|Looking at the specifications of the Panasonic Lumix FX35 on paper, it seems the camera is complete, nothing is lacking. And in fact, this is quite a correct statement. The extensive automation will make the internal software more intelligent, allowing the camera to do its job without you as user having to think twice about it. However, this does not mean that the camera has reached its limits technically. In particular the image quality always leaves room for improvement.|
|Panasonic Lumix FX35 features 10 Megapixels
However, Panasonic not only focussed on making the software more intelligent and through that, the ease of use; the temptation of going along with the Megapixel race is strong and the fact that the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX35 features an image sensor with 10 Megapixels is clear proof of it. Let’s be honest, a compact camera that is developed solely for its ease of use in combination with an excellent image quality does not need this amount of pixels to produce a fine picture. Marketing plays a huge role in the decision about the amount of pixels. To be clear; Panasonic is not the only company giving in to this vice, almost all companies within the camera industry are guilty of it.
Image quality of the Panasonic DMC-FX35
The Panasonic Lumix FX35 offers an interesting optical range of 25-100 mm, which is quite extraordinary for a compact camera like this. If we take a look at the test pictures we notice some ‘softness’ in the details at wide angle and a slight blur towards the edges of the picture. When increasing the zoom, detail increases but the edges remain somewhat blurred. However, distortion of the lens pleasantly surprised me. Less distortion at wide angle than expected, and also at telephoto distortion is marginal, an excellent performance. The wide angle zoom lens of the FX35 also scores highly on the amount of visible chromatic aberration. The 25 mm pictures show only a tiny bit of aberration; whilst at telephoto this phenomenon is completely gone.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX35 - Signal / noise ratio
Coming back to the detail in the pictures; the main cause of the decrease of detail is the present noise in combination with the internal noise reduction that tries to reduce this noise. Even low ISO values need the noise reduction, something that should no longer be necessary if the signal/noise ratio was better. Noise remains a difficult issue, in particular for compact camera models and yet we expected a better result of the Panasonic FX35. It is a pity having to conclude that the decision was made to increase the amount of pixels, and not to improve the pixel quality. Perhaps this is not the type of camera for it and our expectations were too high.
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX35 - ISO values
We therefore find the signal/noise ratio of the Panasonic Lumix FX35 disappointing. More so if we look at the 200 ISO pictures where the effect of the noise reduction is already visible. At 400 ISO it is already overwhelming and from 800 ISO we can no longer recommend. A small consolation is the fact that at 3200 ISO the tide seems to turn, although mainly the low resolution used at high ISO settings is to thank for this. It seems that Panasonic have reached their limits and it’s high time to deal with the signal / noise ratio in a serious way and to abandon the Megapixel race.
Panasonic Lumix FX35 - Printing photos
However, we should adjust our comments. If we finally print the sample pictures through a standard photo printer, it seems that the high ISO pictures still have room to play. Although large sized prints are of a lesser quality from 200 ISO, the standard sized prints of the 800 ISO sample pictures are reasonably ok. And this is important knowledge for those who actually print their pictures.