The FX60’s overall performance is generally good, but not amazingly so. It starts up in a bit under three seconds, which is about average for a camera of this type, and in single shot mode it has a shot-to-shot time of around 1.9 seconds, which is reasonably quick. It could be faster, but the FX60 has an annoying trait that if you press the shutter button too soon after taking the previous shot, it doesn’t register and won’t take a picture, which causes frustrating delays when you’re trying to shoot quickly.
Surprisingly for a camera in this price bracket the FX60 doesn’t have a proper continuous shooting mode. The closest it comes is a limited burst mode, which takes three pictures in just over two seconds in fine quality mode, or five shots in just under four seconds in basic quality mode.
The FX60 scores well for image quality. The excellent Leica-branded lens produces superb edge-to-edge sharpness with no sign of chromatic aberration and only a minimum of barrel distortion despite its ultra-wide 25mm short end setting.
The sharp lens lets the sensor record a lot of fine detail, and the extremely low file compression in fine quality mode really makes the most of it. File sizes average around 6MB, much larger than most other 12MP compact cameras.
Exposure metering is very accurate in most lighting conditions, and copes well with backlighting and other unusual situations. Dynamic range is about average for a 12MP 1/2.3-inch sensor, in other words not brilliant even with the Intelligent Exposure mode switched on. Nonetheless colour rendition is very good, with detail even in bright highlights.
Image noise is always going to be an issue with 12MP compacts, and although the FX60 fares better than some rivals, it still has problems. Noise is very visible at 400 ISO, with detail lost to noise reduction and uneven tonal gradients especially in the red channel. 800 ISO is worse, but even at the 1600 ISO maximum the overall colour balance remains consistent and the pictures could be used for small prints or web sharing.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX60 is a good quality camera with a lot of effective and reliable automatic features. Build quality is excellent, performance is good and image quality certainly better than average. However it is very expensive compared other similarly-specified rivals, and the six-year-old body design is starting to look a bit stale.
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