Panasonic has real form in making solidly built, pocket-friendly compact cameras. The 14.1-megapixel Lumix DMC-FS11 is yet another, joining the near-identical 12.1-megapixel Lumix DMC-FS10 in Panasonic's camera line-up. Packing a 28mm wide-angle lens with a 5x optical zoom, and shooting 720p video, the FS11 is available for around £150.
In terms of looks, specs and affordable pricing, the FS11 ticks all the compact-camera boxes. It's small enough to effortlessly slip into a pocket, has plenty of automatic settings for point-and-shoot purposes, and it's very easy to use.
Clad in black, pink, blue or a silver brushed-metal effect, the FS11 looks respectable, although it probably won't turn many heads. Even Panasonic's lowliest Lumix benefits from rock-solid build quality, and the FS11 is no exception: the metal frame should stand up to the rough and tumble of being transported in a bag, as well as the occasional knock.
The camera couldn't be simpler to use. The power switch is on the top, with the shutter release, zoom control and 'intelligent auto' button. The latter takes care of working out the lighting and focus conditions, and setting the camera for you.
Novices may never need any of the other controls, but the buttons on the back are well spaced out and straightforward. Basic controls are accessed by four buttons arranged in a circle around a central 'OK' button. At the bottom right is a quick-menu button, which calls up the shooting options that you can change, including ISO speed. Next to the buttons is a large and clear 69mm (2.7-inch) screen.