Panasonic DMC FX500 Review

Ultra Compact

Picture
Panasonic DMC FX500 Ease of Use 8
Features 9
Movie Mode 9
Build Quality8
Colours 8
Photo Quality 8
Style 8
Lowlight 8
Macro 8
Value for Money 8
10 Megapixels
5x Zoom
3 inch LCD Screen
94.9 x 57.1 x 22.9mm
155g

Overview

The Panasonic DMC FX500 is a 10 megapixel digital camera with a 5x optical zoom lens. It has more features than any other pocket sized camera I have reviewed.

Why Buy The Panasonic DMC FX500

If you are looking for a feature rich pocket camera then you will be delighted by the DMC FX500. It has manual exposure controls, a wide angle lens, high definition movies and a large 3 inch screen. A number of options are touch screen controlled.

On top of these headline features there is also image stabilisation, a setting to make it easy to see the LCD screen when the camera is help above eye level and bracketing. You can also increase the amount of zoom available when shooting at lower resolutions.

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:

10
5x
3 inches
94.9 x 57.1 x 22.9mm
155g

Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

5cm
Yes
No
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
SD/SDHC

Image Quality - See Sample Images Below

Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light

Outdoor 1 (Medium Zoom): The DMC FX500 does especially well when handling the lighter colours in the shot. This camera is able to show more detail on the boats than the majority of digital cameras manage. When it comes to colours the blues and greens have a natural feel to them. Focusing is sharp without hitting the same levels as the very best compacts manage.

Outdoor 2 (No Zoom): This scene is a stern test for a camera with a lens as wide as this one. In terms of focusing the camera does well, although there is a small amount of drop off in light and brightness as you move towards the edges.

Outdoor 3 (Maximum Zoom): With the lens fully zoomed in the DMC FX500 does well enough when it comes to focusing, but does not earn itself a place in the top quarter of pocket sized digital cameras.

Outdoor 4 (Building): My final outdoor test is another that tests out how well the camera is able to focus. Based on this set of tests the DMC FX500 does well enough without matching up to the very best. I would give it 7.5 out of 10 for focusing at distance.

Portraits

Outdoor Portrait: No problems here. Focusing is good with the camera being that much closer to its subject. The extra colour in the shot helps to create a warmer portrait. I think the DMC FX500 does well to find detail in the darker areas of the shot.

Indoor Portrait with Flash: Even with the flash on the DMC FX500 manages to retain colour in the shot. On the whole this photo works well for me. Again there is no problem with the sharpness of the shot.

Indoor Portrait without Flash: I would like to have seen more brightness and definition in this photo. Owing to the DMC FX500 not being able to pull enough light into the shot noise starts to creep in. This takes the edge off the definition of the shot. Although it is not a bad effort I prefer the indoor portrait with flash.

Macro, Colours and Noise

Macro: This is a decent macro shot. I would say it places the DMC FX500 in the top 25 percent of compact digital cameras for close up shots.

Colours: Over time I feel that Panasonic digital cameras have toned down the colours they produce a notch or two. I think this is a good thing as the colours now have a more natural look to them.

ISO 400 and ISO 1600: There is nothing out of the ordinary for my higher ISO tests. There is noise even in the lighter areas of the ISO 400 shot. Noise levels increase in the darker areas of the shot. At ISO 1600 noise is a problem in all areas.

Summary

Perhaps not up there with the very best pocket digital cameras, but a worthy effort none the less.

See sample images link arrow

Style

Looks wise the DMC FX500 is a fairly regular pocket sized digital camera. It is available in black and silver.

Shutter Lag Times

Shutter Lag Rating Slow

Single Shot
Five Shots
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time

0.44 seconds
15.48 seconds
0.54 seconds
17.5 seconds
3.08 seconds


Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Par Considering all the features packed into the DMC FX500 Panasonic have done a very good job of making the camera as easy to use as possible.

Points I Like

Ease of use - high definition movies - high angle LCD screen - design - manual exposure controls - touch screen controls

Where it Could Improve

A touch more brightness in some of the photos

Verdict

There is no doubt that the Panasonic DMC FX500 is an impressive camera when it comes to the number of features packed into its compact body. Picture quality is good too and all in all Panasonic have produced a very good digital camera.

Product Shots

Front View

Panasonic DMC FX500 Front View

Back View

Panasonic DMC FX500 Back View

Top View

Panasonic DMC FX500 Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

setup menu 3

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Canon IXUS 510 HS Rating 86/100

If you are prepared to pay a bit more for extra quality then the Canon IXUS 510 HS is likely to be of interest to you. For a pocket camera picture quality is very good. Add in the impressive set of features including a touch screen and Wi-Fi and you can start to see that you do get more for your money compared to a lot of digital cameras. The power of the lens also gives you plenty of scope for capturing a wide range of photo opportunities. It is true you pay a little extra than with more standard pocket cameras, but if you also include the stylish look of this model there is a lot on offer for the price tag.

Read Review: Canon IXUS 510 HS Review

Canon IXUS 125 HS Rating 86/100

If you are looking for a pocket camera and you are prepared to pay extra for picture quality and build quality then the Canon IXUS 125 HS is a good choice. Although it doesn’t have all the latest features like 360 degree panoramas it does an excellent job when it comes to taking pictures. It is straightforward, easy to use and will fit into just about any pocket.

Read Review: Canon IXUS 125 HS Review

Canon IXUS 1100 HS Rating 85/100

The Canon IXUS 1100 HS is a very good choice if you are looking for a pocket digital camera with a combination of a longer zoom lens and touch control. Once you get used to the screen and improve your touch accuracy it responds well. Picture quality compares favourably with other pocket cameras. The style and build suggest a bit of extra class too. The IXUS 1100 HS ticks most of the boxes for a camera in this category.

Read Review: Canon IXUS 1100 HS Review

Related Pages

Panasonic DMC FX500 Review Panasonic DMC FX500 Specification Panasonic DMC FX500 Sample Images Panasonic DMC FX500 Features Panasonic Digital Cameras

Review Date

August 2008

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