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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX9 Review

August 2005 | By Simon Joinson


Review based on a production Panasonic DMC-FX9

The original FX7 was announced in July 2004 and went on to be one of the best-selling cameras of last year thanks to its winning combination of cool styling, compact dimensions, big screen and image-stabilized Leica lens. After a fairly disappointing upgrade earlier this year in the form of the FX8 (which basically did little but address the appalling battery life of the original) we didn't have to wait long for the next generation, which - as well as incorporating the improvements seen in the FX8, increases the pixel count, improves the screen and adds a couple of new scene modes.

  • 6.4 megapixel CCD
  • 35-105mm equiv. (3x) Leica DC Vario-Elmarit optical zoom
  • 4x digital zoom
  • Advanced Mega Optical Image Stabilizer
  • VGA (640 x 480 pixel) 30fps movie mode
  • 2.5-inch, 207,000 pixel LCD
  • 14 scene modes
  • Venus Engine PLUS
  • Color options:
    US: Silver and Black
    Europe: Silver, Black and Red
    Rest of World: Silver, Black, Red and Gray

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX9 vs FX8 vs FX7 (main differences)

 

Panasonic FX9
Panasonic FX8
Panasonic FX7
Announced July 05 May 05 July 04
Sensor total pixels 6.4 million 5.4 million 5.4 million
Maximum resolution 2816 x 2112 2560 x 1920 2560 x 1920
Image ratio options 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 4:3, 16:9 4:3, 16:9
Movie mode 640 x 480, 320 x 240, 30/10 fps 640 x 480, 320 x 240, 30/10 fps 320 x 240, 30 fps, with audio, unlimited
Screen • 2.5-inch
• 207,000 pixels
• 2.5-inch
• 114,000 pixels
• 2.5-inch
• 114,000 pixels
Battery life (CIPA) 300 shots 300 shots 120 shots
Processor Venus Engine PLUS Venus Engine PLUS Venus Engine II
Scene modes • Portrait
• Sports
• Food
• Night Scenery
• Night Portrait
• Baby
• Soft skin
• Candlelight
• Fireworks
• Party
• Snow
• Scenery
• Starry sky
• Self portrait
• Portrait
• Sports
• Food
• Scenery
• Night Scenery
• Night Portrait
• Baby
• Fireworks
• Party
• Snow
• Self-portrait
• Soft Skin
• Portrait
• Sports
• Landscape
• Night Landscape
• Night Portrait
• Fireworks
• Party
• Snow
• Self-portrait

Whereas the FX8 was a minor update to the original FX7 (adding a bigger battery, a couple of scene modes and a slight performance boost thanks to the new Venus Plus engine), the changes brought in with the FX9 are more significant (though still fairly limited). As well as the extra million or so pixels, the new model has a better screen (much higher resolution) - and a couple of new scene modes.

Panasonic DMC-FX9 Key specifications

Street price • US: $410
• UK: £300
Body Material Metal
Sensor • 1/2.5" CCD, 6.4 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)
• With audio
• Limited only by storage
Lens

• 35 - 105 mm equiv. (3x zoom)
• F2.8 - F5.0
• MEGA OIS (Mode 1 / Mode 2)
• Leica DC Vario-Elmarit

Focus

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

Shooting mode

• Portrait
• Sports
• Food
• Night Scenery
• Night Portrait
• Baby
• Soft skin
• Candlelight
• Fireworks
• Party
• Snow
• Scenery
• Starry sky
• Self portrait
• Macro
• Moving Image
• Playback
• Exposure bracketing +/-0.3 to 1 EV
• AE Compensation +/- 2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps

Shutter speeds Auto mode: 1 to 1/2000th sec
Scene mode: 8 to 1/2000th sec
Starry Sky Mode: 15, 30 or 60 seconds
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
White Balance • Auto
• Cloudy, daylight, halogen, custom
• White balance adjust
Image parameters • Color (Natural, Standard, Vivid)
• Color effect (Cool, warm, B&W, sepia)
Continuous

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

Flash • Built-in flash
• Auto, on/off, red-eye reduction, slow sync with red eye reduction
• Range (ISO auto): W 0.3m - 4.0m
Storage SD/MMC
16MB supplied
Viewfinder None
LCD monitor • 2.5" TFT LCD
• 207,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Full speed
• A/V out
• DC-IN
Power • Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
• Charger included
In the box*

• DMC-FX9 camera
Battery charger
Battery pack
Battery carrying case
SD memory card (16 MB)
AC cable
AV cable
USB connection cable
Strap
CD-ROM (LUMIX simple viewer, ArcSoft PhotoBase, ArcSoft PhotoImpression, ArcSoft Panorama Maker, USB Driver)

Other features

PictBridge
Mega Optical Image Stabilization
AF illuminator
Record and playback histogram
Venus engine PLUS

Weight 127 g (4.5 oz) (without battery and card)
155 g (5.5 oz) (with battery and card)
Dimensions ~94 x 51 x 24 mm (3.7 x 2.0 x 0.9 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 2005 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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