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Sample photos: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP3

Check out an examination of photo quality from the budget friendly, but stylish 14-megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP3 ultracompact camera.

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Joshua Goldman
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1 of 7 Matthew Fitzgerald/CNET

ISO comparison

Photos produced by the FP3 are OK for casual snapshots in bright conditions, but if you plan to do a lot of shooting indoors or in low light, you should pass on this camera. At and below ISO 200, its photos have little noise and good fine detail despite being somewhat soft. It isn't until ISO 400 that noise and noise suppression soften details and create yellow blotching. Unfortunately, this is the starting point for indoor shooting. They'll be good enough for smaller prints with minor cropping and Web use. At ISO 800, photos take on a soft, painterly appearance and the yellowing gets more noticeable; detail is pretty much gone. At ISO 1,600, photos are for the most part unusable because they are covered in faint yellow splotches along with a good amount of noise.
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2 of 7 Joshua Goldman/CNET

High Sensitivity mode

The FP3 has a High Sensitivity mode for really low-light situations. It uses ISOs from 1,600 to 6,400 and captures at resolutions up to 3 megapixels. This was taken at ISO 6400; the results are not good, but will do in a pinch if you can't use the flash.
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3 of 7 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Macro

If you like to take close-up photos, you're in luck because that's when this camera is at its sharpest. It can focus as close as 4 inches from a subject.
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4 of 7 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Zoom range

The 4x zoom is modest, but that's standard with internal lens cameras. It's just enough to help with framing. With the 14-megapixel resolution you'd think you'd be able to crop in and enlarge to see more, but the image quality just isn't good enough to do that.
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5 of 7 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Lens distortion

There is minor barrel distortion at the lens' widest position. There is the tiniest bit of pincushion distortion when the zoom is extended, but it's basically imperceptible.
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6 of 7 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Fringing

Purple/blue fringing is minimal in high-contrast areas, too. It's only really visible when photos are viewed at 100 percent.
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7 of 7 Joshua Goldman/CNET

Color

Color in its photos are pleasing and natural, but not accurate. If you like your colors more saturated, you can switch from the camera's Standard color mode to Vivid when shooting in Normal Picture mode. Also, there's a noticeable color shift at the two highest ISO sensitivities. Other than the auto white balance being a touch warm under incandescent lighting, white balance is good. Exposure is likewise good.

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