Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 Review

 
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 Performance


Timing and Performance

Overall good speed for a consumer camera.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

2.7 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy and capture a picture.

Shutdown

1.3 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens.

Buffer clearing time

2 seconds
(2 seconds buffer clearing in LF JPEG)

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.

About average times here.

 

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

0.9 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to play

0.8 second

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

1.3 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

Mode switching times are better than average.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.61 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.

Full Autofocus Tele

0.64 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.

Full Autofocus Wide
Flash Enabled

0.87 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position, auto flash enabled.

Prefocused

0.008 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Shutter response is about average at both wide angle and telephoto, at 0.61s and 0.64s respectively. Enabling the flash increased shutter delay to 0.87s, which is pretty good. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in a lag time of only 0.008 second, which is excellent.

 

Cycle Time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
1.76 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
640x480 Normal JPEG

1.43 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Early shutter
penalty?

YES

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG
Burst Mode

0.55 second (1.82 frames per second);
3 frames total;
0.6 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
640 x 480 JPEG
Burst Mode

0.40 second (2.48 frames per second);
5 frames total;
0.5 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG
Unlimited Mode

0.90 second (1.11 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
2 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
640 x 480 JPEG
Unlimited Mode

0.55 second (1.81 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
1 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Flash recycling

5.6 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity also affects cycle times and burst mode performance, with higher ISOs generally increasing cycle times and reducing burst performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are pretty good considering the large file size, at about 1.76 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, and the camera does capture frames continuously at this rate. (That is, given a fast enough memory card, it doesn't have to pause every few frames to wait for the card to catch up.) The DMC-FX500's continuous shooting modes perform about average in Burst mode (just under 2 frames per second for only 3 large/fine JPEGs). However, the Unlimited option slows down to 1.11 frames per second for large/fine JPEGs, but captures as many frames as the memory card has space for. The FX500 also offers a high-speed burst mode of up to 6 frames per second, but at a reduced resolution of 2-megapixels. The flash takes 5.6 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is about average.

 

Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

3,175 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are good.


Bottom line, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 has about average timings, good enough for standard photography. Full resolution continuous modes aren't fast enough for high-speed action, but may be fast enough to keep up with moving children.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Average battery life for a lithium-ion design.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard)
280

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Although battery life is about average, we recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 accepts SDHC/SD/MMC memory cards, and includes about 50MB of internal memory.

Image Capacity with
53.5MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal
3,648 x 2,736
Images
10
20
File Size
5.1 MB
2.6 MB
3,072 x 2,304
Images
14
29
File Size
3.6 MB
1.8 MB
2,560 x 1,920
Images
21
41
File Size
2.5 MB
1.3 MB
2,048 x 1,536
Images
32
63
File Size
1.6 MB
843 KB
1,600 x 1,200
Images
52
98
File Size
1.0 MB
546 KB
640 x 480
Images
249
404
File Size
215 KB
132 KB

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SDHC or SD memory card at least a 1GB card, preferably a 4GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings and video. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)

 

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