Lumix DMC-FX100 digital camera

A new contender in the bantamweight division of the digicam market, Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-FX100 packs a lot of power into a compact package that’s easy to carry and use. Its resolution of 12.2 megapixels seemed like overkill at first, yet the camera produced clear, well-exposed images at every setting. Image stabilization was consistently effective, and those who love to shoot landscapes will appreciate that the 3.6x zoom Leica lens starts at a wide-angle 28mm.

Serious shutterbugs may be disappointed at the lack of manual exposure controls, but in our Macworld Lab tests, there was little reason to second-guess the camera’s calculations. The DMC-FX100 achieved Good scores for image and flash quality, and Very Good marks for color quality.

The camera’s menus and controls are well thought out, with most important settings just a click or two away. Travelers will also appreciate the compact battery recharger, which you’ll be using given the decidedly average battery life of 530 shots per charge. (Out of the point-and-shoot cameras we’ve tested, the Nikon S50c [   ] holds the lowest score in this category, with 347 shots per charge; Samsung’s NV11 [   ] performed best, achieving 1,233.)

Macworld’s buying advice

The Panasonic DMC-FX100 is streamlined enough not to baffle novice users, but even seasoned shutterbugs ought to consider this is as a backup to their SLR or DSLR. Especially as a vacation take-along, this lightweight camera will produce consistently pleasing images.

performance

Image quality Good
Color quality Very Good
Flash quality Good
Battery life 530 shots on single charge

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor.

How we tested: The image-quality rating of the camera is based upon a panel of judges’ opinions in five categories: exposure, color, sharpness, distortion, and overall. Battery life testers follow a precise script, including shots with and without flash, until the battery dies.--Testing by Jim Galbraith and Brian Chen.

specifications

Resolution 12.2 megapixels
Zoom/focal length (35mm equivalent) 3.6x/28mm-100mm
Battery type Lithium ion
Media slots SD/SDHC
Size (width x height x depth, in inches) 3.8 x 2.1 x 1
Weight (in ounces) 5.3

[ David Becker is a writer and photographer based in San Francisco who regularly writes about personal technology, gadgets, and travel. ]

Lumix DMC-FX100K

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