With an impressive zoom for such a tiny, inexpensive camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH25 is a favorite budget pick of both photography experts and everyday camera owners who post their own reviews. The 8x optical zoom is twice as long as that of the Canon PowerShot Elph 100 HS (Discontinued) , and testers say the built-in optical image stabilizer keeps things steady even at full zoom. The weak flash can't keep up with the zoom, though, according to reviews, and you can't use the optical zoom while shooting video (that's the norm for this price class).
Photos from the 16.1-megapixel CCD sensor look very good in bright light, experts say, although not quite as superb as that of the Canon. In dim light, though, reviews are mixed: Various experts say low-light shots look "good" or "decent," but CNET reports "smeary details and yellow blotching from noise" above ISO 400. Still, CNET editors say the resulting photos look OK "for small prints and Web use," and they name the FH25 to their list of the top budget cameras. Unless you need the extra zoom length, though, experts say you'll get better photo quality, better video (full 1080p versus 720p) and a bigger LCD screen (3 inches versus 2.7 inches) from the Canon PowerShot Elph 100 HS.
DigitalCamera-HQ.com, CNET and the U.K.'s Which? magazine all fully test the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH25 and compare it with its rivals, although the Which? review is available only to subscribers. More than 100 owner reviews at Amazon.com give a good glimpse into this camera's real-life performance.
The Panasonic DMC-FH25 is one of two runners-up to this site's Best Budget Camera of 2011, the Canon PowerShot Elph 100 HS. The Canon offers better image quality, but the longer-zoom Panasonic "can still hold its own." This full review tests all of the Panasonic's major features and compares it briefly with other rival cameras.
Review: Panasonic Lumix FH25: Hands On Review, Emily Raymond, Aug. 2011
With an unusually long zoom for its price, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH25 earns a spot on CNET's list of the top budget cameras. Joshua Goldman notes that you can't use the optical zoom while shooting video, though.
Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH25 (Blue), Joshua Goldman, July 2011
3. Which? magazine
This British magazine, similar to ConsumerReports.org, tests and compares 285 digital cameras -- including the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS35, known as the FH25 in the United States. Each camera gets an overall percentage score, as well as subscores for 13 measures of usability, photo and video quality.
Review: Digital Cameras: Best Buys, Editors of Which? magazine
Averaging 4.5 stars out of 5 with about 150 owner reviews posted, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH25 is one of the best-loved digital cameras at Amazon.com. Owners say it produces great-looking photos, especially in bright light, but several wish they could use the optical zoom while shooting video.
Review: Panasonic DMC-FH25K 16.1MP Digital Camera, Contributors to Amazon.com