It's only a couple of months since I reviewed the impressive Lumix DMC-FX500, an innovative 10.1 megapixel compact featuring a combination of touch-screen and conventional controls. Inevitably it has now been superseded by the newly-announced DMC-FX550.

The new model naturally shares many of the features of its predecessor, including the 5x zoom Leica DC lens with 25mm wide-angle, the three-inch touch-screen monitor, and a full set of conventional controls, although it appears that it has done away with the joystick-type control in favour of a conventional D-pad, which is probably a good move.

The main changes are the increase in megapixel count from 10.1 to 12.1, and the upgraded image processor. The FX550 shares the same new high-speed Venus Engine V as the FX40, and has much the same performance claims.

It also features AF tracking, as well as Panasonic's new face recognition system, which will remember faces that appear regularly in your photos. It will then offer to register these faces with attached name and age, so that they can automatically be set as a priority subject by the AF and metering system, and the camera can automatically add captions to pictures in which named people appear. If a baby under three years old is registered, the camera automatically switches to Baby mode if it detects the child in the frame. I swear these things are getting too damn clever. It's only a matter of time before they've got all our names, and then they're taking over, mark my words.

The DMC-FX550 is available from March, in a choice of machine conspiracy black or metallic overlord silver. They'll have us all rounded up by the end of April.



January 28, 2009, 7:39 am

Panasonic seem to specialise in ugly tech, and by the look of this update, today is no exception.


January 28, 2009, 8:32 am

Well, IMHO, "Handsome is as handsome does", as they say. And in this department, Panasonic is really bringing home the bacon.( This AFTER they ditched the thrice-accursed Venus II and III with their osmium-handed NR, which made their high-iso shots look like they had been taken of blobs of paint run over by a Mack truck.) Now the positive aspects of their cameras really stand out, such as the excellent lens (great range and crispness - though still rather "slow", aperture-wise), their ease of use, their build quality, thir speed and their great IS. All of that had been essentially watered down by the crummy IQ at anything above base ISO. Hopefully this Venus V won't revert to impressionistic renderings of images.


January 28, 2009, 1:23 pm

Some sites are saying that the new 'AVCHD Lite' mode shoots 720p at 60fps.


January 28, 2009, 2:25 pm

I've had a look on the Panasonic site and 720p at 60fps would appear to be correct. I wonder can you use the zoom whilst recording?

Espen Ruud

January 28, 2009, 4:51 pm

According to Sweedish manual p52 for TZ-5 is 720p 30fps max performance. Zoom is operating slower, and zoom noise "might be" recorded according to same page.


January 28, 2009, 8:45 pm

@Espen Ruud - we're talking about new TZ6/TZ7 here, not TZ5 :)


February 4, 2009, 5:21 pm

Hey PS3&#189 - from Panasonic's own site, it specifically states that the optical zoom CAN be used while recording for the TZ6 and the TZ7, which is pretty ace news. Linky:


February 15, 2009, 10:56 pm

I can't believe it. They're releasing the DMC-TZ7 with what looks like better sound quality for video capture. Only bought my TZ5 back in December!

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