Panasonic Lumix DMC-S1 12.1 MP Digital Camera – Product Description:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-S1 12.1 Megapixel Compact Camera. Take this camera wherever you go so that you do not miss your chance taking the best shots. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-S1 12.1 Megapixel Compact Camera features a new design, with a distinct rounded shape that fits comfortably in the palm of the hand, to differentiate the models from the rest of the LUMIX line. With a 28mm wide-angle 4x optical zoom lens, these LUMIX digital cameras are extremely versatile, helping consumers get superb shots both far and wide. The image-processing engine, Venus Engine VI, uses advanced signal processing to give you beautiful images. Multi-task signal processing is employed for all images to enable high-speed, high-performance shooting. Features Include: Mega O.I.S. 4x Optical Zoom with 28mm Wide Angle 720p HD movie recording at 30fps 12.1 Megapixels resolution; 4x optical image-stabilized zoom Dimensions: 0.8″L x 3.9″W x 2.3″H
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-S1 12.1 MP Digital Camera – Review:
NICE LITTLE CAMERA FOR CERTAIN JOBS!
Having used this camera in various conditions for over a week now, its strengths and weaknesses have become pretty apparent…and there are a few of both that depending on your needs, that may sway your purchase one way or another. Note that I also frequently use a Fujifilm FinePix Z90 and, most often (for best quality), a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100. While I may make comparisons between the two, I’m not going to fault a $100 camera for not taking as crisp of a picture as a $300+ camera.
First, for those of you that know exactly what you want (and don’t want) in a camera, here are a few things that his does quite well:
1. Very vivid colors of outdoor scenes and natural-light scenes. The colors are sharp with well defined boundaries and contrast…basically, it takes very nice pictures.
2. Ease of use: only a couple buttons, no manual needed. The options that you can select say exactly what they are within the camera menu, so selecting the correct option is easy.
3. Excellent battery life. Comes with a slim rechargeable battery and charger. (It’s a proprietary battery, but contrary to some belief, this is a benefit. The battery lasts a LOT longer that AA batteries. Need extra battery life? Buy a spare battery and keep it charged.)
4. Slim enough to slip into a pocket.
5. Great optical zoom for a camera of its size. And with the stabilization it has, I never had a blurry picture when zoomed.
6. The video quality, with good lighting, is quite good. For me, it’s good enough that if I didn’t have other cameras that already did the same task, I wouldn’t hesitate to use it for important video moments like my martial art belt testing for my son, birthdays, etc. Videos are in .MOV format.
7. It has a lens cover that opens and closes by itself! This is something that I wish my Panasonic FZ100 had. Just some simple protection from dust/mist/whatever to keep the lens spot-free.
8. The “intelligent auto” mode that automatically selects the best settings works great. You can override it (say, tell it you’re taking a picture in bright sun/snow or low light, closeup, etc), but in various testing, the auto mode always picked the correct mode for me anyway. (As does my other Panasonic…)
But, of course, the camera does have some drawbacks, but they may not matter:
1. Difficult one-hand operation if you want to use the zoom.
2. You cannot zoom when recording video.
3. No one-touch video recording. (You need to pick whether you want to record a picture or a video before pressing the shutter button. Other – more expensive – cameras usually have a “video” button so you don’t have to click through menus.
4. Time to focus + take a picture is a little long.
And now the most important drawbacks:
1. Low light pictures are bad. Really bad. Combine a low-light, indoor picture with using the zoom, and even though the flash fires, the picture ends up grainy and almost looks like it’s black and white, even if the objects are less than 6 feet away.
2. There’s a limit on how long you can record video. And it doesn’t depend on anything you can change. Using a class 10 32GB SDHC card (class 10), the timer says the video can go 8 minutes, 24 seconds.
Overall, this is a good camera for its class that I’d only NOT recommend if you plan on taking many low-light, indoor pictures or if you want more options for recording video. (And if your main intent is to take video, be sure to consider the Kodak PlaySport (Zx3) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera (Black). It takes horrible stills and it’s only 5MP, but it’s built for video and has more options for it.) This Panasonic is a much better multi-purpose than the Kodak, and chances are, if you’re looking at this, you want a still-photo camera.
One last note: I don’t install any extra software, unless it’s absolutely required to make things work. The camera came with a CD that I never put into my machine, and have had no problems transferring pictures and videos. Used on both XP and Win7.