Panasonic Lumix DMC FX550 review

Image Quality & Value For Money

The Panasonic Lumix FX550 utilises Panasonic’s in-house Venus Engine V – the fifth incarnation of the imaging concept that, fundamentally, is a bunch of clever algorithms to attain the best image quality possible.  The FX550 houses a small 1/2.33 CCD sensor and crams 12.1 megapixel capability into that small space. Sensor nodes require as much space as possible to ‘breathe’ and let as much available light in as possible. Sometimes too many megapixels on a sensor can actually hinder the image quality, particularly when dealing with higher ISO sensitivity.

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Panasonic Lumix FX550 Review image - ISO noise test image sample (click for fullsize image)



Panasonic Lumix FX550 review sample imageThis is perhaps where the Panasonic LX550 comes a little unstuck, though not significantly – it’s more a small hurdle in an otherwise decent performance. In bright light on auto or at low ISO settings the image quality is good; it drifts somewhat at the upper echelons of ISO 800-1600, there image quality deteriorates significantly.

The Panasonic FX550 also comes with a Leica 5x optical zoom (25mm-125mm) lens which delivers quality results. Whilst, as is inherent in the small compact camera format, the aperture range is limited and depth of field widely uncontrollable due to small image size, it’s the ideal snapper for a wide range of subjects – moreso due to the built in flash for those darker moments (though the range is limited).

Panasonic FX550 Review - Value For Money

The Panasonic FX550 retails at £300, though hunt around on the web or in some high street stores and this can be cut down to as little as £240-270. Considering the rechargeable battery, wide angle lens and the touch screen, you’re picking up a lot of clout for your finest hard-earned sterling. It’s up there with the best of 25mm wide angle compact cameras.

If image quality is a real significant buy-in then you may wish to consider the Canon IXUS 990 – though this lacks the range of manual options and touch screen. Pound for pound the Panasonic FX550 has got quite the edge.

 


Compact Camera Reviews

Price as reviewed

£300.00

Scores

WDC-goldaward
Scores
Design 19/20
Image Quality 16/20
Performance 18/20
Value 18/20
Features 20/20
Overall Score 91%