Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX700 Overview
**See Test note below**
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX700 offers an effective resolution of 14.1 megapixels, from a 1/2.33″ RGB MOS image sensor. Panasonic has coupled this to an image stabilized, Leica DC Vario-Summicron branded 5x optical zoom lens, offering a range from a very generous 24mm-equivalent wide angle to a moderate 120mm-equivalent telephoto. The Panasonic FX700’s lens has a maximum aperture that varies from f/2.2 to f/5.9 across the zoom range. The minimum focusing distance for the Panasonic DMC-FX700 is ordinarily half a meter, but drops to just three centimeters when switched to Macro mode. As with most compact cameras these days, there’s no optical viewfinder, with the Panasonic FX700 instead opting solely for a roomy 3.0″ LCD display with 230,000 dot resolution on which images and videos are both framed and reviewed. Thanks to a touch panel over the display, it serves as a point of control as well.
The Panasonic DMC-FX700 has an 11-point multi-area autofocus system which also includes a single-point “high speed” focusing mode. There’s also a face detection function, with Panasonic’s implementation using the information to adjust both focus and exposure to properly capture your subjects’ faces, and goes a step further, by enabling the Lumix DMC-FX700 to recognize specific individuals’ faces, and prioritize these over other detected photos when capturing photos, or search for photos containing a specific face in playback mode. The Panasonic Lumix FX700 also has an implementation of autofocus tracking, which can monitor a subject as it moves around the frame, continuing to update autofocus as required. Panasonic’s AF tracking is linked to the face detection system, allowing the camera to continue tracking a face even if it briefly turns to a side profile – although it should be noted that the face detection system does require the subject be looking towards the camera to achieve its initial detection. It’s also possible to select a point on which to focus by tapping it on the camera’s touch-screen panel.
ISO sensitivity ordinarily ranges from 100 to 1600, with the ability to extend this as far as ISO 6400 equivalent in High Sensitivity Auto mode. Shutter speeds from 1/2000 to 60 seconds are possible, and a Touch Shutter function allows a picture to be captured simply by tapping the touch panel. The Panasonic DMC-FX700 uses Intelligent Multiple metering, and also provides center-weighted and spot options. It offers seven white balance settings including Auto, Manual, four fixed presets, and the ability to specify a color temperature. A whopping selection of twenty eight scene modes let users tailor the look of their images, and the Panasonic FX700 also provides aperture-, shutter-priority, and fully manual modes for those who want more control. There’s also an Intelligent Scene Selection function, which can automatically select from a subset of six scene modes. A five mode flash strobe includes red-eye reduction capability, and has a rated range of up to 7.4 meters at wide angle, or 2.8 meters at telephoto. There’s also Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto, Intelligent Exposure and Intelligent ISO functions as seen on past models.
As well as JPEG still images, the Panasonic FX700 can capture movies with sound at up to 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution or below. Movies at 720p or below can be recorded using either the older, less efficient QuickTime Motion JPEG compression. In addition, 720p mode allows AVCHD Lite compression for lower file sizes. At Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution, the only option is AVCHD compression. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX700 stores its images and movies on Secure Digital or MultiMediaCards, including the newer SDHC or SDXC types. There’s also a generous 40MB of built-in memory. Connectivity options include a USB 2.0 High-Speed connection, plus mini-HDMI high definition or NTSC / PAL standard definition video output. Power comes from a proprietary Lithium Ion battery, which includes Panasonic’s ID Security function to prevent use of counterfeit or third-party battery packs. Battery life is rated as good for 300 shots on a charge to CIPA testing standards. The software bundle includes PHOTOfunSTUDIO v5.2 HD Edition.
The Panasonic Lumix FX700 is available from late-August 2010, priced at about US$400.