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As I am not very technically minded I like a camera which is easy to use with not too many different functions so when I saw my friend using her Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS50 on holiday and saw how simple it was to use I decided to treat myself to one. I bought this Panasonic digital camera from Ebay and paid just £20 but you can get them new for around £60 now both online and in some stores.
It has a small 2.7 inch screen which I find is plenty big enough for my needs and it has a 5.0 optical zoom so you can get quite close up to your subject. It has an automatic flash so you don't have to keep switching the flash on and off, and missing out on your perfect photo as you are doing it. As you are about to take a photo you just press the button very softly and the camera automatically focuses on your subject, then when you are happy with the image you press the button down properly and it takes the photo.
This camera does have an editing function whereby you can add accessories and such like onto your pics and you could also delete any parts you didn't like, however this is something I haven't done and probably won't, but it is a good feature if you like doing this. The zoom button is on the top of the camera and you just press this until you are close enough to your subject which is a feature I use.
The battery is replaceable but I haven't yet had to do this and I have had the camera now for about eighteen months, and it is easy to charge up just by plugging it in. I find that I only have to charge it up about every ten uses, but if I was going to take a lot of photos I would give it an extra charge beforehand.
I have been very pleased with the photographs I have taken with this camera as they always seem to be very good quality. I have printed some of them myself at home and had some printed in Boots and they seem to be very sharp and clear. I do recommend this camera as a good quality easy to use camera which produces good results and would be suitable for any ages and also someone who is looking for their first digital camera.
The Product~ 'The digital camera is a great invention because it allows us to reminisce. Instantly.'
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS50 product dimensions are a slim 1.8 x 9.3 x 5.5 cm and only weighs in at a light 86 g. The camera requires 2 AA batteries required but these are included in the box. The camera comes with a case with strap to keep in when not in use, an 8GB Micro SD, AC adaptor, USB connection cable and CD rom. I will comment further on the camera and accessories under the sub-heading 'My Usage Experience'. I have the black model but the camera is also available in red, purple and white.
My Usage Experience ~ 'Stay focused'! :~)
My Son purchased this camera via Amazon for me as my previous camera, an AGFA DC-1030p digital camera, had broken. The USB connection terminal became too loose to hold the lead and the warranty had run out!
I would have preferred a paper format for the instructions as I find this a far more practical method of viewing guidelines for such times that I am not home and need a quick reference for usage of the unit. When I first used the camera I was at my daughter's home and wanted to use the video feature to picture the grand-tots at play. I didn't know how to see the completed video and a paper instruction leaflet would have been very helpful! But I have to admit that the CD is comprehensive and has everything I need to know concerning the camera.
I found the camera very simple to set up. The directions on the product's pamphlet are clear but unfortunately too basic so I need to rely on the CD to follow directions on all of the camera's features. The camera took around just over two hours to charge, with the charging lamp located on the back of the unit indicating the operation in progress. Be warned though that these features, as well as all other operating buttons, are very small! This is a real drawback for me as it means that I need to take extra care to avoid pressing the wrong option I require during usage! To avoid accidents like dropping the camera, I attached the wrist strap after popping the batteries in the unit.
* Intelligent auto mode*
The Intelligent auto mode makes my task very easy. In fact, this is a great setting for those just starting out on this fun and rewarding activity. I was thrilled to read from the instructions that such modes as 'Scene detection, Back light compensation, Intelligent ISO sensitivity control, Auto white balance, Face detection [Exposure/zoom/Red-eye removal/Stabilizer] and more are all taken care of when using this facility. To take advantage of this utility all I need to do is press the MODE shutter button that is located the top right of the camera. This is the smaller of the two silver toned buttons and I found that I need to press this quite firmly to operate! I then need to press the MODE button that is clearly marked on the back of the unit. And by selecting the clearly marked red AI symbol I can then press the MENU button to confirm choice which is seen on the viewing display when turning the camera on. This is a good reminder for me that I have this setting in motion when I next use my camera. This gives me the prod I need to either keep the setting or choose to manually operate the camera's features.
