Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX9 Review
Conclusion - Pros
- High resolution, clean images
- Excellent color - vivid but natural
- High quality construction, lovely design
- Good edge-to-edge sharpness
- Reliable white balance
- Feels fast and responsive
- High speed focus near class-leading performance
- Big, bright, high resolution screen
- Improved movie mode, now up to the standard for this class of camera
- Reliable exposure and focus
- Image stabilization
- Good battery life
- Histogram in record and playback mode, full on-screen exposure information
- Excellent on-screen menus and control system
- Easy to use
Conclusion - Cons
- Visible noise reduction effects at ISO 160 and above
- Noisy at ISO 400 (better than previous generation, however)
- Some vignetting at F2.8
- Results a little soft at F6.3 and over
- No manual control of shutter speed or aperture
- Occasional exposure problems and blown highlights when shooting in very bright light
- Some focus problems in low light
- Size and design makes camera shake more likely
- Flash not very powerful
- Easy to accidentally press buttons you don't mean to
The DMC-FX7 (and it's minor upgrade, the FX8) were deservedly popular pocket cameras with a unique selling point; an image-stabilized Leica lens. The only serious issues we identified when reviewing the FX7, namely poor battery life and a low resolution LCD screen, have been fully addressed in this new model, and the new high speed focus system is a real improvement too. The extra megapixel means very slightly more noise at ISO 80, but noise is actually less of a problem at higher ISOs than it was in the previous models - maybe this is down to better noise reduction algorithms, maybe it's just a characteristic of the chip, we don't know. The image stabilization works well, meaning less images ruined by camera shake, and less need for flash indoors (and the option to keep the ISO setting fairly low).
It is a tribute to Panasonic's designers that they managed to squeeze as much as they did into the FX9's diminutive body, and there's no denying it is the kind of camera that simply begs to be taken everywhere you go. The screen is fantastic (and a huge improvement on it's predecessors), it's fast, fun to use and capable of surprisingly good results. The Leica lens is certainly no slouch in the resolution stakes, exposure is - though by no means perfect - as good as any other camera in this class, and the auto white balance very good indeed.
Of course it's not all a bed of roses - some kind of compromise is inevitable with this kind of camera; some blown highlights, mild vignetting, the occasional focus or exposure error and a rather underpowered flash. And noise is an issue (as it is for all small-sensor cameras) - even at ISO 160 you can see the effects of noise reduction when viewed on-screen at 100%. But weighed against the benefits of a small camera, big screen and image stabilization that works, these are fairly minor quibbles, and the FX9's 'hit rate' is very high. More importantly, the noise issue simply won't affect the majority of the target market for this camera, as it isn't really visible in 'standard' sized prints.
So, the FX9 is a fairly modest upgrade, much more evolution than revolution, but a welcome one, and one that fixes virtually all the minor problems of its predecessor (save for the noise), resulting in a pocket camera that - though not without faults - is near perfect for the casual snapshooter it's aimed at, and offers a serious - and more affordable - alternative to the various 7MP models on the market.
Join DPReview editors Rishi Sanyal and Carey Rose on Facebook Live as they share their experience and answer your questions about the new Sony a9, Wednesday at 9:30 AM Pacific time. Click here for additional details and time zones
German media reports that the founders of the company behind the Panono 360-degree ball camera have filed for bankruptcy at a court in Berlin. Read more
With a claimed 800 new custom parts, Microsoft's updated Surface Pro comes with the latest Kaby Lake processors, better battery life, a new hinge, plus the Surface Pen is updated as well. Read more
DW Photo is attempting to resurrect the Hy6 medium format camera, though the legal tangles of its development may stop it being branded Rolleiflex.
The Kodak EKTRA, the company's 'camera first' smartphone, is now available to purchase in the United States. Read more
Apple and Nokia have settled their years-old patent dispute. Apple will make an undisclosed payment to Nokia and sign a licensing agreement related to digital health products with the Finnish company.
David Gibson, one of Britain's best known street shooters, shares all.
Photographers from the SKYGLOW project travelled 150k miles and took 3 million photos in increasingly rare locations: those without light pollution.
The world's fastest 200mm was produced for 16 years. In that time, only 8000 were made.
Photokina, the biennial photo industry trade show in Cologne, Germany, has announced that it will become an annual event beginning in 2018, and expand its focus to additional areas of imaging technology. Read more
No mic socket? No problem. In this video, Daniel Peters at Photo Gear News shows you how to make a lapel microphone using just a smartphone and a pair of earbuds.
How does the iPhone 7 Plus stack up against the Arri Alexa cinema camera? Watch this short video to find out.
Canon Australia's video series "The Lab" is designed to make photographers experiment and think outside the box. In the latest video a group of photographers create images based on their sense of taste.
The GH5 is expected to get a firmware update this summer to support 400Mbps internal recording. NewsShooter explores what memory cards you'll need to make it work.
Microsoft's new Surface Pro offers Intel's latest processor generation and improved battery life.
Riding a mountain bike downhill is dangerous enough in daylight, but potentially lethal at night. Which is where drones come in.
Rumors abound that Canon (and maybe Nikon) may produce a mirrorless camera based using their existing DSLR mount. Does this guarantee immediate great lens choice or a perpetually second-rate experience? Read more
According to rumors, the next camera from Nest will be able to capture 4K video, though that resolution will be only used for 'virtual' pan and tilt functions.
Boundary's Prima 'fully modular' backpack is expandable to 30L and has a removable camera case and tablet sleeve. Early Kickstarter backers can get one for $189.
Stanley Greene captured 'brutally honest' photographs in the war zones of the Middle East, Chechnya and Georgia. He was also one of the few African-American photographers working internationally.
Owners of Leica M cameras that suffer from peeling CCDs will be able to claim a free repair in the future so long as the camera was purchased within five years of the fault becoming apparent, the company has announced. Read more
The Carl Zeiss Jena BIOTAR 75mm F1.5 Red T lens is very rare and priced accordingly. It can be yours today for the low, low price of $15,000.
The MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed a drone that does not require any human control for recording tracking shots. Read more
In this terrifying video, Iraqi journalist Ammar Alwaely narrowly misses a sniper's bullet, which takes out his chest-mounted GoPro. Warning: strong language. Watch the video
A new report expects action camera growth to increase about 15% by 2021, with Ultra HD cameras driving demand. Read more
Profiles for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom have been released for Irix's ultra-wide 11mm and 15mm primes. Like all profiles, these correct for distortion and vignetting.
An upcoming firmware update from DJI will cripple its drones unless they are 'activated' on the company's website. Live streaming will be turned off and flight radius/altitude will be limited.
Brent from ShareGrid rounds up the 10 most common products filmmakers are renting from one another for productions; chances are good you own one or more of them.
DaVinci Resolve is making strong moves to compete with Premiere and Final Cut Pro, including affordable control panels for colorists. According to Premium Beat, they're really good.
If you are not planning to fly your drone commercially you are not required to register it with the FAA anymore. This decision was handed down by a federal court in Washington, D.C.