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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH5 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom with 2.7-Inch LCD (Black)
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- 16.1-megapixel resolution
- 4x optical zoom; 28mm wide-angle Leica lens
- 720 HD video capture; LUMIX Image Uploader makes it simple to share pictures on Facebook and video on YouTube
- Panasonic iA mode makes it simple for anyone to take beautiful photos
- Capture images and video to SD/SDHC memory cards (not included)
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|Auto Focus Technology|
|Battery Average Life||260 Photos|
|Battery Type||Lithium Ion|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||4.4 fps|
|Display Fixture Type||Fixed|
|Display Resolution Maximum||230,000|
|Display Size||2.7 inches|
|Effective Still Resolution||16.1 MP|
|Expanded ISO Maximum||1,600|
|Expanded ISO Minimum||100|
|External Memory Included||Yes|
|Flash Memory Type||SD/SDHC/SDXC, Internal|
|Flash Modes Description||Auto, Forced off, Forced on, Red-eye reduction, Slow synchronization|
|Flash Type||Built-in Flash|
|Focus Description||Contrast Detection|
|Focus Type||Autofocus Only|
|ISO Range||Auto, Hi Auto (1600-6400), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600|
|Image Aspect Ratio||1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9|
|Item Dimensions||2.13 x 0.75 x 3.7 inches|
|Item Display Weight||0.95 pounds|
|Item Weight||0.27 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Energy Content||680 Milliampere Hour (mAh)|
|Lithium Battery Weight||15 grams|
|Macro Focus Range||5 cm|
|Maximum Aperture Range||F3.1 - F6.5|
|Maximum Focal Length||112 mm|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/1600 of a second|
|Maximum horizontal resolution||4,608|
|Memory Slots Available||1|
|Memory Storage Capacity||70 MB|
|Minimum Focal Length||28 mm|
|Minimum Shutter Speed||60 seconds|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||16.1 MP|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CCD|
|Photo Sensor Technology||CCD|
|Processor Description||Venus Engine IV|
|Removable Memory||Secure Digital card|
|Sensor Cleaning Method||No|
|Shipping Weight||0.95 pounds|
|Supported Battery Types||Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery & charger|
|Video Capture Format||Motion JPEG|
|Video Capture Resolution||1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30 fps)|
|Water Resistance Level||Not Water Resistant|
From the Manufacturer
Panasonic LUMIX FH5
The ultra-compact 16.1 megapixel LUMIX DMC-FH5 features newly-developed retractable, high-quality 28mm wide-angle LEICA DC lenses with a 4x optical zoom. With the new retractable lens, the LUMIX FH5 has approximately 20% slimmer profile than its predecessor, while maintaining exceptional performance. LUMIX DMC-FH5 also record 1280 x 720p High Definition (HD) video.
Venus Engine VI
The high-speed, high-performance Venus Engine VI is incorporated in the DMC-FH5 to enable the recording of beautiful images with higher quality signal processing including the Intelligent Resolution technology. An advanced noise reduction system in the Venus Engine VI applies noise reduction (NR) to luminance noise and chromatic noise separately. As a result, beautiful images with minimal noise can be reproduced all the way up to ISO1600 high sensitivity at full resolution for beautiful night shots or dimly lit indoor shots.
iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode
When you don't know which mode will give you the best shooting results, or when a sudden photo opportunity pops up and you don't have time to change any settings, simply choose the iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode and let the camera do it all for you. You just choose the iA Mode, aim at your subject, and shoot. Six detection and correction functions are simultaneously activated to optimize the settings so you get stunning photos every time. In addition, the Intelligent Resolution technology is always activated in the iA Mode which results in clearer and higher image quality in every photo with extended zoom range equivalent to 5x by the Intelligent Zoom.
MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) Shake Detection
The MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer)* in the DMC-FH5 compensates for the blurring caused by hand-shake. Even slight hand-shake movement is accurately detected by a sampling frequency of 4,000 times per second, and compensated to produce sharp, clear images. The Venus Engine VI controls the shifting of the blur-stopping lens with even greater precision to further increase the detection accuracy and correction effect of MEGA O.I.S. It lets you shoot in dimly lit rooms or evening illumination to preserve the mood, and works for macro shots and zoom shots, which are especially susceptible to hand-shake. In short, it lets anybody take beautiful, blur-free shots with ease.
* MEGA O.I.S. is automatically turned on in iA Mode and can be turned on or off in Normal Picture Mode or some Scene Modes.
The Intelligent ISO Control function* in the DMC-FH5 made possible by the Venus Engine VI detects subject movement and automatically adjusts the ISO setting and shutter speed to best suit the movement and lighting conditions. When it detects subject motion, it automatically raises the ISO setting and increases the shutter speed to prevent motion blur. On the other hand, when the subject is still and no movement is detected, it takes beautiful natural photos with a low ISO setting. The Intelligent ISO Control gives you stunning images with ease because there is no need for complicated settings.
* The Intelligent ISO Control function is automatically turned on in iA Mode, and can be turned on or off in Normal Picture Mode.
The Face Detection AF/AE function*1 detects faces and automatically optimizes the focus and exposure settings. It prevents the blurry faces that happen when the camera focuses on something in front of or behind the subject, and keeps faces from appearing dark when shooting indoors or against the light source. It detects up to 15 faces at a time, making it extremely convenient for group photos. Once the camera detects a face, Face Tracking follows it even when the subject moves around. Plus, the system keeps detection on if a face turns sideways to the camera. The DMC-FH5 is also equipped with Digital Red-eye Correction (Red-eye Removal). The camera takes care of the red-eye effect that often happens when shooting with a flash, to ensure attractive facial expression*2
*1 Face Detection function is automatically turned on in iA Mode and can be turned on or off in Normal Picture Mode or some Scene Modes.
*2 Digital Red-eye Correction must be turned ON in the menu prior to use.
With the camera in iA Mode, the Intelligent Scene Selector automatically sets the Scene Mode to one of Scenery, Portrait, Macro, Night Portrait*1, Night Scenery or Sunset. The camera judges it from the various detection results such as focusing and brightness level of the circumstance*2. You are free from choosing different settings every time the scene changes when taking images with these frequently used Scene Modes to get beautiful results.
*1 In iA Mode, Night Portrait is not identified when the flash is turned off.
*2 With some subject and shooting conditions, it is just not possible to judge the best shooting details. When this happens, it is recommended that you shoot with the Scene Mode that best suits your purpose.
2.7-inch, 230,000-dot High-resolution LCD
The DMC-FH5 large 2.7-inch LCD features high 230,000-dot resolution Intelligent LCD. It automatically adjusts the brightness in 11 steps according to shooting conditions. This LCD provides sharp, clear images in virtually all shooting situations, ranging from nighttime to bright daylight scenes. And it lets you share the fun of viewing images with family and friends. The High-angle Mode makes the display extremely easy to view from a low viewpoint, for example, when taking photos by raising your hand upward to capture the subject over the crowd.
The Scene Mode lets the camera make the optimal settings for you automatically, so anybody can take superb photos with ease. The versatile Scene Mode range, which handles just about any situation and subject type, is a major LUMIX feature. And to make it even simpler to use, the icons and display are designed for easy visibility. The DMC-FH5 lets you store a frequently used Scene Mode setting in the My Scene Mode.
DMC-FH5 Scene Modes
LUMIX Image Uploader
The DMC-FH5 gives you a new form of communication by letting you share your photos and movies. All you have to do is checkmark the photos and movies you want to share and connect the camera or SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card to a computer. Uploading automatically starts by simply following the guidance. Facebook can be used for photos and YouTube for movies. You can join these social networking services without having to install any special software. It's easy to share photos and movies on the spot, which means that your friends don't have to wait for you to come back home to see them.
Easy Computer Connection
Select photos and movies on the camera menu.
Upload Photos and Movies
The software is launched after connecting the camera or SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card to a computer.
