Advertisement
Login
Login  /  Register
Lastest Polls
How Much Will You Spend On Your Next Digital Compact?
 
Advertisement
AdvertisementAdvertisement
Buy-n-Shoot.com on Facebook Buy-n-Shoot.com on Twitter Add To Google Toolbar Buy-n-Shoot.com RSS Feed Buy-n-Shoot.com Youtube Channel Bookmark Page Set As Homepage Search Digital Camera Reviews Search News Search Photography Tips
Panasonic DMC-F3, DMC-FP1, DMC-FH3 Digital Camera Reviews

 

Digital Camera Review by: Katrina Putker 

 

When these three similar Lumix cameras first arrived on site at the Buy-n-Shoot office, truth is there was no immediately obvious ‘wow’ factor about them. That said, after having put each unit through its respective point-and-shoot paces it’s fair to suggest that their charm is in fact in their simplicity and solid overall performance.

True, there are no bells and whistles screaming ‘buy me’ here but since when is that a bad thing? Panasonic should be applauded for sticking to what is actually important in a point-and-shoot compact camera long after the initial ‘wow’ factor of any party tricks and gimmicks have worn off: image and build quality, price and ease of use.

Before we compare them in a combined review, here is a quick side-by-side ‘spec’ (camera speak for ‘specifications’) glance at each of the units:

 

DMC-F3 DMC-FP1 DMC-FH3
RRP: $149.00 RRP: $199.00 RRP: $249.00
12-megapixels 12-megapixels 14-megapixels
4x optical zoom (extendable to 7.8x) 4x optical zoom (extendable to 7.8x) 5x optical zoom (extendable to 10.5x)
2.7-inch 230k-dot LCD 2.7-inch 230k-dot intelligent LCD 2.7-inch 230k-dot intelligent LCD
HD movie recording HD movie recording HD movie recording
Digital image stabilisation MEGA optical image            stabilisation MEGA optical image stabilization
Burst mode 6fps Burst mode 5.5fps Burst mode 4.6fps
110g (body only) 121g (body only) 135g (body only)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     


 
panasonic20100927.jpgAs can be seen, when on paper these particular Lumix models are remarkably similar in many ways so when it comes to deciding which one tickles your fancy most, it’s most likely going to come down to just two factors: your budget and your style preference.

In terms of button/control design and placement and overall cosmetics, there are only minor differences between all three units. The FP1 has the slimmest body that when combined with its front lens/flash protective sliding pane makes for a more sleek and contemporary overall look and feel.

As a result, it is likely to be the primary choice for the more fashion and gadget conscious buyers, a point not lost on Panasonic who have released the unit in bold pink, vibrant blue and bright green colours along with the classic failsafe black.

The F3 and FH3 are near on identical with only a closer look revealing any cosmetic difference between the two: the FH3 is slightly wider and hosts a dedicated intelligent auto button on its top edge where the F3 has none and in truth, that’s just about it.

As opposed to the built-in lens on the FP1, the F3 and FH3 each house similar double-tiered lenses that upon power off retreat neatly into the main body for streamlined handling and storage in between shoots.

The F3 lens is equivalent to a 28-112mm on a 35mm camera where the extra money required to purchase the FH3 goes in part towards achieving greater reach with a 28-140mm equivalent lens.

The F3 is available in pink and silver only where the FH3 comes in silver, red or black.

Each of the three units houses the same size 2.7-inch LCD and when compared side-by-side the FP1 appears to project the brightest display, followed closely by the FH3 and finally the F3 (when each is set to ‘Power LCD’ mode.)

In each case, both the live preview and images in playback appear predominantly clear and sharp aside from when shooting under low lighting conditions where electronic noise starts to become quite visable.

This is a fact of life in affordable compact cameras across nearly all manufacturers however: generally speaking using ISOs above 400 means noise and a degree of smudginess in virtually unavoidable.

In terms of megapixels these units are essentially on par. The FH3 has 14 where the other two models have 12 and unless you often enlarge prints or crop heavily into your images the 2mp margin is unlikely to make any immediately obvious difference.

