The point-and-shoot Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 sets itself apart from the competition with zippy performance. Slow speeds are the hallmark of compact digital cameras, but the FP8 is an "exception" to this trend, say editors at Which? magazine, while CNET's Joshua Goldman confirms that it "lives up" to Panasonic's claims. In expert tests, the FP8 powers up and shoots in under two seconds, its shutter lag is one-third that of the Canon PowerShot SDD970 IS (*Est. $260), and the continuous shooting speed doubles the pace of the Sony CyberShot T900 (*Est. $350). Reviewers also applaud the rapid autofocus and zoom action of the 4.6x zoom lens. The lens is internally housed, making it "dead quiet," says J. Keenan at DigitalCameraReview.com -- a plus for shooting HD video (720p).
In addition to a 12-megapixel sensor, 2.7-inch LCD and whopping 380-shot battery, the FP8 has 28 scene settings -- more than most compacts, but not as many as the 39 on the Casio Exilim EX-Z550 (*Est. $135). Overall, experts and users appreciate the FP8's simplicity. However, many say the off-center lens placement makes it easy for fingers to show up in shots, and the lens lacks a protective cover. Image quality rates highly overall, and although high-definition video is comparable to class contenders, there's no HDMI port for easy HDTV playback. All in all, Goldman says that for the price and size, the FP8 serves up first-rate performance, while editors at Which? magazine say it delivers "a masterclass in how to fit a high-performing camera into an ultra-slim body."
In addition to detailed reviews, CNET and DigitalCameraReview.com provide benchmark test results that compare the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 with class leaders. Rounding out our sources are useful write-ups from PhotographyBlog.com, PCWorld.com and Which? magazine, while owner comments at Amazon.com help to confirm expert findings.
"The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 is a solid snapshot camera," says Joshua Goldman. Not only does it deliver zippy start-up and shutter lag times, but it's simple enough to use out of the box. However, Goldman concedes that the internal lens placement makes it easy for unwanted fingers to show up in shots, and photos tend to look overprocessed.
Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 (Black), Joshua Goldman, Nov. 18, 2009
For J. Keenan, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 rates as a "desirable camera by virtue of its sparkling AF performance and speedy shutter lag alone." Flaws are minimal, but in his tests, the FP8 lags behind other 12-megapixel cameras with greater than average noise at lower ISO settings.
Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 Review, J. Keenan, Oct. 7, 2009
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 bolsters the Lumix lineup with its reliable performance and intuitive operations, says Gavin Stoker. Still, the FP8 offers little that is new, original or exciting, and Stoker likens it to a loaf of white bread that "fulfils a need and serves a purpose," albeit with few memorable attributes.
Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 Review, Gavin Stoker, Dec. 16, 2009
4. PC World
Tim Moynihan says the boxy build of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 is "seemingly impervious to anyone with a mild case of fumble-itis." However, the capless lens is prone to scratches, and its location makes it easy for fingers to show up in photos. Nevertheless, he gives the camera high scores for its fast and "dead-quiet" zoom lens.
Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8, Tim Moynihan, Jan. 14, 2010
5. Which? magazine
Despite its lack of manual controls, editors at Which? magazine say the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 digital camera "stands alongside some of the best we've tested." It stands out with its ability to pack high-performing features in a compact frame, and unlike many class contenders, the FP8 excels with fast speeds and exceptional outdoor photo quality.
Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8, Editors of Which?
"Blazingly fast startup and recovery between shots," says one user at Amazon.com about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8. The camera nabs top ratings and is an overwhelming favorite among owners, who praise its simplicity, features and great price. However, several users report poor picture quality.
Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 12.1 MP Digital Camera, Contributors to Amazon.com