There’s no question that the Panasonic Lumix FX33 fits perfectly in the ultra compact digicam category. This camera also makes it very easy for you to take pictures. Allow me to elaborate.
Aside from being small enough to fit into your pocket, it’s also quite lightweight at just about 154 gm (including the battery and SD card). It has a large and clear 2.5 inch LCD with a five-way navigation pad (not unlike other digicams) beside it and a display and delete key underneath. The navigation pad also provides specific functions that include settings for the Flash, Timer etc.
On the top of the FX33 is a power switch as opposed to most cameras having a button. The gadget has a little scroll wheel that allows you to select particular settings. In case it’s a bit too dark to see what setting you’ve selected, the same features will show up on the screen. On the whole the camera has a simple and neat design for ease of use.
What I like most about the FX33 is its iA mode. The iA stands for ‘Intelligent Auto’, and if you’re just a picture buff or a point-and-shoot user, any other modes will seem unnecessary. The reason is that the iA mode automatically selects the most appropriate Scene Mode according to what you’re aiming at (brilliant). What it also does is automatically focus on a person’s face (if it’s in the frame); this happens even before you press the shutter release halfway. No wonder other features seem redundant. Of course, those who like to extract the VERY best from the camera has access to all the manual options.
The quick startup and absence of lag while taking consecutive images is great too. There are plenty of scene modes to choose from — Pets, Portrait, Food, even an Underwater mode for which you’ll require a casing. There are 22 scene modes in all. Another great feature is the 2.5 inch LCD with an intuitive technology that automatically adjusts the brightness according to the available light. A Clipboard feature lets you store images you take of maps or schedules etc. Not a must-have, but a handy feature nevertheless.
Getting down to the nitty-gritty, the FX33 performed quite well. We started off with Macro images. As is, the images look crisp and clear with the colours captured very nicely. In full size you’ll still see quite a lot of detail with virtually no issues at all.
Images taken in normal daylight may seem just a wee bit on the darker side, but on the whole the images are still quite clear with very little vignetting on the edges. The details in the images are quite good too but you will notice a very slight purple fringing in the shadows.
The colours are quite good and the camera images to retain them quite well. Even the greens, appear quite accurate. But that’s not all — the FX33 takes no more than 15 seconds to process the image, which is nice.
Sports mode also comes out really well. The images in focus look sharp and all the surrounding images don’t look too bad either. Portrait mode was really easy considering the brilliant face detection feature. The focus is purely on the subject you’re aiming at and the surroundings, although evident they don’t play an important role.
What I was most impressed with was the Night mode. The images have a very small quantity of noise. It even manages to get some pretty decent colours of objects in lighted area. What makes this night mode better than in some other cameras I’ve tested is that it takes no more than 15 seconds to process the picture.
Another impressive aspect is the superb battery life. The FX33 can give you almost a day and half’s usage. Or up to at least 240 pictures.
What we like
* ‘Intelligent Auto’ feature
What we don’t
* Handsfree audio quality was not too good
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