Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 Review

August 27, 2013 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 is a slimline point and shoot digital compact camera. Designed primarily for the happy snapper, this super thin camera sports a 16 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom, 24mm wide-angle lens and a new Creative Panorama function to apply creative filters to panoramic shots. Price at around £90 / $100, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 is available in black, white, blue, red and silver.

Ease of Use

From the outside, the most noticeable thing about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 is its thinness. It's only 17.6mm deep which is very thin for the 5x optical zoom lens to fit into. This is down to some innovative Panasonic technology that has made the lens thinner. This and changing the memory card type to MicroSD has enabled the designers to squash the internal components into the World's thinnest camera.

Panasonic have tried to make the XS1 look as futuristic as possible by using clean lines and shiny buttons. The front of the camera has the main colour over the majority of the area with a black line across the top where the flash is situated, to create a two-tone effect. The lens sits in a large bezel which is largely unused and arguably just for effect. On the top, there are two buttons that operate the power and shutter release. They're simple, circular buttons that add to the futuristic dynamic that Panasonic are trying to convey with the XS1.

However, the back of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 hasn't been tampered with and has the same outlay as any other digital compact camera in this price range. Of course, they have to stop somewhere in order to save money and we understand that.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90
Front Rear

Towards the top of the camera is the zoom rocker switch with the Mode button and direct video record button sat below. The Mode button opens up a small sub-menu which allows you to choose how the camera takes pictures. The options available are Intelligent Auto, Auto, Creative control, Panoramic and Scenes. The Intelligent Auto mode is a feature that was pioneered by Panasonic and is now used on nearly every camera available under different names. It works by analysing the image in the screen and working out whether it's a landscape, portrait or macro (for example. There are usually a lot more available).  Then it changes the camera into the appropriate scene mode.

The biggest feature of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1, aside from the size of the body is that the Panoramic mode can have the digital effects placed over the image either while you're shooting or as an after edit in playback. To do it when shooting, after choosing the Panoramic mode in the Mode menu, choose the direction you'd like to shoot in then decide whether you want to use a filter or not.

The zoom is relatively moderate on the XS1, so to aid in the prevention of camera shake, it has Mega OIS (Optical Image Stabiliser) fitted. Panasonic have two OIS systems; Mega and Power. The latter being more powerful than the former. Before you think that means it has a second rate image stabiliser, that's not the case at all. The Power OIS is more powerful and is used on high zoom cameras for that reason. A 5x optical zoom camera doesn't need the performance of the Power OIS when the Mega OIS can cope. It's also a less expensive system to manufacture which keeps the cost of the camera down. Fitting Power OIS to the XS1 would be overkill.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90
Front Top

We touched on the Mode menu before and it's one of only two menus on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1. Now this may appear perfectly normal, but Panasonic seem to omit the handy Q.Menu from their lower class cameras and it's a real shame. After all, it gives fast access to the important features of the camera, such as ISO, white-balance and resolution. To change these things on the XS1, you have to go into the Main menu which is found by pressing the centre button the navigation pad on the back of the camera. Pressing it opens up three options. Here you can choose to access the main shooting menu, video menu or set-up menu. As we mentioned previously, those features normally found in the Q.Menu are located in the shooting menu. You can also change other features, such as the focus modes, red-eye removal system, colour mode or image stabiliser settings if you wish.

The video only has two options in it for the record quality (classed as HD, but not FullHD) and AF options. The set-up menu is much more extensive with four pages of options. You can change modes such as the sound, date & time, video output, languages and more.

There are three continuous shooting modes on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1. The top mode is a continuous drive mode and takes roughly one image every second at full size resolution. Because it constantly writes the information to the card, it's ready to shoot again three seconds later. The high speed burst mode takes a rapid 10 frames per second (fps) although it does it at a lower resolution. It can take two sets of those in a 10 second time frame.

Playback of the pictures you've already taken can't be accessed when the camera is switched off. If the camera is powered down, you need to switch it on first, which is unusual for a digital compact camera these days. The lens will be out, but will retract after around 30 seconds.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

You can flick through the pictures you've taken by using the left or right of the pad on the back. Pressing up will enable the Auto/Creative retouch. Auto retouch will adjust the exposure, contrast and saturation of the picture for you. The camera allows you to preview it first.  Creative retouch lets you place a digital filter over the image which it then saves as a separate file.

