Summary: Panasonic's run of producing the goods when it comes to digital compacts shows no signs of slowing. The Lumix DMC-FX55 is easy to use and reliable, producing consistently sharp, evenly exposed, colourful images -- it's all you could hope for from a pocket snapshot camera
Pros: Large bright LCD screen, simple to use (particularly with Intelligent Auto Mode); rechargeable battery.
Cons: No removable media supplied; could be faster writing maximum-resolution shots; optical image stabilisation not always infallible.
Excerpt: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX55 ($349) is a midrange camera in
Panasonic's ultra-compact camera lineup. It features an 8 Megapixel CCD, wide-angle
3.6X optical zoom lens, optical image stabilization, 3-inch LCD display,
widescreen movie mode, and superb battery life. It's closest competition is
undoubtedly the Canon PowerShot SD870 IS, which I just reviewed.
Pros: Very good photo quality (by ultra-compact standards), though see issues below, Wide-angle, 3.6X optical zoom lens, Optical image stabilization, Ultra-compact metal body, comes in three colors, Huge 3-inch LCD display; screen visible outdoors and in low light; useful Power LCD and High Angle features, Snappy focus speeds; very good low light focusing, Impressive continuous shooting modes, Tons of scene modes; camera can automatically select a scene mode for you, Well i...
Cons: Visible noise at lowest ISOs; noise reduction kicks in soon after, smudging details; some corner blurriness, Redeye a big problem, LCD resolution no better than smaller screens, No optical viewfinder, No metering option; more manual controls would be nice, High sensitivity scene mode worth skipping, Flimsy door over battery/memory card compartment, No USB 2.0 High Speed support, Not much built-in memory, Camera manual quality leaves much to be desired
Excerpt: Panasonic churns out compact cameras like sausages from a sausage factory. At the end of this string of products (14 so far this year) comes the FX55, which comes with a very creditable 8MP sensor, a 28mm wide-angle lens, face-detection technology and a 3-inch LCD spread all over the back. What makes it taste a little bit different to its peers is the intelligent Auto mode, of which more later.
Excerpt: The extra coverage of 28mm over 35mm can be really useful, especially if you take a lot of landscapes or group shots. It also incorporates Panasonic’s MEGA O.I.S. anti-shake system too, with two modes – constant or only active when the shutter is depressed. Along with the scene modes, there is a new Intelligent Auto mode, picking the required scene mode, MEGA O.I.S.