By April 4, 2008

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS80 review

Panasonic have some of the most innovative digital compact cameras on the market, but how does their latest “suits-all” camera fair?


Let’s start with some honesty – I really like Panasonic cameras. I use my personal TZ3 camera often, and absolutely love it. The LS80, along with most in the range share a lot of common features, and a standard UI within the menu.

Although the LS80 is more entry level than my TZ3, I was interested to find out what Panasonic had updated and improved in this latest addition to the range.

You’ll also notice that I’ve deliberately written this review in a rather non-technical way. The reason for this is that the LS80, although a capable camera, is designed to be a simple to use non-technical camera. So if you are looking for complex features then the LS80 probably isn’t for you.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS80

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS80

What’s in the Box?

  • Camera
  • Application CD
  • Manual
  • Wrist strap
  • 2x AA Alkaline batteries
  • USB Cable
  • AV Cable
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS80 Specification:

  • Resolution: 8.1 mega pixels
  • Memory Cards: SD / SDHC
  • Zoom: 3x Optical/4x Digital(e.Zoom)
  • Shutter speed: 8 – 1/2,000 sec & 15/30/60 second
  • Apperture: Wide: F2.8/F8 (2 steps) Tele: F5 – F14 (2 steps)
  • ISO: Auto / 80 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1250
  • LCD Screen: 2.5 inches
  • Flash Modes: Auto, Auto / Red-eye Reduction, Forced On / Off
  • Maximum Movie Resolution: 848 x 480 pixels
  • Self Timer: 10 sec / 2 sec
  • Video Out (TV Playback): Yes
  • Computer Connection: Yes
  • Batteries: AA Alkaline included
  • Dimensions: 94.1 x 51.4 x 24.2mm
  • Weight: 170g
  • General

    The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS80 is a fairly conventional looking digital compact camera. The rear of the camera houses a generous 2.5″ TFT colour screen which displays both live and saved images as well as the cameras menu system. Also on the back you’ll find the main controls for the cameras settings.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS80 back

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS80 back

    On the right hand side you’ll find a flap covering the SD/SDHC memory card slot.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS80 right side

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS80 right side

    The left hand side has a rubber flap covering the USB/AV connector. The connector is proprietary as it carries both USB and AV signals.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS80 left side

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS80 left side

    As with every other camera on the market, the top right of the camera has the zoom and shutter release controls as well as the power switch and e.Zoom button (more on that later).

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS80 top

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS80 top


    The first thing I noticed when unboxing Lumix DMC-LS80 was the lack of the customary (And propriety) Panasonic battery. 2 standard AA batteries are included instead, and although I’m guessing this could vary, my opinion is that this is decent improvement. Although replacement batteries weren’t expensive, I’d much prefer the AA standard batteries – if only for an emergency dash to the supermarket to buy replacements. Obviously the chances of finding a specific Panasonic battery on the high street are very slim.

    I’ve also used an FX12 camera from Panasonic, and although another great little camera, the LCD display was a little lacking in some aspects, especially as none of the mentioned cameras have viewfinders. The LS80 has a large, higher quality 2.5 inch screen which is as good as I suspect you will ever need.

    The camera is nearly completely menu-driven. The dial switch found on most Panasonic compact’s is missing here, and instead you need to use the menu. Some functions, old and new, do still have dedicated buttons.

    Almost all new camera’s in the Panasonic compact range include an extended zoom function. It sounds straightforward – lower the megapixels, and use the spare to increase the zoom. Strangely I believe only Panasonic bother to add this as a feature. While it may not be a regularly used features, I’d rather than that, than the utterly pointless digital zoom techniques found elsewhere. In this instance, e.zoom takes the acceptable 3x zoom, upto around 4.5x.

    As mentioned, the screen is much improved, and extremely high quality. Extra modes are available for high level shooting, and a full-brightness setting (expect this to kill batteries!)

    For a ‘cheap’ £100 camera, the shot quality is excellent – as you might expect from a Vario lens. Colours are produced well, and images while slightly soft in some cases, are hard to beat with anything close to this price bracket. At 8.1 megapixels, it won’t be “out of date” anytime soon, and will be an excellent first camera, or a secondary “put-in-pocket” camera as well.

    It’s hard to find any real faults with it considering the price point, although personally I think it’s a shame to have lost the dial mode switch. I guess the main reason for this, is that the dial simply doesn’t fit within the chassis anymore!

    The menu system and associated scene selection screens work as easy as any other. Lists are clear and easy to understand, and the layout of options are clear and concise. The “new” dedicated switch between record and playback is a good move, especially as it wasn’t always completely clear (believe it or not) on some of last years models. Weirdly the TZ3 I have has 2 different playback modes, each with a subset of the other’s functions!


  • Lens/picture quality: The best lens manufacturer in the world in my opinion, on a camera under £100. ‘Nuff said.
  • Battery life/Standard battery: Panasonic quote around 450 pics per battery charge/replacement which is a decent achievement anyway. Coupled with the fact you can stick £2 AA batteries in it in an emergency, means this is perfect for traveling away from your beloved chargers!
  • Screen: The 2.5inch screen is detailed enough to be a great replacement to a proper viewfinder.
  • Lowlights:

  • Battery: I know I’ve also mentioned this as a plus point but I would have preferred to have seen a rechargeable battery, and charger, included in the package.
  • Conclusion

    In the price bracket, for me the Panasonic quality and Vario excellence makes this a no-brainer. Buy it as a new large megapixel camera, or buy it as a second camera to shove in your pocket when your DSLR is too big. Its an exceptional camera, with many features you’d only expect higher up the range.

    The new, and older Panasonic-exclusive features are actually genuinely useful, rather than just another pointless acronym and sticker on the box. If this is the standard for Panasonic’s 2008 cameras, I’m looking forward to getting a TZ5 from them to review soon! 😉

    Review by: Mark

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    Posted in: Reviews

    About the Author:

    More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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