Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC50 Review

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC50



Steve's Conclusion


The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC50 is the little brother to the LC70, and incorporates most of the features found on the LC70, but has a 3.2-megapixel imager, and does not have the ability to record sound with movies. This is a simply to use point-n-shoot digicam that offers users a wide variety of record modes for all types of shooting conditions. It also features a very useful Economy mode, which helps extend battery life by decreasing the brightness of the LCD and turning it off when the camera is idle for more than 15 seconds. Plus it will turn the camera off when 2 minutes has passed without any operation.

The ergonomics of the LC50 are good. The controls are well placed and functional, and despite its small size, it fits well in your hands. The menu system is logically arranged, and offers choices that will not confuse the novice user, but allow the more experienced photographer to quickly make changes.

The overall performance when shooting in 2048x1536/Fine mode was average. From power up to first image captured averaged just under 4 seconds. Shutter lag measured a fast 1/10 of a second when pre-focused, but a slower 9/10 of a second including autofocus. When shooting in single exposure mode, I averaged about 2 seconds between frames with the flash off and approx. 3 seconds with the flash on. This camera offers two Burst mode settings to choose from (High- speed, Low-speed.) Using the Low-speed setting, I was able to capture 5 frames in about 2 seconds. High-speed captured 5 frames in approx. 1.2 seconds. Our tests were done using a Lexar 256MB SD card, shooting in "Normal" mode, size/quality set at 2048x1536/Fine, flash off, and all other settings at default (unless otherwise noted.) Times may vary depending on lighting conditions, camera settings, media, etc.

I was happy with the overall image quality in 2048x1536/Fine mode. Indoors, our test shots were well exposed and skin tones were very natural. The wide-angle focal length of 35mm (in 35mm equivalence) provides a field of view sufficient for most indoor circumstances. The above average flash range (about 15.75 at wide angle) is adequate for small group portraits and shooting across small rooms, but does not have sufficient power to cover large open rooms, entire dance floors, etc. Unfortunately, there is no focus- assist lamp, so it will sometimes be unable to focus in dimly-lit indoor shooting situations. Outdoors, the camera does very well. The majority of our test shots were sharp, well exposed, and colors were nicely saturated. The Leica 3x optical zoom lens offers enough range to provide flexibility in composing your shots. A 3x digital zoom feature is also included, but we recommend not using it, instead crop your photos in an image editor when necessary. The LCD viewfinder's brightness can be adjusted, making it fairly usable outdoors and it also "gains up" when using it in low ambient lighting. Because it does not have an anti-reflective coating, the LCD can be difficult to view on the brightest of days. Fortunately, it is also equipped with a zoom-coupled optical viewfinder for such circumstances.

Bottom line - The Lumix DMC-LC50 makes a good choice for anyone who wants a portable, easy to use digicam. Its size allows it to be carried in almost any size pocket or purse, and with its 3.2 million pixels of resolution, you can create photo-quality prints up to 8x10-inches. With an affordable price of around $249, its sure to be a hit. If your in need of more resolution, check out the LC70, it's physically and functionally identical, but adds 4-megapixels of resolution and the ability to capture sound with movies, and can be had for around $50-75 more than the street price of the LC50.






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