Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Review

December 15, 2011 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 is a small digital compact camera designed to appeal to the tech-savvy. Bursting with features such as wi-fi, touch-screen LCD, a Leica lens, Mega Optical Image STabilisation and SDXC card compatibility, the FX90 also boasts a 12.1 megapixel hi-speed CCD sensor, a 5x optical zoom, Full HD recording in AVCHD format and a 24mm wide-angle lens. With so much happening on the FX90, it's sure to be the talking point of many nights out. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 retails for £269.99 / $299.99.

Ease of Use

The fetching face of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 hides behind it a barrage of features just bursting to be seen. However, a few notable features can be found on the bevelled edge front. Take, for example the lens. It's a Leica DC Vario-Summarit which, although not made by Leica, is a very good lens. The bright f/2.5 aperture will certainly help in low light to reduce noise by allowing faster shutter speeds. Assisiting it is the Mega OIS (Optical Image Stabiliser) which has a compensation of around 3 stops.

Moving onto the top of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90's body, there's a few more buttons than is generally found on the top plate of compacts these days. On the FX90, you can switch the camera on or off, record video directly, take a picture and zoom in and out.

With all these features, it makes you wonder what buttons are actually on the back. Well, there's just the one to enable the wi-fi. If you've been living under a rock and don't know what wi-fi is, it's a method for wirelessly sending information from one device to another. Using the FX90's wi-fi feature will automatically upload pictures to a website of your choice of Facebook, Flickr or Picasa while video will be uploaded to YouTube.

The rest of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 is taken up with the huge 3 inch LCD touch-screen. Being brutally honest, this isn't the brightest or sharpest screen we've seen. It's adequate for the job it needs to do but is that enough? It's also not overly sensitive. This can be subjective but we're used to smart phones and how sensitive they are.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90
Front Rear

Just like the top plate, the LCD screen is awash with features and options. Down the left side there's a self-timer button, menu and display buttons while on the right, you'll find the modes, playback and zoom buttons. The screen is pressure sensitive and comes with a small touch pen in the box. It makes choosing the small buttons on the screen a lot easier to do. However, we still found ourselves having to double tap the screen to confirm commands.

The main menu opens up three tabs for recording options, video and set-up. Recording allows you to change features such as the flash, self-timer, resolution, ISO or white-balance among others. There's also the desktop set-up which allows you to place your two most used options on the screen of the camera saving precious time drilling down into the menus. We chose ISO and self-timer for the purposes of the test. It's done by pressing the button labelled with a spanner and a letter M. You can then drag your favourite icon over to the left side and fill the gaps or overwrite any that are already there.

The video tab allows you to change the recording format from AVCHD to MP4. The button labelled FSH isn't a list of the Full Service History. It adjusts the recording resolution of the video in the camera. When in Full HD, you can choose between FSH or SH and in MP4 there's the choice of FHD, HD or VGA.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90
Front Touch-screen

While the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 isn't an exceptional build quality, which we kind of expected, but that's only due to the sheer amount of features. It has to be remembered that the camera costs just over £200 so compromises have to made somewhere. However, amidst the thin metal casing that feels like it'll buckle if pressed too hard and the flimsy battery cover there are inklings of light such as the metal tripod bush and previously mentioned Leica lens.

As we mentioned before all the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90's menus are found on the screen and need to be navigated by using the pen that's included in the box. We discovered that trying to get by without the pen is difficult and the screen isn't responsive at the best of times.

Most noticeable about the menu system is the lack of a function menu or Q menu. On other Panasonic cameras, it's used to provide fast access to the most used features. On the FX90, the menus have been rearranged slightly to put the most used features at the beginning of the menu list.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

The FX90 has a touch-focus option which is located in the bottom right of the screen. When it's switched on, the camera will focus and automatically shoot. Next to this is an on-screen zoom which brings up a virtual zoom button so you don't have to exert yourself by extending your finger to the top of the camera.

The wifi system is pretty cool and no matter how many times we see this sort of stuff happening, it's always great to take a picture, link to your computer and watch it pop up on the screen a few moments later. We had to connect and input the security code which only takes a few moments by choosing the wifi option in the playback menu. Actually connecting and downloading a full size image takes a lot longer – in fact we were waiting for several minutes just for one picture before it finally told us to reconnect to the wifi choosing the FX90 channel. On our phone, it asked for a password which the camera didn't supply so the transfer failed. We tried linking it to the computer and once again we were asked for the security key.

