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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX38
Digital cameras are increasingly getting less bulky these days. Come to think of it, irrespective of their size these little beauties come with a wide angle lens, decent amount of zoom and an Intelligent Auto mode that automatically decides the best mode when shooting. We can very well say that they have come a long way from what they were a couple of years ago.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX38 is one such camera that measures just 94.7 x 51.9 x 22 mm in size; making it just as big as any other MP3 player. However, irrespective of its size the camera weighs in at 146 g which makes it a little heavy for its compact size. Nonetheless the DMC-FX38 is a decent looking camera that will satisfy the average consumer with its overall feature set.
The first thing that you will notice is that the camera body comes with a rubberized finish which basically translates to a better grip and feel when holding the device. Thankfully the FX38 features decently sized buttons that makes navigation much easier – unlike the grain sized buttons that was seen in the recently reviewed FP8. Moreover considering the overall size, the camera comes with a decently sized 2.5-inch screen – which also performs well under decently lit conditions. As mentioned the camera comes fit with the standard buttons, a zoom rocker and a jog dial. The jog dial though would have been more user friendly had it not been half covered. Personally I would have preferred to view all the modes on the dial rather than guessing the next mode when turning the dial.
The DMC-FX38 is limited to a 10 MP CCD sensor and comes with an appealing 5x of optical zoom. The camera also comes fit with a 25 mm wide angle lens which allows you to capture a wider view of the subject. And as mentioned earlier the camera includes an Intelligent Auto feature that decides the best shooting mode. The camera also comes with a port flap that prevents dust from settling in.
The major aspect that Panasonic needs to change in its line of cameras is the kiddish interface. If you have seen one, you have seen them all – that’s exactly what hits you when handling a Panasonic camera. The interface is so similar to that of the DMC- FP8 that it literally begs to be changed. However, the camera features 26 scene modes which also include two different burst modes – one where the shots are limited to three and the other which is infinite until the shutter release button is basically released. The addition of a live histogram is appreciated but there is considerable amount of lag when switching between subjects. Pictures can also be viewed by date – a feature that was seen on the Sony cameras – but even with these small helpful features the overall interface needs some serious makeover at least for cameras such as this.
Video capture is not over the top but performs slightly above average. The reason being that there was some amount of interlacing that was noticeable in the videos recorded. Though this only holds true when recording under low light conditions. Moreover, other than the 640 x 480 / 320 x 240 recording resolutions the camera is also capable of recording at a resolution of 1280 x 720 at 30 fps.
I must say the camera does a very good job at handling the overall color and contrast. As you can see there almost isn’t any sort of fringing or even color bleeding in the picture below. That said the camera’s macro range is a little disappointing at 3.7 cm.
The camera doesn’t quite hold its ground at low ISO as there is visible amount of noise at ISO 100. Overall sharpness and detail is also not quite up to the mark as you can see that objects in the distance appear quite washed out.
Overall skin tones were handled quite well and didn’t appear oversaturated. Colors appeared natural without any noticeable fringing or even color bleeding.
The overall night performance of the DMC-FX38 was neither good nor overly bad. There were certain parts in the picture that appeared rather blotched but the overall outcome of the image was good for a night shot.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX38 is a decent camera that averages out in the performance front. Moreover the camera does well in maintaining the overall color balance and keeps fringing at its minimum. There is nothing much to dislike other than the kiddish interface that the camera comes with. The FX-38 will set you back by Rs. 17,990 but what you get is a super compact camera, HD recording and a wide angle lens that pretty much fits the bill.