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This is the Panasonic DMC-S5EB-R digital compact camera which features 16MP , 4x Optical Zoom, Optical Image Stabilizer, 2.7-inch LCD, 28mm Lumix DC Vario Lens and HD Movie Recording.
One of the main features however is it's price, as at less than fifty pounds from most retailers, combined with a descent specification it offers great value for money. Of course none of this would matter is the camera failed to deliver on what it promises, and thankfully this Panasonic proves you don't have to spend a fortune to get great photographs.
It's small and compact so call be carried around easily in the pocket or in a bag. It's a bit heavy considering the size and the plastic body but has been built to a very high quality and feels pretty robust. The LCD takes up most of the rear of the camera and is fixed (i.e can not be rotated) but is very responsive and has a high resolution for playing back your photos.
The model is designed mainly as a point and shoot camera and because of this it is very easy to use. Even the menu and controls and simple. At the same time there are more creative options and manual options to keep more confident photographers happy.
The only failing is that the battery life while reasonable but not great. It uses it's own Panasonic sized batteries instead of it's more common AA or AAA sizes. While you can extend battery life by not using the flash as much or limited live view, it maybe wise to invest in a spare battery to carry with you.
The 4x optional zoom while fast doesn't offer the greatest zoom range, which can be a problem for those interested in wildlife photography or other times where you need to get closer to the action. The camera does offer a digital zoom as well but when you start to use it, photo quality does suffer rather badly.
Photo quality is excellent is most lighting conditions with autofocus struggling a bit with fast moving subject and in low light conditions but otherwise the camera produces some stunning photos. The camera uses SD memory cards but also has a limited built in memory. It supports both SD and SDHC memory cards but not the newer models of SDXC. It is recommended that you use at least a "class 6" memory card for HD video recording.
This really is a great little camera well worth considering for something simple and compact. If you really don't like the red finish fear not as it comes in black as well. Otherwise when remembering the cost it would be money well spent.
(I'm a reviewer on Amazon, and some my reviews are copied from there to dooyoo. Please feel free to check out my Amazon profile under my real name of Mr Andrew M Kerr.)
I love photos, as I expect most mothers do. It gives me a chance to look back on my children as they have grown and remember fun things we have done together. The problem is - as much as I love photos - I am rubbish at photography. It doesn't matter how many functions a camera has - I use only one - automatic. I know that sounds terribly lazy, but when we are having fun - I don't want to interrupt it while I get the camera ready, and as any parent knows - you miss enough priceless shots as it is, just pulling the camera out. You can't ask a child to hold a look of wonder while you fiddle with settings. By the time you are ready to go, the moment may well have passed.
I do own another camera, which I have always been very happy with, a Fuji film Finepix S5600. It is a good camera, but about 7 years old now - and it was an older model when I bought it. Technology marches on. It only has three flaws. The first is the size this is a digital SLR type camera and very big. The second is that it can blur on the automatic setting with motion shots, such as a child jumping on a trampoline, and the third was something I wasn't even aware of until I bought this camera. The Fuiji camera pictures do not come out well if my hands are too unsteady - which isn't uncommon for me. I do have some problems with my hands, and they do shake a bit. The kids love playing operation with me as I am always guaranteed last place. I really did not believe any camera could correct this, so an optical image stabiliser wasn't a feature I looked for. Having used this camera, this is a feature which I would insist on for any future purposes.
I originally set out just to buy a smaller camera that could be carried in a person's pocket for days at the beach, museums etc... The camera on my husbands phone is rubbish and I have a simple calls only phone. I wasn't looking for anything brilliant - just a cheap, small, and compact camera - expecting to spend around £25. I was not able to find anything in my price range though and started looking at more expensive models, when this one caught my eye. It was under £60 and meant to be over 50% off. It really did look like a good camera so I hunted about online for an Argos with one stock, reserved it, and sent my husband to collect it.
I knew this was going to be fairly small when I ordered it but was rather surprised at just how small. This is the size of a mobile phone. It is 2 cm in thick, 9cm in length and 5 cm in height. It easily slips into a pocket - and even in the small case I bought separately, I can still fit this into most pockets.
I wasn't expecting spectacular, or even comparable to my larger camera but I was pleasantly surprised. This does have more mega-pixels than my old camera - in fact it has a whopping 16 mega-pixels, but I honestly think the mega-pixel thing is over rated. Obviously a camera with 1 or 2 mega-pixels isn't up to today's standards. My first digital camera was in this range, and you could see pixels in some photos. My Fuji camera has only 5 or 6 mega-pixels though and takes excellent photographs which have enlarged very well and often been mistaken for professional portraits. If you are not going to enlarge or A4 size I certainly do not see a need for over 10 mp which is standard on the lower range cameras now.
