Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH27 Review

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH27 has some good things going for it with a compact body and a versatile 8x optical zoom, but it's video is behind the times.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH27 has some good things going for it with a compact body and a versatile 8x optical zoom, but it's video is behind the times.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH27 has some good things going for it with a compact body and a versatile 8x optical zoom, but it's video is behind the times.

Highs

  • 8x wide-angle zoom (28-224mm)
  • 3-inch screen touch screen
  • Battery lasts 250 shots

Lows

  • Very noisy above ISO 400
  • No mini HDMI out
  • GUI dated compared to competition

DT Editors' Rating

How do you tell if one 16-megapixel point-and-shoot camera is better than the other? We’re here to help you find out before you drop 200 bucks.

Features and Design

The Lumix DMC-FH27 is a very compact digicam with a potent 8x zoom, potentially making it a good choice for vacationers. There’s nothing as convenient as having a pocket camera with a range of 28-224mm for grabbing nice wide-angle landscapes and group shots along with the ability to zoom in on subjects far away. This camera is hardly unique as Nikon’s new Coolpix S6100 ($199) also has 16MP resolution and a 7x 28-196mm zoom. And we recently reviewed the Sony DSC-WX9, another 16-megapixel aim-and-forget camera but that Editor’s Choice winner has a 5x 25-125mm lens. As we’ll see, cameras don’t live or die on megapixels and focal length alone.

The FH27 is available in black, red or silver and it looks just fine—nothing too cutting edge or dull (our review sample was black). It measures 3.9 x 2.2 x 1.1 and weighs 5.6 ounces with battery and card. When powered off, the lens has a nice silver accent while on the far left is a silvery bar that acts as the grip – super sturdy it’s not, but at least it adds a bit of stability. The front fascia is dotted with icons and logos, so it’s a bit much for our taste. Also on the front is the flash and AF Assist/self-timer lamp. The key feature here is the extending 8x Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens. The widest aperture is f/3.3 (w) and f/5.9 (t) so right off the bat you know this baby needs lots of light for best results. The top digicams now have f/1.8 and f/2.0 lenses but they’re a lot more expensive—and mega zooms are never that wide open.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH27

The top of the camera has a silver accent and here you see the four pinhole speaker, single pinhole mic for mono sound, on/off switch, shutter surrounded by a zoom toggle and Extended Zoom (E.Zoom) button. This is handy as it lets you zoom quickly out from wide angle to 10x then again to 22x. Tap it once more and you’re back to wide angle. At these higher numbers, resolution drops. Think of it as a tool for quickly grabbing a faraway subject. If you have a moment, just ratchet it back with the toggle to the 8x of the optical zoom to get the full 16MP.

The rear of the FH27 has a few raised bumps on the top right that act as a thumb rest, a 3-inch LCD screen rated a decent 230K pixels and that’s it. There’s no mode dial or four-way controller with center set/OK key or anything else. You’ll make all of your changes using your fingertips or the stylus on the touch screen, just like the new Canon PowerShot 500 HS. Whether this is a good thing, we’ll let you know shortly.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH27

On the right side is the eyelet for the wrist strap and a compartment with USB-A/V out. Here’s where Panasonic should take a look at the competition such as the $299 Canon ELPH 500 HS – this touch screen camera is supplied with a stylus but it’s integrated with the strap so you’ll never lose it. Knowing our propensity for misplacing small objects, we attached Panasonic’s stylus to the strap. It looked like something from a locker room but at least we knew where it was! A much more important issue was the fact the camera only has an A/V out. Where the heck is the mini HDMI out for the 720p video? The Nikon Coolpix S6100 has one as do many new cameras with HD movie capability, but no luck here. This is a big strike one for the FH27.

The bottom of the Made In China digicam has a metal tripod mount and compartments for an optional DC coupler and the battery/SD card. The battery is rated 250 shots per CIPA which is good for a touch screen model. The Canon 500 HS with a slightly larger and better screen (3.2-inches, 461K pixels) lasts for 180. The Panasonic accepts newer SDXC media and you should use Class 6 or higher for best results.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

With the RX100 VI, Sony proves it still makes the best point-and-shoot camera

The sixth generation of Sony's powerful but compact RX100 camera delivers more zoom, incredible speed, robust 4K video, and still fits in the palm of your hand.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10e vs. OnePlus 6T: Can the Flagship Killer survive?

The Samsung Galaxy S10e is the new affordable flagship on the block, but at $750, it's $200 more than the OnePlus 6T. Does the Flagship Killer stand a chance against the new generation of flagship devices? Let's take a closer look.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs. S10 Plus vs. S10e vs. S10 5G: Which should you buy?

With four stunning Galaxy S10 phones to choose from, Samsung is bombarding us with choice, but which one should you buy? We compare the S10, S10 Plus, S10e, and S10 5G in various categories to find out exactly how they differ.
Photography

The Panasonic FZ1000 gets a much-needed update alongside the smaller ZS80 zoom

Panasonic's 2014 superzoom camera with a larger sensor has finally seen an update. The new Panasonic FZ1000 II has a sensor that's better for low light, more physical controls, and new 4K Photo Mode features.
Photography

Photography news: Wacom’s slimmer pen, Leica’s cinema special edition

In this week's photography news, Wacom launches a new slimmer pen for pro users. Leica's upcoming M10-P is designed for cinema, inside and out, with built-in cinema modes in the updated software.
Photography

Mirrorless cameras were built to be compact, so why have they gotten so heavy?

Mirrorless cameras launched as portable alternatives to bulky and complex DSLRs -- so why are they getting bigger and heavier? Cameras are trending towards heavier models, but that change comes with more advanced features.
Mobile

Be careful who you bokeh, jokes Apple’s latest iPhone ad

With iPhone sales under pressure, you'd think there wouldn't be much to laugh about at Apple HQ. But the company has seen fit to inject some humor into its latest handset ad, which highlights the camera's Depth Control feature.
Photography

What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom CC has evolved into a capable photo editor, but is it enough to supplant Lightroom Classic? We took each program for a test drive to compare the two versions and see which is faster, more powerful, and better organized.
Photography

Luminar’s libraries gain speed, drop need for you to manually import images

Luminar 3 just got a performance boost. Skylum Luminar 3.0.2 has improved speed over December's update, which added the long-promised libraries feature giving editors a Lightroom alternative.
Photography

When you're ready to shoot seriously, these are the best DSLRs you can buy

For many photographers the DSLR is the go-to camera. With large selection of lenses, great low-light performance, and battery endurance, these DSLRs deliver terrific image quality for stills and videos.
Photography

The best place to print photos online in 2019

Have you been looking around for the best place to print out your favorite photos online or in store? Don't fret, we've pored through dozens of options and narrowed it down to the seven best.
Photography

Watch the construction of a 270-degree fisheye lens, the widest ever

Think you've seen wide fisheye lenses? Think again. A team from Lensrentals recently shared a behind-the-scenes look at a custom prototype 4.5mm fisheye lens, which captures a whopping 270-degree view.
Photography

NASA celebrates Earth’s incredible natural beauty with free photo book

NASA has published a fabulous new book featuring stunning imagery captured by its satellites over the years. A hardback version is available for $53, though it can also be downloaded to ebook readers for free, and enjoyed online.