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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Panasonic LS2

Panasonic Digital Cameras

   


Panasonic LS2

Review Date: Feb 6, 2006

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Panasonic Lumic DMC-LS2

USER'S EXPERIENCE

Monday, Jan 12, 2006 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • DMC-LS2
  • No memory card (but 14MB Internal Memory)
  • 2 AA Oxyride Batteries
  • Wrist Strap
  • USB and A/V Cables
  • Documentation: Operating Instructions (English only and marked "Only For Canada")
  • Software CD: ArcSoft® PhotoImpression™, ArcSoft® PhotoBase™, USB Driver, Lumix® Simple Viewer

The Panasonic LS2 is beautifully finished in all-silver and chrome. Those with large hands will like being able to hold it securely and comfortably: its elongated design means there's lots of room on the right side of the camera (viewed from the back).

It's point-and-shoot simple to use, but also allows you to set the White Balance, select from a couple of AF modes, and apply exposure compensation. There are in fact 5 AF modes you can select from, with the 1-area High Speed providing the fastest AF. It's in fact so fast I am able to catch some seagulls in flight that I normally find quite difficult to do.

Of course, the main selling point of any Panasonic digital camera is the very effective image stabilization that allows you to hand hold the camera at slower shutter speeds than you would normally be able to without camera shake (Panasonic uses the term "jitter"). That Panasonic would include the Image Stabilizer in its non-ultra zoom digital camera is super and most welcomed.

Slow shutter speeds are only accessible in two scene modes. For Simple (Auto) and Normal Picture (Programmed Auto) modes, the slowest shutter speed is 1/8 sec. or 1/4 sec. or 1/2 sec. or 1 sec. -- defaulted to 1/8 sec. but you can change that in the REC. MENU screen 2.

If you want a slower shutter speed, you have to select Night Scenery scene mode where the shutter speed can be as slow as 8 sec.

If you desire even slower shutter speeds, then select the Starry Sky scene mode where the shutter speed go down to 15, 30 or 60 sec. This should allow for some nice night shots.

A pleasant surprise is that there is Custom WB.

Digital Zoom
Tele 105mm Digital Zoom 4x
Tele 17.4mm
(105mm, 35mm equivalent)
Digital Zoom 4x

The Panasonic has 3x optical zoom at 5M image size and 3.8x extended optical zoom at 3M image size. A 4x digital zoom can be added to these. As readers know, the quality of the image quickly degrades when you start using digital zoom [ Optical vs. Digital Zoom ]. Rule of thumb is that, when using digital zoom, you may get away with it when printing at small size or for Web display; just don't expect to be able to enlarge and print large size. Also, image stabilization is usually not effective when using digital zoom.

The rubber Terminal Cover swings wide open, which makes it easy to connect the USB/AV cables.

Panasonic Lumix Viewer

The Panasonic Lumix Viewer software is basic at best and only displays the images. You can display a slide show, but no editing is possible. EXIF info is also not complete. There is also an SD Viewer software that looks more fancy but again is just a viewer.

Note that "Acquire to PC" defaults to the following folder: "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\My Pictures\LUMIXSimpleViewer" and if you want it to save to another folder, you need to click Advanced and set the folder you want the pictures to be transferred to on your PC. Note that you cannot create a new folder from the Lumix Simple Viewer -- to do that, launch Windows Explorer and create it there first.

The Panasonic Operating Instructions is clear but there are a number of little mistakes in it. For example, on P9, it gets the MENU/SET [9], DISPLAY [7] and ERASE [8] buttons mixed up. On P10, it mixes up the Battery [17] and SD Card [20] compartments. It's also not quite finished: e.g. on P15, the number of recordable pictures and continuous playback times are missing.

Flash pictures come out quite good at normal range and even at full telephoto. But it does not throttle down at close-up and will severely over-expose macro shots and even some portrait shots.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS2 is very affordable, you get a [Lumix] DC Vario-branded lens, a very effective image stabilizer, lots of useful scene modes, live Histogram, Framing Guide, and image quality good enough for 4x6 in. prints and Web display (check out the Panasonic LS2 Photo Gallery and decide for yourself if they are good enough for your needs). At the price it is being offered, it makes a great first-time entry-level digital camera.

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