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DCRP Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX100
by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: September 18, 2007
Last Updated: February 4, 2008
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, you'll find:
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 card.
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:
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 group average.
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 case (priced 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 of "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 card compartment.
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.