Review Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH5: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH5

Design and features

Editors’ note: the camera is similar to the Lumix DMC-FH2, with the difference being the sensor has a higher resolution (16 megapixels on the FH5 versus 14 megapixels on the FH2) and shorter battery life (260 photos on FH5 compared with 270 shots on FH2).

This slim-contoured camera won’t pose too much trouble with its design, as it is wrapped in a brushed metal finish with a few precious buttons and dials to get stuck. At the top are the shutter button, zoom rocker and power switch, while at the back things are even simpler with a 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot display flanked by menus and controls.

Occupying a small footprint thanks to its 1.8cm depth, photographers with larger hands may find the controls a bit too nice. For example, the switch switches between playback mode and camera mode – so small you need to have a fingernail in it. Elsewhere on the spec sheet, the top numbers fit quite well for a camera in this price range, with a 28mm wide-angle lens, optical image stabilization, and 4x optical zoom. Inside is a 16-megapixel CCD sensor, in front is a Leica-branded DC lens with a slow maximum aperture range of f / 3.1-6.5.

In-camera options are kept very simple, with only smart auto, normal picture, scene mode and movie mode to choose from. The available color modes include Panasonic’s current modes “happy”, black and white, sepia, and standard color. Connects via an exclusive mini AV / USB output and the FH5 uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with an SD / SDHC / SDXC card.

Efficiency

Overall shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • First shot
  • JPEG image capture time
  • Shutter lag

Continuous shooting speed (longer bar indicates better performance)

  • Panasonic Lumix FH5
  • Sony Cyber-shot W570

Panasonic rated the FH5’s battery as 260 shots.

Image quality

With Leica branded lenses we have a lot of hope in the FH5. Unfortunately, our hopes were dashed looking at the test images we took on this camera. Colors were blurred, highlights were blown out, and the lens had flare problems when there was a lot of light in our photos. The faint macro performance and even the low ISO level produced images that, when observed at full magnification, look noisy and overly processed. Like other 16-megapixel cameras, there’s certainly no need to pack so many pixels into such a small sensor.

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