Across all models the function and control buttons could possibly afford to be larger in size in order to help the overall ease of use of each unit.

While their physical layout is quite logical and uniform across the board, the buttons themselves are quite small and as a result are somewhat fiddly. All except for the shutter button could well be considered undersize for users with average to large sized hands.

Intelligent auto mode is supported in both the FH3 and FP1 models and is accessible via a dedicated one-touch button positioned next to the shutter, where the F3 offers an auto scene mode instead that must be selected via the internal menu system.

Similarly, the FH3 and the FP1 have made available a vast collection of 25 selectable scene modes (self-portrait, soft skin, baby, food, sunset, pet, party, night scene, starry sky and aerial to name but a few) while the FH3 is missing three from that same list: the film grain, photo frame and transform options.

The latter scene mode allows users to slim or stretch a composition and do so to varying degrees where film grain and photo frame do exactly as their names suggest: turn images into grainy black and whites and add a choice of cartoon-style frames around your images.

Both the FP1 and F3 offer 4x optical zoom that can be extended to 7.8x using the extra optical zoom function (that works by using just the centre part of the CCD) although doing so reduces the usable megapixels down to just three.

The same goes for the FH3 but, given that it offers 5x zoom in the first place, the extension of extra optical zoom reaches right out to 10.5x. All three cameras perform surprisingly well at full zoom although, as expected, a degree of sharpness is lost such lengths.

Where the FP1 is fitted out with digital image stabilisation only, the F3 and FH3 each come equipped with optical image stabilastion which proves extremely effective in helping to reduce the effects of handshake and camera movement and certainly does help to stabilise even the most unsteady hands.

You can literally see the technology at work, particularly when at full zoom, and while the effect is more dramatic in the F3 and FH3 it is still somewhat noticeable in the FP1.

Across all units the internal menu system and graphics are primitive at best but that said, they are easy to navigate and control.

Deciding between the three of these Lumix models is indeed a little bit like splitting hairs and the reality is they are affordable enough to buy in multiples if you’re indecisive.http://www.buy-n-shoot.com/images/medal-gold-r.jpg

Buyers are unlikely to be disappointed with their final decision, whatever it may be, particularly if looking for a reliable little compact that comes laden with all of the expected features - in addition to a few pleasant extras – but without the hefty price tag.

If you’re looking around the $150-$200 mark then the F3 or FP1 are your options here and choosing between the two will probably come down to your preferred design aesthetic more than anything else.

If you’re budget is closer to $250 then you can’t go too wrong with the FH3. It’s everything a digital compact should be without distracting bells and whistles.

 

(For refernce, all the cameras received a Gold Medal rating)

 

DMC-F3

Appearance rating 3 stars
Functionality rating 3.5 stars
Image quality
3 stars
Lens quality
3.5 stars
View finder/LCD screen 3 stars
Value for money 4 stars
RRP (AUD) $149

 

 

DMC FP1

Appearance rating 4 stars
Functionality rating 3.5 stars
Image quality
3 stars
Lens quality
3 stars
View finder/LCD screen 3 stars
Value for money 4 stars
RRP (AUD) $199

 

 

DMC FH3

Appearance rating 3.5 stars
Functionality rating 3.5 stars
Image quality
3.5 stars
Lens quality
4 stars
View finder/LCD screen 3 stars
Value for money 4 stars
RRP (AUD) $249

 

 

