I found the FX90 to be a quick camera. The on-screen menu system responded quickly to the touch. The dedicated movie button started the movie recording instantly. Although I didn’t care for the small size of the zoom control, it worked smoothly, with no hesitation.
The camera was a bit slow to start up, requiring about three seconds. However shot-to-shot time was very quick, at about one second without the flash and about two seconds with the flash. The camera’s Wi-Fi function was easy to set up and worked smoothly. I was able to send images to my computer without a problem.
The FX90’s autofocus system was able to focus quickly and reliably in all lighting conditions. The camera is equipped with 23 autofocus points which no doubt contributed to its excellent focusing performance.
DCR’s lab confirms my own findings regarding the FX90’s focusing ability, as its autofocus acquisition time was determined to be 0.24 seconds, which was faster than three high quality cameras by Sony, Canon and Nikon that were the subject of recent reviews. The FX90’s continuous shooting speed was not nearly as fast as its three competitors, though its performance can be improved using the camera’s high speed burst mode which creates less-than-full resolution images.
AF Acquisition (press-to-capture, no pre-focus)
|Panasonic Lumix FX90||0.24|
|Sony Cyber-shot TX100||0.32|
|Canon PowerShot S100||0.39|
|Nikon Coolpix AW100||0.50|
|Sony Cyber-shot TX100||11.4 fps|
|Canon PowerShot S100||10.5 fps|
|Nikon Coolpix AW100||8.5 fps|
|Panasonic Lumix FX90||3.0 fps|
*Note: Continuous shooting framerates are based on the camera’s fastest full-resolution JPEG continuous shooting mode, using the fastest media type available (300x CF, SDHC, etc.). “Frames” notes the number of captures recorded per burst before the camera stops/slows to clear the buffer.
The FX90’s lithium-ion battery is rated at 200 shots, which is probably accurate. This figure does not take into account battery power used for taking movies or using Wi-Fi and the battery life will doubtless be shorter when those functions are utilized. Therefore it’s probably a good idea to purchase an extra battery, to be brought along when heading out for a day of shooting.
The FX90 has a high quality Leica DC Vario-Summarit lens with a range of 24 through 120mm (35mm film camera equivalent), and a maximum aperture ranging from a fast f/2.5 at wide angle to f/5.9 at telephoto.
The camera has an Extra Optical Zoom feature, which uses digital zoom to extend the apparent focal length of the lens. The lens can focus as close as 3cm in macro mode.
The lens was impressively free from distortion. Chromatic aberration (colored fringing) was sometimes present in high contrast situations, such as trees against a blue sky, but it was well-controlled. The lens was sharp throughout the frame with no vignetting. Some barrel distortion was present at extreme wide angle but there was no significant pin cushion distortion at maximum telephoto.