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Panasonic FX30 Review
Date: Apr 12, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007 - Here's what I receive
in the box:
- Panasonic FX30 (brown body)
- No memory card
- Wrist Strap
- Rechargeable Li-ion Battery DMW-BCE10PP 3.6V
1000mAh (with case), Battery Charger DE-A39
- Interface Cables: A/V, USB
- English and French Instruction Manuals: Operating
- Software CD: Digital Camera 2.4 (ArcSoft PhotoImpression
5, ArcSoft Panorama Maker 3, ArcSoft PhotoBase
4.5, Lumix Simple Viewer 1.2E, Panasonic PHOTOfunSTUDIO
-viewer- 1.2E, USB Driver 1.0)
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30 is a beautiful
digital camera and the quality of the build and
construction is very good. The lens is flushed
against the body when the camera is off, and so
makes it easy to slip this ultra slim camera into
a jeans pocket.
In fact, Panasonic seems to have achieved a new
standard of quality as far as design and construction
are concerned. There is attention to detail, from
the 19 Zoom steps that make it easy to stop at
the point you want the zoom to stop at, to the
hinged door that makes it super convenient to
reach the AV OUT/USB and DC IN terminals. The
tripod socket is metal and the Mode Dial clicks
solidly and reassuringly in place.
I have to keep reminding myself this is "just"
a point-and-shoot digital camera. But it has manual
WB for accurate colour reproduction when it matters;
it even gives you WB adjust if you really want
the colour to be exact! Live Histogram. Framing
Guide and Live Histogram together. One
of the best and logical menu structure I've used.
Very clear and smooth LCD display. Plus, fast
performance and no practical shutter lag -- all
in all, a delightful total user experience.
The 28mm wide-angle LEICA lens provides a wide-angle
coverage that is perfect for wide landscapes and
group shots. The 100mm tele coverage is perfect
for portrait shots. There is no doubt that the
Panasonic-Leica partnership seems to be working
for the best of both parties.
The Quick Setting option is activated by pressing
the FUNC button in Recording Mode. This brings
up a quick horizontal menu of items -- Optical
Image Stabilizer, Burst, WB, ISO, Picture Size
and Image Quality -- for quick access and setting.
Image quality at ISO 100 is very good with good
image detail. ISO goes as high as 1250 (plus a
special High Sensitivity scene mode of ISO 3200)
and, if you limit yourself to 4x6 in. prints and
for Web display uses, you'll be able to use the
FX30 as a low-light camera without the issue of
noise and image detail loss being too apparent.
Note that you will not be able to make full use
of the high ISOs in P mode. You'll have to switch
to Intelligent ISO mode where you'll be able to
specify the highest ISO (ISO Limit) you'll like
the camera to use: ISO 400, 800 or 1250. In P
mode, ISO 200 seems to be the highest the camera
will use so as to limit noise in your pictures.
This is an elegant implementation, allowing you
to limit noise by using low ISOs in P mode and
then switching to Intelligent ISO when the situation
calls for it.
Readers often write to ask if a date stamp can
be added to a picture. Now, with all digital images,
there is automatically an EXIF info that is kept
for each image. Usually this includes the date
and time the picture was taken and this date stamp
can be specified to be printed on the picture
at the time of printing it. The FX30 also allows
you to datestamp the picture at the time it is
taken, though in a round about way. You first
have to take the picture, then switch to Playback
Mode, display the picture you want to datestamp,
access the Playback Menu and select Date Stamp.
You can then select to add the date, date and
time, age or travel date on the original picture
or on a copy. The resulting picture (original
or copy) will end up as a 3M image (i.e. your
7.2M original will be resized down to 3M unless
you opt to make a copy, which we recommend).
Another fun thing you can do with the FX30 is
to save nine (9) movie slices as a single still
image, say of a golf swing with the ball rolling
into the hole, or a basketball shoot.
ArcSoft PhotBase 4.5
There are too many image viewer apps that come
on the CD. Besides Panasonic Lumix Simple Viewer
and PHOTOfunSTUDIO -viewer-, there is also ArcSoft
PhotoBase 4.5 and PhotoImpression 5. All we need
is one good image editing app! I use Lumix Simple
Viewer to transfer images from the camera to my
PC (that's basically all it's really good for),
and PhotoBase to view EXIF info. One slight negative:
PhotoBase unfortunately does not remember your
last directory used and its quite tedious to have
to constantly browse to it everytime I start the
app. Other than that, it's a great app to categorize
and edit your picture: crop, resize, rotate, Auto
Fix, Enhance (Brightness/Contrast, Hue/Saturation,
Sharpen/Blur), Red-Eye Removal. You can also play
(and produce) a slide show (with soundtrack),
create a Web Album, and perform Batch rename,
resize and convert.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30 is a well-built,
beautifully designed digital camera that will
make many point-and-shoot photographers happy.
Just remember that if you need large prints, stay
at the low ISO of 100 (and perhaps 200); otherwise
for small prints and for Web only display, switch
to Intelligent ISO to make the most of this digital
camera. The FX30 is a point-and-shoot digital
camera you may want in your pocket at all times
ready to catch those precious moments of life!