The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX700 is operated through a touch controlled LCD screen. It has 14 megapixels and a 5x ultra wide angle lens. At a shade under 25mm wide the Lumix DMC FX700 will fit into a regular sized pocket.
Compared to other digital cameras of a similar size Panasonic have packed in an impressive range of features.
Why Buy The Panasonic DMC FX700
Most touch control digital cameras tend to be relatively straightforward pocket models. Where the Lumix DMC FX700 is different is that it offers manual exposure controls, plus a large maximum aperture. Movie mode features are also above average and are hard to beat by other touch control digital cameras.
103.5 x 55.8 x 24.5 mm
The main attractions aside from the touch controlled screen are likely to be the manual exposure controls and the large f/2.2 maximum aperture. The manual exposure controls give you a level of creative control over your photos while the large aperture will help you when lighting levels start to fall.
The lens has a focal length equivalent to 24 - 120mm in 35mm format. This gives it wide angle capabilities. This is great if you are planning to shoot plenty of wide scenes such as landscapes. As with other Panasonic digital cameras the amount of zoom available can be increased on a sliding scale if you reduce the number of megapixels you are shooting at. A maximum 10.5x zoom becomes available at less than 3 megapixels. This certainly adds to the flexibility the Lumix DMC FX700 offers you.
Panasonic has built image stabilisation into the camera to reduce any blur caused by camera shake. For close up work you can focus from 3cm away from you subject.
Another very impressive feature is the burst mode. This can fire off up to 10 frames per second at the full 14 megapixels resolution. There are not many digital cameras around that can match this. The majority of digital cameras need you to reduce the resolution to something like 3 megapixels before being able to reel off anything like this number high speed shots.
There are some advanced white balance options available in addition to the more standard presets. These allow you to fine tune the colour temperature to give a warmer or cooler look to your photos and to adjust colour strength. If that sounds more complicated than you would like to get involved with you also have access to simpler colour settings for warm, cool, black and white and sepia. You can also adjust levels of contrast, sharpness, saturation and noise reduction.
Most digital cameras offering High Definition movies have a maximum resolution of 720p. The Lumix DMC FX700 offers a higher resolution at 1080p. In addition to this you can record stereo sound. You can also zoom in and out while shooting movies.
It goes without saying that handling is dominated by the fact the Lumix DMC FX700 has a touch controlled LCD screen. Panasonic have made the screen icons large enough in most instances to make it easy to change a setting. Now and again I struggled to get a setting to change, but accuracy of where to touch the screen is likely to improve over time.
The screen is easy to read when looking at the menu system, although I thought it lacked a little clarity when composing and reviewing photos.
The menu system itself covers five pages. There are extra pages for movie settings and a further five pages for general set up. So there is quite a lot under your control.
There are a couple of features the touch screen offers that I really like. The first is the ability to focus on any part of a scene by touching the screen. The next is it is very easy to flick through photos you have already taken.
One area where I'm not convinced a touch screen like this one is an advantage is when you place the camera in manual mode and want to adjust aperture and shutter speed. Give me a little wheel I can rotate any day.
Items that are not controlled through the screen are zooming in and out, taking the picture, shooting a movie, reviewing photos, accessing shooting modes and accessing the menu. This gives you faster access to these controls than if they had also been under touch control. Therefore I would say Panasonic have managed to get the balance just about right.
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
Compared to other cameras I was testing at the same time the Lumix DMC FX700 produced the softest focusing. It handles detail in more shady areas well, but the lightest areas of the shot caused a problem with detail being lost.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
Digital cameras with a wide angle lens find this shot a tough call. Producing a small wide angle lens capable of edge to edge sharpness is very hard at this price point. My test shot here is perhaps a little above average for this type of camera when it comes to sharpness.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
With the lens fully extended the shot takes on a hazy look. This is disappointing when compared to the crystal clarity I am used to seeing from other Panasonic digital cameras. If you are planning to make snapshot sized prints then you are unlikely to notice this too much, but larger prints of distant scenes are likely to lack sharpness and definition.
There are similarities between this shot and the previous one. In this photo with the lens not pushed to its limits quality is better, but the picture is still some way from being pin sharp.
Moving much closer in seems to suit the Lumix DMC FX700. Quality improves quite dramatically. I really like the colours in this shot. Focusing is very good and all signs of haze have gone.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
This picture looks a bit flat to me. The light from the flash has muted the colours a little. Other cameras manage to inject a bit more life into this shot. I would also like to have seen some extra light produced by the flash unit.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
In terms of colours I prefer this shot to the portrait shot taken using flash. There is a small amount of noise showing that just takes the edge of the definition. Taking into account the lighting available at the time this is a fair effort.
The macro shot is in line with standard pocket cameras. This may not be the right camera for anyone who is serious about close up photography, but you should be able to produce good quality macro snapshots.
Apart from my portrait shot taken using flash I like the colours produced by the Lumix DMC FX700. The colours have enough depth without going to extremes.
If you are looking for crystal clear photos then I would look elsewhere. The test photos I took where there is distance between the Lumix DMC FX700 and the scene have a slightly hazy look.
Picture Quality Summary
Panasonic usually set a very high standard when it comes to picture quality. This camera falls below the quality I am used to seeing from their smaller digital cameras. It may be o.k. for snapshots, but if you plan to print anything much larger there are better options to be had elsewhere.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time
Ease of Use
A touch screen doesn't necessarily make a digital camera easier to use, but I found my way around the Lumix DMC FX700 without any real problems. By including buttons to review photos, access the menu and changing the shooting mode Panasonic have avoided touch screen overkill that I have seen elsewhere.
Points I Like
Features - Handling - Touch Control - Build Quality
Where it Could Improve
LCD screen could be clearer - Picture Quality
The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX700 ticks a lot of the right boxes, but I don't think picture quality matches up to the features on offer. That is a shame as the combination of basic manual controls, plus a touch screen interface is very appealing.
Top Rated Cameras in this Category
Sony DSC TX55 Rating 85/100
If the touch screen was perfect then the Sony Cybershot DSC TX55 would be a truly outstanding digital camera. As it is picture quality is hard to beat for such a small camera. Style and design is very impressive and the features on offer give you more or less everything you are likely to want in a point and shoot pocket camera and a bit more on top. It can be very hard to find the perfect touch screen so if touch control is important to you then this camera is well worth a place on your short list.
Read Review: Sony DSC TX55 Review
Panasonic DMC FX90 Rating 79/100
Panasonic offers some excellent digital cameras and can normally be replied upon to produce crystal clear photos. As with previous reviews of cameras in the FX part of the range the Panasonic Lumix DMC FX90 just does not match up to those usual high standards. Focusing is softer than it should be and you are likely to see the results of this even with relatively small sized prints.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX90 Review
Panasonic DMC FX70 Rating 79/100
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.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX70 Review