In the box, you get the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90, a battery and charger as well as a touch-screen pen. The enclosed CD contains the full operating instructions as well as image software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.4 HD Lite Edition with wi-fi. There's also a shortcut to an online trial version of Super LoiLoScope. Both programs are for Windows only.

Image Quality

All pictures were taken at full resolution and highest quality unless otherwise stated. Typical full size images were between 4.5 to 5Mb. The 5x optical zoom has a 35mm equivalent range of 24-120mm. The Leica lens on the FX90 is manufactured by Panasonic to Leica specification. It's a DC Vario-Summarit with an f/2.5 aperture. The bright aperture will mean that the ISO won't have to be increased as early and will ensure smoother pictures.


Noise performance on the FX90 is great at low ISO, we couldn't find any signs of colour or black and white noise. Edge definition is great and this sharpness continues through the stages. However at ISO 200 we could see slight patches of green in really dark areas when magnified to 100%. The problem exacerbates through the stages and starts to interfere with mid-tones at around ISO 800. At ISO 800 the image starts to get smoothed out by the noise reduction. It looks like Panasonic have their heads on straight and know the limitations of the sensor they've used. After all, they took the decision to cap the sensitivity at ISO 1600. Colour noise invades aggressively at this point so it's a good job that it ends there.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)



We sharpened a selection of pictures and found that although the standard sharpening in Adobe Photoshop CS4 did improve the pictures to a degree, the pictures are sharp enough. Below are a couple of the pictures we sharpened with the unsharpened versions to compare.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


File Quality

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

12M Fine (4.91Mb) (100% Crop) 12M Normal (3.39Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

We managed to find some pictures showing chromatic aberration. Luckily, it doesn't show up all that much which is good.

Chromatic (100% Crop)


Macro on the Panasonic FX90 digital compact camera is good enough for the type of person it's aimed at.  The FX90 specification sheet shows a maximum close focusing distance of 3cm although we only got around 4-5cm.


Macro (100% Crop)


Adding flash to the FX90 pictures does give heavy vignetting to the corners of the frame. There's none at full telephoto which is good. We're happy with the image results without flash.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (120mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (120mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. Both the Forced On setting or the Auto/Red-eye Reduction option caused a tiny amount of red-eye.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)


Long exposures come out great on the FX90. The noise reduction system works just right that it doesn't allow heat from the pixels to affect neighbouring pixels. This means smooth, sharp pictures even though the mist in our sample picture was wreaking havoc with the test.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 camera, which were all taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

Product Images

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90

Front of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90

Front of the Camera / Turned On

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90

Isometric View

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90

Isometric View

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90

Rear of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90

Rear of the Camera / Touch-screen

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90

Top of the Camera


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90

Side of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90
Side of the Camera
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90
Front of the Camera
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90

Memory Card Slot

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90
Battery Compartment


In times gone by it was a simple rule of thumb that if you wanted to get a digital compact camera, you went for an optical company such as Nikon, Canon, Pentax or Olympus. As an electronics company, Panasonic has helped turn that tide and is now one of the biggest players in this sector.

If all their cameras were made to the same standard as the DMC-FX90 then Panasonic would corner the market. Sure, it has it's faults but then all cameras do. It's whether you can look past them and just use the parts that you need. Take, for example, the Leica lens, f/2.5 aperture, AVCHD video recording, SDXC card compatibility and metal tripod bush, all features normally found on higher specification cameras, but this is a camera at just over £200. That makes the FX90 a pretty good option if you're on a budget but want a camera that looks nice, has some sexy features and has a robust build quality to cope with most situations.

Colour reproduction from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 is good and we got some lovely sharp pictures. Low ISO settings are great but the camera does seem to suffer early on from noise which is a real shame. We wonder how much the price would rise if a back-illuminated sensor was used to try and reduce the noise issue?

Arguably, the most interesting point of the FX90 is the built-in wifi. Couple this with the SDXC card compatibility and you have a decent travelling companion. Being able to link up to your phone should make the camera an interesting option for Instagrammers (the popular app for sharing photos) as it will broaden their possibilities.

