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Panasonic DMC FX500 Digital Camera Review

Panasonic DMC FX500 Digital Camera Review - The Panasonic DMC FX500 is a 10 megapixel digital camera with a 5x optical zoom lens. It has more features than any other pocket sized camera. David Tymon from Cameras.co.uk has reviewed.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Panasonic DMC FX500
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Panasonic DMC FX500 front viewWhy Buy the Panasonic DMC FX500?
If you are looking for a feature rich pocket camera then you will be delighted by the DMC FX500. It has manual exposure controls, a wide angle lens, high definition movies and a large 3 inch screen. A number of options are touch screen controlled.

On top of these headline features there is also image stabilisation, a setting to make it easy to see the LCD screen when the camera is help above eye level and bracketing. You can also increase the amount of zoom available when shooting at lower resolutions.

Image Quality

Panasonic DMC FX500 outside shot mid zoom Panasonic DMC FX500 outside shot no zoom
Outdoor 1 (Medium Zoom)
The DMC FX500 does especially well when handling the lighter colours in the shot. This camera is able to show more detail on the boats than the majority of digital cameras manage. When it comes to colours the blues and greens have a natural feel to them. Focusing is sharp without hitting the same levels as the very best compacts manage.
Outdoor 2 (No Zoom)
This scene is a stern test for a camera with a lens as wide as this one. In terms of focusing the camera does well, although there is a small amount of drop off in light and brightness as you move towards the edges.
Panasonic DMC FX500 outside shot maximum zoom Panasonic DMC FX500 outside building shot
Outdoor 3 (Maximum Zoom)
With the lens fully zoomed in the DMC FX500 does well enough when it comes to focusing, but does not earn itself a place in the top quarter of pocket sized digital cameras.
Outdoor 4 (Building)
My final outdoor test is another that tests out how well the camera is able to focus. Based on this set of tests the DMC FX500 does well enough without matching up to the very best. I would give it 7.5 out of 10 for focusing at distance.

 

Panasonic DMC FX500 outdoor portrait shot Panasonic DMC FX500 indoor portrait with flash
Outdoor Portrait
No problems here. Focusing is good with the camera being that much closer to its subject. The extra colour in the shot helps to create a warmer portrait. I think the DMC FX500 does well to find detail in the darker areas of the shot.
Indoor Portrait with Flash
Even with the flash on the DMC FX500 manages to retain colour in the shot. On the whole this photo works well for me. Again there is no problem with the sharpness of the shot.
Panasonic DMC FX500 indoor portrait without flash Panasonic DMC FX500 colour test shot
Indoor Portrait without Flash
I would like to have seen more brightness and definition in this photo. Owing to the DMC FX500 not being able to pull enough light into the shot noise starts to creep in. This takes the edge off the definition of the shot. Although it is not a bad effort I prefer the indoor portrait with flash.
Colours
Over time I feel that Panasonic digital cameras have toned down the colours they produce a notch or two. I think this is a good thing as the colours now have a more natural look to them.

Panasonic DMC FX500 macro focusMacro
This is a decent macro shot. I would say it places the DMC FX500 in the top 25 percent of compact digital cameras for close up shots.

Views on Noise - ISO 400 and ISO 1600
There is nothing out of the ordinary for my higher ISO tests. There is noise even in the lighter areas of the ISO 400 shot. Noise levels increase in the darker areas of the shot. At ISO 1600 noise is a problem in all areas.

Overall
Perhaps not up there with the very best pocket digital cameras, but a worthy effort none the less.

Shutter Lag
The DMC FX500 produced a set of shutter lag times that were on the slow side of average. The times produced were 0.44 seconds for a single photo and 15.48 seconds for five photos. With flash turned on times increased to 0.54 seconds for a single photo and 17.5 seconds for five photos.

It took 3.08 seconds to turn the camera on and take a picture.

Panasonic DMC FX500 top viewStyle: Looks wise the DMC FX500 is a fairly regular pocket sized digital camera. It is available in black and silver.

Dimensions: 94.9 x 57.1 x 22.9mm

Weight: 155g

Batteries: Lithium ion. Panasonic supplies both a battery and a charger with the DMC FX500 as standard. Panasonic estimates you should be able to take around 280 shots in between charges.

Memory cards: 50MB of storage have been built into the camera. I was able to take 16 photos before this was full. The DMC FX500 is also compatible with SD and SDHC memory cards.

Panasonic DMC FX500 backviewDavid Tymon's verdict:
There is no doubt that the Panasonic DMC FX500 is an impressive camera when it comes to the number of features packed into its compact body. Picture quality is good too and all in all Panasonic have produced a very good digital camera.

Ease of use rating: Very Good. Considering all the features packed into the DMC FX500 Panasonic have done a very good job of making the camera as easy to use as possible.

Points liked:
Ease of use
High definition movies
High angle LCD screen
Design
Manual exposure controls
Touch screen controls

Where it could improve:
A touch more brightness in some of the photos

Alternatives
As the DMC FX500 stands out on its own when it comes to features it is impossible to pick another pocket sized camera that is a true alternative. Another more basic, pocket camera worth taking a look at is the Canon IXUS 90 IS.

David Tymon works with Cameras.co.uk

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