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It was only a few months ago that I reviewed the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX35, an expensive but superb 10-megapixel, 4x zoom ultra-compact with a class-leading 25mm wide-angle ability, to which I awarded a well-deserved Recommended rating. Never content, the relentless juggernaut of the global consumer economy rolls ever onward, and so inevitably Panasonic has announced yet another incremental upgrade, with the launch of this, the DMC-FX37.
Anyone who's read my review of the FX35 might be forgiven for thinking that I'd simply re-used the same product shots. I didn't, but I probably could have done because the two cameras are outwardly almost identical. They are exactly the same size, exactly the same weight, have the same size monitors and identical controls. In fact the only outward sign that they are in fact different cameras is the model number on the top plate, and the maximum focal length written around the front of the lens. Where the FX35 had a 4x, 25-100mm equivalent zoom range, the FX37 has a 5x, 25-125mm zoom, for those times when 100mm just isn't quite enough.
The FX37 is currently selling for around £230, which is a lot of money for a compact camera. It hasn't been out long, and usually camera prices do tend to fall over time, but it's worth noting that the FX35 is now selling for £178, which is more than it was when I reviewed it in June. By comparison the Nikon S600 is now available for under £200, while the Canon IXUS 860 IS has dropped to £170. Is that extra 25mm of focal length really worth over £50?