If you're looking for a camera that has advanced features, a good build and takes sharp pictures then you need to at least pencil the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 in as one to consider. If the camera gets let down by anything it's going to be the noise at high ISOs, which is a real shame. Panasonic have at least shown a degree of sense here - after all they could have gone higher than ISO 3200 or ramped up the noise reduction and smudged out all the detail.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 3.5
Image quality 3.5
Value for money 4

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 from around the web. »

The Panasonic FX90 packs in many up-to-date features: there’s a 3-inch touchscreen and 24-120mm zoom lens to control all the action, met with Wi-Fi technology and 1080i HD movie capture.
Read the full review »



Dimensions (W x H x D) 102.2 x 56.3 x 21.6 mm / (4.02 x 2.22 x 0.85 in)
Weight Approx. 132g without Battery and SD Memory Card (0.29 lb) / Approx. 149g with Battery and SD Memory Card (0.33 lb)


Camera Effective Pixels 12.1 Megapixels
Sensor Size / Total Pixels / Filter 1/2.33-type CCD sensor / 12.5 Total Megapixels / Primary Color Filter
Aperture F2.5 - 5.9/ Iris Diaphragm (F2.5 - 8 (W) / F5.9 - 18 (T))
Optical Zoom 5x
Focal Length f=4.3-21.5mm (24-120mm in 35mm equiv.) / (26-130mm in 35mm equiv. in video recording)
Extra Optical Zoom (EZ) 6.1x (4:3 / 8M), 7.8x (4:3 / 5M), 9.8x (4:3 / under 3M)
Intelligent Zoom 6.5x
Lens LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMARIT / 7 elements in 6 groups / (3 Aspherical Lenses / 5 Aspherical surfaces)
Optical Image Stabilizer MEGA O.I.S. (Off /On / Active Mode(only for motion picture))
Digital Zoom 4x
Focusing Area Normal: Wide 50 cm - infinity / Tele 100 cm - infinity / Macro / Intelligent AUTO/ motion picture: Wide 3 cm - infinity / Tele 100cm - infinity
AF Assist Lamp Yes
Focus Normal, AF Macro, Zoom Macro, Touch AF/AE / Quick AFON/OFF(On in Intelligent Auto), Continuous AF(only for motion picture) / AF Tracking
Shutter Speed Still: 8 - 1/4000 sec / Starry Sky Mode : 15, 30, 60sec
AF Metering Face / AF Tracking / 23pt / 1pt / Spot / Touch Area


Digital Red Eye Correction (Red-Eye Removal) Yes
File Format Still Image: JPEG(DCF/Exif2.3) / 3D Image: MPO / Motion picture: AVCHD, MP4
Mode Dial / Mode Button Intelligent Auto, Normal Picture, 3D Photo, SCN, Cosmetic
Still Image Scene Mode Portrait, Transform, Self-Portrait, Scenery, Panorama Assist, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Handheld Night Shot, Food, Party, / Candle Light, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, Starry Sky, Fireworks, Beach, Snow, Aerial Photo, Photo Frame, High Dynamic, Pi
Motion Picture Recording (*2) [HD Video] 1920 x 1080 pixels, 50i (FSH: 17Mbps / AVCHD) (Sensor output is 25p) / 1280 x 720 pixels, 50p (SH: 17Mbps / AVCHD) (Sensor output is 25p) / 1920 x 1080 pixels, 25 fps (FHD: 20Mbps / MP4) (Sensor output is 25p) / 1280 x 720 pixels, 25 fps (HD: 10Mbps / MP4) (Sensor output is 25p) / [STD Video] VGA: 640 x 480 pixels, 25 fps (4Mbps / MP4)
Continuous Shooting Mode Full-Resolution Image, 3.7 frames/sec Max. 7 images / High-speed Burst Mode: approx. 6 frames/sec (image priority) / approx. 10 frames/sec (speed priority) / (recorded in 3M for 4:3, 2.5M for 3:2, 2M for 16:9, 2.5M for 1:1)
AVCHD (Continuous recordable time [motion pictures]) approx. 60 min (FSH), 65 min (SH)
MP4 (Continuous recordable time [motion pictures]) approx. 60 min (FHD)
AVCHD (Actual recordable time [motion pictures]) approx. 30 min (FSH), 33 min (SH)
MP4 (Actual recordable time [motion pictures]) approx. 30 min (FHD)
Exposure Program AE
Exposure Compensation 1/3 EV step, +/- 2 EV
Auto (AE) Bracketing 1/3 ~1EV step, Max +/-1, 3 frames
Light Metering Intelligent Multiple
ISO Sensitivity Auto / i.ISO / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / High Sensitivity mode (ISO 1600-6400)
Still Picture Recording [1:1] 2992x2992(9M) / 2448x2448(6M EZ) / 1920x1920(3.5M EZ) / 1536x1536(2.5M EZ) / 480x480(0.2M EZ) / [4:3] 4000x3000(12M) / 3264x2448(8M EZ) / 2560X1920(5M EZ) /2048X1536(3M EZ) / 1600x1200(2M EZ) / 640x480(0.3M EZ) / [3:2] 4000x2672 (10.5M) / 3264x2176 (7M EZ)/ 2560x1712 (4.5M EZ) / 2048x1360 (2.5M EZ) / 640x424(0.3M EZ) / [16:9] 4000x2248 (9M) / 3264x1840 (6M EZ)/ 2560x1440(3.5M EZ) / 1920x1080 (2M EZ) / 640x360 (0.2M)
Image Quality Fine / Standard (3D mode: MPO Fine / MPO Standard )
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / White Set
Optical Zoom in Motion Picture Yes
Self Timer 2 sec / 10 sec