In the Playback menu, you can retouch the pictures here as well. You can also resize them, protect, copy or favourite them.

In the box, you get a CD with the full operating instructions, PHOTOfunSTUDIO ver 9 and a trial version of LoiLoScope, which is a video editing suite. In paper form, you get a Basic Operating manual. It'll give instructions on how to attach the wrist strap and insert the battery – both of which are included – and the memory card (not included). There's also a charging unit for the lithium ion battery.

Image Quality


It's easy when you get a budget camera such as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 to expect nothing in terms of image quality. If that's the case, then the low ISO pictures will be surprising. The pictures we got at ISO 100 are smooth, sharp, well exposed and with excellent colour rendition.  Don't be mistaken, we can see that noise reduction is at work, but it's working very well and not upsetting the balance of colour in the image.

Viewing the ISO 200 picture at full size, it's obvious noise is coming through as the darker areas are starting to get that muddy painted look as noise reduction blends the image to cover up noisy pixels.

Again, viewing at full magnification, noise starts to appear at ISO 400 in the mid-tones. By ISO 800, the noise reduction system has started to mute the colours on the sensor to try and suppress noise. ISO 1600 sees the noise reduction system start to overwhelm the noise reduction system.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso200.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso800.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 has a 5x optical zoom which starts at 24mm and zooms out to 120mm by 35mm terms. At wide-angle, the picture degrades substantially to the edges of the frame.



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg


For a sub £100 camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1's pictures are sharp enough without any additional sharpening in an editing suite. If you do decide to add sharpening, you need to make sure there's no noise in the picture first or it will get worse.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

We struggled to find chromatic aberrations present on the pictures we took, although we were having a spell of bad weather during the test and didn't have the high contrast from bright light that is usually necessary. However, we did manage to locate some and it's only found at the far extremes of the frame.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations 3 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 4 (100% Crop)

chromatic3.jpg chromatic4.jpg


At wide-angle, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 can focus as close as 5cm. At this setting, you need to put the subject in the exact centre of the frame, because the image quality dissipates considerably as you move away to the edges.


Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


Vignetting is noticeable at wide-angle whether the flash is fired or not. Using the flash simply removes any dappled light from the centre of the frame and stabilises it. At full zoom, there's a slight amount of vignette with no flash. This disappears with the flash firing.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (20mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (20mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (1200mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (1200mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 has a night scene mode for taking long exposures which will allow more light onto the sensor to expose the darker scene. The Night scene mode uses a low ISO to reduce the chances of noise. The long exposure creates its own noise though. It also used a 5 second exposure in our test. The Auto mode used a one second exposure, which is the longest it can use. Both cameras had the same settings on all other aspects. Noise performance is actually better on the Night scene picture although they both show it.

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

night_scene.jpg night_scene1.jpg

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)

night_auto.jpg night_auto1.jpg

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 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 highest quality setting of 1280x720 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 31 second movie is 105Mb in size.

Product Images

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1

Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 / Image Displayed

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 / Main Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 / Record Mode Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 / Scene Mode Menu


Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 / Record Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 / Motion Picture Menu
Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 / Playback Menu
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Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 / Setup Menu
Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 / Creative Retouch Menu
Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 / Creative Control Menu
Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Top of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Bottom of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Side of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Memory Card Slot
Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1
Battery Compartment


If you're a happy snapper type of photographer, then the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 is going to suit you down to the ground. It has an extremely simple operation to it and an easy to use UI. It nails the “point and shoot” term perfectly.

There are, obviously, issues with some of the performance areas. While we're happy with the focusing, speed of operation and overall metering, the dynamic range is extremely limited. We got burn out on some pictures we shouldn't have got it on. Noise is bound to be a problem with a camera at this price point and while it certainly is (showing through at ISO 200), we felt that the noise reduction system did a good enough job for viewing at normal distances and Panasonic took the right decision to cap it at ISO 1600.

For a camera under £100, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1's build quality is suitable for the type of person looking to a buy a camera like this. The lens has problems with chroma, but no more so than cameras that are more expensive.

