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Panasonic fall compacts go high rez and wide angle

The FX150 jumps to a specsmanship-worthy 14.7 megapixels, while the FX37 opens up to a more consumer-worthy 25mm-equivalent angle of view.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150 Panasonic

The Lumix DMC-FX100 wasn't bad for a 12-megapixel camera, but the noise trade-off for putting a high-resolution sensor in a compact camera really doesn't seem worth it. So you'll have to forgive the rather unenthusiastic reaction to the news that for the FX100's replacement, the FX150, Panasonic chose to bump that even higher, to a dubiously useful 14.7 megapixels.

The camera uses the company's updated Venus Engine IV image-processing engine--it'll certainly need the boost in the noise-reduction algorithms that will provide--with its concomitant assortment of tweaks and additions to Panasonic's various Intelligent Auto modes, including AF tracking, automatic photo deskewing and Pin Hole and Film Grain scene modes.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37 Panasonic

Interestingly, the FX150 will offer shutter-priority mode and raw-format support. Other features remain the same or similar. It uses the same 3.6x zoom f2.8-5.6 28-100mm lens as the FX100, bumps the LCD size up a hair to 2.7 inches from 2.5, and speeds up the highest-resolution 1,280x720 movie capture mode from 15fps to 24fps.

The FX150 will come in silver and black, and is slated to ship next month for $399.95.

Ironically, its more basic lower-end sibling seems a bit more attractive. The 10-megapixel ultracompact Lumix DMC-FX37 is basically the same as the FX35, which shipped earlier this year, but with a longer version of the same wide-angle lens: a 5x f2.8-5.6 25-125mm zoom compared with the 4x 25-100mm on the FX35. Otherwise, it's pretty much the same camera. It will ship in September for $349.95, clad in silver, black, blue, pink, white, and brown.