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153 of 165 people found the following review helpful
Color: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am an end user and not a photographer and have purchased half a dozen "point and shoot" digital cameras over the years.


Small and light, very portable
Excellent in IA (intelligent automatic) mode - ISO and shutter speed displayed
Easy to use without reading the manual (but read it anyway - eventually)
Nice, clear LCD display
HD video is OUTSTANDING (audio, not so much)
Very good macro (close up) camera with flash off (my preference)


Flash is only good to about 2 meters
Delay between pictures is "acceptable" but not excellent
Camera audio speaker close to worthless
"Burst" feature (constant shooting while holding shutter button) is poor

UPDATE 22 MAY 2012 (a year after acquisition): Durability is excellent. For the last year I've been constantly letting this rattle around in my pocket. Works just as good as when it was new over a year ago. It has some wear marks (what you'd expect) but has physically held up perfectly.

UPDATE 24 JUNE 2013 (2 years+ after acquisition): Still going strong. I still carry this constantly. At one point, some spots started appearing and I thought the sensor array had some dead pixels. Nope. Just used a can of air to blow on the lens and it's back to working as new. VERY durable product. I can't stress that I haven't babied this camera.


First thing I do with something like this is take it out of the box and start playing with it without reading the manual - not something I recommend, but working with a product starting in total ignorance tells you something about the overall device that gets spoiled once you learn how it is supposed to work. After playing with it in ignorance, I then read the enclosed printed manual from cover to cover. NOTE: The included CD-ROM includes a much more extensive, forty-two pages, manual that goes into greater technical detail about this camera.

It was trivial to charge the included battery and it took a little less than the two hours advertised to do so. The Panasonic DMC-S1 is a very small, palm sized "point and shoot" that nestled easily in my front shirt pocket which was full of other junk as well. The actual camera is very light.

I popped in the charged battery and a 4 GB Class 4 SD card (easy to do without reading the manual since both can only fit in the correct manner), pressed the power on, and started shooting everything in sight using the default IA (intelligent auto) mode. You will have to get an SD card since the on-board memory is only good for about 4 pictures at the highest (4000 x 3000 pixels) setting.

The first twenty pictures I took were pretty solid with one or two slightly washed out with the automatic flash. The delay between pictures was acceptable (2-3 seconds) but not exceptional by any means. In IA mode, holding down the shutter button half way displays the ISO and shutter speed on the LCD display, which with my limited photographic experience was still a nice feature.

Part of what I attempt to do is intentionally "stupid" things to see what happens (no, I do not immerse it in water). So, I turned the house lights out and started shooting people across the room. I didn't expect these low light photos to come out well, and they didn't - the camera detected the low light and that it needed the flash, but the range of the flash didn't do much to illuminate beyond the specified 2 meters or so, hence, the picture was blurry. Otherwise, walking around the house, outside the house, up to people real close, etc., I'd say 90 percent of the 150 or so pictures I took were very good to excellent (and a little post processing won't hurt a thing). The anti-jitter features seemed to be in top form with almost no blurriness in any but in the worst lighting conditions.

I took this on my train ride to work and shot inside and outside, and got some very nice pictures with the raindrops on the window in sharp focus, and the background scenery quite clear. The IA mode is a pretty good universal choice. I did have some issues shooting some macro shots (a couple of inches away) and experimented with turning the flash totally off. Macro shots seem to work best with no flash. All in all, this is the best "point and shoot" I've ever had for shooting macro type close-ups (e.g., I like to take close-up pictures of butterflies). Off the train and at work I was able to get some very nice shots of tiny screws and wood grain on the desk.

My next tests were with the video. The HD is EXCELLENT but it is, as expected, a memory pig. The camera indicated I could shoot a little less than 10 minutes of HD video for the maximum 2 GB file size, or about two separate 10 minute HD videos on the 4 GB chip. The lowest quality setting (320x240) gives over an hour per each 2 GB file. Playback of the video (and all pictures) was more than acceptable, and the quality of both looked the same on my PC's larger monitor. The speaker on the camera is practically worthless (not a deal breaker) but it does exist and if you put your ear real close you can hear the mono sound of your video. On my PC, the sound was loud and clear, but unexceptional. This would not be my first choice as a video camera, but can still be useful for creating short YouTube shoutouts.

