Lumix is Panasonic’s brand of digital cameras, ranging from pocket point-and-shoot models to digital SLRs. Many Lumix models are fitted with Leica lenses that have been designed by Leica’s German optical engineers and are assembled in Japan, some are rebadged as Leica cameras with different cosmetic styling. Leica had a similar relationship with Minolta in the past, where late model Leica SLRs (and some 35mm point and shoot models) were strongly based on Minolta bodies.
Most Lumix cameras use different releases of the Panasonic Venus Engine for digital image processing; the original version was followed by II, III, IV, HD (2008), V (2009), and VI, HD II (2010).
Panasonic produces all of Leica’s branded digital point and shoot cameras in Japan, but not film cameras, the Leica M8 or Leica M9 digital rangefinder cameras, or the Digital Modul R digital camera back for the Leica R9 film SLR.
Some cameras come in several colours, indicated by a suffix letter: K is black, S silver, A blue, R red, W white. Most lower-price cameras have small sensors of about 10.2 mm / 1/2.5″. More expensive ones often have sensors of about twice the area, 14.1 mm to 15.4 mm / 1/1.65″ to 1/1.8″. dSLRs and Micro Four Thirds cameras have much larger sensors. Larger sensors produce a better signal-to-image-noise ratio and better dynamic range.
If the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37 proves anything, it’s that success can be a hard act to follow. A light update to the FX35 – a DigitalCameraReview.com Editor’s Choice winner from 2008 – the FX37 keeps all of the bells and whistles that made the FX35 such a fun, flexible camera: it’s slim, chic, easy to use, and offers an even more versatile version of what may be the best wide-angle lens currently available on an ultracompact.
So what’s not to love? While the idea of a 25mm wide-angle lens on a camera small enough to disappear into a shirt pocket is still something to brag about, it’s hard not to feel that Panasonic’s last FX efforts, with all that it carries over from previous models, is starting to look a little long in the tooth.