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67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compared to FX-35 it pros, it has cons...
Just upgraded from the FX-35 and did quite a few tests yesterday. Overall, the FX-500 is an excellent camera but dollar for dollar you get a little more with the FX-35. That being said, I am selling my FX-35 and keeping the FX-500 (see eBay!) because some small specific differences weigh in favor of the FX-500 for me as a photographer, but not necessarily because the...
Published on July 6, 2008 by Noel Hastings

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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I REALLY wanted to like this camera... but I don't
I completely fell in love with my Panasonic DMC-FX01, which has taken many unbelievable photos over the last 3 years until it finally ingested too much sand and died. I badly wanted a pocketable camera with 5x optical zoom, manual controls, a wide angle lens, and above all, great image quality. I have been so happy with Panasonic compacts that I decided to wait 2 months...
Published on May 26, 2008 by Rob V.


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67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compared to FX-35 it pros, it has cons..., July 6, 2008
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500K 10.1MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black) (Electronics)
Just upgraded from the FX-35 and did quite a few tests yesterday. Overall, the FX-500 is an excellent camera but dollar for dollar you get a little more with the FX-35. That being said, I am selling my FX-35 and keeping the FX-500 (see eBay!) because some small specific differences weigh in favor of the FX-500 for me as a photographer, but not necessarily because the camera is better. There were a few primary issues I want to mention between the two cameras though.

First, the FX-500 is noticeably larger than the FX-35. I know specs are specs, but just the weight and feel make it larger and it is less comfortable in a shirt pocket. The bonus is that for those of us with larger hands it is more comfortable to use without always hitting buttons with your thumb. Second, the lens is not quite as wide as the FX-35. This could be a number of factors, but since we know the chip processes not only noise but some optical distortions (try comparing the RAW and JPEG versions of a few Lumix camera images!) this could be post processing by the chip. I would guess the FX-500 is about a 25.5mm or 26mm wide angle compared to the FX-35. That, or the FX-35 is a 24.5mm :)

The most disappointing aspect of the FX-500 is that the images are not quite as good as the FX-35. Look close, mainly in low light. I notice significantly more noise artifact in the FX-500 images compared to the FX-35 in all ISO's. This make sense since the FX-500 has a much larger screen sitting right behind the chip and more electronics. I am sure the FX-500 generates more electronics noise from this fact alone and that has to be processed out. Luckily, the FX-500 has many more manual controls and you can adjust contrast, sharpness and noise reduction and little. Still, making as many adjustments as I could I could not get the same quality out of the FX-500 that I could get out of the FX-35. Let me stress that this image difference is small and only available to Pixel Peepers when you zoom in 100%, but it is noticeable. So, if you shoot wide and hope you can later crop in to get the image you want you will do better with the FX-500 to frame tight to reduce the amount of cropping.

Those were the largest issues I saw, but let me say the build quality is excellent as it always is with Lumix cameras. The menus are intuitive and the touch screen works wonderfully (even with a screen protector on the LCD). I think the actual number of items the touch screen is useful for is smaller than the number of things you can actually do with it, but for those things it is nice. The focus control is sweet, changing modes and scenes is quicker and easier and things like the playback control for movies now offer you real buttons on the screen which is very intuitive.

When you compare the fact that the FX-500 has more manual controls, a larger LCD, fancy gadget points for the touch screen and a slightly longer lens at 125mm, I decided to stick with it. This is also because I got one on eBay for about $350. If you are not really going to play with the gadgets on this camera that much and want a pocketable point and shoot with excellent, amazing optics, pick the FX-35. If you want a little more manual control, some sweet gadget novelty with the touch screen and perhaps a slightly longer lens and don't mind spending $100 more, get the FX-500. I decided on the FX-500 but really I am just waiting for a new and improved upgrade for my FZ-18! (I want a 10M chip and fancier processor, other than that I love the FZ-18!)

Two last notes: the rubberized case feel of the FX-35 is more secure in your hand in some ways and I really miss that on the FX-500. Also, the FX-500 seems to eat batteries a little faster. (makes sense though, expected...)

