The 14.1-megapixel Lumix DMC-FX70 is one of Panasonic's top-end compact cameras. It's not quite in the same territory as the new Lumix DMC-LX5, which is aimed more at serious enthusiasts. Instead, it's pitched at tech-savvy shooters who lust after cutting-edge automation, 720p movies and touchscreen control. But is it worth £250 or thereabouts?
Justifies its price?
For an auto-only snapshot camera, £250 is pricey, so what does the FX70 do to justify the outlay? The 24-120mm, 5x zoom is a good start, and the maximum aperture of f2.2 means that the FX70 has an advantage in low light compared to most of its rivals.
It's also got a 'motion deblur' mode that, according to Panasonic, prevents any kind of blur, whether from hand shake or subject motion. Unsurprisingly, you can provoke the FX70 into producing blur, despite this claim, but it's not as easy as you might expect.
Panasonic's 'intelligent resolution' image processing seems to work well, too. In this mode, the camera splits the scene up into areas of smooth tone, textures and sharp edges, and processes them all differently to get optimum results for each. If you view standard and 'intelligent' images side by side, the latter do show clearer, sharper detail with no obvious penalty in terms of noise or excessive smoothing. Different subjects may produce different results, though.
It's hard to see, however, why Panasonic offers this intelligent-resolution processing alongside its conventional image-processing system, instead of just replacing the latter altogether. If it's that good, why not use it all the time? Otherwise it's just confusing for the user.
The lens is better than expected, too. Lenses with this kind of range often produce poor edge sharpness and chromatic aberration, but the FX70's zoom is well above average.