Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX8 review
This little camera grows on you. I compared both the FX8 and FX9 before finally choosing the FX8. Although the FX9 has a high rez LCD, the screen on the FX8 has a wider viewing angle and overall it seems a better match for the image electronics. I felt compression artifacts and the low resolution of the menu graphics to be painfully obvious with the better LCD. I didnt see any advantage to having the extra megapixels in the CCD, either. And while the enamel finish of the black FX8 has a great look and feel, I didnt care much for the rubber matt finish of the FX9.
The FX8 like all the Lumix cameras I've used has an intuitive menu system that allows quick access to the usual parameters. It dumbs down in simple mode, if you really need it to. The image presets (fireworks, portrait, night scenery) are generally useful and produce good results.
The image quality is good. Noise reduction does lead to flat, dull images sometimes, while ISO 400 is too noisy to be of much value. Generally recommended as an outdoor camera more than an indoor one. Battery life is excellent, especially with the econo mode enabled that swiches off the LCD automatically after a short delay. Build quality is very high.
Lastly, size matters. The FX8 is not significantly bigger than a mobile phone. This is what finally sealed the deal over the functionally more capable FZ series. It can be taken anywhere, anytime, and just forgotten about untill its needed.
With the gloss finish and small size, the camera can become hard to hold if your hands get sweaty. As with all compact cameras, the max aperture of the tele end of the lens is slow at only F5. Also, the aperture has only two stops: the exposure is mostly controlled through changing the iso (CCD gain). No manual control. No viewfinder. I never found the last two points to be a problem in practice. The slow lens, on the other hand, did present limitations from time to time.
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