Pros:
1. longer zoom range nice
2. larger, heavier body easier to hold for large hands
3. intuitive touch screen, fast & easy

Cons:
1. more chip noise than FX-35, but manageable
2. larger heavier body less pocketable
3. costs $100 more than FX-35 for minor upgrades
4. battery life a little shorter than FX-35
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent at it strengths, good even at it's weaknesses, May 14, 2008
By 
O. Wilson (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
First of all, I can't comment much on the value for the money, since my purchase was based solely on features and I was willing to pay for them. I searched for 6 months for a camera that met my requirements (in this order).

Must Haves:
-fast first picture from 'off' state
-good low light pictures (as good as a compact anyway)
-small enough to fit in pocket (for bars, parties, etc)
-HD Video
-7MP or more

Nice to have:
-manual photo options
-Zoom while video record
-.avi video recording
-4x zoom or more

I was originally going to purchase the TZ5, but this model's manual options and smaller size won me over. For my purposes, giving up the 10x optical zoom was well worth it.

PROS:
-excellent (amazing) "Auto Ai" mode: It's truly point-and-shoot if you want it to be
-image stabilization 'mode 2' works very well to reduce blur
-about 1.25 second to first pic from off (about 2 sec with flash)
-battery life (second only to the Casios that I've purchased for friends and family)
-low-light pictures: if you set the correct scene mode, you can get a very decent picrture without flash - better thatn any other compact digitals I've seen.
-great video quality: 720p .MOV format is compatible with iMovie and looks great on a 42" 1080P LCD TV on a computer (you'll need to pay extra for the cable that goes directly from the camera to the TV)
-25mmm wide-angle is surprisingly useful, but you have to remember to zoom slightly if you don't want a slight 'fisheye' view.
-there is a 'quick menu' that gives you 2-button access to all the most often used functions (they change with each mode)
-one touch access to self-timer (great for quick self-portraits)

CONS:
-no zoom while video recording (TZ5 only as far as I know)
-sometimes it's unclear whether to use touchscreen or the joystick (I think anywhere that uses the touch should also be able to use the joystick)
-flash pics are about 6 seconds shot-to-shot (with 2/3 battery on full iA mode with double red-eye reduction flash)

MINOR ANNOYANCES:
-the LCD turns off after a some flash pictures for 1.5 sec or so (I suppose to help the flash recharge more quickly)
-tripod mount is to far left of body: bad for tiny portable tripods, but placement allows you to change battery/card without disconnecting tripod
-USB cable is not a (current-standard) mini-USB on the camera end. This may be a plus later on as more phones and cameras use micro-USB

SUMMARY:
This is the best camera available for my requirements, and an excellent overall compact. It has the best low-light pictures (with defeated flash) that I've seen on a digital compact (aside from the old, old Fujis). It's the first camera that I've been truely comfortable setting on 'auto' and knowing I will almost always get a good picture.
If you want a pocket-sized camera that you can just whip out at an event and be assured of a good picture or take a great looking video clip, while retaining the ability to do some limited manual exposures, this is the one for you.
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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best cameras I've had to return., May 27, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500K 10.1MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black) (Electronics)
I have had quite a few point and shoot cameras and this one is the nicest I've owned. I've alway been a fan of the Canon line of cameras and was a bit skeptical about switching brands, but the lackluster reviews of the recent Canons made me look at other options. The FX500 has met or exceeded all my expectations for the camera. The pictures are exceptional, the touchscreen is a joy to use, and the battery life is above average. Our pictures have been bright and vivid with minimal user intervention, the HD video is wonderful and its compact size and durable case means we can take it anywhere.

If I had any negatives to report, it's the same issues with other PnS cameras, we experienced some red eye, a bit of noise in the pictures and the audio quality wasn't all that great.

