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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX700 - Design and Features

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


The matt surface has an almost velvety texture, making the FX700 very pleasant to handle. Unlike some touch-screen cameras this one does have some conventional controls on the back, consisting of two small buttons for mode and menu and a slider switch to select between shooting and playback mode. Above these is a small textured area that provides space for the thumb, while the chrome wrist strap lug on the front provides some purchase for the fingers, giving the camera a comfortable and secure grip. On the down-side, the shooting/playback switch does mean that the FX700 does not have “shooting priority”, in other words tapping the shutter button in playback mode does not activate shooting mode as it does in most compacts.

The main control interface is of course the touch-screen. The screen is very responsive and the menus operate quickly and smoothly, but it does have a few oddities. There is a row of icons permanently displayed down the right of the screen which one might expect would include the most often-used shooting settings. It does include exposure compensation, flash mode, self timer and macro mode, but other useful adjustments such as focus and exposure modes, white balance and picture quality are relegated to a separate quick menu. Meanwhile there is a side bar panel for an alternate on-screen touch-controlled zoom. The FX700 has a perfectly good zoom control as a bezel around the shutter button, so there seems to be little point in duplicating its function using the touch screen. Similarly many of the functions of the quick menu are duplicated in the conventional main menu. This is really an unnecessary complication on what is already a pretty complex camera.

One unexpected highlight is the option of aperture priority, shutter priority and full manual exposure control. These are very well implemented, with a nice clear graphical touch interface that adjusts exposure settings by dragging a pair of horizontal sliders. Unlike some “manual” compacts the FX700 does allow full aperture control, with a full three stops of adjustment at wide angle. Shutter speeds from eight seconds to 1/2000th can also be selected.

Like all of Panasonic's compact cameras the FX700 has an iAuto (Intelligent Auto) mode, and in this case it includes some pretty sophisticated automation. As well as the usual scene recognition, automatic ISO control and auto exposure, it also incorporates Panasonic's “intelligent zoom”, which enhances detail and edge definition in digital zoom shots. It also includes Motion Deblur, a feature which attempts to set an appropriate shutter speed to capture a moving subject, based on the subject's speed. As far as it is possible this does appear to work, although it doesn't completely eliminate movement blur on fast moving subjects.

The FX700's stand-out feature is of course its Full HD video mode. It shoots at a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, at a frame rate of 60i (sensor output 30p) for the NTSC version, or 50i (sensor output 25p) for the PAL version. Not too surprisingly the video quality in AVCHD mode is excellent, maybe not quite up to dedicated camcorder standard but much better than the vast majority of other compacts. Audio quality is also very good, with excellent stereo separation from the pair of microphones set on the top panel, although they're not terribly directional. Full optical zoom is also available while recording, and the zoom motor is so quiet it can barely be heard on the soundtrack


October 1, 2010, 1:41 pm

Ever since the TR review of the FX500, I have owned one. Excellent camera and a decent video camera. I am very tempted by this as an upgrade as we do not have an HD camcorder in any event and it is always a PITA if you have the wrong camera with you - 2 in 1 seems excellent to me.


October 1, 2010, 1:44 pm

For me, image quality comes first. That there are other cameras that do it better and for a lower price means "Thanks, Panny, but no thanks." And if anyone from the company reads this: how about including an interval timer one day? That's a feature that would swing me.


October 1, 2010, 3:16 pm

I recently bought one of these cameras online for £275 and am very pleased with it. Just a few comments, mainly on the video mode. As well as 1080 50i there's 720 50p, which, according to the specs is actually true 50p, not the frame doubling of 25p available on earlier Panasonic models. The zoom is audible (though in no way loud) when shooting in very quiet indoor areas, but fine when there's ambient noise (ie most of the time). I had a Sony HX5 a while back and returned it as the battery life was very poor, particularly when shoting video. I believe the FX700's battery is CIPA rated as having a slightly lesser shoting capacity, but in real terms I have found that it lasts considerably longer, and charges quicker also. The FX700 is not perfect by any means, and it definitely struggles in dark scenes, but in my view it's a decent all-rounder.


October 1, 2010, 6:44 pm

@Cliff - I was surprised to see such a high overall score (8/10) considering the less than stellar value (5/10). Ultimately, it's the value of a product that more or less determines if it's worth getting in the first place. That's why I think that the overall score and the score for value should never be more than 2 points apart (at the most). So a 7/10 overall might have been enough.

I also think the score for image quality (8/10) was a bit high, especially considering the price of the camera. For £359, that kind of "IQ" should only get a 7/10, maybe even 6/10.

Take a closer look at the first picture of the statue (in wide angle) at it's original size. There's quite a lot of chromatic aberration around the statue at the top, and the detail of the flowers and trees is far from impressive.

Come on, you can almost get an LX5, or a Canon S90/S95 for that kind of money. And their image quality is in a completely different league.


October 1, 2010, 10:16 pm

Saw this today and was impressed. One or 2 questions though. Is it much better than the FX 70? Also was shown the TZ10 which had 12x optical zoom but seemed bulky.I am basically a happy snapper as my husband has a Nikon D80 for any more serious stuff. Good video needed as we don't have any other video camera. Any advice please? This one felt good!


October 2, 2010, 1:21 am

I forgot to add in my earlier comment that compared to the HX5 the FX700's images are noticeably sharper, and suffer much less from barrel distortion at wide-angle.

Tom MacFarlane

October 2, 2010, 1:36 pm

If searching for a similar-sized digicam with full-size movie mode also consider the Samsung WB2000. This superb camera also offers RAW mode for stills, which is so fast that I now use it all the time.

alireza doraghi

December 20, 2010, 1:44 am

it is(fx700) very good

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