Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS70 Review

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS70



Steve's Conclusion


The Lumix DMC-LS70 is one of many "LS" series models from the Panasonic digital camera line-up for 2007. This capable point-n-shoot model offers a 7-megapixel imager, 3x optical zoom lens, MEGA O.I.S. (optical image stabilization), 4:3 or 16:9 format movie mode (without sound), along with loads of user-friendly exposure modes (20 in total). This allows it to be used by just about anyone, regardless of there photographic experience.

I was pleased with the feel or ergonomics of the LS70. While it's not what we would consider an ultra-compact camera, I found it fits easily in larger pockets (cargo pants, coat, sweatshirt, etc.) as well as small handbags. The LCD is only 2.0-inches, smaller than the typical consumer model nowadays, and I noticed that it looks as if a 2.5-inch display would fit in the space they used; it has a large border all the way around it. That issue aside, this is a very nice monitor, which I found was very effective, whether framing a subject, navigating the menu system or reviewing captured images. In low light conditions the LCD also "gains-up" nicely, allowing you to frame your subject. The various controls mounted on the top and back of the body are positioned well, while the menu system was easy to navigate, and we especially liked the FUNCtion menu that allows for quick changes to camera settings (ISO, White balance, Stabilizer, etc.)

The LS70's shooting performance was good for a compact consumer model. From power up to first image captured measured about 2.8 seconds. Shutter lag was almost absent when pre- focused, measuring less than 1/10 of a second and only 1/10 - 2/10 of a second including autofocus time. When shooting a sequence of images in single exposure mode, the shot to shot delay averaged 2 seconds between frames without the flash and about 2.5 - 3.5 seconds with the flash, depending on subject distance and battery life. During testing we found the LCD goes blank while the flash charges, making it difficult to prepare for the next shot while you wait for the flash to recharge. The LS70 offers a Burst mode, and using it I was able to capture 6 frames in about 6.7 seconds. This is quite slow at less than 1fps. When using Burst, the LCD briefly displays the last image captured, making it somewhat usable to following a moving subject. Our tests were done using a RiDate Pro (120x) 2GB SD card, shooting in "Normal" mode, size/quality set at 7M Fine, flash off, Auto review off, stabilizer on (mode 1) and all other settings at default (unless otherwise noted.) Times may vary depending on lighting conditions, camera settings, media, etc.

Image quality was good. Our sample images are nice and sharp, with no visible edge softness, and the exposure and color balance are very pleasing. Noise is present at even ISO 100, however, you have to be viewing an image at 100% to see this and it is very unlikely you will see it in your photos. The LS70's flash is rated to cover approx. 15 feet, and I found it worked quite well during portrait and macro photography. Our close- up portraits look very nice with good flash exposure and natural skin tones. When using Macro mode, the camera controls the flash output nicely, so your subjects don't get overexposed. Its 3x optical zoom lens covers a typical consumer range of 35 - 105mm in 35mm equivalence. This provides plenty of versatility for most shot composition needs, just don't expect to bring your distant subjects up close. You can also opt to use the "Extended Optical Zoom" option, which extends the optical zoom range to 4.5x. However, image resolution is dropped to 3-megapixels, so use this feature only if absolutely necessary. The MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) system works very well, helping reduce the occurrence of camera shake at slower shutter speeds as well as when shooting video.

I was a bit disappointed with this model's Movie mode. While it allows you to capture nice video with very little compression artifacts, the fact that there is no audio seems like Panasonic missed a real opportunity here.

Bottom line - the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS70 is a nice digital camera package, offering some appealing features like 7-megapixels, MEGA O.I.S, etc. as well as plenty of shooting modes for everyone in your household or office. At this price point for a 7-megapixel digital camera you have to expect to give up a few bells and whistles. For instance the smaller than most LCD and movies without sound.




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