********UPDATE*******
After having the camera for almost a month it pains me to say it, but its being sent back. I mentioned noise in my review and after looking at all the pictures we've taking in great detail the pictures are just not crisps and clear. My wife is the main user of the camera and she constantly take pictures, runs them through photo shop and then prints them. When she sat down to do the first set from our vacation she found when zooming the pictures really become grainy and are blurry when printed. They look fine without the zoom, but when you start to zoom in you loose detail that our older camera captures.

Its really disappointing, the camera has the best interfaces I've seen and the touch screen is very nice. If your just wanting a nice point and shoot and aren't into photo manipulation, then this would probably be a decent camera, otherwise you may want to look at other options.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I REALLY wanted to like this camera... but I don't, May 26, 2008
I completely fell in love with my Panasonic DMC-FX01, which has taken many unbelievable photos over the last 3 years until it finally ingested too much sand and died. I badly wanted a pocketable camera with 5x optical zoom, manual controls, a wide angle lens, and above all, great image quality. I have been so happy with Panasonic compacts that I decided to wait 2 months for the DMC-FX500, but I feel like that was a complete waste of time. With all its bells and whistles, and the promise of full manual settings, this camera just doesn't take good photos.

For the steep $350, I expected the camera to at least somewhat approach the image quality of my Canon G7, which has near-DSLR IQ. This camera sadly doesn't even hold a candle to my wife's DMC-FX03, an older, low/middle-range Panasonic. Photos are generally very soft, and lacking focus. Highlights are often blown out, and lack vibrant colors. About 1 in 4 photos actually comes out decent, with somewhat acceptable focus. The 9-point auto focus setting turned in the best results, but even those were spotty.

I spent much of a 3-day weekend trying to tweak the manual settings, white balance, megapixel levels, sharpness and noise reduction controls, and came up with about the quality I'd expect from a $100 camera. Neither close-ups nor wide shots lacked sufficient detail. The "intelligent" auto setting is odd b/c there seems to be nothing intelligent about it - the results are almost random - some are way under-exposed and others are badly blown out. Some shots are relatively well-focused, while others are soft/blurry. Almost none approach a "great" shot.

I keep wondering if I've gotten a bum unit, but I'm so disappointed with this camera that I don't feel like bothering. Even with the Canon SD870IS' questionable reliability (our friends had trouble with theirs), I'd rather drop down to 4x zoom and 8 megapixels, which will be better anyway due to not having to stuff too many MP into a small image sensor. I don't have any doubt it will take the quality of photos I expect from a higher-end compact, and for about $90 less than this one.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Camera - Image Stabilization Works Well, April 25, 2008
By 
J. Riga (Columbus, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am highly impressed with the FX500. The touch screen is very cool, though most of the actual setup and operation must be done with the small joystick (also easy to use). The large 3" display is crystal clear and bright, even in sunlight. The camera has a metal body and machined metal lens casing and buttons - very sturdy camera. The photos are excellent in quality, better than my last Canon (the SD1000, total junk camera) by FAR. Lightweight and the video recording in HD at 720P feature is AWESOME for shooting small clips that look excellent on my 42" plasma. Flash is bring enough for all situations, and in natural light shooting with no flash the Optical Image Stabilization helps a lot. Some graininess noted in photos above ISO 400 and in a basement with no windows and lighting dimmed WAY down, but that's to be expected from ALL cameras. Quick fiddling with the manual mode (done by touchscreen) and you can take 10MP photos in very low light with no flash and they look quite good... very impressed. One last note, this works perfectly with my Macbook Pro, recognized by iPhoto right away and imports are lighting quick too!
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49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Big disappointemtn if Quality of Picture is Important!, June 8, 2008
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500K 10.1MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black) (Electronics)
I've been a Photo enthusiast for 50 years and go way back with many film and at least 10 digital cameras from near SLR-size to pocket compacts and was so thrilled when I ordered the FX500 (because of the Leica lens and the wide angle shooting capability) I could barely sleep until it arrived... Sad to say the camera construction & layout itself, the interface is wonderful but the quality of pictures (its "reason for being" in the first place, right?)is borderline horrible (in comparison say to the Canon SD850IS which is an almost perfect comparison in size & specs...to the FX500 side-by-sde, picture-for-picture using the exact same settings, light and subject...). Urg! I am so disappointed. The photos are so grainy and un-sharp... fuzzy by comparison... My bad! as my son would say, I did not wait for the DP Review to come out, but bought it the first week it was available... Well, it makes a fine paperweight on my desk and for shooting those "unimportant" fun shots of the dog playing onthe rug beside my desk... Don't buy this just for the pazazz unless you are using it only for email-sized postcard shots. Sorry Panasonic! this is the unvarnished truth about your otherwise wonderfully designed camera.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor image quality, especially in low light, August 24, 2008
By 
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500K 10.1MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black) (Electronics)
There are many things to like about this camera (touch-screen controls, manual overrides, large viewing screen, image stabilization, Leica lens) unfortunately image quality is not one.

