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If you are looking for a lot of megapixels then the DMC FX150 certainly has them. Panasonic have also added a larger sensor than standard digital compacts have. In theory this should benefit picture quality.
The wide angle lens helps you when photographing subjects such as landscapes, groups of people, buildings and interiors. There is also a simple manual exposure mode giving you some control over shutter speeds and aperture sizes. HD movies are also available.
|Outdoor 1 (Medium Zoom)
The first thing to strike me about this picture is the sharp focus. There is also plenty of detail in the shot. This is even true in slightly shaded areas. For example, the name of the boat can be read easily. This is not always the camera with a compact digital camera. I also like the colours in the shot.
Some detail in the lightest areas of the shot is lost owing to the glare from the sun. This is very common at this time of year when the sun is lower in the sky and reflects straight back into the camera lens from the boats and other white areas.
|Outdoor 2 (No Zoom)
This photo tests out the wide angle capabilities of the lens. Compared with other wide angle cameras I am impressed by the sharpness of the shot. Inevitably there is some fall off in focusing towards the edges, but overall the FX150 does well. Despite the larger than standard sensor I can still see some rough pixels when the photo is blown up in size. This should not pose a problem in medium and smaller sized prints.
|Outdoor 3 (Maximum Zoom)
Even with the lens zoomed all the way in this test shot is a little distant. When compared to other digital cameras you can see the difference longer lenses make and you can decide on the length of lens that suits your own requirements. Despite the distance the photo is still sharper than I am used to seeing. The lens is also clear of any purple fringing problems.
|Outdoor 4 (Building)
This is another crisp shot. This is another shot where I like the colours and all in all the DMC FX150 produces a good photo. Having looked through my outdoor scenic tests I would say this camera has done very well and focusing in particular is well above average.
Moving in closer for the portrait shots, sharpness is still working well. The balance of the colours is about right with just enough pink in the skin tones. Again the DMC FX150 manages to produce plenty of detail and definition in the shot.
|Indoor Portrait with Flash
With the flash turned on the DMC FX150 does well to produce natural colours. My feeling is that the flash unit is not that powerful. Although the important areas of the photo are well lit a touch more flash to brighten some of the darker areas of the hair would have made the photo even better.
|Indoor Portrait without Flash
If this shot had been a shade sharper it would have been top quality. Although the lighting conditions were bright enough for this shot the DMC FX150 needs as much light as possible for focusing. You will need to resort to flash when the light starts to close in, in most instances.
I've been impressed by the colours produced by the DMC FX150. I would describe the colours produced by Panasonic digital cameras as strong, but not overpowering. This leads to vivid, powerful photos.
This is another sharp shot with plenty of definition. The numbers on the watch stand out well. This may not be a specialist macro camera, but it should take a decent macro snap shot in most situations.
ISO 400 and ISO 1600: My test results are fairly standard stuff at ISO 400 and ISO 1600. One point I will make is that colours remain true in the lighter areas of the shot. In the darker areas I can see a purple tinge creeping in. At ISO 1600 there is plenty of noise, as ever.
||DxOMark provides objective, independent, RAW-based image quality performance data for lenses and digital cameras to help you select the best equipment to meet your photographic needs.
Visit the DxOMark website for tests performed on the Panasonic DMC FX150.
Overall: Overall I am very happy with the test shots I have taken. I have not come across any major flaws and I was impressed by the sharpness of the photos when compared with the majority of other digital cameras.
Shutter Lag and Recycling Times: Shutter lag times are standard. One photo clocked 0.4 seconds and five photos 9.53 seconds. The good news is that flash does not slow the camera much. Times with flash were 0.49 seconds for one photo and 11.07 seconds for five photos. It took 3.09 seconds to turn the camera on and take the first photo.
Style: Although this camera will fit into a pocket it could be a bit of a squeeze. It has a little extra weight than some of the smallest cameras and for me this gives it a feel of extra quality. It has an unfussy, simple design and is available in black and silver.
Dimensions: 96.7 x 54 x 24.8mm
Batteries: Lithium ion. Panasonic estimates the DMC FX150 can take around 330 pictures in between charges.
Memory Cards: 50mb of memory have been built into the DMC FX150. The camera is also compatible with SD and SDHC cards. I was able to take 7 photos before the memory was full.
Ease of Use Rating: Good. This camera does have a number of extra features that you will not find on other compact cameras. Therefore to fully master the camera will take a bit of extra time. You should not experience any problems if you plan to use the camera in fully automatic mode.
Points I Like: Ease of use - high definition movies - design - manual exposure controls - picture quality.
Where it Could Improve: No serious complaints
Alternatives: Canon make a similar range of cameras. These too have some extra features when compared to other models. Look out for the Canon IXUS 970 IS.
David Tymon's verdict: This is a good all round camera. Looking at the basic spec you may consider the lens to lack zoom capacity, but even this can be turned around if you shoot at lower resolutions. With 14.7 megapixels available you certainly have plenty of scope to do so. Picture quality is good and there are some useful extra features you will struggle to find elsewhere.
David Tymon works with Cameras.co.uk