Indeed, for the price, the XS1 isn't a bad little camera. It's certainly not perfect, but then what camera is? It's so easy to forget that it doesn't just cost less than £100, it costs less than £90 / $100. That's great value for a digital camera that has a known brand name, a high resolution and plenty of fun things to do. Let's not forget that the digital filters on the panoramic mode is a new feature which isn't normally seen on lower end cameras.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 is an ideal camera for taking away on holiday and whipping out on nights out. It looks attractive, is very thin and small, making it easier to store, and at £89, it won't be too much of an issue if the kids get hold of it and drop it. It could also make an ideal first digital camera for a younger person. If you fit into this demographic, then take a look at this camera.

3.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 3.5
Value for money 4

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1.

Canon PowerShot A1300

The PowerShot A1300 is one of the cheapest compact cameras from Canon. Offering a 16 megapixel sensor, 5x zoom lens and a very attractive price tag of less than £120 / $120, the A1300 even features a proper optical viewfinder. Read our Canon PowerShot A1300 review to find out if it's worthy of a second glance...

Fujifilm FinePix Z90

The slim and stylish Fujifilm FinePix Z90 camera offers point and shoot operation, a robust metal body and a range of bright metallic colours. The Z90 has 5x zoom lens with a sliding lens cover, 3 inch touch-screen LCD, high-definition movie recording, and a very attractive price-tag of £139.99 / $169.95. Read our in-depth Fujifilm FinePix Z90 review.

Nikon Coolpix L28

The Nikon Coolpix L28 compact camera has a 20 megapixel CCD sensor, 5x wide-angle zoom lens, 3 inch LCD screen and 720p movies, yet costs just £109.99 / $119.95. Read our in-depth Nikon Coolpix L28 review to find out if this is the right point-and-shoot camera for you...

Olympus VG-170

The Olympus VG-170 is a budget compact camera with a lot of premium features. You get a surprisingly capable camera for £99.99 / €100 - 14 megapixels, powerful flash with a guide number of 8.8, 5x wide-angle zoom, 3 inch LCD screen and 720p movies. Read our Olympus VG-170 review to find out if it's a real bargain or not...

Pentax Optio I-10

Is it a DSLR? Is it a compact? The new Pentax I-10 combines the styling of the former with the simplicity of the latter, complete with a 5x zoom, 12 megapixels and 2.7 inch screen for under £199.99 / $249.95. Gavin Stoker finds out if the Pentax I-10 is all style and no substance...

Samsung PL210

The Samsung PL210 is an affordable travel-zoom compact camera, offering a 10x zoom lens, 14 megapixel sensor, 3 inch LCD and 720p movie recording, all for less than £150 / $175. Read our in-depth Samsung PL210 review to find out if this is the right pocket camera for you...

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-J10

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-J10 is a new 16.1 megapixel compact camera with a built-in USB connector for easier image transfer and battery recharging. The stylish Sony J10 also has 4Gb of built-in memory, a 4x zoom lens, and a 2.7 inch LCD screen. Read our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-J10 review to find out if this is the right point-and-shoot camera for you.

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 from around the web. »

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 was announced in January 2013 and is an ultra-thin entry level camera. It has a 16.1 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom and available in white, black, violet and red for £86.52.
Read the full review » »

With compact cameras often too big to be pocketable, and smartphone sensor and lens technology still limited, Callum McInerney-Riley asks whether the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 strikes a happy medium. Read the Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 review...
Read the full review »



Dimensions (W x H x D) 93.8 x 53.5 x 17.6 mm / (3.69 x 2.11 x 0.69 inch)
Weight Approx. 88g without Battery and micro SD Memory Card (0.19 lb) / Approx. 103g with Battery and microSD Memory Card (0.23 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 F2.8 - 6.9 / 2-Step (F2.8 / 9.0 (W), F6.9 / 22.0 (T))
Optical Zoom 5x
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 8x
Lens LUMIX DC VARIO / 6 elements in 5 groups / (3 Aspherical Lenses / 5 Aspherical surfaces)
2- Speed Zoom -
Optical Image Stabilizer/Five Axis Correction MEGA O.I.S. (Off / On) / No
Digital Zoom Max. 4x