While daylight exposures at ISO 100 or lower are OK albeit not outstanding, the noise and fuzziness of the images at higher ISO's makes the camera unusable at those settings. The images look great on the camera screen but get them back to your laptop or printer and the lack of sharpness is appalling. It's so bad I thought something was wrong with the camera, but reading all the other reviews I see I'm not alone. I've tried overriding the factory noise reduction setting but to no avail, it produces different results of similarly poor quality. Wish I was still within my 30-day return period.

Not recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Camera with minor issues, July 7, 2008
By 
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500K 10.1MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black) (Electronics)
I have always had canon or sony cameras and this is my first interaction with panasonic. I was very skeptical to start with as I had no exposure to panasonic cameras, but I am pleased I made a move. I was tired by looking at over saturated colors of Sony (can someone show them the real "red"?) while I had no complaints for canon products, when I compared same images of canon vs panasonic at major review sites, I liked FX35/FX500 or TZ5 much better - in terms of color and clarity. Also there are a no. of useful features (you can find more details in other reviews) that are not available in canon cameras in the same prize range. Finally I decided to go for FX500. We just returned from Disney vacation over independence day weekend and I have some great images in addition to few cool HD videos !!!

True - the noise levels in low light condition is visible but this one beats all other in day light by miles, and for 2 yr old son who goes to bed at 9 pm this is perfect.

BTW - I decided to go for FX500 and not FX35 because of 2 reasons -
looks (the black model is awesome) and combination of touchscreen and joy stick and not a 4 - way dial (that looks really old). But looking at the results I can now say for sure you can not go wrong with any of Lumix range - mainly FX35, TZ5 or FX500.

Go ahead and get it, you will not regrest it unless night photography is your major use (in which case I doubt any compact digicam would really work for you)
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Those that sent it back should have had it replced, June 19, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500K 10.1MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black) (Electronics)
I have shot 200 or so pics with his great little camera, and if you leave to it's own devices you will be very satisfied. I have a 17" plasma monitor on my computer and I have to tell you the detail is beyond my expectations after reading some reviews that complained that thier pictures were not clear, they must have had a defective camera or they must have had some settings wrong. I would definatly reccomend this camera to a friend.
My only gripe is that the Hi Def cable should be included as the suplied A/V cable degrades the picture on my 60" flat screen.
Buy it, try it, you'll keep it!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Camera!, May 14, 2008
By 
C. Clark (Washington State) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Others have written reviews that capture the key features of this camera. I want to add that this is a very easy camera to use -- even for someone like me who is not especially tech-savy. The interface is quite intuitive and, indeed, fun to use. Intelligent Auto works well in most situations, though as other writers have suggested, in low light situations it's best to go to one of the specific "scene" modes intended for such instances.

I had the camera with me on a recent 2 week vacation. Both the wide angle lens and the 5x zoom paid for themselves, I felt, with the scenes I could capture using them. (The wide angle of this Panasonic may not add much width in a living room scene, but it certainly does when shooting a mountain panorama.) Battery life was more than adequate for a full day of picture taking; and it's of note that the battery's charger comes (free) in the camera box. Best of all, I'm really pleased with the quality of the photos taken with this little camera.
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