Panasonic Lumix FX70 Review
Review Date : Thu, 24 Feb 2011
Author : Matt Tuffin
With a 5x optical zoom, HD video capabilities and touch screen control the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX70 offers plenty. Read our Panasonic FX70 review to find out more.....
|Pros:||Sharp images, simple to use, excellent optics|
|Cons:||Touchscreen can be unreliable, favours darker tones|
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX70 offers a plethora of eye-catching features, from the HD movie mode to a 14.1 MP sensor and 3inch touchscreen. Packing all of this functionality into an impressively slight frame makes the Panasonic FX70, on paper at least, a very exciting prospect.
Panasonic FX70 Review - Features
Thankfully the optics haven't been left by the wayside, with Leica providing a 24-120mm 5x zoom lens boasting a maximum aperture of f/2.2. Optical Image Stabilization is also present and the ISO tops out at 6400, although that setting is only available in the Hi-Sensitivity modes.
The 3inch screen, which virtually fills the rear of the Panasonic FX70, is touch sensitive and offers some useful functionality in both shooting and playback. Both focusing and taking an image can be controlled by simply tapping the desired area of the screen, although it's worth mentioning that the shutter release aspect suffers from a delay, making it more of a gimmick than a legitimate alternative to the physical button.
In the playback mode a finger swipe moves between images, also with the occasional slight delay, a double tap can magnify and a drag of the finger move around the image. Video is at the 720p resolution, which is a step down from a number of the models currently available offering 1080p, although the DMC-FX70 can both zoom and focus when recording, and the lens is virtually silent when in use.
Panasonic FX70 Review - Design
Strangely for a camera so dependent on the touchscreen as a control method both the power and record/playback are controlled via a switch. This means swapping from playback into record doesn't simply require a press of the shutter release, which can become mildly annoying.
The presence of a dedicated movie record button is helpful, and the zoom rocker responsive. Body shape is curved to suit a right hand gripping the side of the camera, and feels comfortable for prolonged periods, with the lack of buttons providing plenty of space to rest fingers.
The matte finish looks stylish, with the occasional silver flourish on the top and side, and the body feels solid enough for a compact in this price range.
Only two sockets are present, well hidden under a flap, and the battery/card slots are behind a lockable door on the underside of the body.
Panasonic FX70 Review - Image Quality
When dealing with such a large resolution on a compact sensor the camera often has to apply post processing, as the amount of light available will be spread more thinly amongst the available diodes.
The Panasonic FX70 shows evidence of this, especially in more varied lighting conditions such as outdoors on a grey day. The evidence is only visible at extreme magnification levels, but does lead to an amount of muddying of some tones.
Sharpness is largely unaffected, and fringing mostly non-existent except for the odd appearance on extremely bright backgrounds. Exposure certainly favoured the darker end of the spectrum, picking up plenty of detail in shadow but missing out on brighter areas. As a result a few tones become washed out on sunnier days, missing out on the depth in the darker shades. This did make for some superb images when the lighting was a touch more balanced, and the detail was excellent in similar conditions.
Above ISO 800 the processing was once again present, but this is by no mean unexpected from a compact of this ilk.
Panasonic FX70 Review - Value
There's a great deal of competition in the mid-£200 range of compacts, and plenty at a similar price range offer the likes of longer zooms and manual control. Although many of the other features on the Panasonic FX70 are impressive enough, there's plenty of restrictions below the surface.
The unreliable touchscreen and edging towards darker tones just prevents the Panasonic FX70 from being an Editor's Choice, but only by a whisker. A top camera, and very impressive in the majority of areas.