There are lots of settings possible (having read the manual) but I get a "point and shoot" (like this camera) to avoid complex settings. I'm pretty much going to stick with the IA as my default, and will likely turn the flash completely off in most cases. BUT, if you want to control things, you do have some limited options (read the manual!).

I tried the "burst" feature (continual shooting while holding down the shutter button) which was pretty worthless. Since the delay between each shot seemed to be about 2-3 seconds, and there is little control, it's not like you're going be able to shoot supermodels or sporting events with any real clarity. Better to shoot HD video and extract individual frames.

Battery life appears to be good, I'm trying to run it down on purpose but it's a new battery so it's holding the initial charge nicely (and with the flash off I'm putting less stress on it). I'm only really comfortable after using a rechargeable battery for a year or so to see how it deteriorates, so I can't comment on this feature with any confidence. Anyway, after about 5 minutes of HD video and about 400 pictures (most without flash) I'm showing half a charge.

I didn't try out the included software, but would direct you, in any case, to look for separate reviews on that. I just wanted a "point and shoot" that gives little grief and good pictures (and maybe video) and this suits the bill perfectly.

NOTE ADDED (2 HOURS LATER) RE MACRO MODE: I had to wrestle with the whole concept of "macro mode" with this camera. The brief manual that comes with the camera definitely shows a macro mode icon, but that is in IA mode. I just verified that when I put it in IA mode, and place the lens a couple of inches from, say, a leaf, a little "macro mode" icon shows on the LCD display when I press a little down on the shutter button - the autofocus appears to trigger the macro mode in the IA setting. It's just you don't have that as a manual option for macro mode in all the different Scene Mode options - that confused me.
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83 of 93 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon May 25, 2011
Color: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Lumix DMC-S1 is the second Lumix model I own, my first one being a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH20 14.1 MP Digital Camera with 8x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Violet).

The DMC-S1 is a good basic camera, suitable for beginners or people who do not want to have to read manuals to be able to shoot decent pictures.

The Pros:
- Size: Very small and thin, perfect for stashing it in a shirt or pant pocket. The lens is flush with the camera body when retracted so nothing protrudes uncomfortably when carrying it.
- Price: At under $90 (at the time of this review), this is a very good deal. It makes it the perfect camera for the occasional snapshot or as a second camera for keeping in the car, etc.
- MP: The 12.1 Megapixel are more than sufficient for taking decent pictures, especially since megapixels alone are not the deciding factor anyway when it comes to image quality. The S1 takes very nice pictures and at least I cannot see a difference when comparing the images to those of the FH20 which has 14.1 megapixels.
- Zoom: The 4x optical zoom is sufficient. I personally like more zoom (the FH20 has an 8x zoom) but I also readily admit that using the full 8x zoom on the FH20 adds a LOT of image noise, so in reality the 4x is probably a better choice, especially if one wants to make (moderate) enlargements and doesn't want to see all the pixelation caused by the 8x zoom.
- Macro Mode: While there is no dedicated macro mode, the macro mode is actually built in when in iA. The minimum focus distance in iA is a mere 5 cm (i.e. right about 2 inches), which corresponds to the dedicated macro mode distance of the FH20. One less button to press - this works well for me, especially since I like taking macro pictures and enjoy the convenience of not having to switch to macro mode...
- iA mode: One of my favorite features of the Lumix cameras. It is the equivalent to Auto mode on other cameras but Panasonic calls it iA, Intelligent Auto, and I am inclined to agree - the results are usually very nice and keeping the camera in iA should cover most photographic situations a casual photographer encounters.
- Image Stabilizer: I remember a time when image stabilizers where something only available in high-end cameras or lenses. Nowadays this is standard in pretty much every camera. But I still think it is a pro worth mentioning in a camera available at such a budget price.
- Speed: The S1 is nice and fast, even when the flash was fired.
- HD Video: I was pleasantly surprised with the video capability of this little camera. Again: For the price it performed very well. I took a test video in my dark office, blinds closed, no lamps on and the detail captured in it was quite impressive. Also no detectable camera shake - cool. The sound was less impressive and a bit muffled but considering that this is a still camera first and a budget model at that - very well done, Panasonic! Note: Zoom is not available during video recording.
- Scene Modes: There are 16 to choose from, amongst them 2 portrait modes, Sports, Landscape, Party, Sunset, Beach, High Sensitivity and Baby. Personally I don't find many of these too, too useful on a day-today basis as these address very specific shooting situations. Then again, since there is no manual mode, these might occasionally come in handy. That largely depends on the individual photographer and his/her preferences...
- Additional Functionality: The S1 has the option to display grid lines on the LCD display (useful for shooting architecture or the horizon to make sure the camera is held straight). It has a self-timer option for 2 or 10 seconds delay, the option to turn off the automatic flash, and the ability to adjust exposure. On top of that white balance can be adjusted and the color mode can be selected (options are: Standard, Natural, Vivid, B/W, Sepia, Cool, Warm). The available options vary depending on what mode the camera is set to (iA, Normal Mode, Video, etc).
- Nice Touch: Where options can be changed, such as AF mode, Color mode etc., there are simple explanations displayed in a banner at the bottom. Great for becoming familiar with the camera and very handy because one does not need to consult the print manual to find out what a specific mode is for or what a change does.

