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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS80

>> Monday, February 2, 2009

An optically stabilized lens stands out as the LS80's most prominent feature. The camera includes a 33mm to 100mm equivalent, f/2.8 to f/5.1, 3x optical zoom lens with Panasonic's Mega Optical Image Stabilization system that shifts lens elements to compensate for camera shake.

While many budget cameras offer some form of "image stabilization," those modes are usually software based and rely primarily on increasing camera sensitivity and quickening the shutter. Most companies reserve their mechanical (aka sensor shift), or optical stabilization systems for more expensive models, and seldom in budget lines.

However, we are seeing optical stabilization begin to trickle down into budget models, as evidenced here. Besides the optically stabilized lens, the LS80 presents a lackluster feature set, including a 2.5 inch LCD screen, a WVGA (848x480) 30 frames per second movie mode, and a standard compliment of scene preset modes.

The LS80 performed slowly in our lab tests, lagging behind similar cameras in nearly every category. After a 3.2 second wait from power on to first shot, the camera could take another picture every 2.2 seconds with the on board flash disabled. With the flash turned on, that time doubled to 4.4 seconds.

Its shutter lagged 0.7 seconds with our high contrast target and 1.2 seconds with our low contrast target, which mimic bright and dim shooting conditions, respectively. In burst mode, the LS80 captured four full resolution pictures in 2.7 seconds for a rate of 1.5fps.

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