Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Very fast, looks great, great battery life
- Irritating controls
The Panasonic DMC-FX9 is a wonderful looking compact camera that takes nice shots, has great battery life and operates very quickly.
Price$ 769.00 (AUD)
One of the things we love about the 6 megapixel DMC-FX9 is its looks. The DMC-FX9 comes in a sleek, compact silver chassis and feels extremely solid. It is about the size of a pack of cards, and slips comfortably into a pocket or small bag.
It sports a large (2.5") LCD, but the screen is plagued by blurring and ghosting issues not present in most other models.
The buttons and scroll wheel on this camera are so minute that people with large hands would find it extremely difficult to navigate without bumping something else accidentally. The directional pad is particularly problematic, with the menu button just millimetres away in the centre. We cannot count the number of times we were trying to change some settings and bumped it by mistake.
The DMC-FX9 produces photos with some of the best colour and contrast we've seen in a 6 megapixel model, with no evidence of blue or red over-saturation. We were disappointed, however, that this wasn't complemented by sharpness and clarity. Some of the pictures we took in our tests tended to be a little blurry. The problem isn't a deal-breaker, but it's worth noting.
We did love this camera's speed. It's very fast to power up and power down, and there's little lag between shots. According to Panasonic, the shutter lag is only 0.008 seconds.
The DMC-FX9 is quite limited in terms of shot settings and manual configuration. It has 14 shooting modes, including an obscure "food" mode. It also offers very basic shutter speed control, in the form of a "slow shutter mode".
There are also your standard white balance and ISO controls, as well as some nice colour modes (sepia, vivid natural etc) and some reasonably thorough image editing tools in the playback menu.
We liked its anti-shake function. Triggered by a button on the top of the camera, this helps compensate for shaky hands.
We were also very pleased to see the DMC-FX9 exhibited great battery life. The rechargeable lithium ion battery lasted through several full memory cards before it finally powered down after a massive 776 shots. We did notice the camera became increasingly hot after prolonged use, however, so keep in mind that taking a lot of shots in rapid succession may cause problems.
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