At the highest picture quality setting the FX01 generates JPEG files that average around 2.6MB each, which is slightly below average for a 6-megapixel camera, but does mean that a 1GB SD card is enough for at least 334 shots.
Panasonic claims 320 shots on a full charge of the camera’s decent sized 11500mAh Li-ion battery. I took about 150 shots with it over several days, and the power meter was still showing two out of three bars, so a duration of about 320 shots on a full charge sounds reasonable.
As with the other cameras in Panasonic’s range, the FX01 has a good video mode, shooting at VGA resolution and 30fps with mono sound.
Since the FX01 uses the same sensor and Venus Engine Plus LSI image processor as the FX3, it’s no surprise that image quality is virtually identical. Focusing is sharp and accurate, colour rendition very natural, and image noise is very well controlled up to the normal maximum of 400 ISO. I did find that the exposure meter didn’t like very high contrast situations, especially shooting into the sun. It tended to under-expose rather a lot in such situations, but then so do a lot of cameras. The unusual lens performs well, as it should if it deserves that Leica branding. It did suffer from noticeable spherical distortion at the widest angle setting, but edge-to-edge sharpness was very good with no sign of chromatic aberration.
With its wide angle lens and optical image stabilisation the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX01 stands out from the crowd of virtually identical 6-megapixel 3x zoom ultra-compacts. It is well made, looks superb and takes very good pictures, with excellent noise control and good low light performance. All in all, a pleasant, simple elegant camera that’s perfect for social snapshot photography.
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