A new contender in the bantamweight division of the digicam market, Panasonic's Lumix DMC-FX100 packs a lot of power into a compact package that's easy to carry and use.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX100's resolution of 12.2Mp (megapixels) seemed like overkill at first, yet the camera produced clear, well-exposed images at every setting.

Image stabilisation was consistently effective, and those who love to shoot landscapes will appreciate that the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX100's 3.6x zoom Leica lens starts at a wide-angle 28mm.

Serious shutterbugs may be disappointed at the lack of manual exposure controls, but in our lab tests, there was little reason to second-guess the camera's calculations. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX100 achieved Good scores for image and flash quality, and Very Good marks for colour quality.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX100's menus and controls are well thought out, with most important settings just a click or two away. Travellers will also appreciate the compact battery recharger, which you'll be using given the decidedly average battery life of 530 shots per charge.

OUR VERDICT

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX100 is streamlined enough not to baffle novice users, but even seasoned shutterbugs ought to consider this is as a backup to their SLR or DSLR. Especially as a vacation take-along, this lightweight camera will produce consistently pleasing images.