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Digital Camera Reviews > Panasonic
Date: Feb 6, 2006
Monday, Jan 12, 2006 - Here's what I receive
in the box:
- 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®
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
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.
(105mm, 35mm equivalent)
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.
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 ,
DISPLAY  and ERASE  buttons mixed up. On
P10, it mixes up the Battery  and SD Card
 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
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.