
both IA and normal picture settings and set the sensitivity at 200 or 400. Even in low light, the
pictures look very good and I have posted a couple on this site as illustrations.
on March 31, 2011
I am a novice photographer and basically wanted an easy to use point and shoot to take pictures of my family and friends. One reason I gave the camera 4 stars instead of 5 was because the camera does NOT zoom while taking video. I was a little upset b/c I thought that this version, unlike the FH20, was suppose to have this feature. I wish I purchased the ZS5 model instead. Besides that fact, everything about the camera is great. It takes very good quality photos fast. The video is also good quality. It does well in low light and in fast moving action. I have only had the camera for a few weeks, but so far so good.
on May 20, 2011
I haven't had this camera for very long before writing this (only 1 week), so I'll update in about a month. So far, however, it's exactly what I expected. I was going to get the Nikon Cool Pix, but that had too many bad reviews. So I bought this one. I tested it just once by taking photos INDOORS under flourescent light. Photos came out better than I thought they would. Digital screen is bright, and has settings that even allow you to change the angle of view in case you're holding the camera above your head.
The other reason I bought this is the size and ergonomic design. I need a small, decent camera to take around w/ me for misc parties and such. I have another, much better Canon SLR, but that one is big, bulky, heavy, and as such difficult to keep inconspicuous. In the past, when on vacation or in another country, I was often the center of attention when I pulled out the camera or traveled on public transportation. That could be quite dangerous. So, I opted to buy this camera. Has a nice, attractive design, nice blue color, but not so nice that it looks like it's $1000 bucks. And if it's stolen or I'm robbed, I'll be mad, but it's not as if it'll take $1000 bucks to replace! And I could hide it while traveling. It's small enough to put in your pocket. It would bulk up your pocket, but it's much safer than carrying around an SLR around your neck.
Some of the cool features is face recognition technology. It actually puts a square around people's faces! It will focus on those faces. That feature I did test and it works. The few photos I took were very clear, focused, color was as true to the real scene as I could tell. And I only used a setting that saves 5m of information.
Most features are easy to get to quickly, using the menu buttons and such. There's even a feature that allows you to set a "normal" scene setting if you know you use it a lot. This allows you to go back to it quickly if in a different scene setting.
One con is that some features aren't available depending on the scene you're using. That would be fine, except that it will take a few months of using the camera to really get familiar w/ what you can and can't use depending on the scene setting. The instruction manual is unfortunately on CD-ROM in pdf format, so if you're away from your computer and you need to look up a feature to remind yourself how to use it, you're out of luck.
But those are cons I'm willing to live with. I didn't expect this to be as good as my SLR, and indeed it's not. There is no manual focus, for instance, the flash is somewhat limited. But I didn't buy this camera to have manual focus and a good flash. I bought it to be able to hide in my pocket, travel w/ it, get quick, high quality-in-focus pictures, and not worry about replacement value. My initial tests confirmed I can do all of that and even more.
So far, so good.
on October 11, 2011
This camera has really impressed me!
In the past I had a really old sony cyber shot that work ok but never did a great job has I've always wished. I've seen how Canon Power Shot work, delivering pictures that have great colors and focus very well, with no blur at all. However the price of the Power Shot, when I was comparing cameras, were way higher than this Panasonic lumix. They offered less MP (14 MP and 12 MP vs 16 MP) and just half of the zoom (4x vs 8x). So, in terms of features and price, between Canon and Lumix, the Lumix is a better option.
The intelligent auto mode works GREAT as a "point and shoot", it has a very fast shutter speed! and focus great!. If you want to play more with the features like amount of light or enhance colors, the Lumix has already options to make it even easier like "candle light" mode, "food" mode, "sunset" mode, etc, and they work very well. Also it has a panoramic mode that helps to make nice panoramic shoots although it doesn't acoplate the pictures itself.
I also have to say that if you don't have basic knowledge of how to manipulate the menus of any point and shoot camera (like my old sony cyber shot), it could take just a few days to discover everything that this camera can do, but when you do you will be amazed! also the Optical Image Stabilizer works great! but you have to pay attention on have it ON, otherwise it won't work, of course!
And last but not least, My brother and a friend, both professional photographers, each own DSLR cameras, they both agreed that the lenka lenses have the best quality in the market wich the lumix has.
Finally, I always wanted a point and shoot that would allow me to "play" as a professional photographer and take interesting and nice pictures. This camera has done that and more.
So, in summary, I would totally recommend this camera, beyond expectations!
on June 15, 2011
I bought this to replace a Sony that I partner with a Pentax DSLR. Something I can keep in a pocket and use in crowds, etc. Just attended a high school reunion, and it performed well. At one indoor event, the lighting was poor, but pictures were acceptable. At another where lighting was good, pictures were excellent.
The batteries are expensive, but I think I can get away without buying a spare. This seems to do well holding a charge. At the reunion, I did two full days of shooting without bothering to recharge at night, and the charge was still good. Recharge is done quite quickly.
on June 25, 2011
Got this camera to use when I am not really in the "photographer" mood - something light and easy to carry. Have been pleased enough to use more often than I had expected - it is very compact and the pictures and movies are actually just perfect. Even the charger is compact as the prongs fold in and there is no cord (plugs straight into the wall).