Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37 review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37

Typical Price: £200.00
4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

5 stars 1 user review

The Good 5x wideangle zoom; Intelligent ISO; Focus Tracking.

The Bad Small sensor; limited manual control.

The Bottom Line What a great little camera -- you get an excellent zoom range, good image quality and innovative focusing, exposure and ISO technologies that really do make a difference to your shots. It might be a snapshot camera rather than a serious photographic tool, but it's much smarter than the average point-and-clicker

8.3 Overall

The FX37's unassuming exterior hides some very clever technology indeed and, not content with only that, Panasonic has added on a 5x optical zoom lens with an amazing 25mm equivalent minimum focal length. For £200 you will get one of the smartest cameras on the market -- and one of the most versatile.

Positives
So are these wide-angle zooms such a big deal? Yes, they are. It might be the long-range superzooms that grab the headlines, but most of the time your problem is fitting the whole subject into the frame rather than not getting close enough to your subject in the first place.

It's not just the angle of view that makes this lens interesting. We're used to seeing chromatic aberration and distortion in compact cameras, but the Panasonic shows barely any evidence of either. Whether that's the lens or the processing, it's pretty impressive.

That's just the start. Panasonic's Intelligent ISO system tackles one of the bugbears of digital cameras -- limited dynamic range. It does this by adjusting the ISO selectively in different parts of the image -- amplifying the signal in the darker parts and holding it back in the highlights. And it really does work, handling high-contrast scenes much better than other cameras.

The Intelligent Auto mode, meanwhile, takes the idea of scene modes one step further, automatically identifying the best scene mode to use for each shot. Does it work? Not every time, but often enough to leave you impressed.

This mode identifies subject movement (and not just camera movement) and increases the ISO accordingly, so that the shutter speed is raised and the movement blur is reduced. This works alongside the Mega OIS image stabilisation system, which cuts shake due to camera movement.

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