Playback Mode Normal Playback, Slideshow, Filtering Playback (Picture Only, Video Only, 3D, Category, Favorites), / Album Playback, Calendar Playback, 2D/3D Settings
Thumbnails / Zoomed Playback 12,30-thumbnails / Yes / Touch Magnification
Calendar Display / Dual-Image Playback Yes / No
Set Favorites / Rotate Image Yes / No
Show Histogram Yes
DPOF Print Setting / Set Protection Yes / Yes
Copy / Title Edit / Text Stamp Yes / Yes / Yes
Cut Animation Yes
Video Divide Yes
PictBridge Support Single / Multi / All / Favorites / DPOF


OSD language Japanese, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish


LCD Monitor 7.5cm(3.0") TFT Full Touch Screen LCD Display (460K dots), AR Coating / Field of View : approx. 100% / Power LCD mode, AUTO Power LCD mode
Built-in-Flash Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On./Red-eye Reduction, / Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off / 0.6 - 5.9m (Wide/ISO Auto), 1.0 - 2.5m (Tele/ISO Auto)
Recording Media Built-in Memory, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card
Built-in-Memory Approx. 70MB
Microphone / Speaker Mono / Yes
Interface micro HDMI, AV Output (NTSC), USB2.0 High speed
Power Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 680mAh) (Included) / AC Adaptor (Input: 110-240V AC) (Optional)
Battery life (approx.) 200 pictures (CIPA Standard)*1
Included Software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.4 HD Lite Edition with Wi-Fi / QuickTime / Adobe Reader
Standard Accessories Stylus Pen, Battery Charger, Battery Pack, USB Cable, Hand Strap, CD-ROM

Further Specifications

NOTE *1 / Recording conditions by CIPA standard / - CIPA is an abbreviation of [Camera & Imaging Products Association]. / - Temperature: 23 oC (73.4 oF)/Humidity: 50%RH when LCD monitor is on. / - Using a Panasonic SD Memory Card (32 MB). / - Using the supplied battery. / - Starting recording 30 seconds after the camera is turned on. (When the optical image stabilizer function is set to [ON].) / - Recording once every 30 seconds with full flash every second recording. / - Rotating the zoom lever from Tele to Wide or vice versa in every recording. / - Turning the camera off every 10 recordings and leaving it until the temperature of the battery decreases. / - The number of recordable pictures decreases in Auto Power LCD Mode and Power LCD Mode. / *2 / - These are standard times taken at a temperature of 23 oC (73.4 oF) and a humidity of 50%RH. / - The time available for recording varies depending on the environment, the interval between recordings, and the manner of use. / - Actual recordable time is the time available for recording when repeating actions such as switching the power supply [ON] / [OFF], starting/stopping recording, zoom operation etc. / - Motion images can be recorded continuously for up to 29 min 59 sec. / - Also, motion picture recorded continuously in [MP4] is up to 4 GB.

Your Comments

Loading comments…