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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX70 - Features and Design

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


The FX70 departs from the design of the previous FX models in more ways than just a slight curve to the right-hand end of the body. It features a new 5x zoom lens with a fast maximum aperture of f/2.2 and a focal length range equivalent to 24-120mm, 720p HD video recording in the high quality AVCHD Lite format, and more significantly a touch-screen control system. Panasonic has used a touch-screen interface before, but has always kept the traditional D-pad and buttons as well. The FX70 dispenses with this and is operated almost entirely through on-screen controls. The only physical controls on the back of the camera are the menu and mode buttons and the slider switch to select shooting or playback modes. The top panel carries the on/off switch, the shutter button with the zoom control as a rotary bezel around it, and a dedicated button to start video recording in under two seconds.

As regular readers will know, I'm not particularly keen on touch-screen controls for cameras. They're fine on phones and PDAs where the screen is primarily a control device, but on a camera the screen is mainly used for composing shots and viewing images, both of which are a lot harder to do when it's covered in grubby fingerprints. The FX70 has a three-inch TFT LCD monitor with a resolution of 230k. It is nice and bright, and has a fast refresh rate and a very wide viewing angle in all directions, but the touch-sensitive layer reflects light internally, making the screen very difficult to see when using the camera in bright sunlight.

That being said, the touch controls do work well. The button areas are large enough even for my fingers, and it is quick and responsive. There are on-screen buttons for most common shooting options, including a quick menu that covers almost everything else. The icons are clear and well spaced out, and the whole thing makes an attractive package.

The camera's other features are more commonplace, but are still of high quality. The HD video recording mode is particularly nice, offering 1280 x 720 resolution at 50/25 fps, very high quality mono audio and full optical zoom, with the zoom action slowed down to avoid inducing nausea in your viewers. The Intelligent Auto functions can be used in video recording mode, and the camera features Viera Link for suitably equipped Panasonic TVs, allowing camera playback to be controlled from the TV remote.

Since the FX70 is designed to be easy to use the still shooting options are fairly limited, but include the reliably excellent Intelligent Auto mode, a standard auto mode with full menu options, a good selection of scene modes, and something called “cosmetic mode”, which can improve portrait shots by enhancing skin tones. The FX70 is of course equipped with Panasonic's acclaimed Power OIS image stabilisation system, which offers around three stops of extra stability. It also features the latest of Panasonic's photo technology, the Intelligent Resolution system, which helps to preserve detail and edge sharpness in digital zoom mode. This is available in both still and video modes.


June 26, 2010, 10:25 am

I really, no; REALLY dislike the new "Latest Price - Click here" ploy to get us to the "shopping.trustedreviews.com" portal.

Give me the price in the article - If I'm interested in pursuing the item further, I'll shop for myself, thank you.


June 26, 2010, 12:56 pm

Nice as always, Cliff! Waiting for a Pentax X90 and W90 reviews. Thank you!


June 26, 2010, 6:39 pm

@Darrin calm down dear, did you read the review? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure Cliff said as soon as he knows the price he will update the review. See any of the most recent camera reviews, they all have the price indicated.

Cliff Smith

June 26, 2010, 9:41 pm

Darrin - As iHK correctly points out, and as I stated in the review, the reason there's no price listed is that no official RRP has yet been confirmed for the FX70, and it's so new it's not even in the shops yet. I'll update the review as soon as I know the price.


June 27, 2010, 5:14 pm

Cliff thanks for this helpful review. I am slightly disappointed as the FX70 seemed just what I wanted, but from what you say it seems to fall a bit short in certain respects. Could you possibly help by suggesting a shortlist of cameras I should consider? I want a good quality shirtpocket compact with best possible anti-shake capacity, as I have a terrible hand tremor. A good lens approx f2.0 24/25mm with a 5x zoom. Quick start up with immediate access to instant shooting via a pre-set intelligent auto program producing sharp and bright daylight and decent low light images. A good LCD screen viewable in sunlight would be helpful. In my dreams I would like a wireless remote shutter release, but no-one seems to understand the usefulness of such a thing. I wonder why not.

Cliff Smith

June 28, 2010, 9:13 pm

grumpy1 - I don't want to show any bias, so I don't usually recommend individual cameras, but have you looked at the Sony WX1? I reviewed it a few weeks ago and I really liked it. You might also look at the Casio EX-Z2000 and the Canon IXUS 120 IS.


July 7, 2010, 10:54 pm

Thanks for the review, Cliff. I wonder if you could advise further. I had my FX35 nicked a couple of weeks ago and have been trying to decide on a replacement. I liked the FX35. The fact that you rate the HD on the FX70 so highly tempts me towards it as I take quite a lot of video. However, you rate the FX70 a point lower than the FX35 on image quality and two points lower on features. Are these ratings to be taken in the context of current competition, or does the FX70 really rate lower than the FX35 in these areas? Thanks a bunch!

Cliff Smith

July 23, 2010, 1:54 am

Pete - Review scores are relative compared to other similar currently available cameras. As for the FX70 vs. FX35, to be honest there's not much in it. The FX35 was a very good camera, and I'd say it has better colour rendition than the FX70, but the newer model is better at higher ISO settings and has slightly superior dynamic range. Lens quality is pretty much even.

Cliff Smith

July 29, 2010, 11:32 pm

The FX70 is now on sale, so I've added the price to the review. I wasn't far off with my guess of £260.

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