Panasonic DMC-FX01 Panasonic was the first to gamble on image stabilization for compacts. It was a very good idea and today it looks like it will become obligatory for all future cameras. If some have it for the first time, or don’t really have one (sometime they are only “numeric stabilization”), Panasonic is already on its fourth generation: FX7 (2004) -> FX8 (2005) -> FX9 (2005) and now FX01 (2006). Each new series benefits from a few innovations or improvements but Panasonic doesn’t revolutionize the process each time.
The design is unchanged while the video mode has improved and autonomy extended. The monitor’s accuracy is better and the sensor has more pixels at its disposal. Finally, the FX01 benefits from a wide angle at 28 mm. This is the main change, but it is a major one. With the Ricoh Calio R3 it’s the only camera of its size to have one.
Panasonic’s image stabilization is excellent. This is only a detail but we appreciate it. You can set a limit for the minimum speed. We chose 1/8s to make sure or 1/5s. At this speed, pictures taken are almost always sharp, below, never.
The processor is less efficient than the Canon, however. It’s true, the Ixus 800-IS is more expensive but it gave better results for all tests. It’s fast, a little more precise, its colors are a little more accurate (the FX01’s are a little warmer), and the video mode is a little less precise. The Canon doesn’t have a wide angle. If you like taking pictures of landscapes or group pictures, this 28 mm lens compensates for all the drawbacks that we found or at least these four. If the wide angle isn’t important for or at least less important than your budget, you can choose from previous generations. The FX9 captures the same images with 35 mm as the FX01. It is found at approximately 300€. Even cheaper, the FX8 (approximately 230 €) isn’t worse. Monitor definition is just a little lower and the sensor a slightly smaller in pixels. For a 4” x 6” print you won’t see the difference.