Panasonic DMC-FX50 Review

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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50
Resolution: 7.20 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/2.5 inch
(5.8mm x 4.3mm)
Lens: 3.60x zoom
(28-102mm eq.)
Viewfinder: LCD
Extended ISO: 100 - 3200
Shutter: 1/2000 - 60 sec
Max Aperture: 2.8
Dimensions: 3.8 x 2.2 x 1.0 in.
(98 x 57 x 25 mm)
Weight: 6.3 oz (179 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $400
Availability: 09/2006
Manufacturer: Panasonic
Full specs: Panasonic DMC-FX50 specifications

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3.60x zoom 1/2.5 inch
size sensor
image of Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50
Front side of Panasonic DMC-FX50 digital camera Front side of Panasonic DMC-FX50 digital camera Front side of Panasonic DMC-FX50 digital camera    
Untitled Document Matsushita's Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50 digital camera is based around a seven megapixel imager coupled to a Leica-branded 3.6x optical zoom lens with MEGA O.I.S. image stabilisation, which yields effective focal lengths from 28 - 102mm. ISO sensitivity ranges from 100 to 1250, with the option to extend this to ISO 3200 in high sensitivity mode. In addition, Panasonic has added a new feature in this and certain others of its latest models dubbed "Intelligent ISO Control", which basically adjusts the ISO sensitivity automatically in order to gain a fast enough shutter speed with which to freeze subject motion and camera shake. Images can be previewed or reviewed on a 3.0" LCD display with a higher than average resolution of 230,000 pixels, but there's unfortunately no optical viewfinder - something which is sadly becoming rather rare on a lot of digicams these days.

The Panasonic FX50's body has the minimalist styling common on the company's cameras, being almost completely smooth with the exception of controls and a small rectangular trim piece on the front that also serves as a grip for your fingers. Focusing is catered for with a 1, 3, or 9-point autofocus function with AF assist lamp. Exposure modes include a generous eighteen 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. 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 Panasonic DMC-FX50 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 Lumix FX50 also includes a built-in five mode flash, with a range of up to four meters at wide angle or two meters at telephoto.

The Panasonic FX50 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-FX50 draws power from a proprietary Lithium Ion rechargeable battery pack, and records images on Secure Digital or MultiMedia cards (with a not-so-generous 16MB card in the product bundle - plan to buy a larger card straight away). In addition, the FX50 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-FX50 ships from September, priced at $400.

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