Share with Your Friends
You can share the URL by e-mail right after the upload!
Built-in Memory 70MB
Take photos even when you don't have an SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card* on hand. The built-in memory holds up to approx. 70MB of image data, which you can later copy to an SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card or computer. You can also copy images from a memory card or computer to the built-in memory, and view them on the LCD anytime you like. In addition to providing extra memory when your memory card fills up, this is a great place to store your favorite photos so you can view them anytime you want.
*SDHC Memory Cards and SDXC Memory Cards can be used only in equipment that is compatible with their respective formats.
*If the computer being used does not support SDXC Memory Cards, a message prompting you to format may appear. (Doing so will cause recorded images to be erased so do not choose to format.)
Read about our customers' top-rated cameras on our review page: Point-and-Shoot Cameras
Top Customer Reviews
One of the really nice things this camera allows you to do is to take pictures with three different aspect ratios. Most of the options are 4:3, but you can also select 3:2 or my favorite, 16:9. Choosing the 16:9 setting means that your pictures display perfectly on a HDTV with no resizing required, which is perfect for me. I have found through experimentation that there are only really three different picture-taking modes that I need to use. The first is Scenery, for brightly lit pictures of outside landscapes. The second is Normal mode with Macro activated, for taking extreme close-ups of small objects/critters. For everything else, Intelligent Auto (iA) seems to do a fine job. I am generally quite pleased at the quality of pictures that this camera produces, and how simple it is to use. It does struggle with overblown bright sunlit areas, but so do all point-and-shoot cameras. The previously mentioned Scenery mode seems to handle these areas the best. I confess that someone who knows more about photography might be able to come up with manual settings that produce better results in this situation than I can. Before I bought a new camera, I was concerned that whichever one I got might have a delay between me pressing the button and it actually taking the picture, but there are no worries with the FH5. It's simply lightning-fast. I cannot comment on the ease or quality of video recording, as I have never used it.
Overall, this camera does a great job for the low price (it was $119.00 when I purchased it.) However, there IS an elephant in the room that prevents the FH5 from getting 5 stars, and that is the poor battery life. I went on a hike yesterday that lasted 2.5 hours, and I took about 170 pictures. The camera went from being fully charged to being fully drained in this time. I already had both the LCD brightness and sound turned down to help save the battery as well. If you have the sounds and brightness set higher, the issue will be even worse. This might not be a big deal if you're just going to use the camera sporadically, but in some circumstances it might become a real problem. If you are on vacation, and you have a full day of photography planned, you'll need to get an extra battery or two. I timed it, and it takes about 100 minutes to fully recharge the battery, so at least that's fairly quick. I have not purchased an extra battery (which is damned expensive at $55.)
What else will you need to get with this camera, if anything? Well, first of all it comes with a wrist strap, but I'd recommend getting a simple neck strap instead. It provides added security and it's just easier to carry something around your neck. The body of the camera is fairly smooth, and you don't want it slipping out of your hands and getting dropped. Another thing I would recommend is a simple case for protecting the camera when it's not in use. The rear LCD IS flush with the body of the camera, so you don't want to be setting it on anything that could scratch it. I got the Case Logic TBC-301, and it fits well. The camera comes with 70MB of on-board memory, so you'll definitely want to pick up a SD/SDHC card if you want to take more than a few pictures at once. I got an 8GB, 30MB/sec card for about $32. However, before it arrived, I used an older and slower 1GB, 15MB/sec card which seemed to work just fine. You can probably get a much cheaper card than I did and it will be good for general photography purposes. I went with this card because I felt I needed the fastest possible card for burst mode. Many times on my hikes, I come across wildlife unexpectedly and usually I only have a second or two before the critter is gone, and the faster your card is in this situation, the better. If you plan on recording video, you may also want one of the faster cards. The last thing you will almost definitely want to grab (if you don't have one already) is a flexible mini-tripod, which are usually about 4 inches tall. I got one last year for my old Kodak, and it works great with both cameras.
