Panasonic has been known for its fine blend of style and performance with its compact LUMIX lineup. Part of its autumn lineup includes the stylish Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FP8. And when we say it's a looker, we do mean it.
Available in up to eight colors, the FP8 caught our attention with its clean and brushed metal surface. The one concern we had with the FP8 is its foldable optics. With no visible cover to protect the lens during standby modes, this made us all the more cautious when we brought the camera for outdoor shoots. The FP8 isn't considerably heavy and is comfortable in our hands over an extended period. The top controls, which includes the power, shutter and iA (Intelligent Auto) buttons, have a great tactile feel to it.
The menu buttons are altogether different. Similar to little grains of rice, the buttons were stiff and a chore to operate. Its diminutive nature would mean trouble for slightly thicker fingers. Though Panasonic does add a layer of class by adding blue backlit to the menu buttons, we'd prefer if the buttons are more user-friendly than eye-pleasing.
Ease of usage is part of the package with the FP8. You'll be mostly reliant on its Auto mode, especially with Panasonic's renowned iA mode active. A variety of scenes are also available for you to choose from, though it's less of a hassle were you to stick to the Auto mode.
Unlike its advanced cousins, the FP8 only comes with the standard 720p video recording format instead of the AVCHD Lite format. You might get less video mileage out of this standard format, but when it comes to video editing, it is more convenient than converting an AVCHD Lite for sharing purposes.
The FP8's Power O.I.S. mode is an absolute delight for us. With its iA mode active, night shots were not a problem. Images were sharp and didn't have that much of a blur to it at low shutter speeds. Daytime shots did seem slightly overexposed, and we had to bring the exposure value down a notch to keep the whites in balance.
Color reproduction on the FP8 had the same overexposed and white washed issue. With images taken under Auto White Balance and Standard color mode, this overexposure was seen across the full ISO range from 80 to 1600.
Furthermore, by the time we hit the ISO400 value, we started to notice discernible noise in the color chart. Thankfully, we got great readings from the resolution chart, which saw up to 1300 across the vertical and horizontal LPH. We figured this could be the Power O.I.S. at work for better sharpness on its images.
While the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FP8 is truly a stylish camera fit for fashionistas, it won't keep the true shutterbugs satisfied with some of its oddities in its imaging quality. You'll be paying a sum of S$499 for the FP8, mostly for the looks rather than the performance.