Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH2 compact camera

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH2 review: A compact camera that's decent value for money, but don't expect great image quality

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH2
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH2
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH2
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH2
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • Comfortable to use
  • Shoots HD video
  • Includes fun art modes

Cons

  • Noticeable purple fringing in some shots
  • Struggles to find proper exposure on bright days
  • Can't handle highlights

Bottom Line

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH2 won't dazzle you with its image quality, but for $199 it's a decent compact that's comfortable to use and it also offers HD video recording. It's useful for taking happy snaps with the intention of sharing them via social networking sites.

Would you buy this?

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH2 is a compact camera that's simple to operate and it has a decent set of features for its sub-$200 price. You get a 14-megapixel sensor, a 28mm wide angle lens with a 4x zoom, and built-in image stabilisation. However, its picture quality isn't great and it often struggled to properly expose pictures on sunny days during our tests.

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH2 is very similar to the DMC-FH5, with the only difference being a slightly smaller sensor resolution: 14 megapixels for the FH2 as opposed to 16 megapixels for the FH5. The optics and the processing ability of the FH2 are the same as the FH5 and this means that the performance of both cameras is very similar, but you're paying $50 less for the FH2.

In many ways the LUMIX DMC-FH2 is a good value camera — an extra two megapixels doesn't make too much of a difference, but it does help if you want to crop your photos closely. That said, if you crop the photos from the FH2 too much, they will noticeably lose their definition and just look muddy. If all you want to do is capture happy snaps that will then be uploaded to social networking sites, then the FH2 is a camera that's well worth considering. It doesn't come with any manual modes, so it's very simple to operate: plonk it in normal or iAuto mode, look at the 2.7in LCD screen to frame your photos and press the shutter button.

The lens on the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH2 has a wide aperture value of f/3.1 and the camera will automatically select this in dark conditions when it needs as much light as possible. In our tests, the FH2 was decent in dim lighting conditions and it allowed us to take handheld photos that were reasonably clear even with a reported shutter speed of 1/8sec. The built-in image stabilisation helped in this instance, and the camera also selected a higher ISO speed in this instance.

You won't want the camera to use too high an ISO speed as the picture quality will deteriorate once it goes over ISO 400, and unfortunately, it doesn't have an ISO limiting function like many other LUMIX cameras, which means you can't tell it to only use up to a certain value.

Sunny days can be hard to deal with for the LUMIX DMC-FH2. Highlights were blown out in many of our photos, and in photos with both large dark and bright areas, the camera's metering struggled perform properly. In some shots, shaded areas looked good while sun-drenched areas turned white. We found that we had to aim directly at the brightest part of the photo and then reframe our original shot in order to make the camera perform properly, but even then, it just refused to properly expose some bright areas. We noticed that we had less chance of getting a properly exposed photo with normal mode than we did with iAuto mode.

Another blemish on the LUMIX DMC-FH2's image quality is that it produced noticeable purple fringing in many photos. This was particularly prominent in trees against a bright blue sky in the middle of the day. It's something that you'll have to look out for as it can ruin otherwise good looking images.

When conditions aren't too bright, then the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH2 is a handy camera to have around. It doesn't feel sluggish in its shot-to-shot performance (not for a sub-$200 compact anyway) and it's very comfortable to hold and use — unlike the similarly-priced Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W530. There is plenty of thumb room and the shutter button has a distinct two-step feel for focusing before ultimately taking a photo. It has the same 28 scene modes as the FH5, and this includes the Film Grain, Pin Hole and High Dynamic art modes. You also get face recognition focusing and focus tracking, both of which are useful, and it can shoot video at a resolution of 1280x720.

Overall, we found the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH2's image quality to be slightly lower than the DMC-FH5's, especially in the way it handles bright scenes. Nevertheless, it's still a decent camera to consider if your budget is $200 and you only want to capture happy snaps and shoot the odd video.

Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook

Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu

Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: digital cameras, Panasonic Lumix
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?