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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Overview

Posted: 08/26/2011

Panasonic's Lumix FX90 digital camera is aimed at the photographer who wants to be able to share their photos immediately after capture, and as such, is likely to prove particularly popular with younger photographers who appreciate the immediacy of social networking sites like Facebook, or on sharing venues such as Flickr, Picasa, and YouTube. Built-in wireless transfer connectivity is still a relatively rare feature in digital cameras, which is perhaps one of the reasons for the popularity of camera phones, which excel in allowing immediate sharing, but typically don't match the image quality of a dedicated camera. Of course, third-party solutions such as Eye-Fi's WiFi-capable SD cards exist that allow many cameras to offer wireless connectivity, even if they weren't designed to provide this, but arguably aren't as well-integrated as a camera designed ground-up with WiFi usage in mind.

The Panasonic FX90 is based around a 12.1 effective megapixel, 1/2.33-inch type CCD image sensor, whose total resolution is 12.5 megapixels. Panasonic has placed this sensor behind a Lumix DC Vario-Summarit branded 5x optical zoom lens which includes true optical image stabilization, helpful for fighting the effects of blur at slower shutter speeds and longer focal lengths. The FX90's lens offers a focal range from a generous 24mm wide angle to a moderate 120mm telephoto for still imaging, and 26 - 130mm equivalents for video capture. Maximum aperture varies from f/2.5 to f/5.9, across the zoom range. In video mode, the image stabilization function operates in what Panasonic refers to as an "Active" mode, which takes advantage of the lower resolution with respect to still imaging, and thereby provides a greater degree of correction.

Panasonic has created a cloud-based service and related smartphone / tablet application that help FX90 owners to publish their images and videos on social networking and sharing websites. The camera itself includes 802.11b/g/n WiFi connectivity to connect to a WiFi-capable Android or iOS device. An application running on the mobile device, called LUMIX LINK, is used to share images and videos through the LUMIX CLUB cloud service, with the LINK application able to store and remember login credentials for the various sharing destinations. If you're sharing via a home wifi network, things are even easier -- just hit the dedicated WiFi button on the camera, and the camera will automatically connected to WiFi Protected Setup (WPS)-compliant devices.

On the rear panel of the Panasonic FX90 is a 3.0-inch LCD panel with ~153,000 pixel (460,000 dot) resolution, which includes a touch-screen overlay. Most camera functions and menus are controlled through the touch panel, which can even provide focus, zoom, and shutter operation, although there are physical controls for zoom, shutter, and movie recording on the camera's top deck.

The Panasonic FX90 stores images and movies on Secure Digital cards, including the newer SDHC and SDXC types. Power comes courtesy of a proprietary 3.6V, 680mAh lithium-ion battery, rated for 200 shots to CIPA testing standards.

Pricing and availability for the Panasonic Lumix FX90 digital camera will be announced approximately 30 days prior to US-market availability. The Panasonic LUMIX CLUB cloud service is expected to go online from September 5th, 2011.