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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS20 compact camera

Dark horse delivers decent digital camera

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Review Think of digital cameras and names like Canon, Sony and Pentax come to mind. But Panasonic is proving to be a dark horse, releasing models with impressive looks and good performance.

A case in point: the DMC-FS20. It has an all-metal body available in silver or black. It looks neat, compact and stylish and feels good to hold, with a raised bar on the right-hand side of the body serving as a rest for the middle and ring fingers. It measures 94.5 x 57.1 x 22.9mm and weighs 154g with battery and memory card.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS20 camera

Panasonic's Lumix DMC-FS20: compact, stylish and good to hold

Look at the front of the DMC-FS20 and you can’t miss the Leica logo embossed on the lens cover. The camera uses a Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens, which as seven elements arranged in six groups. On the top of the camera body is a power on/off slider, zoom ring and an E.Zoom button, which lets you go from wide to telescopic (and vice-versa) at the touch of a button.

At the back is a large, 3in LCD screen, which takes up almost all of the available space. At the top is a small playback/camera switch, which you use to toggle to between these two modes. Most cameras use a button for this purpose, but we liked using the switch.

Below this is a tiny Mode button, which is used for selecting five shooting pre-sets: Intelligent Auto, Normal Picture, Scene Mode 1, Scene Mode 2 and Motion Picture. Another small button can be used to change the display and underneath this is a four-way joystick control for selecting features such as picture size, compression and aspect ratio.

And last, but not least, is a Quick Menu button for selecting a range of functions, including ISO, white balance, auto-focus mode, burst shooting, image stabilisation, file size and LCD mode. The latter includes a Power Boost feature designed to make the screen easier to view in bright light.

Around the side is a small metal hatch covering the PC/AV mini USB connectors. At the bottom is a sliding cover for the battery and SD/SDHC card.

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