Compact cameras that pack impressive zoom power are all the rage. Such devices are arguably a must-have for anyone heading abroad who wants to travel light but still capture decent photos. Panasonic has led the charge with its impressive , and now it's packing big zooms into its 'fashion and style' FS range.
But, when the compactlanded at CNET UK recently, we found a fair few flaws. Will its more modest sibling, the Lumix DMC-FS30, fare better? It dispenses with its sibling's touchscreen and is slightly more affordable, at around £140.
Touchscreen be gone
In the past, we've never been totally convinced by Panasonic's 'best of both worlds' approach with its FS-series cameras that paired a touch-sensitive screen with physical controls. It came across as something of a gimmick, as you couldn't wholly rely on the touchscreen.
There's none of that nonsense with the metal and plastic FS30. There's very little temptation to touch the 69mm (2.7-inch), 230,000-pixel screen. It's a boxy camera with decently sized buttons. If you gave a child a crayon and asked them to draw a camera, they'd probably come up with something resembling the FS30. What you see is what you get.
The FS30 also packs a 14.1-megapixel resolution and a folded, optically stabilised, 8x zoom into its otherwise unassuming exterior. You don't get an HDMI output, which would help you make the most of its 720p, hi-def, 30fps video-shooting capability, but the camera does offer standard AV and USB outputs.
The FS30 feels solid. With a weight of 162g and dimensions of 100 by 57 by 28mm, it slips readily into a trouser pocket or handbag.
It takes just over a second to power up the camera, ready for the first shot. As with the FS33, the FS30's focal range is a wide-angle 28-224mm in 35mm film terms. The lens retracts into the body and is protected by a sliding cover when powered down.