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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Panasonic FX30

Panasonic Digital Cameras

   


Panasonic FX30 Review

Review Date: Apr 12, 2007

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Panasonic FX30

 

USER'S EXPERIENCE

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 Instructions
  • 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.

Date Stamp

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 PhotoBase 4.5
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!

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