Leave a comment about this Review. At first glance the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX appears to be a fairly conventional 10 megapixel compact camera, but don't be fooled by its boxy looks - this is actually one of the most desirable models of in terms of its overall specification. The FX combines a number of core technological innovations that really help to make it stand out from the crowd, propelling it straight to the top of Panasonic's FX-series. The main attraction is the addition of a touch-sensitive control system - for the first time on a Panasonic camera, you can control various settings by tapping the LCD screen using the supplied stylus or your fingertip.
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The FX is immediately recognisable as a Panasonic compact, sporting the familiar clean, smart styling, brushed metal surface and cross-hatched Lumix logo. But a ridged vertical bar on the right side, along with the cross-hatched Lumix logo offer a choice of surfaces which prevent this finger from slipping. Raised dots on the rear act as a thumb rest, and the combination allows you to hold the camera relatively securely with one hand. The controls on the upper surface of the FX are simplified compared to previous Lumix compacts as the mode dial has been replaced by a menu on the touch-sensitive screen see full details below.
During record mode, pushing the joystick up adjusts the exposure compensation, pushing right adjusts the flash, pushing down puts the FX into macro mode, while pushing left sets the self-timer between 10 and two seconds.
The joystick itself is quite small and proved slightly fiddly to use at times. The Q. In Aperture and Shutter Priority, two bars are shown running down the right side and along the bottom of the screen. In both modes the vertical bar represents exposure compensation and you can use your finger to drag the bar to the desired value.
The horizontal bar at the bottom controls the aperture or shutter in their respective modes and again simply dragging your finger or the stylus left or right allows you to choose the setting. If these graphics prove distracting you can tap a small square in the extreme bottom right corner to exit.
This then presents the current settings in small boxes at the bottom of the screen, and tapping them will return you to the control bars at anytime. Unlike many touch-sensitive cameras, this actually works very intuitively and effectively in practice. In Manual mode, the horizontal and vertical bars represent the shutter speed and aperture respectively, although in a missed opportunity, the bars are nowhere to be seen in Program AE mode.
Like most compacts though, there are some restrictions on aperture and shutter combinations. Automatic Scene Detection first identifies if the composition falls into the Portrait, Scenery, Macro, Night Portrait or Night Scenery categories, and if so, selects that scene preset.
Next Intelligent ISO detects any motion in the frame and if necessary increases the ISO to achieve a shutter speed which will eliminate any unwanted blur. Finally, the latest Intelligent Exposure mode, new to the range, actually adjusts the ISO over different portions of the frame.
This first divides the frame into around areas, then finds the brightest portion and exposes for it using the lowest sensitivity. Then it increases the gain in the darker portions of the frame to boost detail in shadow areas.
The result is also similar, where shadows are boosted, but at the cost of more visible noise in those areas. In practice the system as a whole works uncannily well. We repeated a test used on previous Lumix models and found the FX switched to Landscape mode when pointed at a distant mountain, adjusted itself to Macro when moved toward a close subject, then fired-up its Portrait preset with Face Detection when turned to people.
Then when you want to be more specific or creative, simply select from one of the 21 scene presets on offer or of course switch to Program, Manual, Aperture or Shutter Priority. Either way, the FX has it all covered.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX has a built-in flash with a variety of options cycled-through by pushing the tiny joystick to the right: Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Forced on, Slow sync with red-eye reduction and Forced off. The modes with red-eye reduction fire the flash twice in an attempt to reduce the size of pupils, but also then apply digital correction. In most situations, this effectively eliminates the problem. At first you might think it odd to find a joystick and a number of buttons alongside a touch-screen which are used to navigate and confirm menus, but these do work out quicker in general use.
Instead Panasonic has taken a sensible approach to only using the touch-screen for controls which actually benefit from this style of operation, while relying on traditional buttons and joysticks for everything else. A menu option allows you to also display a live histogram over both the recording info and grid screens. Like previous models, Panasonic splits and often duplicates its various settings over a super-imposed dropdown function menu now called Q. Menu on models and a more conventional paged menu system.
After using the same layout and graphics for some time, Panasonic has opted for a redesign with its range, but the operation remains the same. The joystick is used to navigate the Q. Menu and the paged menus. Pressing the Q. Menu button overlays a drop-down styled menu over your live composition and offers context-sensitive options.
With the FX set to Program recording mode, you can adjust the stabilisation mode, continuous shooting, AF area, white balance, sensitivity, Intelligent Exposure, image resolution and LCD brightness mode.
Compression quality and image aspect ratio can now be found in the main menu system. The LCD brightness section offers Power brightening boost and High Angle options, along with an automatic mode which can detect bright surroundings and switch into Power mode. We found this worked well in our often bright outdoor testing conditions and would recommend leaving the camera in this mode unless you need to save power.
Pushing the joystick in fires-up the Menu system, which in Program recording mode offers four pages of recording options and five setup pages; many of the common options like sensitivity and white balance are duplicated in the Q. Menu system. With the FX switched into playback mode, the Display button cycles between a clean image and ones with varying degrees of detail — if you have Histograms enabled in the setup menu, one will appear in the third screen. Exploiting the touch screen in playback, the FX lets you tap arrows left and right to switch between images, or tap anywhere on the image to enlarge it.
You can then keep tapping to enlarge it further, or tap arrows on each side to scroll around. Alternatively you can drag the enlarged view around by pressing your finger on the screen and dragging it — this works very well in practice and we have a full demonstration in our video tour. Pressing the Mode button during playback presents a number of options you can select using the touch-screen.
This displays two images simultaneously for easy comparison. In theory this is really no different from a thumbnail mode which only shows two pictures, but Panasonic cleverly flips them on their side so you use the screen in a portrait orientation to maximise their reproduction.
The touch controls for navigating each image remain. A larger door under the grip side of the body houses the battery and SD memory card slot. Panasonic claims each charge is good for shots under CIPA conditions, but like other Lumix compacts we found that estimate a bit optimistic. If you have the image stabiliser, continuous AF and auto LCD activated, you can burn through the battery pretty quickly, so investing in a spare would be advisable.
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 Operating Instructions Manual
The FX is immediately recognisable as a Panasonic compact, sporting the familiar clean, smart styling, brushed metal surface and cross-hatched Lumix logo. But a ridged vertical bar on the right side, along with the cross-hatched Lumix logo offer a choice of surfaces which prevent this finger from slipping. Raised dots on the rear act as a thumb rest, and the combination allows you to hold the camera relatively securely with one hand. The controls on the upper surface of the FX are simplified compared to previous Lumix compacts as the mode dial has been replaced by a menu on the touch-sensitive screen see full details below. During record mode, pushing the joystick up adjusts the exposure compensation, pushing right adjusts the flash, pushing down puts the FX into macro mode, while pushing left sets the self-timer between 10 and two seconds. The joystick itself is quite small and proved slightly fiddly to use at times. The Q.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 First Thoughts
Quick Links. Download this manual. Before connecting, operating or adjusting this product,. Table of Contents. Panasonic lumix dmc-fx5: operating instruction pages. Panasonic lumix dmc-fx operating instruction pages.