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July 27, 2009

New Panasonic FX60 (FX65) offers a wide-angle P&S option

The brand new Panasonic FX60 (aka FX65) continues the line of the Panasonic FX-series with another LiIon-based compact with a selection of mid-range features.

Sadly the camera insists on a 12mp 1/2.3" sensor which we believe is the definition of overkill at this point in time, considering current technology. But these comments seem to be falling on deaf ears. The Leica-branded lens is what will attract potential buyers to this camera, as it starts at 25mm (5X, 25-125mm eq, starts at f2.8), and includes the new buzz-word, Power OIS. Apparently Panasonic milked as much as they could out of the term MegaOIS, so now it's Power OIS! ;-) Power OIS promises improvements in performance and effectiveness as you can expect from such a ...powerful name.

While Panasonic is in the top-tier of offering photographer-friendly features with their fixed-lens cameras (RAW, PASM, OIS, etc), this model does not get ASM, just program, and scene modes. A competitive plus is the battery life, CIPA-estimated at 360, which is 2X to 3X as much as some models from competitors (*cough* Coolpix *cough* Olympus). However, it looks like it has an "ID Security" battery feature, which sounds like they are going to be blocking 3rd-party batteries. A big wag of the finger at Panasonic for this power-play.

Panasonic, go make more LX3 and GH1 units instead of f*cking around with battery locking mechanisms! (there goes our invite to the next Panasonic wine-and-fromage cocktail party).

Fans of Venus will be thrilled to learn that version #5 (V) is now included with the camera, with complaints of Monet being more in the rear-view mirror than in the front windshield.

The other "computer" aspects, include a 2.7" (230K) display, SD/SDHC card, and things like that. As expected, the press release sings the praises of the high-speed AF mode, the Intelligent Auto mode (street-name: Intelligent Dumb mode), 30fps 720p HD Video, and more.

And another wag of the finger at Panasonic for continuing to create global confusion with two different names for each camera. This is not helping sales as people have a harder time finding information about the camera and discussing in the photography forums and other websites.

The camera has a starting price of unknown with a September-ish release date expectation. We looked for it at Amazon but we could not find it as of the time of writing.

Sample Pictures
Panasonic has provided two full-size sample pictures on their website, which you can download and evaluate.

Predecessors to the FX60/FX65
+ FX40/FX48 (January 2009)
+ FX37 (July 2008)
+ FX35 (January 2008)
+ sadly, yet another unnecessary six-month lifecycle

Further Reading
+ dpreview
+ Let's Go Digital
+ Panasonic
+ Initial production output of plenty - 65000 units per month (Panasonic Japan)

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