Here's a quick tour of touch screen operations: the camera body control layout redefines simplicity - on/off, zoom/shutter and motion picture buttons atop the camera body with record/playback, mode and menu buttons on the back. Power up the FX75 and you'll get a screen like this:
Push the menu button and you'll get a specific menu based on the camera being in record or playback mode at the time. Here's the first page of the record menu - the icons in the lower left of the screen allow you to select menus for still images, movies or camera setup, and this screen is set for stills.
The mode button operates in similar fashion - here's the record screen.
You can set the AF focus point on the screen simply by touching the screen in the location you want - to move from the image on the left below to the one on the right all I did was touch the screen where the point is located in the second image.
Panasonic's press release calls the touch screen operation "fluid and smooth" in either record or playback mode, and based on my brief time with it that claim certainly seems on target for the record mode. I was prepared to encounter a system that was convoluted or gimmicky, but the FX75 has proven anything but so far. Once you push the control buttons for either menu or mode the ongoing process is very intuitive.
One potential dark cloud on the horizon might be the cumulative effect of so many fingerprints on the LCD screen that is also used for image composition and capture. Monitors are traditionally difficult to use in some outdoor lighting conditions and smears from fingerprints won't do anything to make this better. Panasonic includes a half-dollar sized stylus to take the finger(s) out of play with the screen, but the natural inclination is to go direct with the finger. Plan to take a lens cloth along to wipe the monitor when things get messy.
Full review soon
The initial verdict on the FX75 is two thumbs up for the images and interface based on one afternoon's shoot. Will the warm and fuzzy feelings still be around when the last capture is on the card? That answer will be found in our complete review which will appear down the road a bit.
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