Once I got to grips with the icons, I found this camera very simple to use. It really is a very basic apparatus, and if the user doesn't require more elaborate technical features to take 'National Geographic' type shots, then it only requires the user to point at the chosen subject matter and click! I am happy with this simplified no nonsense utility on the camera because I am not looking to submit my photographs to the National Geographic! :~D I mainly use the intelligent auto mode when taking pictures of my grand-children and such things as products for my reviews. This means that I only need to press the SHUTTER button halfway to focus on my chosen focal point when the FOCUS INDICATION LIGHT, which is green, lights up and the subject, is focused. The screen details the auto focus areas, such as on faces, are then shown by arrow indicators by means of the FACE DETECTION function. I find this ideal in making the task of taking accurate pictures so simplistic. This feature also furnishes me with confidence in that all I need to do is point and click, nothing else is required. Even the flash can be set on automatic!
Once I can see that the image is centralized, I just press the shutter button down fully to take the picture. I don't think I will ever come fully to grips with the amazing technology of these little gadgets. For example, when the portrait mode is set, the camera automatically detects a person's face and it will adjust the focus and exposure! The gadget automatically adjusts for usage with tripods too. The picture quality is fair but for the price, there are other models available that are better! Please see under 'flash' for further disappointing aspects here! Added to the flaws mentioned, I find it very annoying that the camera takes too long after turning it on before it's actually ready to take a picture, which is bothersome because I miss spur of the moment opportunities, like when the grand-tots do something amusing but all too brief to catch in time. However, once the camera is ready, there is only a short of around '0.3 seconds' between pressing the shutter button and the photo being taken!
*Screen, Buttons and Symbols*
The buttons are too small for my personal choice and comfort but are touch sensitive enough to get by using the finger tips. Although the shutter button needs a little more pressure to operate! The text on the buttons is mostly abbreviated and very small but this is understandable considering the size of the camera! There are eight scene modes, and because I only need the camera as a basic tool, these are plenty enough for what I require. I am pleased that the recording mode button is in bright poppy red to help me quickly locate this for those magical moments the grand-tots do something memorable, like taking their nanny off! The flash timer, 10mm in width and is located on the front of the unit. The symbols are easy to understand. For instance, to set a portrait mode, the symbol comes up as a miniature head shape with a moon to indicate night portrait mode. For night scenery, the symbol is shown as a little white mountain, stars and moon set against a black back-ground. All symbols are clearly identifiable through the CD ROM's tutorial support. As for the screen, I am pleased to say that it 42cm x 31cm which is large enough for me to focus without the need to wear my glasses!
I must say that I found the range of flash settings confusing and still haven't come to grips with this entirely. I am relieved though, that as long as the camera senses little 'jitter' the flash can be as little as I second in duration! The directions are clear as too the flash range but in reality, when taking unplanned shots, easy to get wrong. I have taken many pictures whereby they have been spoiled due to the flash being far too bright. Due to the flash inadequacies, and imperfect focusing camera's capabilities, I have found that this can leave indoor shots overexposed. Even outdoor shots tend to lack sharpness and can often look pale. But the 'Image stabilization' is good and helps to remove flaws in camera shake.
Would I recommend? ~ '"Never forget that all the great photographs in history were made with more primitive camera equipment than you currently own" :~)
No! The negatives outweigh the positives which mean that I cannot in good conscience recommend this model. I am happy with some of the features including the clear video recording when the camera is set up in preparation. But, for the price, there are many more cameras on the market that will exceed on the capabilities of this model. I find the numerous notes on obtaining the best picture and video sequence too complicated when in fact, many digital cameras are pre-set to take the hassle out usage! I'm perplexed that the manufacturers need to offer so many instructions; it is as if the camera is so sensitive that without a course in the intricacies of using, a great picture is inaccessible to the user! My previous simple AGFA camera didn't need a PHD :~( yes, the camera does furnishing reasonable picture quality and once set to my choice, fairly simple to use. But to avoid hassle in switching modes, I really need to be satisfied with a 'one-trick pony'! The inconvenience of swapping various modes, poor focusing and the lengthy time in starting up are just a few of the aspects that leave me feeling disappointed. Now that I have the camera, I will stick with it but in time I will replace!
The camera is widely available but this one was purchased via Amazon for £76.47
Thank you for taking the time to read my review :~) xXx