The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX550 is different to other smaller, compact digital cameras. It has a great range of features. These include an extreme wide angle lens (for squeezing in very wide scenes), manual exposure and a top quality 3 inch LCD screen that is controlled by touch. The Lumix DMC FX550 has 12 megapixels and a 5x optical zoom lens. The amount of zoom available can be increased when shooting at lower resolutions.
Why Buy The Panasonic DMC FX550
If you are looking for extra features, a good looking camera and good picture quality then the Lumix DMC FX550 is hard to beat for its size.
94.9 x 57.1 x 21.9 mm
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light
Outdoor 1 (Medium Zoom):
One thing Panasonic digital cameras do better than any other brand I test is to bring out more detail in some of the shady areas of a photo. In this example the name on the front boat is shaded from the sun, but rather than being badly affected by noise the name can still be clearly made out on a good sized print. Overall the picture is of a high quality. Sharpness remains true as you move away from the centre of the picture.
Outdoor 2 (No Zoom): Here you can see the difference an extreme wide angle lens can make. There is far more of the width of the scene showing in the shot. This will be a big plus point if you enjoy taking landscape style shots. Considering just how wide angle the lens is, the levels of sharpness are good. Most cameras with wide angle lenses produce softer shots.
Outdoor 3 (Maximum Zoom): With the zoom lens being zoomed all the way in sharpness is good again. There does appear to be a slight haze around the boats as the Lumix DMC FX550 finds some difficulty dealing with such bright, reflective objects.
Outdoor 4 (Building): As with my other outdoor test shots sharpness is above average and does not fall away to any large degree as you move out towards the edges of the shot. I use multi point focusing for my scenic shots in an attempt to get focusing to be sharp right across the picture.
There is plenty of brightness in this picture. The colours are about right. The pinks in the skin tones have a natural look and the picture has a warm feel to it.
Indoor Portrait with Flash: The picture is not short of light from the built in flash unit. The problem is the light is not spread as evenly as I would like it to be. There are areas on the face that reflect back too much light, losing detail, while areas of the hair could do with some extra illumination.
Indoor Portrait without Flash: I like this picture. I think it has a more natural look to it than the photo taken with flash. The Lumix DMC FX550 handles the imperfect light better than most cameras do.
Macro, Colours and Noise
The macro shoot is a good one. The Lumix DMC FX550 is able to show a high level of detail. Common problems such as purple fringing have been avoided. You should be able to photograph a variety of close up subjects and produce pleasing results.
Colours: The colours in my test shots look how each of the scenes were on the day. In some of my outdoor tests I would like to have seen a touch more brightness. This would have helped to give the scenes a more vivid feel.
ISO 400 and ISO 1600: Lower ISO settings produce average noise levels, but as you step up to higher levels noise levels are very high. The good news is that you are unlikely to use the higher settings often - if at all.
The Lumix DMC FX550 produced a good set of test shots. There were very few negatives and plenty if plus points.
This is a very rectangular digital camera. Apart from the corners being rounded there are a lot of straight lines. It still manages to look stylish.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time
Ease of Use
The way that Panasonic has incorporated the touch screen is excellent. With other brands where every feature is controlled through touch I have often found the interface fiddly and can slow me down. With the Lumix DMC FX550 you select options like the shooting mode by touch with various other features controlled through a more traditional menu. To me this gives the best of both worlds.
Points I Like
Best touch screen setup - manual exposure - HD movies - extreme wide angle lens - picture quality
Where it Could Improve
There are no areas that really stand out
Taking the whole package into account including the features and picture quality, the Panasonic Lumix DMC FX550 is a class act. I would be very happy to own one.
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