I found the performance of the FH27 to be consistently good. Startup time was quick, taking no more than a second. Shot-to-shot time measured only about two seconds and using the flash slowed things down only slightly. The touchscreen menu was adequately responsive in recording and setup mode (though not in playback mode as I’ve previously mentioned).
The FH27 is a reliably performing camera. It was quick to acquire and lock focus in all shooting situations, including in low light. As shown below, performance scores for shutter lag (0.01 second) when pre-focused and auto focus acquisition (0.20 second), the time it takes from pressing the shutter to taking the shot, are both excellent for a point-and-shoot camera. The FH27 was not particularly quick in continuous shooting mode at 1.3 frames per second, though it could maintain that speed continuously, although at a progressively slower speed.
Shutter Lag (press-to-capture, pre-focused)
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH27||0.01|
|Casio Exilim EX-S200||0.01|
|Canon PowerShot SD3500||0.02|
|Kodak EasyShare M590||0.03|
AF Acquisition (press-to-capture, no pre-focus)
|Casio Exilim EX-S200||0.17|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH27||0.20|
|Kodak EasyShare M590||0.30|
|Canon PowerShot SD3500||0.45|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH27||∞||1.3 fps|
|Kodak EasyShare M590||3||1.0 fps|
|Canon PowerShot SD3500||∞||0.9 fps|
*Note: Continuous shooting framerates are based on the camera’s fastest full-resolution JPEG continuous shooting mode, using the fastest media type available (300x CF, SDHC, etc.). “Frames” notes the number of captures recorded per burst before the camera stops/slows to clear the buffer.
Panasonic claims a battery life of 250 shots, which I found to be overly optimistic. Perhaps because of the touchscreen, I was only able to get about half that figure.
The FH27 uses a high quality 8x optical zoom Leica lens with a focal length of 28-224mm (35mm film camera equivalent), which is a very useful length. Panasonic includes a feature it calls Intelligent Zoom, which it says extends the optical zoom range by a factor of 1.3 without affecting image quality. When using the extra zoom I did not notice any deterioration in image quality, probably because the FH27 has such high resolution (16.1mp) and the slight amount of cropping that is involved in Intelligent Zoom does not change the appearance of the image unless it is blown up to a huge size.
The lens performance of FH27 was good. Images were consistently sharp in the center and only slightly less so in the corners. I noticed no vignetting and only minor chromatic aberration (purple fringing) in high contrast areas. There was some barrel distortion at wide angle, but no pincushion distortion at maximum zoom.