The biggest difference in the pictures with this camera have been those where my hands are less than steady. Even with a noticeable tremor - I've had some pretty good shots. According to the company website this has "MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) for Suppressing Hand-shake Blur." Before buying this, I'd have put that down to a lot of mumbo jumbo, but it honestly does work.
Another area this camera excels is in fast motion shots. If you want to catch a child mid air leaping off something, running, kicking a ball etc.. this camera is absolutely brilliant. It is meant to have an intelligent auto-focus meaning it will select the correct settings for each type of shot, zero in on human figures - so in effect it is smarter than I am. This means if the children are in the middle of activity I can shoot the second I whip the camera case off and I am far less likely to miss a precious shot, and all my shots come out their best.
Where this camera falls short is extreme close ups. It does not have a macro zoom setting and only has 4x optical zoom and I do prefer to use optical rather than digital zoom. While this is more than adequate for everyday photography, my fuji film can shoot so close you can see the fine veins in a dragonfly's wings. For posed pictures with results like a portrait studio, especially close head shots or zooming in on small things like a babies fingers - I still believe the Fuji Finepix is still the better camera, with a 10x optical zoom and a macro setting. But the Fuji film camera is rarely used now, as for everyday photography this one really comes up trumps. This does take the average close up of a child very well, and you really can not expect a compact camera to out perform a large slr type camera.
I haven't bought a camera for many many years that did not boast red eye reduction. This is yet another industry catch phrase I always completely ignore - they all claim read eye reduction and I still get it on many shots ( maybe my family is just naturally evil - the children look a bit like demon spawn with glowing red eyes). But I have taken a few hundred shots on this and not a single case of red eye yet - knock wood. Nor do I get that glassy eyed reflection in the dogs eye's that some photos end up with.
This camera also shoots video, and while we have done a quick test shot to make sure everything worked, I usually do just use my video camera for video and this for still shots, that said, there was nothing wrong with the video or sound - but I expect it will eat it up space on my memory card quite quickly. This does have a built in memory, but it is quite small at only 70 megabyte. You will need to supplement this with an sd-ram memory card.
This has a built in rechargeable battery, which has also worked out to be an advantage. The battery charge quickly and lasts for ages and ages. It has gone a full 2 week holiday with plenty of pictures, but I will caution that this camera is fairly new and these things often do decline with age. Luminix claims the battery life to be about 260 pictures, and I believe this to be a very fair assessment. I did recharge after 200 pictures, but the battery was not dead yet, and we had spent a lot of time looking at photos on the lcd screen as well.
I have not installed any software with this as we have no need for it. We just pop the memory card out and place in the pc to download photos.
I will not list full specs as you can easily get these from Amazon and my reviews tend to be overlong anyway. Instead I will only mention a few of what I consider the most important:
This has a 6.7 cm lcd screen. It does not have an ordinary view finder though, and this is one feature I miss. Still the lcd screen is very bright and sharp. You can easily see the image even in intense sunlight - which is a rarity here.
This has pictbridge which is meant to making printing easier if you know how to use it.
HD video capable/ mono microphone
This is meant to shoot anywhere from 100 to 6400 in high sensitivity mode.
In addition to the 4x optical zoom this has 10x "intelligent" zoom - which a gather is a fancy way of saying digital zoom. I prefer to use optical zoom as I feel this gives better pictures, but this does allow you to zoom in on distant objects nicely.
It comes with a battery charge a usb cable to connect it to your pc, a cd rom which includes a photo editing programme, an ac cable and instructions. These are long, in fine print and include information on a few other models as well. It does not include a case.
There are number of photo options including panoramic, portrait, pet, scenery, sports, sunsets, nighttime and more, but in all honesty I have never tried them. As I said I like point and shoot, I'll let the intelligent thingy decide what mode to use. You can also choose various colour programmes including black and white and sepia. I really like black and white at times, but I just shoot in colour and change it on the computer.
Overall - I am delighted with this camera. I love the fact that it so easy to use. Even my 4 year old has been able to take some excellent photos with this. I can not fault it for not having a few features of my much larger digital slr style camera as that would be comparing apple to oranges. For a tiny, easy to use camera, this is brilliant. As newer models have been released since - the going rate is about £60 which I find quite fair.
The "R" at the end of the product number for this camera indicates red. I would not pay extra for colour, but it really is very nice. My sons love this feature. It is also available in black and silver, with a change in the last letter.