Customer Reviews: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH1 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Silver)
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This camera may be plastic, but it's a high-quality plastic with raised lettering, the build quality is excellent as well as the fit & finish, and the sharpness of the LCD is as good as I've seen on expensive cameras. I own a Panasonic DMC-TZ4 which cost well over $250 in 2008, and this is just as good, if not better, than my TZ4 which I still use, I just don't carry it in my bag as it's too heavy. This camera is light-weight and easy to toss in a bag, but I do recommend a case. It keeps your camera looking nice.

One thing I want you to note if you don't get anything else from reading my review - the best way to keep your camera from getting a zoom error is to flick the switch on the back to the VIEW images side (green arrow); that way if your camera accidentally gets turned on in your bag, the lens will not open and zoom out. Not all cameras have the slide switch, but all the Panasonic cameras I'm aware of, do have the same type switch.

OK, back to the camera. One thing I like about the LCD screen on this camera is you have a high-angle view choice. This comes in handy at parades when all the tall people are standing in front of you; all you do is hold your arms up over your head and you can still see what you are shooting at down below.

The camera turns on fast, shoots fast, and recovers to take another shot the fastest of any camera I've ever used, and I've used many. This camera has MEGA Optical Image Stabilization, which is hard to find at this price. The lithium-ion battery life is excellent, I've shot over 250 pics and movies and it has not needed recharging. The battery charger comes with the camera, and will charge a dead battery in 90 minutes. Naturally, it also comes with the USB cable, photo-editing software which I don't care for and is not worth installing, and the A/V cable to plug into your TV for viewing photos & videos that way. BTW, A/V cables aren't being included in the lower-end cameras much anymore, but this camera does have them.

Most of the time I leave it on the Intelligent Autofocus (IA) - this dedicated button is located on the top to the right of the shutter release - you can push and go from any other mode to this in an instant - this will let the camera choose on its own any of 6 different scenes so you don't have to decide yourself. I also like the regular scene modes - one of them you can make yourself skinnier. :) Another scene selection you can choose one of 3 frames to automatically surround your picture. Yet another you have a choice of Baby 1 or Baby 2 where you can also add name and age.

One of the scene settings is called Flash Burst, where you can take 5 consecutive pics with flash by holding the shutter down; this is a great feature to have if you have a moving object such as a child or pet as you are bound to get at least one good shot out of the five.

Picture quality is excellent. I've taken quite a few shots of my cats (on the pet scene mode) and when enlarged to full screen-view size on my 22" monitor, I can see every strand of fur in great detail.

One thing I find to be cute and I've never seen it before: the little green dot that comes on to show you are focused can be changed from a plain green dot to a heart, a flower, or even a car among other things. So this may appeal to the younger photographers too.

The HD movie quality is excellent, even better than my Flip MinoHD 2nd generation. The only downfall of the HD movie is the QuickTime format which this camera uses, is an SD card HOG. I recommend getting a minimum of a 16 GB SDHC CLASS 6 memory card if you plan on taking a lot of HD movies. If you are just primarily taking photos, a 2 GB or 4 GB card will do fine and they are fairly inexpensive. And no, you cannot zoom in and out while making a movie. You can set the zoom before you press the button, but not during.

This camera case is a perfect fit: Lowepro Volta 20 Camera Case (Black)
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on December 10, 2010
This camera is fantastic for a pocket size point and shoot. I am a previous Canon elf and Nikon CoolPix owner. Side by side, the Panasonic blows the Canon and Nikon away. A friendly suggestion, Google ¨Canon Powershot lens error¨ & see what you find. I AM SOLD on Panasonic's QUALITY. Photos are excellent, although image quality does suffer some in low light. That being said, this is a problem common to all pocket sized point and shoots. The battery life is very good. I can get 300+ shots on a card before the battery needs a charge. This is assuming you don't keep reviewing your shots every 5 minutes. The more you review your shots, obvously the more battery life you consume. The screen is crisp and clear, controls are well placed and the lens, although not a Leica (On this entry levl model)is still good quality. The 2.7 inch screen is MORE THAN AMPLE to view your shots. Image stabilization works very well, especially when using the zoom. The wide angle also allows for good panoramic shots. The camera build is SOLID and feels so in your hand, however is still light enough that you don't feel like you are carrying a brick in your pocket or on your belt. If you are new to Panasonic, a quick review of the manual and after playing with the controls for 10-15 minutes, you should have no problems understanding the menu's and function settings. At it's current price point, this unit is a steal. So much so that I ordered 3 more for Christmas gifts. Two in Black and one in Silver. We own several Panasonic cameras and love them. Just get one. You will be glad you did.
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on September 25, 2010
Picked up the silver version for under $120 with free shipping, decided against the black version because scratches don't show on silver and the camera will get scratches.

The build quality is pretty good, doesn't feel as solid as the Canon digital Elphs, but it doesn't feel like it's made of cheap plastic either. It is slightly larger all around than say the Canon SD940is, and unlike the Canon SD940is, the flash is positioned in a place where you are unlikely to cover it while holding the camera, a BIG plus. The battery latch mechanism isn't as easy as the Canon, and is really a two handed operation. Controls are pretty comparable, with the Panasonic using a power switch versus a recessed pushbutton on the Canon. Video is enabled via a menu, which in my opinion is not as easy as a physical switch. Overall I'd rate the Canon controls and menus a cut above the Panasonic, but once you are used to them it is okay.

