Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37 Review

 
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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37
Resolution: 10.10 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/2.33"
Lens: 5.00x zoom
(25-125mm eq.)
Viewfinder: LCD
ISO: 100-6400
Shutter: 60-1/2000
Max Aperture: 2.8
Dimensions: 3.7 x 2.0 x 0.9 in.
(95 x 52 x 22 mm)
Weight: 5.1 oz (146 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $350
Availability: 09/2008
Manufacturer: Panasonic
10.10
Megapixels
5.00x zoom
1/2.33"
size sensor
image of Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37
Front side of Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37 digital camera Back side of Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37 digital camera Top side of Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37 digital camera    

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37 has an expected list price of $350 when it ships this September. Sensor resolution is 10.1 effective megapixels from a 1/2.33" RGB CCD image sensor, and Panasonic has coupled this to an image stabilized, Leica DC Vario-Elmarit branded 5x optical zoom lens that offers a very useful 25mm wide angle - impressive when you consider that this is an ultra compact camera with a body thickness of just 22 millimeters. There's no optical viewfinder though, with the Panasonic FX37 including a 2.5" LCD display with 230,000 dot resolution on which images and videos are framed and reviewed. The Panasonic FX37's lens has a maximum aperture that varies from f/2.8 to f/5.9 across the zoom range. The minimum focusing distance for the Panasonic DMC-FX37 is ordinarily half a meter, but drops to just five centimeters when switched to Macro mode.

The Panasonic DMC-FX37 has an 11-point 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 FX37 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, controlled automatically. The Panasonic DMC-FX37 uses Intelligent Multiple metering, with no other metering modes on offer. There are seven white balance settings including Auto, Manual, and five fixed presets. A whopping selection of twenty six scene modes let users tailor the look of their images, useful given that there are no manual or aperture- / shutter-priority modes on the Panasonic FX37. A five mode flash strobe includes both red-eye reduction and slow-sync capabilities, and has a rated range of up to six meters at wide angle, or 2.8 meters at telephoto. An interesting feature of the Panasonic DMC-FX37 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 JPEG still images, the Panasonic FX37 can capture 30 frames per second 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. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37 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 3.6V, 1000mAh proprietary Lithium Ion battery, rated as good for 310 shots on a charge to CIPA testing standards. The software bundle includes PHOTOfunSTUDIO Viewer 2.1E, ArcSoft MediaImpression, and ArcSoft Panorama Maker.

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