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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX01 Review

March 2006 | By Simon Joinson


Review based on a production Panasonic DMC-FX01

The original FX7 was announced in July 2004 and went on to be one of the best-selling cameras of the year thanks to its winning combination of cool styling, compact dimensions, big screen and image-stabilized Leica lens. This, the fourth incarnation (the FX7 was followed in fairly rapid succession by the FX8 and FX9), is on the face of it another minor facelift, but it does offer something still pretty unique in a camera in this class - a true wideangle zoom, covering a useful 28-102mm (3.6x) zoom range. It is, in fact, the world's smallest camera with a 28mm lens. Other changes (detailed below) include a high sensitivity mode (offering sensitivities of up to 1600) and a new 16:9 widescreen movie mode. What we haven't worked out yet is why it's the FX01, not the FX10 (I suspect a typo early in the production process that was too expensive to fix).

  • 6.4 megapixel CCD
  • 28-102mm equiv. (3.6x) Leica DC Vario-Elmarit optical zoom
  • 4x digital zoom
  • Advanced Mega Optical Image Stabilizer
  • New 16:9 840x480 pixel 30fps movie mode
  • 2.5-inch, 207,000 pixel LCD with high viewing angle option
  • 16 scene modes
  • New High sensitivity mode (ISO 800-1600)
  • Venus Engine PLUS
  • Color options: Silver, Black, Pink, White (not all available in all areas of the world)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX9 vs FX01 (main differences)

 

Panasonic FX01
Panasonic FX9
Announced Feb 06 July 05
Lens range
(35mm equiv.)
28-102mm equiv
• 3.6x optical zoom
• 35-105mm equiv
• 3x optical zoom
Movie mode

640 x 480, 320 x 240, 30/10 fps
848 x 480 30/10 fps (16:9)

640 x 480, 320 x 240, 30/10 fps
Battery life (CIPA) 320 shots 300 shots
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
High Sensitivity mode 800 - 1600
• Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
Scene modes • Portrait
• Sports
• Food
• Night Scenery
• Night Portrait
• Baby 1 / 2
• Soft skin
• Candle
• Fireworks
• Party
• Snow
• Scenery
• Starry sky
• Self portrait
• Underwater
• High Sensitivity
• Portrait
• Sports
• Food
• Night Scenery
• Night Portrait
• Baby
• Soft skin
• Candlelight
• Fireworks
• Party
• Snow
• Scenery
• Starry sky
• Self portrait

Although the changes are fairly sparse, they are pretty significant - especially the wider lens range.

28mm vs 35mm

It may not sound a lot, but the difference between 28mm and 35mm equivalent lenses is significant, and allows you to fit a lot more of the scene into the frame (around 10 degrees more diagonal field of view). This makes the FX01 ideal for landscapes, interiors and group shots.

28mm
(75.3° diagonal F.O.V at infinity)
35mm
(63.4° diagonal F.O.V at infinity)

Panasonic DMC-FX01 Key specifications

Street price • US: $299
• UK: £249
Body Material Metal
Sensor • 1/2.5" CCD, 6.37 million total pixels
• 6.0 million effective pixels
Image sizes

• 2816 x 2112
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 1280 x 960
• 640 x 480
• 2816 x 1880 (3:2)
• 2048 x 1360 (3:2)
• 2816 x 1584 (HDTV 16:9)
• 1920 x 1080 (HDTV 16:9)

Movie clips • 640 x 480 (10 / 30 fps)
• 320 x 240 (10 / 30 fps)
848 x 480 (10 / 30 fps @ 16:9)
• With audio
• Limited only by storage
Lens

• 28 - 102 mm equiv. (3.6x zoom)
• F2.8 - F5.6
• MEGA OIS (Mode 1 / Mode 2)
• Leica DC Vario-Elmarit

Focus

• Normal: 0.5 m - Infinity
• Macro: 5 cm wide / 30 cm tele - Infinity
• 5-area focusing
• 3-area focusing (high speed)
• 1-area focusing / 1-area focusing (high speed)
• Spot

Shooting mode

• Portrait
• Sports
• Food
• Night Scenery
• Night Portrait
• Baby mode 1 / 2
• Soft skin
• Candlelight
• Fireworks
• Party
• Snow
• Scenery
• Starry sky
• Self portrait
• High sensitivity
• Underwater
• Macro
• Moving Image
• Playback
• Exposure bracketing +/- 1/3 EV to 1 EV
• AE Compensation +/- 2.0 EV in 1/3 EV steps

Shutter speeds 8 to 1/2000th sec
Starry Sky Mode: 15, 30 or 60 seconds
Motion picture mode: 1/30 to 1/2000
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
High Sensitivity mode 800 - 1600
White Balance • Auto
• Cloudy, daylight, halogen, white set
• White balance fine adjust: +/- 1500k in 150k steps
Image parameters • Color (Natural, Vivid)
• Color effect (Cool, warm, B&W, sepia)
Continuous

• 3 fps high speed, 2 fps low speed. 1.5 fps unlimited
• max 8 frames (standard), max 6 frames (fine)

Flash • Built-in flash
• Auto, on/off, red-eye reduction, slow sync with red eye reduction
• Range (ISO auto): W 60cm - 4.0m
Storage SD/MMC
16MB supplied
Viewfinder None
LCD monitor • 2.5" TFT LCD
• 207,000 pixels
• High Angle LCD function
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Full speed
• A/V out
• DC-IN
Power • Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery pack
• Optional AC adapter
In the box*

• DMC-FX01 camera
SD card 16MB
Battery pack CGA-K/101
Battery carrying case
Battery charger
AV cable
USB connection cable
CD-ROM
Strap

Other features

PictBridge
Mega Optical Image Stabilization
AF illuminator
Venus engine PLUS LSI

Weight 125 g (without battery and card)
153 g (with battery and card)
Dimensions 94.1 x 51.1 x 24.2 mm (3.7 x 2.01 x 0.95 in)

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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This article is Copyright 2006 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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