Entry-level 6MP Lumix is a well-built stunner
Panasonic’s Lumix FX models have always had a certain style, but the latest addition to the line-up is one of the best looking to date. But just how good is it?
As one of Panasonic’s entry-level models the FX3 is fairly standard point-and-shoot fare, with a choice of ‘normal’ (program), ‘simple’ (auto) and scene modes on the picture taking front. A modest 6MP sensor is joined by a 35-105mm equivalent Leica zoom backed by Panasonic’s proven Mega OIS image stabilisation system. The sensitivity range stretches from ISO100-400, rising to 1600 when the ‘high sensitivity’ mode is employed.
Two colours are available – silver and matt black. In matt black the metal-bodied FX3 looks stunning, while in silver it just looks ‘normal’. Regardless of colour, the FX3’s a bit chunkier than most other style-led compacts, which I find makes it more comfortable in the hand. The controls are perfectly placed too, especially the rear-mounted control wheel, and there’s enough free space on the back to rest your thumb while you’re shooting without pressing any buttons by accident.
It takes only a couple of seconds for the FX3 to wake up, with equally pleasing focusing and write speeds. However, the 2.5in LCD monitor has quite a low resolution, so images and previews look a little coarse and there’s no optical viewfinder to help composition either.
The FX3 delivers good exposures in a wide variety of situations, but the white balance struggles under mixed lighting. Like many Panasonic compacts, aggressive noise reduction turns images shot at ISO400+ to mush, but stick to ISO100 and it’s fantastic.
Excellent low-ISO image quality makes the FX3 a great option for the style-conscious buyer. While it may not have advanced shooting modes, its gorgeous looks, sensible resolution and image-stabilised lens make it a winner in our book.