Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS1 is small and cute, we go hands-on

The big problem with most cameras, and why you end up just using the camera on your phone, is that you haven't got the pocket space to carry around something big and bulky.

Not so with the new Panasonic Lumix XS1, a tiny compact camera that should make the perfect accessory for a women's clutch bag or, if we gents are going stylish, the breast pocket of a suit jacket.

Now we've whetted your appetite, we can tell you a bit more - helped by the fact that we've already played with the new miniature camera ahead of its official launch at CES in Las Vegas.

The key show-off detail is that the camera is just 14mm thick (17.6mm including lens), but still comes with a half-decent 2.7 inch LCD screen. Yes it really is that thin, and overall measurements make it smaller than most phones too.

To achieve that diminutive size, there have been some drastic changes, but as far as we can tell from our brief demo, not really any shortcuts taken.

The big change, certainly for camera folk, is the use of a micro SD rather than standard SD memory card, but get past that - you can probably nick the one out of your phone if push comes to shove - and you'll still get a 5x optical 24mm wide-angle lens, a 16.1-megapixel sensor and a stack of creative shooting modes to let you Instagram the hell out of your subjects.

Panasonic has gone a bit crazy in fact with the shooting modes, offering 13 different filters in total. Options such as Retro, Pop and Miniature are all present and this year you can add those creative filters to the Panoramic modes as well.

When you aren't struggling over which mode to opt for you can let the camera decide for you - something we believe most will probably do. Here the LUMIX XS1’s Intelligent Auto (iA) capability can be set with one-touch and prevents out-of-focus photos.

The iA’s Intelligent Scene Selector also automatically recognises your conditions and selects the right mode for you. Handy. On the video front, 720p video recording completes the package.

Available in a four different colours - red, purple, black and white - there is a Lumix XS1 to suit most dress colours when it goes on sale in the UK from February.

We will bring you a full review of the Lumix XS1 when we get our hands on a full production sample. 



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