Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 Review

 
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 Optics

Lens

Zoom
The Lumix DMC-FX500's 5x optical zoom lens performed fairly well, though with some noticeable distortion. Digital zoom performs about average.

25mm 125mm 4x Digital Zoom

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500's 5x optical zoom range covers the equivalent of a 25-125mm zoom on a 35mm camera, providing a very wide maximum wide-angle setting. Results are good at full wide-angle, with pretty good detail definition throughout the central portion of the frame. Some blurring is noticeable in the corners, as well as a small amount of coma distortion, and there's a noticeable amount of what looks like pincushion on the edge of the neighboring house (though in the distortion section below we see barrel distortion). At full telephoto, pincushion distortion is again visible on the edges of the door frame, and some blurring persists in the corners. At both zoom settings, noise grain is fairly strong, which interferes with fine detail. The camera's 4x digital zoom performed about average, with noticeable losses in detail and resolution from the digital enlargement.

Macro
A small macro area with good detail and high resolution. Flash has trouble up close though.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500's macro setting performed well, capturing a minimum area of 2.33 x 1.75 inches (59 x 44 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both very good, though there is a small amount of blurring in the corners of the frame; still much less than most. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) Some pincushion distortion is also noticeable, particularly along the edge of the dollar bill. The DMC-FX500's flash had trouble throttling down for the macro area and was also partially blocked by the lens, resulting in a very uneven exposure. Plan on using external lighting for any macro shots with the Lumix DMC-FX500.

Distortion
Lower than average barrel distortion, and fairly low pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 25mm is 0.3%
Pincushion at 125mm is 0.2%

The Panasonic DMC-FX500's 0.3% barrel distortion at wide-angle is actually quite low compared to the average digital camera, and also quite low considering its 25mm equivalent focal length. (Though there is a small amount of barrel distortion here. In some of the camera's images it almost looks like some pincushion toward the edges of the frame – particularly in the outdoor house shot.) At the telephoto end, the DMC-FX500's 0.2% pincushion distortion is moderately low. This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

Chromatic aberration
Very low levels at both wide angle and telephoto lens settings.

Wide: Minimal,
top left @ 200%
Wide: Stronger here from blurring,
top right @ 200%
Tele: Very low,
top left @200%
Tele: Low,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is low at wide angle and telephoto, though the upper right corner at full wide-angle does show a more intensified effect from blurring here. At wide-angle, about 10 or less pixels of red coloration are visible in the upper left corner, and those aren't too bright. At telephoto, really only one or two pixels of discoloration are visible. (This distortion is visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)

Corner Sharpness
Fairly strong blurring in the corners of the frame at both zoom settings.

Wide: Very soft in the
corners (lower right).
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Quite soft (upper left) Tele: Sharper at center.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 produced soft corners of the frame at full wide angle and telephoto. At full wide angle, blurring was strongest on the right side of the frame, though moderately high blurring was visible in the left corners as well. At full telephoto, all four corners showed close to the same level of blurring.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Very good accuracy from the LCD monitor.

25mm eq., LCD 125mm eq., LCD

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500's LCD monitor showed about 102% coverage accuracy at wide angle, and about 100% at telephoto. Great results.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 Photo Gallery.

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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