Panasonic launches flagship Lumix FX500, new touch screen ultracompact

Discussion in 'Digital Camera News' started by David Rasnake, Mar 18, 2008.

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  1. David Rasnake

    David Rasnake News/Review Writer News/Review Writer

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    Having hit consumers with a barrage of new compact digicams just last month at PMA, Panasonic is back at it again today with the announcement of the 10.1 megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500.

    [​IMG]
    (view large image)

    Most prominent among the FX500's specs is its 3-inch, 230K-dot touch screen LCD. According to Panasonic, the touch screen interface allows users to set AF points and metering areas simply by touching them, and provides a unique slider-style setup for controlling aperture and shutter speed in the FX500's manual and aperture/shutter priority modes.

    Unlike other touch screen models that have come to market to date, the FX500 doesn't rely exclusively on its touch interface: the latest Lumix has a hybrid control arrangement that includes a joystick (a staple of Panasonic's current FX models) as well, for added flexibility.

    As a new flagship model for the FX line, the FX500 also comes with a wide-angle (25mm at the wide end, in the familiar 35mm format) Leica DC Vario zoom lens. Intelligent Auto (iA), Intelligent Scene Selector, and Intelligent ISO options, which have become standbys on Panasonic's higher-end compacts of late, show up on the FX500 as well. Optical image stabilization, courtesy of Panasonic's Mega O.I.S. system, is an expected inclusion at this price point. Improved AF and face detection tracking systems are also key specs sheet highlights.

    Still photo shooting at 16:9 aspect ratios is nothing new, but being able to shoot 30 fps video at 1280x720 is still a relatively unique capability. These HD optimized still and video options, in addition to an on-camera HD output, should make getting crisp movies and images from your camera to your HDTV a relatively simple affair.

    Of course, comparisons between the FX500 and Sony's popular T200/T300 touch screen concept, which sports specs nearly identical to the Lumix's, are both obvious and inevitable. The FX500 is undoubtedly an interesting move for Panasonic, another electronics giant turned high-style camera maker, who appears to be pushing harder than ever to challenge Sony on what has long been its home turf with this announcement. If Panasonic can bring the improved high ISO performance we've seen in other new Lumix models to bear on this entry as well, they should be well positioned to do some market share stealing, in our estimation.

    Black and silver versions of the FX500 should be available in May; suggested retail price for the new model is around $400.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 Specifications:

    Sensor10.1 megapixel, 1/2.33" CCD
    Lens/Zoom5x (25-125mm) Leica DC Vario-Elmarit, f/2.8-5.9
    LCD/Viewfinder3.0", 230K dot TFT touch screen LCD
    SensitivityISO 100-1600
    Shutter Speed60-1/2000 seconds
    Shooting ModesIntelligent Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Scene, Motion Picture
    Scene PresetsPortrait, Soft Skin, Self-Portrait, Scenery, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Food, Party, Candle Light, Baby 1, Baby 2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Hi-Speed Burst, Starry Sky, Fireworks, Beach, Snow, Aerial
    White Balance SettingsAuto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Halogen, White Set
    Metering ModesIntelligent Multiple, Center-Weighted, Spot
    Focus ModesFace, One-Point, One-Point High Speed, Three-Point High Speed, Nine-Point, Spot, Touch, Macro
    Drive ModesNormal, Burst, Self Timer
    Flash ModesAuto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync/Red-Eye Reduction, Forced Off
    Self Timer Settings
    10 seconds, 2 seconds, Off
    Memory FormatsSD, SDHC
    Internal Memory
    Yes
    File FormatsJPEG, Motion JPEG
    Max. Image Size3648x2736
    Max. Video Size
    1280x720, 30 fps
    Zoom During Video Not Specified
    BatteryRechargeable 1000 mAh lithium-ion, 280 shots
    ConnectionsUSB 2.0, AV output, HD AV output, DC input
    Additional FeaturesMega OIS Image Stabilization, touch screen interface, Venus Engine IV processor, Intelligent ISO, Intelligent Scene Selector
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2015
  2. jetstar

    jetstar Well-Known Member

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    What's the little "accessory" in the picture? :)
     
  3. neenee

    neenee Well-Known Member

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    It seems to be a stylus, something you can use to navigate the touch screen, by tapping on it.
     
  4. usapatriot

    usapatriot Well-Known Member

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    Nice specs, seems like it will be a nice camera. The lens is 25mm at wide angle which is very nice!
     
  5. David Rasnake

    David Rasnake News/Review Writer News/Review Writer

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    Neenee is correct: it's a stylus/pen for using the touchscreen more precisely. The Sony T200 comes with a similar item, though it's not necessary (at least on the Sony and presumably here as well) for normal touch operation.

    dr
     
  6. AaronM

    AaronM News/Review Writer News/Review Writer

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    I wonder how well the new noise-reduction code will work. At least they have acknowledged their old code was a little sub-par
    -a
     
  7. David Rasnake

    David Rasnake News/Review Writer News/Review Writer

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    If the new Venus Engine IV powered FS models are any indication, probably better than the class average.

    dr
     
  8. Roy Hagar

    Roy Hagar Member

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    I'm extremely impressed with my LUMIX TZ3 - in fact, it's picture clarity is truly astounding, but only in good lighting conditions. I sat in the front row of a local talent show a few nights ago and discretely fiddled with ever setting and could NOT get a single decent shot!

    Ounce for ounce, I think the TZ series is the best camera currently on the market, but I wish Panasonic would address the low-light problems instead of a touch screen, come on, Fuji figured it out in their E900 - why can't anyone else!??
     
  9. David Rasnake

    David Rasnake News/Review Writer News/Review Writer

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    Roy,
    As noted, I really think they've made a step forward in the new FS cameras, and assuming this transfers over, the new TZs should be improved as well.

    dr
     
  10. chengdude

    chengdude New Member

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    I was looking forward to trying out the Nikon S600, but this might just keep me married to Panasonic, so to speak.

    It seems there's only a $70 difference between the FX-500 and FX-35, which was announced in January. The FX-500 has the same 25mm feature as the FX-35, but adds 1x at the long end and brings back both f2.8 and AF modes --features that were puzzlingly dropped (considering they've been part of the FX series for some time now) from the FX-35 .

    I don't see the FX-35 lasting very long.
     
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