Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50

A decent camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50 is held back by less-than-decent photo quality.


6.7
User Rating

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It's not easy being a 7-megapixel snapshot camera. You have to be fast, cute, cheap, smart, and talented just to get noticed. If you're lucky, your company will give you a clear spot in the lineup with your siblings; if not, you've got to duke it out with a cheaper version of yourself. By these standards, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50 has a hard life. Forced to share a spot in the line with the marginally less-expensive, nearly identical DMC-FX07, which comes in a peacockish array of colours, the DMC-FX50 has only its slightly larger, 3-inch LCD to jazz up its black (DMC-FX50K) and silver (DMC-FX50S) bodies. And though it has a few things going for it -- it's stylish and smart -- its poor photo quality and nondescript performance leave it destined to be a wallflower.

Design
It's not just attractive, it's smartly designed. A highly legible menu system with the occasionally helpful descriptor (under Aerial Photo, it cautions Please turn off the camera when taking off or landing) plus a large joystick control make it easy to use and navigate, no matter how challenged your eyesight or coordination. The buttons are a bit small, on the other hand, and some features you'll probably never discover without the manual. For instance, you can tweak the white balance presets toward red or blue, which you get to by selecting the up arrow -- exposure compensation -- three times.

Features
For operation, you have a choice among automatic, more automatic (a Simple mode with plain-English options), and preset automatic (18 scene modes, including the aforementioned Aerial Photo for shooting from airplane windows and two Baby modes, which store a birth date each for age-stamping your kids' photos). It has two automatic ISO setting modes, the typical mode which optimises for the scene exposure, and Intelligent ISO, which also takes into account subject motion, and therefore selects from a higher set of ISO speeds. Other Panasonic niceties include optical image stabilisation and an LCD High Angle mode for shooting overhead. The lens is a limited 28mm-to-102mm, 3.6x zoom, though the wide-angle certainly comes in handy for vertical applications, such as real estate.

Performance
Though it's hardly a speedster, the DMC-FX50 keeps up with the rest of its class pretty well. After a brief 1.5-second wakeup-to-first-shot interval, it shoots 1.3 seconds apart in good light, and 2 seconds with flash. Typical shutter lag is on the high side at 0.6 second, but competitive in dim light at 1.1 seconds. Depending upon shooting mode, the DMC-FX50 captures a run of between 6 and 8 frames at about 1.7fps.

Shooting speed
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Typical shot-to-shot time
Time to first shot
Shutter lag (typical)
Kodak EasyShare V705
0.6
3.6
0.3
Canon PowerShot A710 IS
1.2
1.6
0.4
Olympus Mju 750
1.5
2.4
0.6
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50
1.1
1.5
0.6

Typical continuous-shooting speed
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Typical continuous-shooting speed
Kodak EasyShare V705
2.1
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50
1.8
Canon PowerShot A710 IS
1.5


Image quality
As is typical, however, Panasonic hits the wall on photo quality. It fares reasonably well when it comes to exposure, colour, and white balance, and the lens is surprisingly good, with no distortion at telephoto and little at the wide angle. But if image noise had a sound, the FX50 would make my ears bleed. Its photos start out with significant amounts of noise at the lowest sensitivity setting of ISO 100, then just get worse. There's a switchover between ISO 200 and ISO 400, where aggressive noise suppression kicks in and changes the type of artifacts -- from Seurat's pointillism to Monet's brush strokes. These photos are best viewed small.

If Panasonic could just nail the noise, the Lumix DMC-FX50 might stand a chance against competitors such as the Canon Digital IXUS 850 IS and the Sony Cyber Shot DSC-T30. As it is, however, you're better off letting the FX50 sit this one out.



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kiro
3
Rating
 

kiro posted a review   

The Good:slim and beautiful body.

The Bad:photo quality sucks!.


I had fujifilm finepix compact camera before, It works excellent. I i though of getting a better - leica lens + mega Wide Angle.... blah blah blah...
All bull **** Couldn't even get a decent picture indoor. Not even in a Good lighting spot. If you tried to use zoom in mood to take indoor shot.. Comes out horrible................

i hope to sell it off!.

<a href=http://www.camstore.us/Konica_camera.htm>konica camera</a>
8
Rating
 

konica camera posted a review   

The Good:Large LCD.
Stylish and attractive body.
Fast featured camera.

The Bad:Nothing in cons.

Panasonic's one more beast. This camera works great and fast. Stylish body and large LCD which increases its grace.

sia
5
Rating
 

sia posted a review   

The Good:great looking!
Plenty of controls to play with, a wide angle lens

The Bad:picture quality is very poor

Disappointed with the picture quality-especially because it uses the famous leica lens. Initially I thought there was omething wrong with the camera and was going to take it in to be looked at...instead I am, stuck with a lemon. Pity, this camera should have been great!!

putos77@yahoo.com
9
Rating
 

putos77@yahoo.com posted a review   

this is great because i have this camera!!!

Equinox
3
Rating
 

Equinox posted a review   

The Good:Gorgeous big & bright 3" Screen
Easy to use, intuitive menu
Wide Angle
Fast startup

The Bad:Poor picture quality
Poor indoor photo performance
Noticable barrel distortion at wide angle

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX50 is the latest upgrade to the quite successful FX07, with the addition of a big, beautiful 3 inch screen. The menu functions are well laid out and easy to use, and the camera feels comfortable to hold and fits easily in the pocket. The Image Stabilisation (OIS) works very well even at long focal lengths, and is great for quick "one handed" snaps when on the move.

Recording video works quite well, however zooming is NOT available as mentioned previously and sound quality is quite poor, to the point of being unable to pick up audible conversation from anyone but yourself. And now..on the subject of poor.

Where this camera fails miserably is picture quality. Panasonic I believe have made a big mistake with this lens, as at its widest angle (and default start-up focal length), barrel distortion is quite noticeable with horrible blurring at the edges. This is most disappointing, considering it is quite sharp towards the centre of the image. Initially I thought I'd been sold a lemon, but after browsing hundreds of photos from other FX50 owners on Flickr I, it is just as noticeable, especially when the images are viewed at larger size.

Indoor photography is equally horrible as the FX50 struggles to auto-focus in even the most gracious indoor lighting conditions. Flash performance is not too bad considering the small size of the flash window, but flash-less photography using high ISO is also very poor, even when using a tripod.

In summary, I am very disappointed with this camera and would not recommend it to anyone wishing to take good quality pictures at sizes larger than 1024 X 765, and especially significant indoor shots.
Such a pity though, that big beautiful bright screen is a wonder to look at!!

alex solares
10
Rating
 

alex solares posted a review   

EXCELENT CAMERA

Anonymous
9
Rating
 

"Can't wait!"

Anonymous posted a review   




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User Reviews / Comments  Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX50

  • kiro

    kiro

    Rating3

    "I had fujifilm finepix compact camera before, It works excellent. I i though of getting a better - leica lens + mega Wide Angle.... blah blah blah...
    All bull **** Couldn't even get a decent..."

  • <a href=http://www.camstore.us/Konica_camera.htm>konica camera</a>

    konica camera

    Rating8

    "Panasonic's one more beast. This camera works great and fast. Stylish body and large LCD which increases its grace."

  • sia

    sia

    Rating5

    "Disappointed with the picture quality-especially because it uses the famous leica lens. Initially I thought there was omething wrong with the camera and was going to take it in to be looked at...in..."

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