Panasonic DMC-FX78 Review
|Full model name:||Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX78|
|Sensor size:||1/2.33 inch
(6.1mm x 4.6mm)
|Extended ISO:||100 - 6400|
|Shutter:||1/4000 - 60 seconds|
3.9 x 2.2 x 0.8 in.
(100 x 55 x 21 mm)
|Full specs:||Panasonic DMC-FX78 specifications|
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX78 Overview
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX78 offers an effective resolution of 12.1 megapixels from a 1/2.33-inch type CCD image sensor. With an image-stabilized, Leica DC Vario-Summarit branded 5x optical zoom lens, the Panasonic FX78 offers a zoom range from a generous 24mm-equivalent wide-angle to a moderate 120mm-equivalent telephoto, when shooting still images. In movie mode, a stronger focal length crop leads to 35mm-equivalent focal lengths from 26-130mm. The Panasonic FX78's lens has a maximum aperture that varies from f/2.5 to f/5.9 across the zoom range. The minimum focusing distance for the Panasonic DMC-FX78 is ordinarily half a meter, but drops to just three centimeters at wide angle, or one meter at telephoto, when switched to Macro mode. As with most compact cameras these days, there's sadly no optical viewfinder, with the Panasonic FX78 instead opting solely for a roomy 3.5-inch LCD display with 230,000 dot resolution on which images and videos are framed and reviewed. Thanks to a touch panel over the display, it serves as a point of control as well.
The Panasonic DMC-FX78 has a 23-point multi-area autofocus system which also includes a single-point focusing mode. There's also a face detection function, with Panasonic's implementation using the information to adjust focus and exposure to properly capture your subjects' faces. Unlike most digital cameras, Panasonic's implementation goes a step further, by enabling the Lumix DMC-FX78 to recognize specific individuals' faces, and prioritize these over other detected photos when capturing photos, or search for photos containing a specific face in Playback mode. The Panasonic Lumix FX78 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, , and it's also possible to select a point on which to focus by tapping it on the camera's touch-screen panel.
ISO sensitivity ordinarily ranges from 100 to 1,600, with the ability to extend this as far as ISO 6,400 equivalent in High Sensitivity mode. Shutter speeds from 1/4,000 to 60 seconds are possible, and a Touch Shutter function allows a picture to be captured simply by tapping the touch panel. The Panasonic DMC-FX78 uses Intelligent Multiple metering, and offers six white balance settings including Auto, Manual, and four fixed presets. A whopping selection of twenty five scene modes for stills let users tailor the look of their images, useful since the Panasonic FX78 doesn't provide aperture-, shutter-priority, or fully manual modes. There's also an Intelligent Scene Selection function, which can automatically select from a subset of six scene modes for still imaging, or four modes for movies. A five mode flash strobe includes red-eye reduction capability, and has a rated range of up to 5.9 meters at wide-angle, or 2.5 meters at telephoto. There's also digital red-eye correction, and Panasonic's Intelligent Auto, Intelligent Exposure and Intelligent ISO functions as seen on past models
As well as JPEG still images, the Panasonic FX78 can capture movies with sound at up to 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution or below, using either AVCHD or QuickTime Motion JPEG compression for high-def movies, and Motion JPEG for standard-def movies. Full HD movies are captured at an interlaced 60 fields per second from 30 frames per second sensor data, while 720p movies can be captured at either 60 or 30 progressive-scan frames per second from 30 frames per second sensor data, and at lower resolutions, all movies are recorded at 30 frames per second. All movies include monaural sound. A Video Divide function allows in-camera movie splitting, letting users trim away the unwanted portions to keep just the parts of movies that they desire.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX78 stores its images and movies on Secure Digital cards including the newer SDHC or SDXC types. There's also a not-so-generous 18MB of built-in memory. Connectivity options include a USB 2.0 High-Speed connection, plus mini-HDMI high definition and NTSC standard definition video output. Power comes from a proprietary lithium-ion battery, which includes Panasonic's ID Security function to prevent use of counterfeit or third-party battery packs. Battery life is rated as good for 260 shots on a charge to CIPA testing standards. The software bundle includes PHOTOfunSTUDIO v6.1 HD Lite Edition, and a trial version of the Super LoiLoScope video editing package.
Pricing for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX78 is set to be announced approximately 30 days before it ships this March. Three body colors will be available: black, gold, and white.
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.