Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS2 Review
Review Date: March 27th 2006
The Panasonic DMC-LS2 is the new entry-level compact digital camera in Panasonic's range, offering a 5 megapixel sensor, 3x optical zoom lens and 2 inch LCD screen. The LS2, as with all Panasonic cameras, features the company's MEGA O.I.S optical image stabilisation system for shake-free photos. The Panasonic DMC LS2 improves on the previous DMC-LS1 model with a more compact body, High Angle mode that brightens the LCD when held overhead, faster 1-point auto-focus system, enhanced scene modes and more advanced Venus Engine Plus processing. Currently available for less than £160 / $200, is the Panasonic DMC-LS2 the right camera to get your photography career started? Carry on reading my review to discover the answer.
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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS2 has a 5.36 megapixel, 1/2.5 inch CCD that delivers 5.0 effective megapixels. There is one aspect ratio on offer (4:3) with a range of image sizes (2560 x 1920 pixels, 2,048 x 1,536 pixels, 1,600 x 1,200 pixels, 1,280 x 960 pixels and 640 x 480 pixels). Images can be recorded as either Fine or Standard quality JPEGs. The camera's 3x Leica DC Vario-Elmarit optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 35-105mm lens on a 35mm format camera. There is also a 4x digital zoom should you feel the need to use it. MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) is available with 2 different modes. The camera has 14Mb of built-in memory - it is not supplied with either a SD Memory Card or MultiMedia Card.
The Panasonic DMC-LS2 offers Auto, Simple and Economy exposure modes plus 14 different scene modes (Portrait, Sports, Scenery, Night Scenery, Night Portrait, Fireworks, Party, Snow, Soft Skin, Starry Sky, Candle Light, Food, Baby1, Baby2). The maximum aperture is f2.8 (wide) – f5.6 (tele), and the shutter speed range is 60 secs. – 1/2000th sec. There are 4 ISO speeds ranging from 80 to 400 and an Auto option. There are 4 different White Balance presets to choose from (Daylight, Cloudy, Halogen, White Set), plus an Auto setting and White Balance Adjustment (150K step, -1500K - +1500K). The camera offers exposure compensation in ± 2 in 1/3 EV steps and auto-bracketing is available.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS2 has a normal shooting mode, Self-timer (2 secs. or 10 secs.) and 2 different Continuous modes - High (3 fps) or Low (2 fps), with a maximum of 5 images in Standard JPEG Mode and 3 images in Fine JPEG Mode for both modes. There are 4 different colour effects available (Cool, Warm, Black and White and Sepia) and 3 picture adjustments (Natural, Standard, Vivid). The Macro setting allows you to focus on subjects that are as close as 5cms at the wide-angle lens setting. The camera offers 5 auto-focus systems - 1-point, 1-point high speed, 3-point high speed, 5-point and Spot - and you can choose from Normal or Macro focus. There is no AF assist lamp to help achieve focus in low-light situations. The built-in flash offers 4 different modes (Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced On/Off).
To compose your images, you can use the LCD monitor - there is no optical or electronic viewfinder. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS2 has a 2 inch TFT LCD Display which has 86,000 pixels and offers 100% scene coverage. There is a new High Angle mode which allows you to hold the camera above your head and still see the LCD screen clearly. The Panasonic DMC-LS2 can record movies at 320 x 240 pixels, at either 30 fps or 10 fps, although there is no sound. Video is recorded in the Quicktime with audio format. The length of the video is only limited by the size of the memory card that you are using. A histogram is available in both shooting and playback modes. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS2 supports the DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) and PictBridge printing standards, and it connects to a computer via USB 2.0.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS2's dimensions are 110.5 (W) × 53.5 (H) × 30.9 mm (D) mm, and it weighs 138g without the battery and storage card fitted. The camera is powered by 2 AA size batteries (Panasonic Oxyride Battery supplied), which has an approximate CIPA battery life of 250 shots. There is a plastic tripod mount in the left corner of the bottom of the camera.
Finally, the standard box kit contains a 2 x AA Oxyride Batteries, AV Cable, USB Connection Cable, Strap, User Guide and Software CD-ROM (containing SD Viewer for DSC, ArcSoft PhotoBase, ArcSoft PhotoImpression, USB Driver). Note that you can only store 5 images at the highest quality JPEG setting on the 14Mb built-in memory card. You will therefore need to invest in some memory cards to store your images on.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS2 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.