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This is a decent camera in its class, and does all the things it should do. However, I was disappointed for the following reasons:
1) picture quality is good but not exceptional. I can imagine that when used with a tripod the picture quality may be significantly better, but the idea fo a compact camera like this is that it can take those quick snaps when out and about and it doesn't do that particularly well
2) size: i decided to go with substance over style/size, hence buying this rather than the equivalent price nikon or even sony. However now i regret this as despite the lyca lens etc, as previously mentioned the picture quality isn't that classic
3)lens dots: as with my previous lumix camera it wasn't long before i had large black dots appearing on the photos. cleaning the lens doesn't seem to help.
In conclusion this is a decent camera but nothing special.
It really is becoming amazing what manufacturers are attempting to cram into tiny point and shoot cameras these days. The latest one floating around our camera club for us to tinker with is the Lumix DMC- FX500EB-K from Panasonic, a tiny unit measuring only 95x57x23mm and weighing a lightweight 175g but packed with tons of features usually only found on DSLR`s.
Panasonic have been producing the Lumix range for some time now and they are becoming a very popular point and shoot camera and just about the only one on the market that can compete with Sony`s Cybershot range. This particular Lumix is one of the very few point and shoot digital cameras that can shoot it wide angle mode and whilst it is of course nowhere near as effective as a DSLR with a wide angle lens it is a great little addition to a camera like this.
The wide angle feature when activated is equivalent to shooting with a 25mm lens and offers a far wider field of view which is excellent for either landscapes or shooting portraits of large groups of people. It has to be used carefully though because as with any wide angle lens if you shoot a single person portrait with it engaged you will severely distort the person in the image.
Panasonic have made Lumix versions before with this 25mm wide angle possibility but with the addition of the 5x optical zoom on this model you also have a longer reach at the telephoto end. Now again with the zoom on the camera you will not be able to re-create the types of images us pro`s get from our huge telephoto lenses but you will be able to get up close and personal with many shots without having to actually get up close and personal if you know what I mean.
This model is the first Lumix to have a touch sensitive rear screen that works in conjunction with rather than instead of the now popular Lumix joystick. The sensitivity of the screen can be a bit fiddly at first especially for those of us with big hands but you can soon get used to it, the screen is an impressive 3 inches so what you see on it is very clear. You can adjust your aperture, shutter speed or switch from shooting mode to viewing mode just by tapping the correct icon which really does speed things up, well once you have learned to use it that is.
Amongst the other settings the user can adjust there is white balance adjustment, ISO adjustment as well as the ability to switch between auto focus and manual focus all at the tap of a screen or the flick of a joystick. The camera of course can be used in fully automatic mode for those less comfortable with having to adjust all the settings themselves or it can be used in programme mode which basically means you choose one thing to set such as aperture or shutter speed and the camera automatically adjusts everything else to suit.
The auto focus is very, very quick in both normal 35mm or in wide angle mode which is an advantage over many wide angle point and shoots that struggle to autofocus in wide angle mode, although I did find that when in wide angle I got much better pictures if I set all the settings myself rather than letting the camera be in control.
This unit also has the ability to shoot in burst mode which simply means by keeping the shutter button depressed you will continue to take shot after shot, the auto focus tends to keep up with this very well but if you are in poor light then the flash will let you down in this mode.
The flash in general is the one thing that lets the camera down, it is quite powerful but very small and therefore gives a far too bright light in one area rather than an even smooth light in all areas so you end up with a highlighted area on your photo if you are shooting at close range. I found that when attempting portraits using this flash it just did not work, the persons face was completely blown out (over exposed) whilst the rest of the photo was thrown into almost darkness.
The flash on most point and shoots is a bit of a letdown though so if it is a point and shoot camera you are after then don't let the flash put you off this one.
The other big let down with this camera for me was it`s so called HD video capture, point and shoot cameras have been able to capture video for a long time now but they are almost useless unless in perfect light and although this one rants and raves about its HD video capture it is in fact no different. Whilst this camera does produce very high quality video clips in daylight or under proper studio lighting it is as others are totally hopeless once the light is anything other than perfect.
I shot about 200 photos with this camera over a few days and was fairly impressed with most of the outcomes, this camera can really give the Sony Cybershots a run for their money and for me it is the only point and shoot that can.
The flash is much better on the Cybershot but the wide angle ability on this unit gives a far better range of shooting than what is possible with the Cybershots. This camera is very small and lightweight which will suit a lot of people down to the ground but for me I prefer to feel a substantial unit in my hand when shooting and the size and weight of this unit makes it feel flimsy too and I am less than convinced of its longevity.
It really will come down to the individuals preference and the types of shooting that they intend to do when it comes to choosing between a Cybershot from Sony or this offering from Panasonic but if price is not of importance to you then you really can't look past one or the other because there is no other point and shoots out there to challenge the Lumix or Cybershot.
Image Sensor -
Camera Effective Pixels 10.1 Mega pixels
Sensor Size 1/2.33"
Total Pixel 10.7 Total Mega Pixels CCD
Optical zoom 5x
Digital zoom 4x
Lens - LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT / 7 elements in 6 groups (4 Aspherical Lenses / 6 Aspherical surfaces)
Aperture - Wide: F2.8 - F8 Tele: F5.9 - F8
Focus modes - Normal / Macro / Touch AF
ISO sensitivity - Auto /100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 (High Sensitivity Mode : Auto(1600 - 6400) )
White balance - Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Halogen / White Set White Balance Adjustment (±10steps, except for auto set)
Other features -
Self timer - 2 secs / 10 secs
Burst shooting mode - Full-Resolution Image, 2.5 frames/sec Max. 5 images (Standard mode), Max 3 images (Fine Mode) / High-speed Burst Mode: approx. 6 frames/sec (recorded in 2M for 4:3, 2.5M for 3:2, 2M for 16:9)
Digital red eye correction
To sum up this is a camera with real possibilities if you take the time to learn how to operate all the features available to you but if you intend to shoot only in automatic mode then you would be better saving your money and going for a lesser camera because all that is good about this Lumix comes from its ability to let the photographer decide which settings to shoot in.
It has the ability to shoot images up to a maximum of ten megapixels so the tiny built in memory is of little use so you will have to get yourself a memory card, this camera uses an SD memory card which is the most popular and the least expensive to buy.
The battery pack in this unit is a (3.6V, 1000mAh) which Panasonic reckon will allow you to shoot up to 280 pictures but I shot over 200 and it was still showing me to have over half my battery power so perhaps it will shoot a few more than they say.
For me it is a very good camera if you do not feel ready to take the step up to DSLR but at the lofty price of between £280 and £320 you could be forgiven for thinking it is better just to go for the DSLR considering they can be purchased for as little as £300 these days.
The advantages this gives over a DSLR is that it has a built in lens so no need to be splashing out on lenses and it is of course lightweight and portable but the advantages of a DSLR over this are huge so it really does depend on what you want from a camera over all.
I would recommend this camera to enthusiastic photographers that like to take their camera everywhere including nights out and things but also want to get top quality images, I do not recommend it to anyone looking to get professional images or have complete control over every aspect of their photography for that you still need a DSLR!
Thanks for reading!