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Panasonic announces DMC-FX3
(Wednesday, July 19, 2006 - 06:06 EDT)

In its third and final FX-series announcement today, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. has unveiled the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX3 digital camera.

Closely related to the DMC-FX07 model alongside which it was announced, the DMC-FX3 is aimed at a slightly lower price-point, with a reduced resolution and slightly less powerful lens, a lower resolution LCD display, and a reduced feature set. The Lumix FX3 is based around a six megapixel imager and Leica-branded 3x optical zoom lens with MEGA O.I.S. image stabilisation yielding effective focal lengths from 35 - 105mm. ISO sensitivity ranges from 100 to 400, with the option to extend this to ISO 1600 in high sensitivity mode. Images can be previewed or reviewed on a 2.5" LCD display with a fairly average resolution of 115,000 pixels, and as with the FX07 there's unfortunately no optical viewfinder - something which is sadly becoming rather rare on a lot of digicams these days.

Focusing is catered for with a 1, 3, or 5-point autofocus function with AF assist lamp. Exposure modes include a seventeen scene modes, including Panasonic's unusual "Baby" modes that allow you to program a date of birth in each, and then have your images tagged with your children's current ages at the time a photo is taken. (Sharp-eyed readers will note this is two less than the number of scene modes in the FX50, the subtractions being the Aerial Photo and Beach modes). Exposure variables are determined using an intelligent multiple metering system, and users can tweak the exposure with +/-2.0EV of exposure compensation, in 1/3EV steps. Shutter speeds range from 1/2000 to 60 seconds - quite a bit longer than is common on many digicams - and the DMC-FX3 offers automatic or manual white balance control with four presets, and a custom white balance mode - letting you save white balance measurements for common situations for later recall. The FX3 also includes a built-in five mode flash, with a range of up to four meters at wide angle or 2.2 meters at telephoto.

The FX3 offers a higher than average movie resolution of 848 x 480 pixels as seen on some of Panasonic's other recent cameras, as well as lower-resolution 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 pixel options - all of which use the QuickTime MotionJPEG format common on most digicams. The Panasonic DMX-FX3 draws power from a proprietary Lithium Ion rechargeable battery pack, and records images on Secure Digital or MultiMedia cards, while a not-so-generous 13.5MB of built-in memory will be good for a couple of photos fresh out of the package (and is at least somewhat more useful than including a flash card of similar capacity). In addition, the FX3 supports the new SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) standard, which extends the maximum capacity to a theoretical 32GB (4GB cards being the largest at the time of this writing), with sustained transfer rates of up to six megabytes per second. There's also both USB computer connectivity, and an NTSC / PAL switcheable video output to show your images on a TV, with the necessary cables included. An Arcsoft software collection rounds out the product bundle.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX3 will ship in September, priced at $280. The official press release can be found in our coverage of the DMC-FX50 announcement.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX3
Camera TypeCompact
Model NumberDMC-FX3
Dimensions3.7 x 2.0 x 1.0"
94.1 x 51.1 x 24.2mm
Weight153.0 g
5.3 oz
Planned Price$279.95
Planned AvailabilitySep 2006
Image Capture
Sensor Type1/2.5" CCD
6.37 megapixels (total)
6.00 megapixels (effective)
Filter TypeRGBG
Aspect Ratio4:3, 16:9
Image Dimensions2816 x 2112 (5.9 megapixels)
2816 x 1880 (5.3 megapixels)
2816 x 1584 (4.5 megapixels)
2048 x 1536 (3.1 megapixels)
2048 x 1360 (2.8 megapixels)
1920 x 1080 (2.1 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
1280 x 960 (1.2 megapixels)
Capture SpeedContinuous: 3.0 frames per second for 6 frames
Image Quality2 levels
Image Preview / Review
LCD2.5", 115,000 pixels
100% field of view
Playback Zoom8.0x max
3x optical zoom
Image StabilizationYes
Focal Length5.8 - 17.4mm (actual)
35 - 105mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture RangeWide: F2.8 / F5.6; Tele: F5.0 / F10
Focusing System1-point, 1-point high speed, 3-point high speed, 5-point, Spot with AF assist lamp
Focusing RangeNormal: 20" - infinity (50 cm - infinity)
Macro: 2.0" - infinity (5.0 cm - infinity)
ISO SensitivityAuto, 100, 200, 400, 800*, 1600* (high sensitivity mode)
Shutter Speed60 - 1/2000 second
Exposure ModesProgram
Metering ModesIntelligent Multiple
Exposure Compensation+/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White BalanceImage Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Halogen, White Set, Manual
Internal FlashModes: Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced Off
Range: Wide: 0.3 - 4.0m; Tele: 0.3 - 2.2m
Scene ModesPortrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Self-Portrait, Food, Party, Candle, Fireworks, Starry Sky, Baby1, Baby2, Snow, High sensitivity, Underwater
Digital Zoom4x
Self TimerYes, 2 or 10 seconds
Movie FormatQuickTime Motion JPEG with audio
848x480 and 640x480
Max. frame-rate: 30 frames per second
Recording MediumSD/MMC, Built-in, SDHC
File SystemComplies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File FormatJPEG (EXIF 2.2)
VideoYes, NTSC / PAL switchable
ComputerUSB 1.1
OtherDC In
Battery TypeLithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form FactorProprietary
Product Bundle
SoftwareLUMIX Simple Viewer, ArcSoft PhotoBase, ArcSoft PhotoImpression, ArcSoft Panorama Maker, USB Driver
Battery / Charger1 x Proprietary Lithium Ion rechargeab le battery and charger
Flash Memory13.5MB built-in memory
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliantYes
PictBridge CompliantYes
Internal MicrophoneYes
Internal SpeakerYes


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