The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150 is a compact camera with a sleek sense of style. The Lumix FX range are always slickly-styled, but when we looked closer we felt the FX150 had a few hairs out of place. We tested to see if the camera's performance is up to the Panasonic pedigree.
Overall, the FX150 is a great-looking camera in many ways, but disappoints on closer inspection. For example, it's reasonably sleek -- if not the sveltest camera we've ever seen -- but looking closer, the protruding lens ring and raised screen add to the width. The 69mm (2.7-inch) LCD screen is a good size on paper, but up close the black bezel makes it feel smaller.
The matte gunmetal casing gives this a more serious look than shiny silver cameras, and we like the contrast with the slightly darker lens ring. But we would have liked that darker, matte colour to continue on the top plate and rear buttons, which instead have a brushed silver effect.
We're also not that keen on the square buttons. The combinations of square and round buttons, some topped with ridges and some flat, give the controls a mish-mash appearance.
We realise we're nitpicking on these details, some of which might not bother you, but some things are worth noting -- like the fact that the black version looks lethal and as such minimises the small niggles. Whatever the colour, the FX150 has the usual excellent Lumix build quality, extending to a dinky metal door covering the connections, and locking battery cover.
The FX150 packs a 1/1.72-inch 14.7-megapixel CCD. It has satisfyingly wide 28mm wideangle f/2.8 Leica lens. The optical zoom leaps to its full 3.6x extent with a push of the easy zoom button at the top of the camera.
Panasonic's proven Mega OIS system provides image stabilisation, helping to claw back a couple of stops of exposure. You can adjust shutter speed in Program and Manual modes, but can only set a minimum and maximum aperture in Manual mode. Exposure compensation mainly tweaks the shutter speed, with the aperture never changing in our tests. You can also limit the ISO speed, to save your pictures from image noise in low-light conditions.