Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Review

January 4, 2013 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 is an affordable ultra-compact camera with a 16 megapixel sensor, a 5x 24-120mm Leica lens with a fast aperture of f/2.5 at the wide-angle setting, Mega OIS image stabiliser, speedy auto-focus and a variety of special effects. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 is available in black, silver, red and violet priced at £119.99.

Ease of Use

If you're into slim, good looking digital compact cameras that don't break the bank, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 may have already caught your attention. The front looks like any other Panasonic camera more expensive than this. The 5x optical zoom sits flush with the body and only the design of the surrounding bezel creates a ripple in the smooth fascia. A slim flash and AF emitter sit at the top of the camera close to the middle while the lens is slightly off-centre. On the top of the camera, Panasonic have opted to use switches on the FS45 for a couple of features, the power switch being one of them. This is a great way of avoiding powering the camera off by accident. There's zero chance of you mistaking a switch for the shutter release button which is located directly next to it. A small video record button is on the left shoulder of the camera. It sits out of the way for accidental pressing but it's diminutive size does make it difficult to end video recording without getting a shaky cut.

A ring of chrome separates front from back. The back is dominated by the large 3inch LCD screen. Small buttons sit to the right of the screen and the second switch is found here. It's used to flick between shooting and playback. The useful part of this is you can switch it to playback while powered off, flick the power switch and look at your pictures without having the lens out. The top button accesses the shooting modes available to you. A small thumbnail menu is presented when pressing the button. IA is Panasonic's Intelligent Auto feature. It analyses the scene and selects the correct mode to suit. For example, if a person is in the shot, it will select portrait mode, select an aperture to suit portraits, turn the flash on with red-eye reduction and switch on face detection focus. The red camera is the Auto mode. This is the simple point and shoot option. The camera will still do everything for you, as long as you turn up and tell it what to do.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45
Front Rear

Three notable features on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 swings us back to the front of the camera to concentrate once again on the lens. It's a Leica named lens (we choose our words carefully as the lens isn't made by Leica but is indeed made by Panasonic, to Leica specification and under their watchful eye. The 24mm wide-angle view means vistas are much more possible while the f/2.5 aperture allows the camera to let more light in during low light situations. This will, in turn, speed up shutter speeds and prevent camera shake without boosting the ISO which can damage image quality. To aid this beneficial feature, the camera is also fitted with MegaOIS. This is Panasonic's Optical Image Stabiliser. Better than a Digital Image Stabiliser, the optical versions steady the lens or sensor and don't simply crop into the image.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 is built to a high standard. The casing is metal with lashings of chrome trim. We've already mentioned the notable name on the lens and the screen sits flush to the camera body. There are a number of ways to see a sign of good quality and that's one of them. The switches are firm yet responsive and the buttons are the same. They're maybe a little bit too small but that won't be the case for everyone. The icons on the buttons won't be seen very well in the dark as they've been carved into the actual button, which is a shame. Disappointingly, the USB port is covered by a light grey plastic door on a floppy hinge but on the plus side, the battery door is locked and reinforced with some metal - albeit sparingly.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45
Front Top

There are two menus on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45; the Main menu and Quick menu (Q-menu). The latter is a fast access menu that allows you to access the basic functions of the camera designed to alter and improve your shot such as ISO, white-balance, resolution, focus modes, burst modes, video recording resolution and LCD settings (it's useful to boost it when you have the screen up above your head or below your head height. The screen will be easier to see if you brighten it). The Main menu button is located in the centre of the navigation pad. It pops up three sections that you can go into: Record, Motion Picture and Set up. The first section allows you to make more definite changes to the camera. There's still the options found in the Q-menu at the top but scrolling down reveals other features such as the colour filters, red-eye removal, image stabiliser, etc.

In the Video menu, there's only two modes for the video quality and the option to turn continuous focus on or off. This latter option is useful if you're filming something stationary as the focus may keep shifting in and out. Finally, the Set up menu is more of the core features of the camera such as Date & time, World time, LCD display, Sleep mode, Auto review and Reset all. The menu is easy to operate. It has a white background with black lettering and a yellow highlighter. It looks pretty basic and it could only be down to the colour code. It could also prove problematic for anyone sight impaired. In some cases, the white background may bleed over the black lettering making it difficult to see.

From a cold start, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 managed to get the lens out, focus and take a picture in a fraction over two seconds. That's around half a second faster than other digital cameras we've tested lately. This is likely down to the faster focusing system because it certainly does seem to operate faster. There are three continuous shooting modes: Continuous, with flash and Hi-Speed. Continuous mode took 13 pictures in a 10 second time period. That averages out to 1.3fps (frames per second). Not a bad performance and it was ready to shoot again a few seconds later. Hi-speed lowers the resolution to a measly 3 megapixels although the good news is that it shoots around 9fps. The Flash burst mode will shoot around a frame every second. It will fire the flash each time too.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

As we mentioned before, you can power the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 on with the switch in the Playback position and view pictures you've taken without the lens popping out and risking unnecessary damage. Pressing the DISP button will scroll the various ways of looking at the pictures such as with or without information. When a little yellow arrow appears in the bottom left corner, pressing up on the pad will open two options to Auto Retouch or Beauty Retouch (for portraits).

