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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 Gordon Laing, June 2008

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 gallery

The following images were taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500. The FX500 was set to Program mode with Auto White Balance and the Adjust Image parameters set to their default zero positions. OIS Mode 1 was enabled for all these handheld images.

The individual exposure mode, file sizes, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and lens focal length are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS2 as JPEGs with the default Very High quality preset, while the resized images were made in Photoshop CS2 and saved with the default High quality preset.

The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.

Landscape: 4.28MB, Program mode, 1/800, f4.5, ISO 100, 4.4-22mm at 4.4mm (equivalent to 25mm)

  Our first shot was taken with the FX500 fully zoomed-out to an equivalent of 25mm on a sunny day at a sensitivity of 100 ISO - as such, it represents ideal conditions.

Lower water levels meant we couldn't grab the same composition seen in our FX35 Gallery, but the same effect is possible with the extra-wide 25mm coverage.

Optically the lens is performing well here, but look closely at the crops and there's already some processing artefacts visible even at 100 ISO.

Landscape: 4.82MB, Program mode, 1/640, f3.5, ISO 100, 4.4-22mm at 4.4mm (equivalent to 25mm)

  Our second shot was taken under similarly bright conditions at 100 ISO, so again represents the FX500's best potential quality.

Once again there's no optical issues with the lens to mention and there's plenty of detail in there if you'd prefer to increase the sharpening by a notch to coax it out.

But doing so will also make the faint smattering of noise and processing artefacts that's already visible that more apparent.

Landscape: 3.84MB, Program mode, 1/800, f8, ISO 200, 4.4-22mm at 22mm (equivalent to 125mm)

    For this shot of an approaching boat we increased the sensitivity to 200 ISO and zoomed the FX500 into its maximum focal length - an equivalent of 125mm.

Again there's no optical issues with the lens, but the increase in sensitivity has certainly had an impact on noise and processing artefacts.

Speckles and smearing of fine detail is apparent in the crops when viewed at 100%.

Portrait: 4.02MB, Program mode, 1/320, f5.9, ISO 200, 4.4-22mm at 22mm (equivalent to 125mm)

  For this portrait shot we stuck with the 200 ISO sensitivity and maximum focal length, but switched the mode to face detection and forced the flash to fire.

The FX500's face detection easily locked-onto the subject and the camera's done a good job of balancing natural light with that from the flash.

Even with the aperture wide open at its maximum focal length though, the depth of field remains quite large.

Macro: 4.31MB,Program mode, 1/125, f2.8, ISO 400, 4.4-22mm at 4.4mm (equivalent to 25mm)

  For this macro shot we increased the sensitivity to 400 ISO and positioned the camera as close as it could focus - at a distance of 5cm.

The lighting and subject matter here can be quite forgiving on noise and processing artefacts, although look closely and you'll see the drop in quality resulted from the increase in sensitivity.

However the optics again perform well and at 5cm you can enjoy some decent close-up results.


Indoor: 3.77MB,Program mode, 1/25, f2.8, ISO 400, 4.4-22mm at 4.4mm (equivalent to 25mm)

  Our first indoor shot was taken at a sensitivity of 400 ISO and with the FX500's AF mode again set to Face Detection.

The camera locked onto the subject, although at 400 ISO, there's significant noise and processing artefacts when viewed at 100%.

Flat areas of colour show noticeable speckling, while fine details have been lost due to smearing from processing.

Indoor: 2.79MB, Program mode , 1/13, f3.1, ISO 800, 4.4-22mm at 4.4mm (equivalent to 25mm)

  Our second indoor shot was taken with the sensitivity increased to 800 ISO, and as you'd expect, there's a further drop in quality along with a rise in noise and processing artefacts.

Pixel peepers will notice greater smearing and loss of fine detail when viewed on-screen at 100%, although it has to be said this and the examples at 400 ISO can be acceptable at smaller print sizes. Just don't look too closely.


Indoor: 2.19MB,Program mode, 1/80, f2.8, ISO 1600, 4.4-22mm at 4.4mm (equivalent to 25mm)

  Our final shot was taken with the FX500 at 1600 ISO, and unsurprisingly the quality has fallen further.

Noise has now become quite obtrusive with a significant loss in fine detail. Like other compacts, 1600 ISO on the FX500 remains an overly ambitious sensitivity, that's best used for emergencies only.

Ultimately as expected, the image quality of the FX500 is essentially identical to the Lumix FX35, which shares the same sensor and image processor.

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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