Anyone who reads my other reviews of cameras and electronics will know that I am no fan of proprietary rechargeable batteries. I think they are wasteful and unnecessary complications, requiring one to purchase extra batteries which can only be used on one device, then must be discarded. Given that we already have international standards for battery designs (including rechargeable), I find it a poor design choice created primarily to bilk customers out of more hard-earned cash.
That said, I will have to admit that this camera has changed my mind a little in that regard. I am still using my very first charge on the included battery, and have not had to recharge it yet. Now, I only shoot it for limited periods of time, and not every day, but the charge is holding far better than I expected, even when not in use.
Another strong point is that I can get extra batteries from a third party for little more than the price of a 4-pack of lithium AA batteries, which means that I can easily carry several charged batteries for about the same cost as one-use batteries. This makes it much more attractive, even though I am still limited to the charged batteries I have on hand. I have even bought 2 extra batteries to test this out. I will update if there are any significant additional things to report.
The other thing that has made this camera far more attractive to me is its macro capability. As an old geezer with eyes not quite so good as in my youth, I find it more and more difficult to read the increasingly microscopic text being printed on increasingly smaller electronic devices, such as wall wart power supplies, and have found that this camera works extremely well for taking pictures in macro mode and zooming in to make them very readable. I have also used this camera to reach inside equipment racks to take pictures to document equipment connections (which were undocumented) before making changes or moving gear. It has worked very well for that.
It has become my camera of choice for everyday carry-around use, and although it is not as easy to use as my favorite Canon 720 IS, I am finding that it functions reasonably well for most things. The lack of an optical viewfinder makes it difficult for those of us with glasses, especially in the bright sunlight, but the LCD can be made bright enough to see well enough to frame shots with an acceptable level of usefulness. It would be better if the LCD were not glossy, however, as reflection in bright light makes it more difficult to use.
The picture quality is good, although I haven't done any hard comparisons with my other cameras yet. I was shooting at the 5 megapixel size for a while to save space on the 1gb card, but have since replaced that with an 8gb card and will test at full resolution.
All in all, I am happily surprised and looking to using and testing this camera more in the future. I will update with any significant information.
Within its limitations, I would recommend this camera.
UPDATE No. 13, 2011
I used the video recording feature for the first time recently, and I was extremely impressed. The video was very clear and sharp, and the audio was amazing for the tiny mic placed on top of the camera.
The more I use this camera, the more I like it. It has become very useful in my life.
UPDATE: Dec. 17, 2011
I have seen some references to Panasonic has changing their batteries in later models so one cannot use third party batteries, but must purchase the vastly more expensive Panasonic ones. If that is true, that makes this camera even more valuable, as one can still get replacement batteries from third parties. Shame on you Panasonic, if that is true.
UPDATE: Aug. 2016
I am still carrying this camera even though I use my cell camera more and more. This is still my favorite EDC camera, and I take it everywhere. You can still get additional batteries for it, and I find that having several charged batteries on hand makes it almost as easy to use as a AA powered camera. The batteries last and last, and hold their charge really well.
One of the best cameras I own. I continue to be extremely happy with it.
So I was looking for something relatively inexpensive that would take good quality photos and would not have unacceptable shutter lag.
This camera fits the bill. It's tiny but solid; very little shutter lag; has many interesting scene modes; captures colors really well; and it's extremely easy to transfer files from the camera to a computer without using any special software.
I was a little bit worried about the lack of control due to the complete point and shoot nature of this camera, but I found that by using Intelligent Auto Mode, the results improved. Intelligent Auto got it right most of the time. The stabilization is great, too. Then I found that I could make the camera do some other tricks that make it slightly more tailored to my needs - I found the setting that allows the camera to determine the optimal shutter speed and tweaked a few other settings. Now it takes awesome low-light photos (pending you can hold the camera still for up to 1/4 of a second). I took photos inside of a lava tunnel with no flash and they came out!
The battery life is good also, which I was concerned about. I could take well over 100 photos a day (leaving the camera on for long periods of time) and only wear out 1/3 of the battery.