Digital Cameras Guide
Lock and Track
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX520, to say the least, has an abundance of features that could probably place it as a compact digital camera that delivers more than it does. As usual, we see Panasonic's Intelligent Auto (iA) at work on the FX520, with a few new additions such as the 25mm wide angle lens and as mentioned earlier on, a touch-screen LCD screen for a hybrid navigation interface. Similar to the recently introduced FX36, the FX520 sports a 1/2.33-inch imager that supports up imaging up to 10.1 Megapixels (effective). We've seen quite a number of 10-megapixel cameras heading to our shores, so the question one has to ask is: how does the FX520 up the ante in this tight race?
To answer that, we had a go with the FX520, and naturally, we took to its iA mode, seeing as how this would be the most common and easiest mode to use. Particularly so, when we switched the on FX520, our fingers went straight for the little AFAE icon on the bottom right, and was greeted with a message to choose a subject to track. The significance of the Touch AF-AE feature, as Panasonic touts, is apparent when you have a restless subject that is constantly on the move. The tracking accuracy on the FX520 was top-notch as we have tested, where we had subjects moving around and watched the crosshair following the subject faithfully without losing focus. More importantly, when the subject is chosen via the touch-screen, the FX520 utilizes the iA's ability to go through its list of separate features that cycles through the optimum shooting mode which includes macro, night shots or high sensitivity.
Besides its iA mode that works sufficiently well for general shots, there are the usual suspects such as Scene, Motion Picture, Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual Exposure for your selection. A total of 21 scenes are available, giving you a wide spectrum of choices for varying situations. As mentioned, there are alternative manual modes for you to tweak such as shutter speeds and aperture settings, with various ISO settings thrown into the fray for added measure.
Cycling through the various ISO settings under ProgramAE first, followed by iA, you'll notice that the iA mode performs just as expected, providing you with the optimum ISO settings and appropriate scene mode as seen in the above macro shots. An additional note of observation on the macro mode is that we found it effective as close as 5cm from the imaging subject. As one might notice, going up to ISO1600 is not advisable for close-up shots, but it'll suffice for general wide-angled photography with the FX520's 25mm wide-angle lens.