The finishing touches of the new Panasonic are still as superb and the metal body is of good construction, the large screen is well defined, and the interface is small but usable. Despite the presence of the Venus Engine III processor (which carries out internal operations), the FX30 is slightly slower than its predecessor, the FX07. Panasonic engineers probably should have reduced startup (less than one second) or improved the time between photos. These results however, aren’t dramatic and the FX30 is still in the reactive camera class. The small compact is easily piloted and the majority of shooting modes are easily accessible via the only dial. By the way, it would have been nice to see priority modes (opening and speeds) in this product line. The FX30 does have the amazing FUNC button which allows the user to quickly adjust to stabilization, burst mode, white balance, sensitivity, definition and image quality. It’s simple and efficient. Another interesting innovation is the Intelligent ISO Control which allows the FX30 to automatically adapt ISO depending on the subject’s movement or lack thereof. Something that could have more been a novelty functions quite well.
Quality of images
As for the thorny question involving image quality...In fully automatic mode, the Canon Ixus 850 IS offers images that have a bit more detail. These good results are essentially due to excellent noise control in low sensitivity (ISO 100).
As soon as lighting becomes scarce the strategy differs and the FX30 is largely superior in terms of noise in dark areas. With the Canon, colored pixels are still very noticeable while they are very faded on the FX30. Unfortunately, the anti-noise filter of the FX30 greatly smoothes out details. It comes down to a choice of detailed images with noise or clean ones without detail. In the end, with its considerable progress in noise control (principle defect of the FX07), the new Panasonic is able to challenge the Ixus 850 IS. Basically at the same price, the Canon compact wins in reactivity and better flash management, however, sharpness is inferior at all sensitivities and Panasonic noise reduction degrades images less. Finally, compared to the Fuji F30 and F31fd, the FX30 is quite far behind for noise control while offering a 28 mm wide angle and optical stabilization which lacks and handicaps Fuji’s line.
Compare its photo test results with the competition’s in the Product Face-off section.
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- Nice construction
- Efficient optical stabilization
- 28 mm wide angle
- Three image formats: 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9
- Camera comes in two colors, black or silver
- Only 1250 ISO
- Significant smoothing out in high sensitivities
Still as provocative and with better noise control, the FX30 is without doubt the best compact in the FX series. Its equivalent to the Canon Ixus 850, which we still prefer for its flash and reactivity. The Panasonic, however, is better in sharpness and noise control.