By April 23, 2009

Panasonic Lumix FX500 Review

Several of Panasonic’s Lumix range of cameras have been reviewed here on and over all seem to have a pretty good reputation. I’ve been given the Panasonic Lumix FX500 to test out.

FX500_angled Panasonic Lumix FX500

It looks and feels great. So we’ll see if it lives up to our expectations.


What’s in the box?

  • Lumix FX500 Camera
  • Battery
  • Manuals
  • Battery charger
  • Mains cable
  • AV cable
  • Stylus
  • Wrist strap (although there doesn’t appear to be one with this review camera)

You can check out Matt’s Unboxing video for more information

Panasonic Lumix FX500 specifications:

There’s so much about this camera so I’m not going to list everything here. Matt has already listed most of it along with his unboxing video or you can also have a look at Panasonic’s website.




The Panasonic Lumix FX500 has a 25mm Wide-Angle, 5x Optical Zoom, Bright F2.8 LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT Lens. The sensor is 1/2.33″ and 10.1 million effective pixels (10.7 million total pixels). You can see in the picture below the built in flash, the lens and at the top right is the AF (auto focus) assist lamp.

FX500 Panasonic Lumix FX500 – front view



Working from the left of the picture – There’s the speaker (the four holes), the single hole is the microphone, then the on/off switch, and then you can see the shutter button which is housed in the middle of the zoom lever which you slide left and right.

FX500_topPanasonic Lumix FX500 – top view



On the bottom of the camera is where the battery and the SD card are housed. There is also the standard tripod attachment hole (can be seen in the front view of the camera)

FX500_bottom Panasonic Lumix FX500 – bottom view


The connections

AV Output (NTSC/PAL), USB2.0 High speed and HD AV Output (Component). The wrist strap loop can also be seen here.

FX500_connectors Panasonic Lumix FX500 – connectors view



  • The large 3″ display screen is also touch screen.
  • The switch at the top left is to switch between record and playback mode.
  • Mode button – lets you choose which recording or playback mode you want to use
  • Display button – changes the on screen display
  • The Menu/set button takes you to the menu to be able to change the general settings of the camera and also acts as the ‘select’ or ‘ok’ button. This button also doubles up as a joystick to navigate through the menu.
  • When in record mode the joystick also works as shortcut keys to the self timer, exposure compensation setting, flash settings and auto focus
FX500_back Panasonic Lumix FX500 – back/screen view



  • Large 3″ screen
  • Touch screen
  • 25mm Wide-angle lens
  • 5x Optical zoom
  • Excellent picture quality
  • Functions and features


  • Sometimes a lag when taking action shots
  • Can be difficult to change shutter speed and aperture in manual mode
  • No zoom function when recording video



The Panasonic Lumix FX500 definitely has a quality look to it. The model I am reviewing is a silver brushed metal version. Panasonic also offer this FX500 model in a black brushed metal version.

Its robust build and impressive large 3″ touch screen immediately gives the impression of a high quality camera. But enough about its looks, lets investigate deeper into its functions and of course performance.

The 25mm wide angle lens is quite impressive for a point-and-shoot camera, and the 5x zoom gives it a range of 25mm to 125mm.

I played about with the camera over a few days taking loads of pictures using different modes that the camera offers. However, after a while I found that the mode I liked best was in fact the Intelligent Auto mode. where the camera does all the work! Now, before you go and start calling me lazy, I normally use a DSLR camera so normally like mucking around with shutter speeds, apertures and lighting – So, makes a nice change!

The Intelligent Auto mode does as the name suggests and automatically changes the mode, exposure (shutter speed), aperture, etc. It seems to be quite accurate. The only thing I found myself changing was forcing the flash off (as I don’t like built in flashes)

The touch screen offers an Auto Focus (AF) tracking function whereby you touch the screen on the subject you want the camera to focus specifically on. So if the subject moves after the AF has been set the tracking will follow the subject so that it is still in focus. This is a great feature, which comes in very handy when trying to capture active pets or children!

Now, you can change modes by clicking on the Mode button and then selecting what you want by pressing on your choice on the touch screen. The scene mode gives you 17 different scenes to choose from. I found some of them a bit bizarre at first. For example, there seems to be one for ‘Baby 1’ and one for ‘Baby 2’, then there is one for ‘Pet’. I thought, “why would taking a picture of one baby be different for another? Have Panasonic gone a bit bonkers?!”

But. It all came clear later. When you enter into the playback mode you can play slideshows or just flick through the photos. and filter the ones you want to view. Hence, Baby 1, Baby 2 and the pet!

There is the option to change to shutter priority, aperture priority and full manual mode so experimenting with this camera is possible. My only issue here is that when on any of these modes the way to change the the setting of the shutter speed or aperture is to use a slide bar on the touch screen, and it’s quite hard to slide to the setting you want accurately. This is where the stylus (the strange piece of plastic that Matt found in the box!) comes in handy. This is supposed to attach to the wrist strap so it’s there when you need it.

When using the ‘Sports’ mode (action shots) I noticed a lag ever so often between pressing the shutter release to the shot actually being taken. I seem to have a few shots of my dog’s tail now!! Never mind! Maybe I just had to get used to the camera a bit more.

You can change the brightness of the LCD display which is useful as LCD screens can be hard to see in bright conditions. You can also set it so that you see the screen clearly when holding it up above your head. “Why?” you ask. Well, idea for gigs/concerts. Especially when someone taller stands in front of you. That always happens to me!


You can record video on the Lumix FX500. Just change the mode to the Motion Picture setting and away you go! You can record in widescreen (16:9) or standard (4:3) and you can change the metering, quality and frame rate. It does record for HD play back and you are also able to extract individual frames as photos. It’s not too bad I have to admit, but, there is one thing. you can’t use the zoom when recording video.


I think I’ve gone on enough about modes and settings so I’ll move onto the picture quality. I’m impressed! And, wait for it. even in low light!! (sorry, I had a rant in a previous review about low light picture quality).

You do get some visible noise in the higher ISO ranges (the higher the ISO the more light the sensor will take in) but that’s to be expected and isn’t bad enough to put me off the camera.

You can get some great images with the camera so here’s an example of some macro shots I’ve take with it. I had the Intelligent Auto mode set on these and it switched to macro mode just as I needed!

Macro shots Macro photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix FX500

The other example I have for you is using the backlight feature. The button for this is on the touch screen at the bottom. Pretty handy as you can change to this quickly. It’s for when the light source (e.g. the sun) of the picture is behind the subject.

Backlight example Left: Backlight off                             Right: Backlight on



I definitely like the Lumix FX500. I wouldn’t change to it from my DSLR but it’s a great point-and-shoot compact camera and the image quality impressed me.

I would have liked a larger optical zoom but 5x is the norm for compact cameras. (Panasonic do have a super zoom range of point-and-shoot cameras as well)

The large 3″ screen is great for reviewing images on and the touchscreen functions make this camera that much more ahead of the game than some others on the market right now. Mind you, as with all touch screen gadgets you end up with finger marks all over the screen!

So, over all, the Panasonic Lumix FX500 is a definite hit!


Reviewed by: Emma

Posted in: Reviews

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