First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS62R digital camera
This cheap Panasonic digital camera takes surprisingly clean photos when used in optimum conditions
- Good image stabilisation, Intelligent Auto mode takes pleasing photos
- No manual controls, poor high ISO performance, low resolution scene modes
Novice photographers can just set the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS62R to Intelligent Auto and fire away without worrying about changing settings. It's reasonably priced, too.
Price$ 279.00 (AUD)
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS62R is a cheap, 10-megapixel point-and-shoot digital camera that captures surprisingly vibrant photos. It's easy for novices to just select its fully automatic Intelligent Auto mode and shoot away.
The front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS62R is bare, except for the 4x optical zoom lens and the in-built flash. The camera's rear is split between the 2.7in LCD panel and a small number of navigation buttons, while the top houses controls for power, zoom, Intelligent Auto and the shutter button.
Options in camera's menu are large and easy to see, and the interface is simple. There aren't any of the manual controls you find on more expensive Panasonic cameras like the Lumix DMC-LX3 — adjustment options only extend as far as ISO, white balance and exposure compensation settings.
In its Intelligent Auto mode, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS62R takes capable photos. At 10 megapixels the images are suitable for printing at up to A3 size, but the camera needs good lighting to get the best possible images. We found it performed best in bright sunlight, capturing crisp images that had good tonality and a reasonable amount of dynamic range.
As we expected, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS62R struggles in poor light. The in-built flash is powerful enough for close-up snaps but it tends to overexpose, lending the photos we took a "deer in the headlights" feel. You can compensate for this by bumping up the camera's ISO speed to a maximum of 1600, but this introduces a high level of noise. Good quality internal image stabilisation helps — we had no problems capturing images down to around 1/20sec in dim light.
Another way around the camera's low-light troubles is to set it to a scene mode such as Film Grain. With a black-and-white, high-contrast look and automatic ISO 1600 adjustment, the Film Grain mode captures dark scenes with a gritty noir feel. The downside of this is a maximum image size of 3 megapixels — although a 16:9 widescreen photo in this mode comes out at a resolution of 1920x1080, which is perfect for displaying on your Full HD LCD or plasma television.
Other scene modes abound — ranging from Portrait to High Sensitivity — so you have a modicum of creative control over your photographs.
If you're a photography novice, an ultra-simple compact like the Panasonic Lumix FS62R is a good choice. If you make use of the scene modes and don't mind low resolution results, you can even use it in low light.
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