Panasonic DMC FX70 Review

Ultra Compact

14 Megapixels    5x Zoom

Dimensions: 102.5 x 55.0 x 22.8mm    Weight: 165g

Good Points: Features, Handling, Touch Control, Build Quality

Bad Points: LCD screen could be clearer- Picture Quality


Panasonic DMC FX70 Shutter Lag Rating slow Ease of Use par Camera Name Rating

Overview

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX70 is a pocket digital camera offering touch screen control. The vast majority of camera settings are changed via the screen. Aside from the touch screen element the Lumix DMC FX70 is a fairly typical smaller compact digital camera that will fit into most pockets.

Does a touch screen make a digital camera easier to use? A lot will depend on your own personal preferences. Personally I find little difference between a touch screen and the more traditional type of interface when it comes to the speed at which you can change a setting.

Why Buy the Panasonic DMC FX70

The touch screen is likely to be the most obvious attraction. Aside from that the camera looks good and feels as though it has a good build quality. There are one or two extra feature such as a large maximum aperture that help to mark out the Lumix DMC FX70 as a little bit different to some of its direct competitors.

Features

Key features include 14 megapixels and a 5x optical zoom. The focal length of the lens is equivalent to 24 - 120mm in 35mm format. This means it is classed as a wide angle lens. The advantage of this is that it can help you squeeze wider scenes into your photos.

Panasonic provide a feature called extra zoom with their digital cameras. This adds quite a bit of flexibility as you can opt to decrease the number of megapixels you shoot at in return for additional zoom becoming available. This works on a sliding scale. At 7 megapixels there is 7x zoom available to you. At 5 megapixels 8.4x zoom is available. The maximum zoom is 10.5 times when you shoot at less than 10 megapixels.

Another lens attribute is the large f/2.2 aperture. This can help the camera pull in more light when lighting levels start to fall and is generally helpful in lowlight conditions. This is a feature that is not seen that often on a pocket camera. Image stabilisation is also available. This also really comes into its own once light starts to fade.

For close up work you can focus the Lumix DMC FX70 from 3cm away from the subject. There is also a cosmetic mode. This allows you to fine tune portrait shots.

Compared with other pocket cameras there are one or two extra features that allow you to fine tune settings such as more advanced white balance modes. This lets you create photos with a warmer or cooler look.

The touch controlled LCD screen is 3 inches in size.

The Lumix DMC FX70 can shoot High Definition movies with a maximum resolution of 720p

Image Quality

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

One area where the Lumix DMC FX70 found it hard going was in the lightest areas of this shot. Detail is lost in areas where the sun falls on the boats. This is a common problem and most pocket cameras find this difficult. In fact it is one area where you can normally see the difference in quality between small pocket cameras and larger or higher quality digital cameras.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

If you like plenty of depth of colour in the photographs you take then you will get that with the Lumix DMC FX70. Apart from that this is a fairly typical effort for a wide angle shot from a pocket camera at this price point. The photo looks a little unnatural as if the software inside the camera has overdone the sharpness.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

I prefer this shot to the second test shot where the lens is zoomed right out. Even so I would describe the result as not reaching the standards I usually see from other Panasonic digital cameras.

Outdoor Building

It is the same story with this photo too. Whilst sharpness is perfectly acceptable for snapshot sized prints it lacks the absolute clarity the best pocket cameras manage. There is only a small loss in sharpness as you move away from the centre and towards the edges of the photo.

Outdoor Portrait

The Lumix DMC FX70 appears to find it much easier when the subject is up close. This is my favourite shot out of the tests I ran with this camera. The colours have a warm look to them. Skin tones are about right with pinks kept in check well.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

As with my outdoor portrait the clarity and definition of this photo is a marked improvement on what the Lumix DMC FX70 managed for outdoor scenic shots. This is a fairly typical effort for a pocket camera.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

Once again I am impressed by the colours on offer from a Panasonic digital camera. They help to give the photo a lift and I prefer the overall look to the portrait shot taken with flash.

Macro

I have no complaints with the macro shot. It is inline with expectations for a compact digital camera of this size. The Lumix DMC FX70 handles the artificial lighting well and manages to reproduce the colours accurately.

Colours

On the whole I like the colours this camera produces. They certainly have a vivid look to them in most instances. As with my outdoor portrait you can use the various white balance settings to help produce colour to your own personal taste.

Noise

Noise or a general haze is a problem with more distant scenes, especially when the lens is zoomed right in. This is something I have noticed with other digital cameras in the Panasonic FX range.

Picture Quality Summary

The quality of my test photos is a bit of a mixed bag. Close up work is fine, but I have reservations about the quality on offer for more distant shots.

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 FX70 Specification

Panasonic DMC FX70 Sample Images

Digital Camera Reviews

Panasonic Digital Cameras

Review Date

Review Date: October 2010

Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX70 does not quite match up to the picture quality I am used to seeing from Panasonic digital cameras. It does have a lot of other plus points, but if you are looking for true clarity in your photos there are better pocket cameras around.

Ratings

Ease of Use:
Features:
Movie Mode:
Build Quality:
Colours:

8
8
8
8
8

Photo Quality:
Style:
Indoors:
Macro:
Value for Money:

Total:

7
8
8
8
8

79

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:
Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

14
5x
3 inches
102.5 x 55.0 x 22.8mm
165g
3cm
Yes
No
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
SD/SDHC/SDXC

Shutter Lag Times

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

0.55 seconds
10.11 seconds
0.86 seconds
10.86 seconds
2.45 seconds

Shutter Lag Table

Handling

Unsurprisingly usage of the Lumix DMC FX70 is dominated by the touch screen. You should find the menu options easy enough to read through the screen, although I did find it a bit hazy for composing photos. Other touch controlled digital cameras have a larger 3.5 inch screen. In an ideal world so would the Lumix DMC FX70, but Panasonic avoid packing too many items onto each screen, so the menus are easy to read and access.

Panasonic include key settings as small icons around the outside of the screen. This makes it quick and easy to select a setting and make any changes. It is easy to select a spot to focus on by touching the screen. If you wish you can also set up the Lumix DMC FX70 so that touching the screen takes a picture. You also have the more standard shutter button placed on the top of the camera if you prefer.

The only other buttons on the camera are to shoot a movie, access shooting modes and accessing the menu. There is also a small slider to place the camera in review mode. Zooming in and out is controlled through a ring on the top of the camera.

One feature I really like is that you can scroll easily though photos you have already taken. This is achieved in a similar way to flipping through pages in a book.

The menu for normal shooting runs to nineteen items with five items to a page. In addition there is a separate page for shooting movies and five pages for general set up.

Product Shots

Front View

Panasonic DMC FX70 Front View

Back View

Panasonic DMC FX70 Back View

Top View

Panasonic DMC FX70 Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4

Buy the Panasonic DMC FX70

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GBP 179.99
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