Panasonic DMC FX90 Review

Simple and Easy

12 Megapixels    5x Zoom

Dimensions: 102.2 x 56.3 x 21.6mm    Weight: 132g

Good Points: Touch screen responsiveness, features, Wi-Fi

Bad Points: Picture quality


Panasonic DMC FX90 Shutter Lag Rating slow Ease of Use par Camera Name Rating

Overview

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX90 is a pocket sized digital camera with a touch controlled LCD screen. Another big attraction is likely to be Wi-Fi connectivity. This is one of the few digital cameras to offer Wi-Fi. Other features include 12 megapixels and a 5x wide angle zoom lens.

The Lumix DMC FX90 is capable of shooting High Definition movies and has a 3D photo function.

Why Buy the Panasonic DMC FX90

The Lumix DMC FX90 offers a few extra features over a more standard pocket camera. As well as the touch sensitive screen the addition of Wi-Fi is likely to be a big attraction.

Features

Megapixels and Zoom

The Lumix DMC FX90 has 12 megapixels and a 5x zoom lens. The lens has a focal length equivalent to 24 - 120mm in 35mm format. This is as wide an angle of view that digital cameras tend to have. This means you can fit extra wide scenes into your photos. The maximum aperture is f/2.5. This is considered a large aperture and can be a big help when taking photos in lowlight.

Memory Cards and Batteries

For storing your photos you can use SD, SHHC or SDXC memory cards.

The camera is powered by a lithium ion battery. Panasonic supply a battery and charger with the camera.

Touch Controlled LCD Screen

The LCD screen is 3 inches in size. It is touch sensitive with more or less all controls being set through the screen. Panasonic provide a stylus for use with the screen.

Movie Mode

You can shoot Full 1920 x 1080 pixels High Definition movies.

3D Photography

As with an increasing number of digital cameras the Lumix DMC FX90 gives you the option of producing 3D photos.

Macro Mode

For close up shots the Lumix DMC FX90 can focus from 3cm away from your subject.

Aspect Ratios

The aspect ratio is the shape of the photographs you take. Panasonic has equipped this camera with four different ratios. The first is 4:3. This is the ideal shape for viewing on older computer screens. 16:9 is the optimum shape for displaying on widescreen televisions. 3:2 is perfect for 6 x 4 inch prints. 1:1 gives you a square image and can give you a different look to your photos. It can work particularly well with portrait shots.

Scene Modes

The scene modes available are: Portrait, Transform, Self-Portrait, Scenery, Panorama Assist, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Handheld Night Shot, Food, Party, / Candle Light, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, Starry Sky, Fireworks, Beach, Snow, Aerial Photo, Photo Frame and High Dynamic.

Image Quality

Picture Quality Summary

Overall the Lumix DMC FX90 fails to match up to the usual high quality offered by Panasonic digital cameras. In some cases focusing is quite soft. This will rule out making any large sized prints.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

Straight away there is an example of softer focusing. In this case focusing slips quite noticeably as you move away from the centre of the shot. There is also a loss of detail in the brightest areas of the scene. This scene does have high levels of contrast and it may be the case that this camera simply struggles in these conditions.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

With the lens zoomed out and less contrast the quality increases. This is a much sharper shot although there is still evidence of some loss of sharpness as you move out to the edges of the photo. The building on the left hand side also appears to lean in as the camera has a problem with verticals at the edges.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

Zooming in produces another shot that is a step up in quality from the first test shot. Quality is about average compared to other pocket cameras. There are still areas where the definition could improve, for example on the roofs of the building. This may sound like a minor point, but it is indication that the Lumix DMC FX90 lacks that bit of sharpness and quality that many other cameras manage to produce.

Outdoor Building

This shot is a further example of a loss of true focus towards the edges of the shot. This is not especially noticeable if prints are kept to snapshot size, but other cameras have an advantage when it comes to producing crisp shots.