The Cons (if you want to call it that):
- Camera Body: While the camera is very suitable for carrying it in a shirt pocket, the plastic surface is extremely slick, and I have almost dropped it on more than one occasion. Due to the streamlined shape, there is nothing the hand can really hold on to. Especially if hands are very dry one must be quite careful not to accidentally let go of it. I strongly advise to always, always put your hand through the supplied strap first in order to prevent damage.
- The AF: I had trouble getting the camera to auto-focus on objects with lower contrast, even in broad daylight. This was frustrating and prevented me from taking a number of shots because the S1 simply did not focus on the object I wanted to shoot but on the background or the sides instead, regardless of me trying to adjust camera angle, position, zoom, etc. Note: AF mode can be adjusted in Normal Mode - there are 3 different settings: Single Area, Multiple Area and Face Detection, but this did not have any bearing on the camera's ability to focus in my particular situations.
- Exposure: The camera tends to overexpose a bit when outdoors. At first I thought this was due to the sharp contrasts present in bright sunlight but even in light to moderate shade the pictures come out consistently a bit too bright. I saw this in iA and Landscape modes, haven't had the opportunity to test other modes yet. It isn't horribly overexposed, just noticeable, with somewhat washed-out colors in the brighter image areas.

For the price, this model is hard to beat and offers a lot for the dollar. That it has areas where it isn't outstanding - well, every camera has these, those in the higher price ranges are no exception. And when looking at the cost vs. the features I really cannot argue the disadvantages too much at all. The only thing that I consistently dislike every time I pick up this camera is the slickness of the body. To me, it just doesn't feel too good to hold and I wish Panasonic had made the surface a bit "grippier". Since this can lead to easily dropping the camera and damaging it, this is my main point for only giving it 3 stars. If it were available, I would probably give 3.5, based on everything else.

I will use the S1 as a backup camera to keep in my purse - the small size makes it ideal for that. All in all I prefer the FH20 and would recommend that one over the S1, provided you can find it at a good price. If, however, price is your main consideration, I am sure the S1 will make you happy, too.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2011
Color: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having used this camera in various conditions for over a week now, its strengths and weaknesses have become pretty apparent...and there are a few of both that depending on your needs, that may sway your purchase one way or another. Note that I also frequently use a Fujifilm FinePix Z90 and, most often (for best quality), a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100. While I may make comparisons between the two, I'm not going to fault a $100 camera for not taking as crisp of a picture as a $300+ camera.

