The Panasonic FX550 - a swanky-looking touch screen compact camera with 25mm wide angle lens; it looks the part and has the specs to match. So how does the FX550 fare when put to the test? The What Digital Camera Panasonic Lumix FX550 review investigates...
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.
This 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.