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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS20 compact camera

Dark horse delivers decent digital camera

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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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