Choosing either will apply changes and show you a preview with On or Off. Choosing On will save a new version of the picture. The original will be retained. Pressing the Menu button, there's still the option to go into the Set up menu if you desire. Going into the Playback menu will open up three pages of options. In here you can Choose a set of pictures to upload to your computer the next time it's connected, resize images, crop, print a set of pictures, protect them from accidental erasing or copy them to internal memory and vice versa.

In the box, the usual bag of mashings are provided. The camera is in there along with a rechargeable lithium ion battery and charger. There's a wrist strap and quick start guide. The full instruction manual is provided on the CD along with PHOTOfunSTUDIO 8.0 editing software and a Loiloscope trial.

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.


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.




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)


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 (100% Crop)


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)


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)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 camera, which were all taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1280x720 at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 32 second movie is 40.4Mb in size.

Product Images

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Front of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Front of the Camera / Lens Extended

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Isometric View

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Isometric View

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Rear of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Rear of the Camera / Shooting Mode

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Top of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Bottom of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Side of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Side of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Front of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Front of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Memory Card Slot

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45

Battery Compartment


Years ago, when Panasonic stepped into the digital camera market, their cameras were cutting edge and the retro design was unbelievably sexy. Since then they've lost the retro feel and gone for something more up to date. Not a big deal as the camera still looks good. As the range has expanded, there are a number that seem to only have existing features on. The Lumix DMC-FS45 falls into that category. Sure, it's a camera that isn't very expensive and won't have the top end features on it, but it could at least have some digital filters that have been around for a number of years now.

That being said, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 is a good little camera. It's slim, versatile, fast at focusing and meters well. It was easy enough to use straight out of the box and it has a couple of useful features such as the switches instead of buttons.

We're impressed with the use of a Leica lens and in theory this should ensure crisp, colourful shots. In reality, we did get the sharpness where noise allowed and the pictures are colourful; although we had to boost them from time to time by switching the colour mode to Vivid. The rest of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 is built to a high standard so you won't have any worries on that part. We would have liked to see a metal tripod screw thread but you can't have it all. On the plus side, the lock on the battery door is good although there is a degree of flexibility in the door that we're not keen on.

Everyday shots we took we - naturally - great. Colours are realistic with just the right amount of saturation. The noise issue is disappointing and also a mystery. We're having trouble getting our heads round the noise performance being somewhat off-kilter at the beginning but reprising itself towards the higher settings. There's still a large amount of noise at the top end of the scale, but we'd expect to see more of it based on the results from the lower stages.

Looking at the bigger picture, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 is a nice little camera. It has its downsides, but then they all do. We would prefer to see downsides in other areas than the image quality though. We'd forgive a camera its build quality if it took great pictures. If you have no intention of looking at pictures in fine detail then the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 should provide results you'll be happy with.

3.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 3.5
Value for money 3.5

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 from around the web. »

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 was announced in January 2012 and features a bright f/2.5 lens which has previously only been features on Panasonic's higher spec cameras. It is available in black, gold, silver, red and violet for £109.95.
Read the full review »



Dimensions (W x H x D) 96.0 x 57.1 x 19.4 mm / (3.78 x 2.25 x 0.77 inch)
Weight Approx. 106g without Battery and SD Memory Card (0.24 lb) / Approx. 123g with Battery and SD Memory Card (0.28 lb)


Camera Effective Pixels 16.1 Megapixels
Sensor Size / Total Pixels / Filter 1/2.33-type CCD sensor / 16.6 Total Megapixels / Primary Color Filter
Aperture F2.5 - F6.4 / 2-Step (F2.5 / 9.0 (W), F6.4 / 20.0 (T))
Optical Zoom 5.0x
Focal Length f=4.3-21.5mm (24-120mm in 35mm equiv.) / (26-130mm in 35mm equiv. in video recording)
Extra Optical Zoom (EZ) 6.3x (4:3 / 10M), 9.0x (4:3 / 5M), 11.3x(4:3 / under 3M)
Intelligent Zoom 10.0x
Lens LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMARIT / 6 elements in 5 groups / (3 Aspherical Lenses / 5 Aspherical surfaces)
Optical Image Stabilizer MEGA O.I.S. (Off / On)
Digital Zoom 4x
Focusing Area Normal: Wide 50 cm - infinity / Tele 100 cm - infinity / Macro / Intelligent AUTO/ motion picture: Wide 5 cm - infinity / Tele 100cm - infinity
AF Assist Lamp Yes
Focus Normal, AF Macro, Zoom Macro / Quick AFON/OFF (Always On), Continuous AF(only for motion picture) / AF Tracking
AF Metering Face / AF Tracking / Multi (23pt) / 1pt
Shutter Speed approx. 8 - 1/1600 sec


