Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Review

3.5
January 4, 2013 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality


All images were taken at the full resolution of 16 megapixels, producing a file size of around 6Mb. The model we tested had a glitch where the EXIF data states that the camera is a Lumix DMC-FH8.

Noise

We always examine the noise pictures in fine detail, magnified to 100% and pick over them with a fine tooth comb. Normally at low ISO we see a good clear image with great edge definition and no colour invasion even in darker places. That's not what we see on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45. The edges are brilliant, they're sharp and clean but we can see bits of noise in darker parts of the test image. At ISO 200, noise reduction software seems to be at work as the image looks softer in the darker areas. There's an ever so slight break down on edges but it's very faint and not really noticeable unless you're looking for it. From ISO 200 to ISO 400 is one small step for extra light, but one giant leap in the amount of noise in the picture. At this point, detail in darker areas starts to get smudged out by noise reduction doing some damage control. Blessedly, there's still some detail in lighter areas and it's not that bad either.

As we rise through the ranks, small spots of green begin to appear in mid-tones while artefacts start to invade darker areas. The final ISO 1600 setting has spots of yellow on lighter areas, salt & pepper noise in darker areas as well as green colour. Despite this, it's actually a better end result than what the low end ISO settings would suggest was going to happen. It seems as though the noise reduction software is being a bit lazy and not kicking in until some damage is done.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

 
 

Focal length

The actual focal length of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 is 4.3-21.5mm. In 35mm terms, which is something we can all understand, that equates to around 26-130mm.

26mm

130mm

Sharpening

Whether the image benefits from additional sharpening is all dependant on the amount of noise in the picture. If there's a degree of noise then the sharpening will exacerbate it. If you manage to get a smooth image then it will help slightly.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45' lens certainly has issues when it comes to chromatic aberration. In bright light with hard contrast, we got terrible chroma at the edges of the frame. It doesn't occur at the centre and some of the problem could be attributed to lens flare.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations 3 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 4 (100% Crop)

Macro

Close focusing on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 is 5cm which is perfectly acceptable. The centre of the picture is sharp while the the edges do drop off in image quality. Used properly, this shouldn't be a problem as the main subject will be adequately isolated in the frame. The lens produces a nice amount of bokeh to throw the background out of focus.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

Without the flash being fired, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 does produce a small amount of vignetting at wide-angle and, you know, this should be expected. Consumers want as wide an angle as possible and something has got to give somewhere. It goes once you get to full zoom. The flash only serves to increase the loss of light at the edges of the frame and make the vignette more defined. Again at full zoom, it's not visible.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (26mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (26mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Forced Off - Telephoto (130mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (130mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Taking portrait shots of our beautiful model, the flash didn't create any red-eye in our test and adding red-eye reduction pre-flash simply closed the pupil a little.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
   

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

To take pictures with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 at night, you need to use something steady such as a tripod, table or wall. The shutter speeds are long and will create a lot of camera shake. If this is going to happen, a camera icon will appear on screen. There's two options for night shooting: Auto or the night scene mode. In night scene, the camera had trouble coping with the strong cast of the street lights and a heavy orange cast has appeared. We used the manual white-balance setting to try and balance out in auto which has created a green cast. This is softer and should be easier to balance in Photoshop. Both modes have selected ISO 100 as the sensitivity which is great for smooth shots. The night scene can enjoy longer shutter speeds and stayed open for eight seconds whereas auto only got one second. This ended up in a darker under exposed image. The latter is also noisier, interestingly.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)

   

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, review, images, 720p, 16 megapixel, test, jpeg, 5x zoom, lumix, 26mm, fs 45, f2.5, fs45, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Review

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