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Digital Camera Review, Lumix DMC-S5 16MP CCD Digital Compact Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5, Totally Unexpexted
A retro digital look back at a 2012 vintage ultra-compact digital camera with a CCD sensor, images totally unexpected.

I have to admit, maybe sheepishly, that my two current favorite digital cameras are not what you would expect them to be. They are neither complex nor elaborate, neither sizeable nor bulky, nor costly. They are, in fact, the two smallest and slimmest cameras that I have in my collection, one salvaged from the storage bin, and the other acquired at the auction. Both are excellent, capable of rendering excellent images in the environment they were used for, and they are absolute gems to carry around and work with.

The first, a candy bar Nokia Asha 300 handphone which I was using as a camera only (with no SIM card) until recently, and the other, an ultra-compact 4x zoom Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5, which I am currently using as a product shot camera. While the Nokia Asha 300 has only a 5MP camera with a fixed lens, with which I have done a fair share of posts, the DMC-S5, with its 16.1MP CCD sensor fitted with a 28-112mm 35mm equivalent zoom lens, has remained rather subdued within its role.

Nokia Asha 300, Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5

The Panasonic DMC-S5, introduced in 2012, is a follow-up of the DMC-S series which includes the DMC-S1 (2011), DMC-S3 (2011), and DMC-S2, updated with a new, higher-resolution image sensor, an updated autofocus system, a modest improvement in battery life, a reduction in burst-shooting speed, and an updated software package, albeit having the same F3.1~9.0 at wide angle, and from F6.5~f/20.0 at telephoto Lumix DC Vario 4x optical zoom lens as found on the DMC-S3.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5

The camera also features a true optical image stabilization system to counter blur caused by camera shake, comes with the Panasonic Venus Engine image processor, shoots full-resolution images at 1.4 frames per second, a 2.7-inch 230,000 dot resolution LCD display, and a 23-point multi-area autofocus system which also includes a single-point focusing mode, and face detection. ISO sensitivity is rated from 100 to 1,600, expandable to 6,400 in High Sensitivity mode. Shutter speeds are from 8 seconds to 1/1,600 seconds.


Early Images

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5

Testing the DMC-S5 out was fun and enjoyable. The camera has an Intelligent Scene Selector function, which can automatically select from a subset of commonly used scene modes, and in cases where flash is required, a five-mode flash strobe with red-eye reduction, and a rated range of up to 3.3 meters using Intelligent ISO. I had the camera mounted on the grip part of a smartphone tripod jockey and set the to IA (intelligent Auto) mode for most of the shoot.

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All of the early images posted were shot with the camera displayed, while the shots of the camera itself were taken with another copy of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5.


Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 cameras that I am using were low-cot purchases of less than US $20 each (shipping is extra), a cost that you might be equally willing to spend for the fun and images that you might be able to capture. The CCD sensor, the gold standard for digital cameras from the early 80s till the late 2000s is still as formidable today as the day it was introduced, and one that can live up to your expectations for images that have a different look and feel, almost film-like.



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