Panasonic's Lumix DMC-FX55 is a beautiful little camera. It has a clean, simple, and solid design that should appeal to most camera buyers. But in the world of cameras, beauty is only body-casing deep and it's what happens inside the camera that really counts. Unfortunately, the images that are captured and processed inside the DMC-FX55 fall a little short of the competition. That means that while it does include a lot of nice features, photographers who value image quality first should look elsewhere for a sleek, shiny pocket camera.The DMC-FX55's design defines simplicity. The 3-inch 230,000-pixel LCD screen leaves little room for buttons, but Panasonic includes a very nice, large joystick to access the mostly menu-driven controls. The joystick also provides quick access to exposure compensation, flash, the self-timer, and image review. Plus, pressing the joystick opens the menu. This makes operating the camera easy in that you don't need to learn the locations of buttons, but menu-driven controls can also be slower than the alternative. In the case of the DMC-FX55, this means that it takes seven button presses to change the ISO and get back to shooting. To Panasonic's credit, it did place white balance at the top of the menu, so that it can be changed quicker. I guess Panasonic thinks that users will want to change that more frequently than ISO.
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