Editors' note: Almost all of the design, features, and shooting options--including the camera's imaging sensor, processor, and lens--are identical between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH25 and the Lumix DMC-FH27 we reviewed earlier. The only difference between the two models is its LCD: the FH25 has a 2.7-inch LCD while the FH27 has a 3-inch touch screen. According to Panasonic, photo quality and shooting performance are expected to be nearly identical. What follows is CNET's review of the FH27 edited to reflect the FH25's feature difference.
There are a lot of people out there who simply want an affordable camera that takes a decent picture in auto, has some extra zoom power, and can still be slipped in a pocket. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH25 is just that. With camera manufacturers trying to jam in as many features as possible in some models, the FH25 is notable for having only one big feature: an 8x, 28mm wide-angle lens. The rest of it is pure point-and-shoot backed by Panasonic's reliable Intelligent Auto (iA) mode, a healthy selection of scene modes, and 720p HD movie capture.
|Key specs||Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH25|
|Dimensions (WHD)||3.9x2.2x1.1 inches|
|Weight (with battery and media)||5.6 ounces|
|Megapixels, image sensor size, type||16 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD|
|LCD size, resolution/viewfinder||2.7-inch LCD, 230K dots/None|
|Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length)||8x, f3.3-5.9, 28-224mm (35mm equivalent)|
|File format (still/video)||JPEG/Motion JPEG (MOV)|
|Highest resolution size (still/video)||4,608x3,456 pixels / 1,280x720 pixels at 24fps|
|Image stabilization type||Optical and digital|
|Battery type, CIPA rated life||Li-ion rechargeable, 250 shots|
|Battery charged in camera||No; external charger supplied|
|Bundled software||PhotofunStudio 6.0 (Windows), Super LoiLoScope (trial version; Windows)|
The FH25's photo quality is good to very good, but people expecting to be wowed by its 16-megapixel resolution may be disappointed. Though subjects look somewhat soft from the get-go, there isn't much difference from ISO 100 to ISO 400. That means shots taken in good lighting are quite nice and thanks to Panasonic's "Intelligent" technology, you can pretty much leave it in auto and get solid results. It isn't until you go above ISO 400 that things noticeably decline--especially at larger sizes--with smeary details and yellow blotching from noise. If you need something for great low-light shots, this isn't your camera. It does have low-light shooting modes, but the results are really only good for emergencies because of heavy noise reduction and off colors. Then again, if you just need shots for small prints and Web use, the high-ISO results might be acceptable.
Color is pleasing and natural. If you like your colors more saturated, you can switch from the camera's Standard color mode to Vivid when shooting in Normal Picture mode or Happy in Intelligent Auto. Colors are consistent up to ISO 400; there's a noticeable color shift at the two highest ISO sensitivities. Other than the auto white balance being a touch warm under incandescent lighting, white balance is good. Exposure is likewise good and Panasonic's Intelligent Exposure feature improves dynamic range and limits blown-out highlights. (Note: This photo quality analysis is for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH27. The FH25 uses the same sensor, processor, and lens as the FH27 and as such we expect it to perform identically.)
Video quality is on par with a basic HD pocket video camera; good enough for Web use and nondiscriminating TV viewing. Panning the camera will create judder that's typical of the video from most compact cameras. The zoom lens does not function while recording, but you do have a digital zoom. I suggest not using it as the results are not pleasant.
|General shooting options||Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH25|
|ISO sensitivity (full resolution)||Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600|
|White balance||Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Incandescent, Manual|
|Recording modes||Intelligent Auto, Normal, Scene, MyScene, Movie|
|Focus modes||Multi AF, Macro AF, AF Tracking, Touch AF|
|Macro||1.9 inches (Wide); 3.3 feet (Tele)|
|Metering modes||Face, AF Tracking, 11-area Multi, Spot, Touch area|
|Color effects||Standard, Vivid, Natural, Black & White, Sepia, Cool, Warm, Happy (only in iA Mode)|
|Burst mode shot limit (full resolution)||100 shots|