Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX33
Written by Gordon Laing
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX33 is a slim 8.1 Megapixel compact with a 3.6x optically stabilised lens. Announced in July 2007, it comes just seven months after its predecessor the Lumix FX30.
Like several of Panasonic’s July 2007 releases, the new FX33 greatly resembles its predecessor from the outside, but features a number of improvements under the hood. Most obviously, the resolution has had a slight boost from 7.2 to 8.1 Megapixels, there’s now the addition of Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto mode which includes Face Detection, and the maximum sensitivity has been increased to (a somewhat optimistic) 6400 ISO. These may be modest sounding enhancements, but the Intelligent Auto mode with Face Detection will be welcomed to anyone who wants an easier life, and it builds upon what was already a highly desirable compact camera.
The new FX33 shares its predecessors 3.6x optical zoom which delivers decent wide angle capabilities and an equivalent range of 28-100mm with effective optical stabilisation. The lens also retracts into a slim body which measures just 22mm thick, and at 52mm tall is also shorter than most rival models.
The Lumix FX33 is mostly automatic, but with 22 scene presets it’s possible to achieve a variety of creative effects, while the New Intelligent Auto mode can pick the most appropriate one for you. It also sports the excellent dropdown function menu system of other Lumix cameras, allowing you to quickly and easily change settings including quality, white balance and sensitivity on the decent 2.5in colour screen.
Like other Lumix cameras you can record smooth video in normal or widescreen formats and the FX33 can even grab a selection of frames and save them as a single photo for a snapshot of the action – great for analysing your ski jumps or golf swing.
All in all, it’s a compelling range of features for anyone who wants a slim and capable compact and isn’t bothered about full manual control over exposure. And if you like the sound of the FX33 but would have preferred a bigger screen, Panasonic also offers the Lumix FX55, which is essentially the same camera but with a larger 3in monitor. The FX55’s body is a fraction larger though which means it misses out on the FX33’s underwater housing option.
The latest Lumix compact sounds good on paper, but how does it perform in practice? In our Panasonic Lumix FX33 review we’ll put it through its paces, testing the features and comparing the quality against the best compacts around today. For a demonstration of the FX33’s headline features, including its zoom range, stabilisation and menu system, check out our Panasonic FX33 video tour. Note due to similarities with its predecessor, some sections of the following review are taken from our earlier FX30 article.
We tested a final production Lumix FX33, and following our convention of using default factory and best quality JPEG settings to test camera bodies unless otherwise stated, the FX33 was set to 8M Fine JPEG mode with Auto White Balance and the Standard Colour mode.