Panasonic's new slim aluminium Lumix DMC-FX1 comes in a range of colours and is responsive and easy to use, making it a suitable choice for the point-and-click photographer. The lens is a Leica F2.8, 3X optical zoom, twinned with a 3.2Mp CCD for a top resolution of 2048x1536 pixels, which will fill the supplied 16MB SD card after 10 fine-quality shots. A 1.5in LCD offers composition and histogram modes, while the rechargeable 360mAh Lithium-Ion battery should be good for around 120 shots using the LCD.
The Lumix DMC-FX1's key selling point is its optical image stabiliser (OIS), which is more commonly found in high-end camcorders. By eliminating camera shake, the OIS helps to prevent image blur in conditions where a slow shutter speed is needed, as well as reducing the need for flash use in some situations. An effective automatic mode and exposure presets cater for the novice, while more advanced photographers get manual features like exposure compensation and bracketing, programmable white balance, ISO settings and colour saturation/temperature. However, manual shutter speed and aperture selection are missing, along with manual focus.
Image quality is acceptable, but purists will soon spot colour fringing and a disappointing amount of noise on flat areas of colour.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX1Price: $659
Phone: (02) 9986 7400