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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Digital Compact Camera Review

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 is a digital compact camera with built-in Wi-Fi. Daniel Bell reviews.

| Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 in Compact Cameras

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Digital Compact Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 is a digital compact camera with built-in Wi-Fi, allowing you to upload your photos to your computer wirelessly. It is available in black for £219.00.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Digital Compact Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Features

With the built-in Wi-Fi you can share your images to a PC (requires photofunsrudio to be installed), Smartphone (Lumix app required), web service (via Lumix club) and AV devices. There is a 12.1 megapixel CCD sensor and 5x optical zoom, a 35mm equivalent of 24 - 120mm. To get in even closer there is 6.5x Intelligent Zoom. The lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.5, which allows you to shoot with a faster shutter speed in lower light situations.

The FX90 has iA (Intelligent Auto) mode which automatically chooses the correct settings for the scene. There is also a number of scene modes including portrait, scenery, sports, night portrait, night scenery, food, party, candle light, baby, pet, sunset, high sensitivity, high-speed burst, flash burst, starry sky and more. Other modes include Beauty Retouch and Art Retouch. Images can be shot in 3D and viewed via a 3D image viewer on a Panasonic Viera TV.

Videos are recorded at full 1080p HD resolution. There is an Active Mode for when shooting while walking or playing with children.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Digital Compact Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 top

Key Features

  • Image sharing via built-in Wi-Fi
  • 12.1 megapixel Hi-Speed CCD sensor
  • 5x optical zoom f/2.5 lens (35mm equiv: 24 - 120mm)
  • Full 1080p HD video
  • Active Mode in video recording
  • 3.0 inch LCD touch-screen
  • iA (Intelligent Auto) mode
  • Sonic Speed AF
  • 3D Photo Mode
  • ISO 100 - 6400
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Digital Compact Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 screen

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Handling

The FX90 is small and light enough to carry around in your pocket. It is made of plastic and the rear of the camera is dominated by the 3 inch LCD touch screen. The only button on the rear is the dedicated Wi-Fi button. On the top of the camera are the power button, dedicated movie recording button, shutter release and zoom rocker.

The rest of the controls are performed via the touch-screen, which is responsive and easy to use and can be used to choose your point of focus. If you do find the touch-screen a struggle the camera comes with a stylus which can be used instead. The camera menus are well laid out although until you are used to what the symbols mean you have to press and hold to find out what it does.

To set up Wi-fi you have to go into image playback and press the menu button. There are two options, easy or manual. When choosing easy there are three options, the right one will depend on how you connect to your router. When it is set up you can then share one or multiple photos. When in playback you can send one photo by choosing one and pressing the Wi-Fi button. Strangely, when in shooting mode the Wi-Fi button doesn't perform any function. It would be handy if you could press this to share your images at any time.

We tested the FX90's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot to shot time, continuous shooting etc and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.

Shutter Reponse   0.1 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.3 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.3 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.3 secs
Shot to Shot (without flash)   1.1 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   1.7 secs
Continuous Shooting   2.5 fps
High-speed Burst Image priority 4:3 3mp   5.7 fps
    3:2 2.5mp   5.8 fps
    16:9 2mp   6.0 fps
    1:1 2.5mp   5.6 fps
  Speed priority 4:3 3mp   7.0 fps
    3:2 2.5mp   7.5 fps
    16:9 2mp   7.5 fps
    1:1 2.5mp   7.0 fps
Flash Burst 4:3 3mp   1.3 fps
    3:2 2.5mp   1.3 fps
    16:9 2mp   1.4 fps
    1:1 2.5mp   1.3 fps

The battery has a CIPA rating of 340 shots which is plenty if you are going to take the camera out for a full day of shooting.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Digital Compact Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 battery and memory card

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Performance

Images produced by the FX90 are well exposed with great colour reproduction. There is plenty of detail whether shooting wide or with the full optical zoom, although images do become soft in the corners and there is also signs of purple fringing from time-to-time. With a minimum focusing distance of just 3cm the camera is able to close enough to take a detailed macro image.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Lens test images

At ISO 100 there isn't any noise with just a touch appearing at ISO 200. Again there is a little more noise at ISO 400 but it is at ISO 800 where noise is causing images to become soft. At ISO 1600 there is a much more significant level of noise appearing but the images produced are still good. The camera can also shoot up to ISO 6400 in high-sensitivity mode with file size limited to 3 megapixels.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 ISO test images

When using scenery mode the camera takes images with a boost to the blues and greens. Portraits have pleasant skin tones and are free from red-eye.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Scene modes

Included within the scene modes are a number of creative modes including film grain, pinhole and HDR (black and white, standard and art). The final image below as both i-resolution and i-exposure switched on.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Sample Photos

The AWB (auto white-balance) setting generally performs well, which can be seen on our studio tests shots. The incandescent preset has produced and image with a strong orange cast under the incandescent lights, with the AWB taking a more accurate picture. There is no fluorescent preset on the FX90, and there is no need thanks to the AWB setting under this lighting.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 White-balance test images

As well as the creative modes mentioned previously, there are six colour modes available: black and white, cool, natural, sepia, vivid and warm.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Digital filters

Video Mode

Below is an example video shot at 1080p HD. An example video using the optical zoom during recording can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube Channel.

Value For Money

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 is currently available for £219.00. Other compacts with a similar specification are the Canon IXUS 230 HS at £189.95, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX5 at £264.00 and Canon PowerShot S100 at £389.00. All of these lack Wi-Fi, if this is a feature you are keen on then the Samsung SH100 is available, priced at £114.00.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 has a good range of features to separate it from the competition, such as a fast f/2.5 lens and built-in Wi-Fi. There aren't many cameras which feature built-in Wi-Fi and the FX-90 also takes good pictures, a handy combination! A useful addition would be the ability to upload direct to social networking sites from the camera rather than having to send them to your computer or smartphone first, as you can on the Samsung SH100. If the Wi-Fi isn't the most important feature to you there is a wider range of cameras to consider but the FX90 won't disappoint.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Digital Compact Camera Review:
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 takes good pictures and features built-in Wi-Fi.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Pros

Built-in Wi-Fi
f/2.5 lens
Full 1080p HD video recording
Battery CIPA rating of 340 shots
Good colour reproduction

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Cons

Only available in black
Wi-Fi button has no use unless in playback mode
Can't upload directly to social networking sites


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.5 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent24mm - 120mm
Optical Zoom5x
Image Sensor
Pixels12.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4000
Pixels (H)3000
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.33 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.08mm
Sensor Size (height)4.56mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460,000 dots
Touch ScreenYes
Min Focus3cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • AF Tracking
  • Zoom macro
  • Touch AF
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest60sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • M
ISO sensitivity100 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting3.7fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS25
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLi-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 680mAh)
Battery Life (CIPA rating)200shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsStylus Pen, Battery Charger, Battery Pack, USB Cable, Hand Strap, CD-ROM

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Photographs taken using the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90

Hindhope Linn, Northumberland National ParkAutumn lightFriendly RobinCute mushrooms poking through the woodGolden Autumn ColorsPoppies for this time of yearAutumn coloursMushrooms in the sunshineOrnamental Lake, Southampton CommonBeautiful golden dragonflyLittle Camouflaged Blue TitMason bees matingFlies under a huge mushroom

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