If you're looking for a small and simple compact camera which maintains a quality look and feel, you can't go far wrong with Panasonic's Lumix FS series. The FS35 is the latest model to feature a low price tag yet respectable specification, but how does it perform in the WDC test?
The Panasonic FS35 sits in the manufacturers range of small Lumix cameras that look to combine slim design with a good specification all at a competitive price. The compact features a 1/2.33in sensor complete with a hefty 16MP, which is supported by 10.1 optical zoom LEICA VARIO-ELMAR lens covering a focal range of 24-224mm. Despite featuring a relatively low price tag, the FS35 still boasts several impressive features. The aforementioned 10.1x optical zoom is complete with ‘Intelligent resolution’ technology and is supported by MEGA O.I.S. image stabilisation. One disappointing element of the specification, however, is the FS35’s LCD screen. Despite being a respectable size at 2.7in, its 230k-dot resolution is poor with respect to its peers and this is noticeable in the field.
Many of the other features on the FS35 are focused to the entry-level shooter, with a host of ‘Intelligent’ technologies onboard to take care of the capture process, including Intelligent Resolution, Intelligent Zoom and Intelligent Auto.
Design-wise, the FS35 is unremarkable in comparison to the rest of Panasonic’s range of FS compacts. It features the same brushed metal finish and minimal button interface. The bulk of the camera’s functionality is accessed from ‘mode’ and ‘Q.Menu’ buttons of the rear of the model, with shooting and playback modes accessed through a slider on the rear. It’s worth noting that the FS series has, for quite some time, featured camera which are hard to distinguish between – Panasonic are clearly believers in the ‘if it aint broke, don’t fix it’ motto, although it must be said that it would be good to see some design innovation.
In use, the Panasonic FS35 is a reliable compact and does everything that an entry-level user would want. If you’re happy to hand control over shooting settings over to your camera, then sticking the FS35 on to iA will provide you with both a pleasing shooting experience and with some good images. However, despite having a host of scene modes, taking control over your shooting experience is another matter altogether.
Image quality is generally good. The intelligent resolution technology, which addresses issues with sharpness, is up to task although there are signs of a degeneration of image quality towards the edges of the frame. White balance can have a tendency to err on the warm side, although not to an extreme extent. ISO noise is generally kept under control, only really becoming an issue at the higher end of the scale.
The Panasonic LUMIX FS35 is, like other cameras in the range, a reliable and affordable compact camera. Despite lacking any real innovation, it's well specified and, if you're willing to let the camera take the thought out of your photography, will reward you with some good images.