Outdoor Portrait

Moving in closer the quality improves noticeably. There are no issues with sharpness and the definition showing in this photo is so much better. Panasonic include a white balance setting of shady. This has been used in the photo to give it a warmer look.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

The burst of flash light is concentrated in the centre of the picture. This is quite a harsh light and makes some of the skin tones look red. The other drawback is that the light does not reach the hair. This makes it look darker than it should and causes detail to be lost.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

In terms of brightness and colours the Lumix DMC FX90 does well. As with other pictures the overall definition and clarity of the short does not quite measure up with the picture taking on a slightly hazy look.

Macro

In macro mode the Lumix DMC FX90 is outstanding for a compact digital camera. The test shots show the camera is capable of focusing from close into your subject. It can focus sharply on your main subject and throw the background out of focus.

Colours

There is less to choose between the latest digital cameras and some of their predecessors when it comes to colours. The strength of the colours produced by the Lumix DMC FX90 is mid range. You should be able to produce pictures with natural looking colours.

Noise

It is hard to tell what is noise in some of the photos and what is a general lack of sharpness. Whatever it is the edge is taken off the edge is taken off the definition in a number of the test shots.

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Canon Powershot A4000 IS Rating 84/100

You get quite a lot for your money with the Canon Powershot A4000 IS. If you only plan to make small sized prints or share your photos on the Internet you may not see a great deal of difference between the photos taken with this camera and those taken with other models available at around the same price. What you might notice is that the pictures have a touch more clarity. This is likely to become more evident if you make larger prints. To sum up, if you are looking for a handy compact camera, at a reasonable price, that can cope very well with most photo opportunities this camera is hard to beat.

Read Review: Canon Powershot A4000 IS Review

Panasonic DMC S5 Rating 84/100

If you are looking for a cheap pocket sized digital camera it is difficult to find one offering better picture quality than the Panasonic Lumix DMC S5. It is such a small camera and very easy to use. It is almost the ideal snapshot camera if you do not want to spend a great deal of money.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC S5 Review

Panasonic DMC S3 Rating 84/100

The Panasonic Lumix DMC S3 is an excellent value for money pocket camera. It is very hard to beat when compared alongside its direct rivals. Picture quality and features have an edge over many of its competitors while the rapid response times are also a big plus point. If you are looking for a cheaper compact digital camera then you can’t go far wrong with the Lumix DMC S3.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC S3 Review

Related Pages

Panasonic DMC FX90 Specification

Panasonic DMC FX90 Sample Images

Digital Camera Reviews

Panasonic Digital Cameras

Review Date

Review Date: February 2012

Verdict

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.

Ratings

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

8
8
9
8
8

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

Total:

6
8
7
10
7

79

Main Features

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

12
5x
3 inches
102.2 x 56.3 x 21.6mm
132g
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:

0.48 seconds
11.08 seconds
0.56 seconds
12.33 seconds
2.25 seconds

Shutter Lag Table

Handling

General Handling

This camera may not be very big, but you do have enough room to get a decent grip of the camera. Although the LCD screen dominates the back of the camera there is still enough room to place your thumb to help hold everything steady.

Flash Positioning

The flash unit is positioned well away from any fingers towards the centre of the front of the camera at the top.

LCD Screen Quality

Touch control works more or less perfectly if you use the stylus provided with the camera by Panasonic. If you use your fingers it can be a little more hit and miss, but still performs better than a lot of touch controlled cameras. The 3 inch screen size is about standard for a touch screen. Normal screen viewing quality is good.

Turn on Time and Shutter Delay

The Lumix DMC FX90 turns on and takes the first shot quickly. After that shutter response is about average.

Design and Build Quality

There is nothing specific about the design that marks this camera out from the mass of pocket cameras on the market. That is not to say it doesn't look good it just has a somewhat standard look and feel to it. The build quality appears to be solid.

Camera Controls

You can select two menu options to appear on the main screen. This gives you fast access to change the settings you use most often.

Other than those options you need to access the menu system to change any settings. There are 23 shooting options, 4 movie options and 24 set up options. These display on the screen four options at a time. Depending on what options you change the most this set up can make the camera slower to operate than a camera with more traditional buttons.

Product Shots

Front View

Panasonic DMC FX90 Front View

Back View

Panasonic DMC FX90 Back View

Top View

Panasonic DMC FX90 Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4