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So why would you consider a simple point–and-shoot digicam? Like this one.
A few reasons: the FX700 has a 5x Leica zoom with a 35 SLR equivalent wide end of 24mm; an excellent pressure-sensitive touch control system; Full HD video shooting; high burst rate; and more …
The 14.1 megapixel capture can snare a 4320×3240 pixel maximum image that leads to a large 37x27cm print.
In the Full HD department it can capture AVCHD Lite video with 1920×1080 or 1280×720 pixel resolution and 1280×720 to 320×240 pixel res in Motion JPEG. Video recording is triggered by a push of the red button sited next to the stills shutter button.
Touch control: this is a really fascinating feature. You touch the screen with finger tip or, better, with finger nail: if I wanted to engage the continuous shooting feature I simply had to touch the icon, then select the mode; AF modes, ISO setting, stabiliser setting, white balance, etc … the same. And then I discovered you can even drive the zoom via the touch screen.
An even nicer feature is that, via the touch screen, you can select Program AE metering and shutter or aperture priority plus manual and the scene modes.
There is a function called Motion Deblur, which juggles shutter speed and image size to reduce image blurring due to camera shake or subject motion. My advice is to avoid this.
Continuous shooting: you can shoot a total of 15 shots at a rate of up to 10fps with the full image size, as well as speeds of 40 or 60fps with a reduced image size. You can even shoot a burst of still frames while shooting a movie!
It’s worth a note about the clever auto screen brightness that adjusts in 11 steps as the ambient light level changes.
There is a panorama assist mode that gives you on screen lineups to help overlay successive frames and maximise the final result when you come to stitch them together with software. Frankly, there are other cameras that do this more elegantly and stitch in-camera, like some Sony models.
I would quite happily shoot at up to ISO 400 but choose my subjects carefully at ISO 800 due to a fall in resolution … with little increase in noise.
At ISO 1600 things are falling apart a bit more: lower sharpness and increasing noise.
There was some evidence of barrel distortion at the wide end of the zoom; a little pincushion distortion at the tele end.
It took about two seconds from power on to capture of the first shot; follow-ons about as fast as you could hit the shutter button.
Original shot at left; Levels corrected at right: how to make a simple shot even more effective.
Quality: an excellent above average compact digicam.
Why you would buy it: well-featured, small compact; access to shutter and aperture priority.
Why you wouldn’t: you want elegant, in-camera panorama stitching.
For me, this would be an excellent, easily pocketable backup to a DSLR. It can also do a few things that some DSLRs cannot do … like shoot full res video.
Image Sensor: 14.1 million effective pixels.
Metering: Intelligent multiple.
Sensor Size: 11mm MOS.
Lens: Leica DC Vario-Summicron f2.2-5.9/4.3-21.5mm.
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Shutter Speed: 60 to 1/2000 second.
Burst Speed: 2, 5, 10, 40, 60fps.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards plus 40MB internal memory.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4320×3240 to 480×480. Movies: 1920x1080i/p, 1280x720p, 848×480, 640×480, 320×240 at 30fps.
Viewfinder: 7.5cm LCD screen (230,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, AVCHD/QuickTime Motion JPEG.
Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 6400.
Interface: USB 2.0, AV, HDMI mini, DC input.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, AC adaptor.
Dimensions: 104x56x25 WHDmm.
Weight: Approx. 176g (inc battery).
Price: Get a price on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX700 (currently 45% off).