Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Panasonic FX500 is officially a new Lumix digital camera!

Regular readers of this blog (or the dpreview Panasonic Talk forum) knew about a month ago about the Panasonic FX500. Now the FX500 becomes an official product as it is formally announced by Panasonic.

Meet the Panasonic FX500 (again)
It has a 10mp 1/2.3" sensor, along with a 5x optical zoom lens (25mm to 125mm equivalent focal range), making it an interesting alternative to the more pedestrian cameras of that segment starting at 36mm or so. Greasy fingers will adore the 3" touch-screen, but fans of touch-screens don't get many TS cameras, so they will be thrilled too.

This may remind some of the Panasonic FX35, also a 2008 model. It may also remind some of the Panasonic FX100. Just like all the aforementioned cameras, don't expect RAW, but good news: it does have manual exposure, along with Tv and Av.

Both the dpreview and Imaging Resource specifications (see list at the bottom of the post for the links) list manual exposure, aperture priority and shutter priority, in addition to the usual Scenes, and the auto modes.

It also seems to have other welcome features such as the metering trio (spot, center-weight, magic). "Magic" is not an actual term, but since different manufacturers give it different names, we just decided to call it "Magic". It's close (in name) to Nikon's Matrix which makes it an easy mnemonic :)

Pre-order the Panasonic FX500 at Amazon
The FX500 is available for pre-order at Amazon, available in silver and in black for $400 and free shipping, along with pre-order and post-shipment low-price guarantee.

Estimated delivery is late June, but Amazon is notorious for conservative shipment dates. The Japanese estimate (see post below) is for mid-April. Japan usually (obviously) gets the new cameras first, so if I were to guess, I would probably say May, but what do I know?

Web coverage of the announcement
The Panasonic USA press release can be found at the Imaging Insider. More details at Imaging Resource, and dpreview, which include detailed specifications, which is nice. The gadget blogs are chiming in too, such as Wired's Gadget blog, and CNet's Crave.

There are already two discussions of the FX500 in the dpreview Panasonic Talk forum. The availability of PSAM (Tv, Av, manual) was certainly a welcome surprise.

Update! Serious Compacts takea a ...serious look at the new Lumix FX500. They highlight the features that make this not just another point and shoot shiny silver with a bling bling touchscreen.

News from Japan
The Japan announcement reveals that Panasonic will be producing 30,000 FX500 units per month. Japan will have two colors as well, silver and black. It goes on sale in Japan on April 12, 2008. The Japanese specs also confirm that this camera has PSAM (okay, PASM), which is great news.


jwardell said...

Now shipping from Circuit City and OneCall. Amazon still says June 20.
CC has a 10% coupon, so I bit. Unlike me to do so without any reviews, but I've needed it for a while.

1001 noisy cameras said...

Congratulations on the brave purchase :-) It should probably be using the same sensor as the FX35, so it shouldn't be a big risk. The 25-125mm eq range and the manual exposure should make this an interesting compact camera!