File Format Still Image: JPEG(DCF/Exif2.3) / Motion picture: MP4
Mode Dial / Mode Button Intelligent Auto, Normal Picture, SCN, Miniature
Still Image Scene Mode Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Food, / Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Glass Through, Photo Frame
Continuous Shooting Mode Full-Resolution Image, 1.3 frames/sec Max. 100 images / High-speed Burst Mode: approx. 10 frames/sec / (recorded in 5M / 3M for 4:3, 2.5M for 3:2, 2M for 16:9, 2.5M for 1:1)?Max. 15-100 images
Motion Picture Recording (*2) [HD Video] 1280 x 720 pixels, 25 fps (HD: 10Mbps / MP4) (Sensor output is 25P) / [STD Video] VGA: 640 x 480 pixels, 25 fps (4Mbps / MP4)
MP4 (Continuous recordable time [motion pictures]) approx.90 min
MP4 (Actual recordable time [motion pictures]) approx.45 min
Exposure Auto(Program AE)
Exposure Compensation 1/3 EV step, +/-2 EV
Light Metering Intelligent Multiple
ISO Sensitivity I.ISO / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / High Sensitivity mode (ISO 1600-6400)
Still Picture Recording [1:1] 3456x3456(12M) / [4:3] 4608x3456(16M) / 3648x2736(10M EZ) / 2560x1920(5M EZ) / 2048x1536(3M EZ) / 640x480(0.3M EZ) / [3:2] 4608x3072 (14M) / [16:9] 4608x2592 (12M)
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / White Set
Color Mode / Color Effect / My color Color Mode : Standard, Black&White, Sepia, Vivid(in normal / video), Happy (only in iA Mode)
Digital Red Eye Correction (Red-Eye Removal) Yes
Self Timer 2sec / 10sec


Playback Mode Normal Playback, Slideshow, Filtering Playback(Category Playback / Favorites Playback), Calendar Playback
Thumbnails / Zoomed Playback 12,30-thumbnails / Max 16x
Calendar Display / Dual-Image Playback Yes / No
Set Favorites / Rotate Image Yes / No
DPOF Print Setting / Set Protection Yes / Yes
Resize / Cropping / Aspect Conv. / Leveling Yes / Yes / No / No
Copy / Title Edit / Text Stamp Yes / No / Yes
Video Divide Yes
PictBridge Support Single / Multi / All / Favorites / DPOF


OSD language Japanese, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish


LCD Monitor 7.5cm(3.0") TFT Screen LCD Display (230K dots) / Field of View : approx. 100% / AUTO Power LCD mode, Power LCD mode, High Angle Mode
Built-in-Flash Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off, / 0.4 - 5.6m (Wide/i ISO), 1.0 - 2.1m (Tele/i ISO)
Recording Media Built-in Memory, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card
Built-in-Memory Approx.70MB
Microphone / Speaker Mono / Mono
Interface AV Output (NTSC/PAL), USB2.0 High speed
Power Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 680mAh) (Included) / AC Adaptor (Input: 110-240V AC)(Included, connect with USB cable)
Included Software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 8.0 Standard Edition / Adobe Reader
Standard Accessories Battery Pack, AC Adapter, USB Cable, Hand Strap, CD-ROM

Further Specifications

NOTE *1 / Recording conditions by CIPA standard / - CIPA is an abbreviation of [Camera & Imaging Products Association]. / - Temperature: 23 oC (73.4 oF)/Humidity: 50%RH when LCD monitor is on. / - Using a Panasonic SD Memory Card (32 MB). / - Using the supplied battery. / - Starting recording 30 seconds after the camera is turned on. (When the optical image stabilizer function is set to [ON].) / - Recording once every 30 seconds with full flash every second recording. / - Rotating the zoom lever from Tele to Wide or vice versa in every recording. / - Turning the camera off every 10 recordings and leaving it until the temperature of the battery decreases. / - The number of recordable pictures decreases in Auto Power LCD Mode and Power LCD Mode. / *2 / - These are standard times taken at a temperature of 23 oC (73.4 oF) and a humidity of 50%RH. / - The time available for recording varies depending on the environment, the interval between recordings, and the manner of use. / - Actual recordable time is the time available for recording when repeating actions such as switching the power supply [ON] / [OFF], starting/stopping recording, zoom operation etc. / *3 / - Motion picture in [MP4] can be recorded continuously for up to 29 minutes 59 seconds. / - Also, motion picture recorded continuously in [MP4] is up to 4 GB.

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