First, for those of you that know exactly what you want (and don't want) in a camera, here are a few things that his does quite well:
1. Very vivid colors of outdoor scenes and natural-light scenes. The colors are sharp with well defined boundaries and contrast...basically, it takes very nice pictures.
2. Ease of use: only a couple buttons, no manual needed. The options that you can select say exactly what they are within the camera menu, so selecting the correct option is easy.
3. Excellent battery life. Comes with a slim rechargeable battery and charger. (It's a proprietary battery, but contrary to some belief, this is a benefit. The battery lasts a LOT longer that AA batteries. Need extra battery life? Buy a spare battery and keep it charged.)
4. Slim enough to slip into a pocket.
5. Great optical zoom for a camera of its size. And with the stabilization it has, I never had a blurry picture when zoomed.
6. The video quality, with good lighting, is quite good. For me, it's good enough that if I didn't have other cameras that already did the same task, I wouldn't hesitate to use it for important video moments like my martial art belt testing for my son, birthdays, etc. Videos are in .MOV format.
7. It has a lens cover that opens and closes by itself! This is something that I wish my Panasonic FZ100 had. Just some simple protection from dust/mist/whatever to keep the lens spot-free.
8. The "intelligent auto" mode that automatically selects the best settings works great. You can override it (say, tell it you're taking a picture in bright sun/snow or low light, closeup, etc), but in various testing, the auto mode always picked the correct mode for me anyway. (As does my other Panasonic...)

But, of course, the camera does have some drawbacks, but they may not matter:
1. Difficult one-hand operation if you want to use the zoom.
2. You cannot zoom when recording video.
3. No one-touch video recording. (You need to pick whether you want to record a picture or a video before pressing the shutter button. Other - more expensive - cameras usually have a "video" button so you don't have to click through menus.
4. Time to focus + take a picture is a little long.

And now the most important drawbacks:
1. Low light pictures are bad. Really bad. Combine a low-light, indoor picture with using the zoom, and even though the flash fires, the picture ends up grainy and almost looks like it's black and white, even if the objects are less than 6 feet away.
2. There's a limit on how long you can record video. And it doesn't depend on anything you can change. Using a class 10 32GB SDHC card (class 10), the timer says the video can go 8 minutes, 24 seconds.

Overall, this is a good camera for its class that I'd only NOT recommend if you plan on taking many low-light, indoor pictures or if you want more options for recording video. (And if your main intent is to take video, be sure to consider the Kodak PlaySport (Zx3) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera (Black). It takes horrible stills and it's only 5MP, but it's built for video and has more options for it.) This Panasonic is a much better multi-purpose than the Kodak, and chances are, if you're looking at this, you want a still-photo camera.

One last note: I don't install any extra software, unless it's absolutely required to make things work. The camera came with a CD that I never put into my machine, and have had no problems transferring pictures and videos. Used on both XP and Win7.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2011
What my parents have always said is true with this product: you get what you pay for. For under $100 you are getting a small point and shoot camera. It will fit easily in your pocket or purse and will reliably take decent shots. If that is all you are looking for, you will be satisfied with this camera. It is a good value for under $100!

If you are looking for a camera that takes great low-light, super detailed, actions/sports, or close-up pictures this is not the camera that will fill all your needs. In addition, I think this camera feels a little cheap and flimsy, especially compared to nicer Lumix camera in the same line. On the plus side, it's super light and portable.

I recommend this camera for young adults or casual picture takers. I use this camera to take pictures to post to my blog. It works perfectly well and easy to bring along with me.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2011
A great camera for an average user.
Super easy to use in the Intelligent Auto mode - just point-n-shoot and the camera will do the rest.
It automatically selects the most appropriate setting under the conditions, including the macro mode.

The plastic body is light and slim, with nicely finished details.
The control buttons are logically placed.
The menu is easy to navigate, with just the basic settings present. Which is a plus for an average user who just leaves the camera in the auto mode anyways and never bothers with the myriad of the advanced settings of the more expensive cameras.
The video quality is very nice for such a bargain-priced model.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Color: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Summary: Entry level point and shoot at a very reasonable price takes high quality pictures and video - most of the time. Some functional issues that you have to get used to. Most of these are likely attributable to compromises needed to give this camera it's tiny size.

This quickly became my wife's camera, replacing our Canon A570IS point and shoot. We've taken several hundred pictures already (more on that later) and it's now the primary P&S (We also have a digital SLR). It's smaller than the average cell phone and the smooth black finish look and feel very expensive. Perfect for a purse or even shirt pocket. Of course, the key question is: does it take good pictures?