Focusing Area Normal / Intelligent AUTO : Wide 5 cm - infinity / Tele 100 cm - infinity
AF Assist Lamp -
Focus Normal / Quick AF (Always On), Continuous AF(only for motion picture)
AF Metering Face / 9-Area / 1-Area


Shutter Speed approx. 8 - 1/1600 sec / 15 sec / 30 sec / 60 sec in Starry Sky mode


Viewfinder -


File Format Still Image: JPEG(DCF/Exif2.3) / Motion picture: QuickTime Motion JPEG

Recording Modes

Mode Dial / Mode Button Intelligent Auto, Normal Picture, Creative Control, Panorama Shot, SCN
Creative Control mode Expressive, Retro, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Dynamic Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, One Point Color
Still Image Scene Mode Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery,Food, Baby1(Birthday only), Baby2(Birthday only), / Pet(Birthday only), Sunset, High Sensitivity, Glass Through, Photo Frame, Starry Sky
Continuous Shooting Mode Full-Resolution Image, approx. 1.0 frames/sec / High-speed Burst Mode: approx. 10 frames/sec / (recorded in 3M for 4:3, 2.5M for 3:2, 2M for 16:9, 2.5M for 1:1) / Flash burst shooting

Motion Picture Recording (*2)

HD Video 1280 x 720 pixels, 30 fps (HD / Motion JPEG)
STD Video 640 x 480 pixels, 30 fps (VGA / Motion JPEG) / 320 x 240 pixels, 30fps (QVGA / Motion JPEG)

Continuous recordable time (motion pictures)

MP4 -

Actual recordable time (motion pictures)

MP4 -

Exposure Parameters

Exposure Auto(Program AE)
Exposure Compensation 1/3 EV step, +/-2 EV
Auto (AE) Bracketing -
Light Metering Intelligent Multiple
ISO Sensitivity i.ISO / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / High Sensitivity mode (ISO 1600-6400)

Picture Quality

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)
Image Quality -
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / White Set
Photo Style / Film Mode -
Color Mode / Color Effect / My color Color Mode : Standard, Black&White, Sepia, Vivid (Normal only), Happy (only in iA mode)
Aspect Bracketing  -


Digital Red Eye Correction (Red-Eye Removal) Yes
Wi-FI -
Zoom in Motion Picture Yes(Digital Zoom)
Self Timer 2sec / 10sec


Playback Mode All, Slideshow, Filtering Playback (Picture Only, Video Only, Category Selection, Select Date, Favorites), Calendar
Thumbnails / Zoomed Playback 12,30-thumbnails / Yes
Calendar Display / Dual- Image Playback Yes / No
Set Favorites / Rotate Image Yes / No
Show Histogram -
Show Highlights -
DPOF Print Setting / Set Protection Yes / Yes


Retouch Creative Retouch / Auto Retouch
Resize / Cropping / Aspect Conv. / Leveling Yes / No / No / No
Copy / Title Edit / Text Stamp Yes / No / No
Cut Animation -
Video Divide -
PictBridge Support Single / Multi / All / Favorites / DPOF


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


LCD Monitor 6.7cm (2.7") TFT Screen LCD Display (230K dots) / Field of View : approx. 100%


Built- in- Flash Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off, / 0.4 - 4.4m (Wide/i.ISO) / 1.0 - 1.7m (Tele/ISO Auto)


Recording Media Built-in Memory, micro SD Memory Card, micro SDHC Memory Card
Built- in- Memory Approx. 90 MB


Microphone / Speaker Mono / Mono


Interface AV Output (PAL/NTSC), USB(AV/USB Multi)


Power Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V / 690mAh / 2.5Wh) / AC Adaptor (Input: 110-240V AC)(Included, connect with USB cable)
Battery life (approx.) 260 pictures (CIPA Standard)*1

Standard Package

Included Software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 9.0 LE / Adobe Reader
Standard Accessories Battery Pack, AC adaptor, 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. / *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. / -Maximum time to record motion pictures continuously with [AVCHD] is 29 minutes 59 seconds. / -Maximum time to record motion pictures continuously with [MP4] is 29 minutes 59 seconds or up to 4 GB.

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