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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX700 - Performance and Results

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


Thanks to its advanced MOS sensor and Venus Engine FHD processor the FX700 has exceptional performance, although its start-up time of approximately 3.5 seconds is a little on the slow side. Once it's awake however it can really fly, with a shot-to-shot time in single-shot mode of less than a second. In continuous mode it can shoot at full 14.1MP resolution at up to 10 frames a second for up to 12 shots, or at up to 60fps at lower resolutions. There is a distinct audio cue when shooting.

The FX700's autofocus system is excellent. The focus tracking and face detection features work very well. It focuses in a fraction of a second in good light, and also works exceptionally well in poor light. Thanks to its high sensitivity and strong AF assist lamp it will focus in pitch dark at a range of around four metres.

Having spent nearly £400 on a compact camera you would naturally expect superior image quality, and the FX700 generally doesn't disappoint. The Leica-branded lens is very good, and although it does produce quite noticeable barrel distortion at wide angle, it does offer good corner-to-corner sharpness with virtually no chromatic aberration.

Exposure metering is reliably precise, especially in multi-zone mode, and despite the lousy weather this week the results were better than expected. Dynamic range is surprisingly good for a 14MP small-sensor camera, with plenty of shadow detail without losing too much of the highlights. The Intelligent Exposure part of the iAuto mode further boosts shadow detail.

Colour rendition is also very good, although again the dreary overcast conditions slightly spoiled the results. Nonetheless the camera captured what was in front of it with great accuracy. The level of fine detail recorded by the 14.1MP sensor is as high as expected, however examining the sample shots closely does show them to be a bit grainy and processed-looking.

Noise control is a little better than one usually expects from a camera with a 14MP 1/2.3-inch sensor. Images at 400 ISO are sharp and well detailed, but pixel binning at 800 ISO robs images of some fine detail, and 1600 ISO has even less detail, with the addition of colour distortion problems. Higher ISO settings of 3200 or 6400 ISO are available, but only in the High Sensitivity scene mode, and only at 3MP resolution.


The Panasonic FX700 is a very expensive camera for a pocket compact, but it offers a range of features that few others can match. Build quality and handling are up to the usual high standard, performance is outstanding, and while there are camera that offer better image quality the FX700 will seldom disappoint.


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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