The short answer is - most of the time. For still shots the image stabilization and IA (intelligent Auto) mode do a good job of focusing when and where you want it to, but the problem is the flash and low light performance. In particular I use the flash almost all the time - even in daylight I will use a fill flash to soften shadows on faces. The flash on this camera is amazingly small and not surprisingly does not perform. The unfortunate part is that the low light performane is also marginal. I'm accustomed to the performance of our SLR but indoor no flash shots show more grain than our 7 megapixel Canon.

Delay to first shot is a marginal 2-3 seconds, in between shots is yet another 3-4-5-6 seconds depending on whether you're waiting for the flash to charge up. Burst mode? not really.

For Video, it shoots in HD and although there is no zoom it appears like there might actually be image stabilization. Colors are suprisingly vivid and overall, comparable to the quality of various flip type cameras. Unfortunately, although the video quality is comparable, getting to the video mode and the overall ergonomics are definitely lacking. Part of this is that changing modes is a bit confusing. There are several buttons that allow you to exit the mode changing menu - however only one button actually changes the mode so if you are shooting a video and want to switch modes - better pay attention. It would be really nice if they had a dedicated video button, or barring that, an easier way than 5 button presses to shoot video.

Finally, battery life is a problem. Our 8 year old has adopted this and shoots non stop. The battery from a fresh charge will run out before you fill a 4 Gb SD card.

I'd say we honestly think it is a decent value at the street price (although we received it through Vine) however if I were to be in the market for a comparable camera, I'd first check competitive reviews for flash and battery performance.

If you have any questions, comments, or if you found this review helpful, please let me know!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2011
This is my third Panasonic digicam. My first was a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ2 5MP Digital Camera with 6x Image Stabilized Optical Zoom (Silver). It still works, but it has been replaced long ago by other cameras. My current main camera is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 12.1MP Digital Camera with 18x POWER Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7 inch LCD. I purchased this camera with the intent of training my wife to use it because she doesn't like the numerous dials and options on the other cameras in the home. I also intended on carrying it places I wouldn't take my FZ35 due to bulk or danger to it.

I have taken approximately 150 shots with the S1 now. There have been a few occasions where I have missed the extra zoom capability of the FZ35, and the performance is not nearly up to par with that camera in terms of shot to shot speed or photo quality. By the same token, this camera blows away the camera on my Samsung Transform Android Phone (Sprint). For the size of the camera and the price, I am blown away by the photos I have been able to capture.

The camera fits effortlessly into a shirt, coat, or jean pocket. It also seems capable of taking a fair amount of incidental wear. The lens does not protrude too far from the body, and it is quite small. I paired this camera with a $1 camera case I found locally and won't worry too much about wear or damage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2011
I bought this camera for my mom for her birthday and my mom is not technically savvy by any means. Before this camera she was still using the disposable cameras if that tells you anything. She was going on a cruise so I wanted her to have a good point and shoot camera and this one was great. Right out of the box, it was easy to set up, program the date and time, and the pictures are clear and crisp and have great color. I purchased an 8gb memory card for it and that gave her the ability to take 900+ pics. The camera styling is very nice, small, light and sleek. The only thing I didn't like was that this camera didn't come with any kind of case but that is an easy and cheap fix. I would reccomend this camera for someone looking for a simple point and shoot at a great price. I got the camera and the memory card for under $100 with free shipping! Can't beat it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I love Panasonic cameras, having owned 5 of them now, but this one was VERY disappointing. This was intended to be just a good inexpensive camera to carry around in my bag, but it's too cheap-feeling for even light-duty use. Shiny, slick plastic, hard to grip, the lens motor sounded weak so I fear it wouldn't last long - and it also made strange noises now and then when turning the camera on. Defective camera? Maybe, but I'm positive a cheap motor is used in this camera, and I didn't want to chance it. The battery/SD card cover was super-flimsy and wouldn't take much use for it to break.

I didn't bother trying this S1 out for a few days before deciding - the few pictures I took using the iA setting were not up to par with my other cameras, not even my older Panasonic cameras from the 2007-2008 era.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2011
I bought this camera for a friend. He has been using it so much that it may prove injurious to his health (some people do not like their pictures). In spite of the owners manual being bigger than the camera, he figured it out quickly and has been taking nice clear pictures ever since.
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