The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX100 ($399) is the highest resolution camera
in Panasonic's ultra-compact lineup. It packs a whopping 12.2 million pixels
on its tiny 1/1.72" CCD, producing images 4000 x 3000 in size. Other features
on the FX100 include a 3.6X, 28 - 100 mm lens, optical image stabilization,
a 2.5" LCD display, and a 720p movie mode (albeit at 15 frames/second).
The ultra-compact camera arena is a crowded one. Can the DMC-FX100
keep up with the competition? Find out now in our review!
What's in the Box?
The DMC-FX100 has an average bundle. Inside the box,
- The 12.2 effective Megapixel Lumix DMC-FX100 camera
- CGA-S005 lithium-ion rechargeable battery
- Battery charger
- Wrist strap
- USB cable
- A/V cable
- CD-ROM featuring Lumix Simple Viewer, PhotoFunStudio,
ArcSoft Photo Suite, and drivers
- 131 page camera manual (printed)
Like most cameras in the ultra-compact class, the FX100 has
built-in memory instead of a having a memory card included in the box. The
camera has 27MB of memory, which may be decent on a lower resolution camera,
but on this 12MP model it's pretty lousy, holding just three photos
at the highest quality setting. Thus, you'll want to get a memory card right
away, and I'd suggest picking up a 2GB card to start with. The FX100 uses SD,
SDHC, and MMC cards, and it's worth spending the extra dollars for a high speed
The FX100 uses the same CGA-S005 lithium-ion battery as several
other Panasonic cameras. This battery packs 4.3 Wh of energy, which is pretty
good for a camera this size. Here's how that translates into battery life:
||Battery life, LCD on
|Canon PowerShot SD870 IS */**
|Casio Exilim EX-Z1200
|Fuji FinePix F50fd *
|Kodak EasyShare V1233 *
|Nikon Coolpix S700 *
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX100 */**
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX33 */**
|Pentax Optio A30 *
|Samsung L74 Wide **/***
|Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W200 *
* Has image stabilization
** Has wide-angle lens
*** Number not officially calculated with CIPA standard
Battery life numbers are provided by the camera manufacturers
Panasonic has done a really great job with regard to battery
life across their entire product line. The FX100's numbers are well above the
I need to mention my usual gripes about proprietary batteries
before we move on. First, a spare battery is really expensive -- they start
at $41. Secondly, you can't use an off-the-shelf battery to get you through
the day if your rechargeable battery dies. Both of these issues are par for
the course on ultra-compact cameras, though.
When it's time to charge the battery, just place it into the
included external charger. It takes a little over two hours to fully charge
the battery. I should add that this is my favorite type of charger --
it plugs directly into the wall.
As is the case with most ultra-compacts, the FX100 has a built-in
lens cover, so there's no clumsy lens cap to deal with.
The FX100 is pretty light on accessories. The only ones of
note include the DMW-AC5 AC adapter (priced
from a whopping $62) and a camera
from $14). If you're after an underwater case, you'll need to step down
to the DMC-FX33, which is essentially an 8MP version of the FX100.
Lumix Simple Viewer for Windows
Panasonic includes several software products with the camera,
and the first one is Lumix Simple Viewer, which is for Windows only. This
does just what its name implies: it imports photos from the camera and then
lets you view, e-mail, or print them. And that's it.
PhotoFunStudio for Windows
Next up we have PhotoFunStudio, which is again Windows-only.
This adds a few very basic editing features, but really it's not a whole
lot different than SimpleViewer.
ArcSoft PhotoImpression for Mac
To do real photo editing you'll want to use ArcSoft PhotoImpression,
which is for Mac and Windows. While it has a rather quirky interface, this
software can do just about everything. You can edit
photos (adjusting color/sharpness/lighting), reduce redeye, design creative
projects (making calendars, photo books, etc), and more.
Another piece of the ArcSoft suite is PanoramaMaker, which helps you combine photos that you've taken side-by-side into a single panorama. It's easy to use, and the results can be really impressive.
The manual included with the FX100 isn't the greatest. Sure,
it'll answer whatever question you may have about the camera, but it's about
as un-welcoming a manual as you'll find. Expect a confusing layout and plenty
"notes" on each page.
Look and Feel
The Lumix DMC-FX100 is an ultra-compact camera made almost
entirely of metal. It has a more conservative design than some of the competition,
but it's still pretty stylish in my opinion. Build quality is excellent in
almost all areas, with the exception being the very flimsy cover over the battery/memory
The camera can be operated with just one hand, though I found
my right thumb sitting right on top of the exposure compensation button at
times. Panasonic didn't go overboard with buttons on the camera, so it's pretty
to just pick up and use.
|Images courtesy of Panasonic
As with most of Panasonic's cameras, the FX100 is available
in two colors: silver and black.
Now let's see how the camera compares to other ultra-compact
cameras in terms of size and weight.
(W x H x D, excluding protrusions)
|Canon PowerShot SD870 IS
||3.7 x 2.3 x 1.0 in.
||8.5 cu in.
||155 g |
|Casio Exilim EX-Z1200
||3.7 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.
||7.7 cu in.
||152 g |
|Fujifilm FinePix F50fd
||3.6 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.
||7.5 cu in.
||155 g |
|Kodak EasyShare V1233
||4.0 x 2.2 x 0.9 in.
||7.9 cu in.
||150 g |
|Nikon Coolpix S700
||3.5 x 2.1 x 0.9 in.
||6.6 cu in.
||130 g |
|Olympus Stylus 1200
||3.9 x 2.2 x 0.9 in.
||7.7 cu in.
||125 g |
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX100
||3.8 x 2.1 x 1.0 in.
||8 cu in.
||148 g |
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX33
||3.7 x 2.0 x 0.9 in.
||6.7 cu in.
||132 g |
|Pentax Optio A30
||3.5 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.
||7.2 cu in.
||130 g |
|Samsung L74 Wide
||4.1 x 2.4 x 0.9 in.
||8.9 cu in.
||174 g |
|Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W200
||3.6 x 2.3 x 1.1 in.
||9.1 cu in.
||142 g |