Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150 Review
|Full model name:||Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150|
|Dimensions:||3.8 x 2.1 x 1.0 in.
(97 x 54 x 25 mm)
|Weight:||6.3 oz (179 g)
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150 offers a whopping sensor resolution of 14.7 effective megapixels from a 1/1.72" RGB CCD image sensor, and Panasonic has coupled this to an image stabilized, Leica DC Vario-Elmarit branded 3.6x optical zoom lens with a useful 28mm wide angle. There's sadly no optical viewfinder, with the Panasonic FX150 instead opting for only a 2.7" LCD display with 230,000 dot resolution on which images and videos are both framed and reviewed. The Panasonic FX150's lens has a maximum aperture that varies from f/2.8 to f/5.6 across the zoom range. The minimum focusing distance for the Panasonic DMC-FX150 is ordinarily half a meter, but drops to just five centimeters when switched to Macro mode.
The Panasonic DMC-FX150 has a multi-area autofocus system which also includes a single-point "high speed" focusing mode. As with many digital cameras these days, there's also a face detection function, with Panasonic's implementation capable of detecting up to 15 faces in a scene. Once detected, the camera can then use the information to adjust both focus and exposure to properly capture your subjects' faces. The Panasonic Lumix FX150 also has an implementation of autofocus tracking, which can monitor a subject as it moves around the frame, continuing to update autofocus as required. Panasonic's AF tracking is linked to the face detection system, allowing the camera to continue tracking a face even if it briefly turns to a side profile - although it should be noted that the face detection system does require the subject be looking towards the camera to achieve its initial detection.
ISO sensitivity ordinarily ranges from 100 to 1600, with the ability to extend this as far as ISO 6400 equivalent in High Sensitivity Auto mode. Shutter speeds from 1/2000 to 60 seconds are possible. The Panasonic DMC-FX150 uses Intelligent Multiple metering, with Center-Weighted and Spot metering modes also on offer. There are nine white balance settings including Auto, two Manual modes, five fixed presets, and a color temperature option. A whopping selection of twenty five scene modes let users tailor the look of their images, useful given that there are no aperture- or shutter-priority modes on the Panasonic FX150, though there is a manual mode. A five mode flash strobe includes both red-eye reduction and slow-sync capabilities, and has a rated range of up to 5.9 meters at wide angle, or 2.9 meters at telephoto. An interesting feature of the Panasonic DMC-FX150 is an image leveling function that detects if the camera was slightly tilted at the time of capture, and then corrects for the tilt, automatically cropping as necessary to achieve a straight horizon. There's also digital red-eye correction, and Panasonic's Intelligent Auto, Intelligent Exposure, Intelligent ISO and Intelligent Scene Selector functions as seen on past models.
As well as Raw and JPEG still images, the Panasonic FX150 can capture movies with sound at up to high definition 1280 x 720 pixel resolution, although the compression used is the older QuickTime Motion JPEG type, so file sizes are likely to be fairly high. At the full high-def resolution, movies are captured at 24 frames per second; below this the speed increases to 30fps max. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150 stores its images and movies on Secure Digital or MultiMediaCards, including the newer SDHC types. There's also a generous 50MB of built-in memory. Connectivity options include USB 2.0 High-Speed, standard definition NTSC video output, and high-def component video output (although the cable for this is an optional extra). Power comes from a 3.7V, 1150mAh proprietary Lithium Ion battery, rated as good for 330 shots on a charge to CIPA testing standards. The software bundle includes PHOTOfunSTUDIO Viewer 2.1E, ArcSoft MediaImpression, ArcSoft Panorama Maker, and SilkyPix Developer Studio 3.0SE.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150 will ship this August, with expected pricing of $400 or thereabouts.
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