Recently, I wanted to upgrade my 8 megapixel point-&-shoot, a Sony Cybershot which I loved (it had a large touch screen and was very compact, especially amazing since it originally came out in 2005). But as the PhotoGuru, I needed to keep my street cred, so I began the search.
When I saw Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-FX150, 14.7 megapixel compact camera about the same size of my Sony (possibly a tiny bit smaller at 2.12” x 3.8” x .98”) my mind said “dope!” and my late 90s lingo said “no you di-ent!”. It’s almost the size of a business card, just under an inch thick (non-chunky-style), and weighing in just over 5 ounces. Wow.
It wasn’t easy to find one in stock, but after searching the web, and making a few calls (with pain-in-the-rear reps tryin’ to fake the “in-stock” sales pitch), Amazon.com’s third party company provided me with one in stock (even Panasonic currently lists the camera as “backordered”).
I’m still getting to know my new little friend, just having it for less than a month, but I’m diggin’ the RAW capability (that’s right, RAW files, rarely seen in point & shoot cameras today), the massive 14.7 MPs (sure it’s packed into a small 1/1.72″ CCD image sensor, but what would anyone expect for the great price and compact size?), as well as all of the quick menu options (giving me the ability to change flash option, ISO, as well as other features on the fly).
For some reason, the auto rotate function isn’t working, so I have to rotate any vertical shots to review them larger, taking up the entire 2.7″ LCD screen (hope to fix that or figure out why), but in general I’m very pleased with this compact beauty – the sleek black body very stylish and functional (I like to roll GQ style).
I also feel the f/2.8 wide-angle Leica mass-produced lens (28mm to 100mm) is of quality, and I dig the new auto-focus tracking feature (focusing for you without touching the shutter button).
The 8 GB SDHC memory card (I picked up after the fact – made by SanDisk) gives me over 300 images on the highest file size (RAW + JPEG, which is what I use on my 35mm DSLR)- more than enough as long as I download every so often (which is best to do anyway since you never want to trust your memory card to store your memories for too long). Plus, with the Lithium-ion rechargeable battery draining down after 330 snaps, I simply recharge the battery while I download the shots (hoping to pick up an extra battery as a backup). The camera even has 50MB of built in memory if you jam up with an extra card- thanks for caring Panasonic.
The Lumix DMC-FX150 also has a nice ISO range from 100 to 6400, with many exposure functions = Manual, Program AE, Movie/ Motion Picutre, Intelligent Auto mode, along with many Scene modes. I always love the Manual exposure mode option, giving me full control of my camera when the meter is fooled. The metering mode options even include Spot metering. Sure, it doesn’t offer an HD movie mode as other Lumix compact cameras do, but I wasn’t looking for HD in a compact digital camera personally – what am I, movie-boy?
Here are a few shots I captured with the camera this past month:
I highly recommend it to anyone- sure the digital noise increases with a higher ISO over 100 (mainly due to a small image sensor), but you can’t expect everything in such a beautiful small package. All this in a price range around $250. Well played Panasonic, well played– nice idea for my photo life.