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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX70 - Performance and Results

By Cliff Smith

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

The FX70's overall performance is reasonably good, although it's not going to be winning many races. It starts up and is ready to take a picture in approximately three seconds, and in single-shot mode the shot-to-shot time is approximately 1.7 seconds, which is fairly quick, but you have to time the shutter press just right or it misses the next shot. In continuous mode it is limited to a three-shot burst in just under two seconds.

As usual with Panasonic compacts the FX70 has multiple autofocus modes, including face detection, a very effective subject tracking system, spot AF, single-zone high speed, multi-zone and touch-controlled zone AF. In all modes focusing is quick, accurate and reliable, and it operates extremely well in low light. For very low light the camera has an AF assist lamp with a range of around three metres.

In terms of image quality the FX70 has both good and bad points. At low ISO settings the quality is very good, although I did notice a slight tendency towards over exposure that robbed some images of colour saturation. Dynamic range is a bit limited in standard mode, with little shadow detail, but this is boosted in iAuto mode. The lens quality is also generally good, with nice edge-to-edge sharpness and very little chromatic aberration. There is some barrel distortion at wide angle, but this is only to be expected from a 24mm lens.

The only real problem is image noise, an inevitable consequence of a massively overcrowded sensor, which is visible in almost all images, even as low as 100 ISO. The noise reduction system seems to be tuned to produce the best results at 200 ISO, but from 400 ISO upward noise becomes increasingly severe. The 1600 ISO maximum has reasonable colour balance, but is really only suitable for very small image.

Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX70 is an attractively designed and well made luxury compact that will appeal to the style-conscious. The touch-screen interface works well, and the camera is easy to use and pleasant to handle. It's a bit light on features, but the HD video quality is excellent and the fast lens and wide zoom range are a bonus. Image quality and performance could be better though. It all depends on how expensive it is when the price is finalised.

Darrin

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.

Igor LEAHU

June 26, 2010, 12:56 pm

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

iHK

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.

grumpy1

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.

Pete

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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