Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX520
Compact camera with a handy touch screen
- Touch screen, great focusing system, quality zoom lens
- Complicated joystick interface, expensive
The DMC-FX520 is an advanced camera that takes rich, clear photos and has the additional option of manual focusing using the touch screen. It’s pricey, but you get plenty of advanced features for the price.
Price$ 769.00 (AUD)
The Panasonic DMC-FX520 is a 10.1-megapixel camera with 5x optical zoom and the added functionality of a 3in touch screen. It's a heavy but compact camera, especially considering the wide range of features and shooting modes that are offered. It's relatively user-friendly and the touch screen is a fun feature that's both useful and easy to use.
The camera has a dark, brushed metal fascia offset by the shiny silver lens and surrounds. The rear of the camera houses most of the controls, which are quite small and might be difficult to use for those with larger hands. The On/Off switch is one of the main offenders — while it moves solidly, it's hard to push without using a fingernail.
Instead of using an arrow pad like most compact digital cameras, the DMC-FX520 uses a four-way joystick. This is located in the lower right corner of the camera body, which means it's quite easy to reach while holding the camera normally. Still, it's fiddly and complicated to use, again requiring the tip of a fingernail to operate. We also found it was easy to press the button by accident, causing it to enter the advanced options menu.
The joystick may be troublesome to operate, but the touch screen is intuitive. It's supplementary to the standard controls and is only activated when a physical button is pressed. The touch screen is used to navigate most of the on-screen menus, which allow you to choose from a wide range of shooting modes. Panasonic supplies a small stylus that looks quite like a guitar pick and can clip on to the camera's wrist strap. You can either use the stylus or a fingertip, as the on-screen menu and buttons are large enough for either.
Plenty of features are offered in the DMC-FX520, including red-eye correction and face detection. The face detection function is able to detect up to 15 faces within a single frame and will attempt to adjust exposure and focus settings when needed. This works well when used with the camera's novel autofocus tracking system.
Autofocus tracking is enabled and controlled using the touch screen. It's extremely simple to use; all that's required is to select the autofocus tracking mode, hold the camera still and touch the screen on the area to be focused on. The camera will then adjust the focus to suit that area, even when in the corners of the frame. Even while panning and moving the camera significantly, the autofocus tracking will maintain its lock on a subject until it leaves the frame. While it doesn't replace DSLR-style manual focus, this system is a decent runner-up.
The DMC-FX520 has a surprisingly fast autofocus system; it's more responsive than most other cameras we've tested. The camera starts up in less than 2sec, and an image can be captured after another second.
In our testing we ran a series of images through the Imatest photo analysis suite. Colours were consistently accurate from the DMC-FX520, though slightly over-saturated on default settings. No noticeable chromatic aberration could be seen, and there was no focus softening around the edges of images — a common problem with high-zoom compact cameras.
When examining photos closely — enlarged to 200 per cent — there was a small amount of compression artefacting visible. Variable levels of compression are to be expected from any camera that saves files in the JPEG standard, although this wouldn't be an issue for a casual photographer. Macro shots and digital zoom photos are also handled competently, though slightly soft. There's no obvious artefacting even at the highest digital zoom levels, which is a credit to the DMC-FX520's image processing.
As a standard point-and-shoot digital camera, the DMC-FX520 works well. With the addition of the touch screen and autofocus tracking system, it becomes a good compromise for those who want manual focusing but don't need a digital SLR.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- 3 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 4 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Boom: SanDisk just dropped the world's largest SD card
- Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- TPLinux System AdministratorQLD
- CCIT SAS Visual Analytics DeveloperVIC
- FTBusiness Analyst - BI, Analytics & Big DataNSW
- FTRegional Market Manager - Wide Bay RegionQLD
- CCNetworks Engineer - SecurityVIC
- CCTibco Integration Specialist l Port MacquarieNSW
- FTPERMANENT Business AnalystsQLD
- TPLevel 2/3 Desktop Support AnalystVIC
- TPSenior Project Manager | DETQLD
- FTLevel 2/ 3 Systems AdministratorVIC
- CCSoftware ManagerVIC
- FTFront End Web DeveloperACT
- FTWindows Dev Ops EngineerNSW
- CCSAP Business Finance LeadQLD
- FTSenior Network Engineer - RANVIC
- FTPMO LeadNSW
- FTSystem Analyst - IntegrationQLD
- FTSalesforce Developer - UrgentNSW
- CCTelecommunication Business SpecialistTAS
- CCApplication Developer - VB.Net, WCF, Production SupportACT
- CCUser ResearchNSW
- FTOracle Database Administrator (DBA)SA
- FTService ManagerNSW
- FTSoftware Engineer - Build/Image MaintenanceACT