The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH8 (Red) is an ultra-compact digital camera with an attractive body. Effective resolution is 16.1 megapixels from a 1/2.33" RGB CCD image sensor with a more powerful Lumix DC Vario-Summarit branded 5x optical zoom lens. The DMC-FH8's lens offers a 35mm-equivalent range from a useful 24mm wide angle to a 120mm telephoto, placing a little extra range at both ends of the zoom range and features a true optical image stabilization system with which to fight blur caused by camera shake.
The Panasonic FH8's lens has a two-step aperture that offers a choice of either f/2.5 or f/9.0 at wide angle and a rather dim f/6.4 or f/20.0 at telephoto. Full-resolution burst shooting is possible at a rate of 1.3 frames per second and the FH8 includes a Venus Engine-branded image processor. It's possible to boost the shooting rate significantly to ten frames per second, by slashing the resolution to just five megapixels.
The Panasonic FH8 doesn't include an optical viewfinder, instead opting solely for a 3.0" LCD display with 230,000 dot resolution on which images and videos are both framed and reviewed. The Panasonic DMC-FH8 has a 23-point multi-area autofocus system which also includes a single-point focusing mode. Like almost all digital cameras these days, there's also a face detection function, with Panasonic's implementation using the information to adjust both focus and exposure to properly capture your subjects' faces.
ISO sensitivity ordinarily ranges from 100 to 1,600, with the ability to extend this as far as ISO 6,400 equivalent in High Sensitivity mode. Shutter speeds from 1/1,600 to 8 seconds are possible.
The Panasonic DMC-FH8 uses Intelligent Multiple metering and offers six white balance settings including Auto, Manual and four fixed presets. A generous selection of 15 scene modes let users tailor the look of their images, useful given that the Panasonic FH8 doesn't offer aperture-, shutter-priority, or fully manual modes. There's also an Intelligent Scene Selection function, which can automatically select from a subset of commonly used scene modes. A five mode flash strobe includes red-eye reduction capability and has a rated range of up to 5.6 meters using Intelligent ISO.
As well as JPEG still images, the Panasonic FH8 can capture 30 frames-per-second movies with monaural sound at high definition 1,280 x 720 pixel (720p) resolution, or standard definition 640 x 480 pixel (VGA) resolution or below and the compression used is the newer MPEG-4 type, so file sizes for high-def movies are likely to be lighter, although editing hardware requirements will be higher.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH8 stores its images and movies on Secure Digital cards, including the newer SDHC or SDXC types. There's also a pretty generous 70MB of built-in memory. Connectivity options include a USB 2.0 High-Speed connection, plus standard definition NTSC video output. Power comes from a proprietary 680mAh Lithium Ion rechargeable battery pack and is rated as good for 260 shots on a charge to CIPA testing standards. The software bundle includes PHOTOfunSTUDIO v8.0 Standard Edition and Adobe Reader.
Reviewed by 1 customers
This is my first Panasonic camera ever and I must say...it's a beauty. Not only is it sleek and stylish but it takes amazing pictures. It took me a few minutes of tinkering to figure out that my picture-taking experience could be even more magical when I switched the 'Mode' to 'iA' which made the camera basically do everything but push the button for me. From then on, everything was very stream-lined. I could manually change what types of pictures I was changing or use iA. The features are practically unlimited...you could sit there all day at the beach (like I did) taking pictures of the same thing in all the different modes! 'Burst Mode' was something I am especially fond of as it helped counter the blinking that sometimes happens when I'm photographing people. I'm a beginner picture-taker but I can see how someone who knows more about photography would enjoy this too, there's a lot of little things you can manually alter as well. I've had this camera for just a day and already I can tell you it was certainly worth it to wait and get this camera, loaded to the brim with a multitude of features while at the same time being as easy to use as pushing a button. I don't like how the rubber thing covering the charging/usb port on the camera doesn't flex or swivel out of the way, it seems as if, with time, it'll eventually break off leaving it vulnerable to the elements. The strap that comes with the camera isn't all that safe, it'd be nicer to have one that can adjust to tighten around your wrist instead of one that is so big, it almost serves no purpose...it could slide off my wrist at any moment. Besides those two little quirks, this thing is virtually perfect for the price. Get your own wrist strap but don't pass up on this camera! It shoots lightning fast and turns on faster than any camera I've ever seen!