DMC-F3 

Effective Pixels 12.1 Million mega pixels
Image Sizes 7 Sizes
Lens - zoom wide [mm] 28mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens -zoom tele [mm] 112mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens - Optical Zoom Yes, 4x
Resolution Settings From 640 x 480 to 4000 × 3000
Shooting Modes 22 Scene options
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Focus Range [cm] 50cm - infinity
Aperture Range f/2.8
Aperture Priority No
Macro Yes
Macro Range [cm] 20cm
Shutter Speeds 8s - 1/1,000s
Shutter Priority No
ISO Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 2.7 inch LCD monitor
Viewfinder No
Flash Auto, Auto / Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced Off
Hot Shoe No
White balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Halogen / White Set
(Selectable at Portrait, Soft Skin, Self Portrait, Sports, Baby, Pet, High Sensitivity, Hi-speed Burst Mode)
Self Timer Yes, 10 sec or 2 sec delay
Movie Options Yes
Video Out Yes
Storage Type SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card
Storage Included [Mb] 40MB
Image / Audio Formats Still Image: JPEG, Motion Images: QuickTime Motion JPEG
Connectivity USB, AV
Power Source  
Battery Options Rechargeable Li-Ion
Dimensions (W) 95.9 x (H) 53.9 x (D) 22 mm
Weight Approx. 132 g with Battery and SD Memory Card

 

 

DMC-FP1 

Effective Pixels 12.1 Million mega pixels
Image Sizes 7 Sizes
Lens - zoom wide [mm] 35mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens -zoom tele [mm] 140mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens - Optical Zoom Yes, 4x
Resolution Settings From 640 x 480 to 4000 × 3000
Shooting Modes 25 Scene options
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Focus Range [cm] 50cm - infinity
Aperture Range f/6.3
Aperture Priority No
Macro Yes
Macro Range [cm] 10cm
Shutter Speeds 8s - 1/1,600s
Shutter Priority No
ISO Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 2.7 inch LCD monitor
Viewfinder No
Flash Auto, Auto / Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync. / Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced Off
Hot Shoe No
White balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Halogen / White Set
(Selectable at Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self Portrait, Sports, Baby, Pet, High Sensitivity, Hi-speed Burst, Photo Frame Mode)
Self Timer Yes, 10 sec or 2 sec delay
Movie Options Yes
Video Out Yes
Storage Type Built-in Memory, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card
Storage Included [Mb] Approx. 40MB
Image / Audio Formats Still Image: JPEG, Motion Images: QuickTime Motion JPEG
Connectivity USB, AV
Power Source  
Battery Options Rechargeable Li-Ion
Dimensions (W) 98.6 x (H) 58.9 x (D) 18.6 mm
Weight Approx. 141 g with Battery and SD Memory Card

 

 

DMC-FH3 

Effective Pixels 14.1 Million mega pixels
Image Sizes 7 Sizes
Lens - zoom wide [mm] 28mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens -zoom tele [mm] 140mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens - Optical Zoom Yes, 5x
Resolution Settings From 640 x 480 to 4320 × 3240
Shooting Modes 25 Scene options
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Focus Range [cm] 50cm - infinity
Aperture Range f/2.8
Aperture Priority No
Macro Yes
Macro Range [cm] 5cm
Shutter Speeds 8s - 1/1,600s
Shutter Priority No
ISO Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 2.7 inch LCD monitor
Viewfinder No
Flash Auto, Auto / Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync. / Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
Hot Shoe No
White balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Halogen / White Set
(Selectable at Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self Portrait, Sports, Baby, Pet, High Sensitivity, Hi-speed Burst, Photo Frame Mode)
Self Timer Yes, 10 sec or 2 sec delay
Movie Options Yes
Video Out Yes
Storage Type Built-in Memory, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card
Storage Included [Mb] Approx. 40MB
Image / Audio Formats Still Image: JPEG, Motion Images: QuickTime Motion JPEG
Connectivity USB, AV
Power Source  
Battery Options Rechargeable Li-Ion
Dimensions (W) 98.4 x (H) 55.2 x (D) 24 mm
Weight Approx. 147 g with Battery and SD Memory Card
 

About Panasonic

 

Panasonic Australia is a proud member of the Australian corporate community. With long standing links to local manufacturing and with hundreds of employees, Panasonic Australia is committed to fostering good relationships with consumers, businesses and governments alike.

 

On both a Local and International basis Panasonic is deploying long term strategies related to stable economic growth, responsible use of resources and being friendly to the environment.

 

The pages contained within the 'About Us' area will give you an insight into how Panasonic Australia operates and an overview of our companies history.

 

Advertisement
Banner Campaign
AdvertisementAdvertisement
Tracking Image