There are a lot of shooting options on this camera, and if you want to trust it, there is a big iA button which will attempt to autoselect a mode for you. The camera also continuously focuses even if you don't push the button halfway, which is supposed to speed up the focusing - in practice I found that it likely results in more out of focus pictures than pictures that are focus locked more quickly. I find that I often find myself turning off the flash (it seems to fire in light that is good enough without it) and setting it to Sport mode to force a faster shutter speed. The 5x zoom and optical image stabilization are very nice, but the zoom is slower than the Canon models. At the widest angle you do tend to get some stretching effects across the entire picture, and for pictures of people you might want to actually zoom a little to reduce this effect. The biggest downside to this camera is the start up time; while the viewfinder turns on very quickly, you must wait a good 2 seconds before you are able to actually take a picture.

Image quality is very good, and I've taken some pictures that almost have a DSLR quality to them. I'm particularly impressed with how this camera handles bright red colors - it cleary does a better job than my Pentax K100D SLR. However the default color intensity seems dull so I now shoot with the Vivid setting on. It also seems to do a good job with exposures; if it has a weakness it's that bright light sources in high contrast situations can produce a hazing kind of effect. I would also rate the video quality as very good - it is a little grainy, but compared to the HD video shot by the Canon SD940is, this is much better. It shoots motion JPEG in a Quicktime file, but my home PC has no problems being able to play it back.

This isn't the perfect camera, but for these features and performance at this price, you basically can't lose. I highly recommend it as a safe bet.
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on May 14, 2011
So I'm the digital camera expert of my family. When anybody wants a new memory maker, I'm the first one who hears about it. My mom wanted a new camera that "snapped the pictures faster and had more color in them". My mom is not very good with technology, so it was important to me to find a camera that was incredibly easy to use and had presets that were very self-explanatory as to what they were used for. I also wanted a camera that had good reviews about being fast (also a class 6 memory card that would be fast). I wanted a camera with a considerable optical zoom range for a limited budget because my mom likes to zoom in on small objects but doesn't understand how much detail is lost when she uses digital zoom. I wanted a camera known to have vibrant capture of color, higher megapixel count so she could make the pictures considerably big without pixelation, and I wanted a camera with HD video. My mother said she didn't care about video, but I knew she'd change her mind once she experienced HD video. Well, I made the right choice. Mom is thrilled. The pictures look great, it's really easy to figure out, and the camera does the work for her while not making her wait. It is much faster than the Kodak Mom did have that she hated. The picture quality is great, colors are brilliant, and the video looks great, too. My mom figured out how to get the pictures off her camera without needing help, which is impressive, because I useally have to show her that too. Most importantly, this camera was just barely within the price range my mom had limited me to, and was a really great price in comparison to other cameras with the same features, so I feel like I got the best possible camera for her within the price range.
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on April 15, 2011
This camera was purchased for my wife to slip in her purse so she could take pictures of the grandchildren. It replaced a very old Canon. I have always purchased Canon cameras but in this case, this camera had more to offer than the Canon and at a lessor price. We have been completely satisfied with its performance. We were a little concerned that it has a rechargeable battery and that we couldn't use AA's or AAA's as a back up but we have never run out of battery. A back up battery can be purchased for less than $20 dollars but we haven't needed to. Videos are sharp as well as the stills. In low light, the shutter doesn't respond well and the flash is also slows it down a bit. We are very happy with the purchase.Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH1 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Silver)
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on October 6, 2011
This was the first camera I have bought for myself. I've never been much of a picture taker, but decided I'm probably missing out on a lot of good memories. It works great! I just haven't got used to it yet. I bought a case, screen protector, and two extra batteries. I have read that some batteries other than Panasonic don't work properly, but I purchased two Wasabi Power(LCH-BCF10) batteries and charger on e-Bay for less than or the same price as one Panasonic battery! They work just fine and are supposed to last a little longer the original Panasonic battery.
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on December 29, 2011
I liked this camera so much and the price was right, I bought a second one for my parents. It's pretty darn nice for a point and shoot. Lumix makes good cameras. I did take some creative artsy photos that came out wonderfully. As for every day picture captures, it's not AMAZING but it does the job and the shots are clear and it's easy to use.
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on December 16, 2011
Very simple and easy to use, perfect for travel and general picture taking, many good options for the money. Checked big box stores prices were cheaper but not the same model, you get what you pay for.
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on February 24, 2011
I purchased this and it seemed to take fine pictures when I viewed them on the camera. When I uploaded them to my PC the images were awful. Very light and not very sharp. I then ordered the DMC-FH3 because the Lumix line seemed to be getting rave reviews overall. The DMC-FH3 takes very clear pictures. That is the camera I will be keeping. Both the FH1 and FH3 took very good video, even when watched on an HDTV. Pay the extra $20 and go for the FH3. I also tested the GE A1455 and the HP PW460T, neither compare to the FH3.
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on October 4, 2010
I first purchased a Panasonic Lumix several years ago (for more than $200). I don't remember the model number and Panasonic no longer manufactures it, but this is what they recommended as a very similar replacement. I love this one as much as the first. Great pictures, zoom does not distory picture. I have a 6 year old and even when she moves just before the flash goes off, it almost always catches her and doesn't blur. Tons of other options.
Panasonic also has amazing customer service, even if you don't purchase through them. Dean on the customer service line spent more than 30 minutes with me explaining my options. He was very gracious when I told him that I was going to purchase through Amazon, rather than Panasonic (because of the free shipping and the slightly lower price- $10 or something) and encouraged me to call back if I had questions or problem.
This is a great camera- don't be fooled by the low price!
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