The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX35 is a lightweight, fit-in-your-pocket, take-anywhere, durable, metal body ultra-compact with a 10.1 effective megapixel sensor, a 25mm - 100mm (35mm equivalent) 4X zoom lens, optical image stabilization, Intelligent Auto Exposure control, 720p HD video, and my Best-in-Class pick.
My Best In Class Pick
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX35
In the world of ultra-compact auto cameras, it is rare to find one with a zoom lens that begins at a very wide 25mm (35 equivalent) when most ultras start at the mid-30s at best. But Panasonic has succeeded with the excellent Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 4.4-17.6mm f/2.8-5.6 4X zoom lens specifically designed for the DMC-FX35. And what a lens it is, coupled with Panasonic’s own in-the-lens MEGA O.I.S. image stabilization, a 10.1 megapixel (effective) image sensor and the Venus Image IV image processor, you’ll get sharp, blur-free, vibrant color images with no more effort than just pressing the shutter.
The DMC-FX35 is a auto-only camera–that is, no manual setting of exposure or focusing–which some might consider a drawback, but with Intelligent Multiple Auto Exposure Control, 9-point TTL autofocus with Face Detection, +-2 stop Exposure Compensation, 22 Scene Modes and a plethora of other settings, the average user will never notice. Additional features include four White Balance presets, plus auto and manual; ISOs from 100 to 6400; Normal 2.5 frames/sec. and High-speed Burst mode for up to 10 frames/sec., Quicktime movie and 720p HD video.
But what of its flaws? There are some. Ironically, the small size is one. There’s a dearth of space available for controls and such. If you have big hands, the FX35 might be unsuitable for you. All it would take is one misplaced finger covering the flash or the lens or microphone to ruin a shot or video. The one caveat that is significant, however, is image noise, but this is an inherent problem plaguing all small, high density image sensor cameras and not just something particular to the FX35. What really matters is not that there is noise, but how well it is controlled without adversely affecting the image. In this respect, Panasonic has done a good job–better than most–reducing noise while preserving image quality. And that’s what counts. The camera produces excellent, well-saturated images with little noise at ISOs less than 400. At 400 and 800, noise is apparent, but images are still sharp and usable. Speeds above 800 should only be used for emergencies as images are very noisy, soft, and smeary.
So, if you’re in the market for an auto camera that is small and light enough to comfortably carry in your pocket, and won’t put too much of a dent in the ol’ budget, then the Panasonic DMC-FX35 is the camera for you.
Comparison with Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500
The DMC-FX500 is for all practical purposes an FX35 internally–same image sensor, same image processor, same features and settings, etc.–but with just a few external improvements, namely, a 5X zoom lens (25-125mm equivalent) instead of 4X, and a 3 inch touch-operated LCD. It is also slightly larger, a little heavier, and more money. However, the image quality from either camera is the same.
- +Intelligent Multiple Exposure Control
- +720p HD video
- +Quicktime movie format
- +Metal Body
- +Build quality
- -Image noise
- -Small 2.5" LCD
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX35
Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices
|Product||Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX35||Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500|
Close Effective Sensor Resolution The Effective Sensor Resolution tells you the total number of pixels that are recorded when you take a picture. The units are MP, which stands for megapixels or millions of pixels. For outstanding fine compression prints, 3MP is required for 5x7's, 7.1MP for 8x10's, and 10.9MP for 11x14's. The effective sensor resolution is only one of many important factors that will determine the quality of the photograph when displayed or printed at different sizes.
|10.1 megapixels||10.1 megapixels|
|Image Stabilization Type||Optical (lens shift)||Optical (lens shift)|
Close Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent) The 35 mm equivalent focal length is a measure that indicates the angle of view of a particular combination of a camera lens and the sensor size. The term originates from the time when the vast majority of photography was done with 35 mm film. On any 35 mm film camera, a 30 mm or less lens is considered a wide-angle lens.
|25 mm||25 mm|
Close Max Focal Length (35 mm equivalent) The 35 mm equivalent focal length is a measure that indicates the angle of view of a particular combination of a camera lens and the sensor size. The term originates from the time when the vast majority of photography was done with 35 mm film. Larger max focal lengths make distant objects appear more magnified.
|100 mm||125 mm|
|Shutter Lag Time (pre-focused)||0.01 sec||0.01 sec|
Close Shutter Lag Time (including auto-focus time) This is the time from fully pressing the shutter button until the image is captured. Longer shutter lag times make it more difficult to capture the desired moment.
|0.6 sec||0.6 sec|
|Max Shooting Speed (continuous)||2.5 frames/sec||2.5 frames/sec|
|Min ISO Setting||100||100|
|Max ISO Setting||6400||6400|
Close Face Detection Available Face detection technology will try to set the focus, exposure, and color balance so that faces appear sharp, well-exposed, and with the proper color.
Close LCD Screen Size The LCD Screen Size is the length of the miniature LCD monitor measured diagonally.
|2.5 in||3.0 in.|
|LCD Screen Resolution||230000 pixels||230000 pixels|
|Battery Life||300 shots||280 shots|
|Size (W x H x D)||3.7 x 2.0 x 0.9 in.||3.7 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.|
|Weight (with batteries)||5.6 oz||6.2 oz|
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500
Introduced about 3 months after the FX35, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 built on the former’s attributes, but added a couple new hardware features of its own while keeping the camera small, light and easy to use. If you like the FX35, but need a larger, touch-controlled LCD and a longer zoom range lens, the FX500 is a good alternative.
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500
See It »
How It Works
You tell us your budget, intended uses, and desired features. We show you personalized recommendations from unbiased experts to quickly identify the best digital camera for you.
How to Pick Digital Cameras
- For Travel Photos
- For Photos of Children or Pets
- For Action or Sports Photos
- For Photos in Low Light