Panasonic DMC-FX9K is the second digital compact camera that I've bought to date. First time I was introduced to Panasonic cameras was through a friend of mine who owned DMC-FX7 model. I was impressed with overall picture quality, large high resolution display and it's compact size and weight, not to mention cosy, elegant look. I was looking for a replacement of my 3 year old Canon S45 and this seemed to be a nice candidate. So I bought one in early 2006.
I cannot say I regret this buy but frankly this is (or rather was) not a best camera available. I should've stayed to Canon. Canon, in my humble opinion is the market leader when it comes to compact digital cameras. No doubt that if I decide to upgrade my compact it'll be one of the Canon models. Definitely not one of the larger models like G11 but one of the small pocket ones like S90. Anyway, back to the subject at hand.
Biggest problem with compacts (most of them) are the small sensor (pixels per sq. mm), tiny lens and terrible low ISO performance. DMC-FX9 gets quite noisy at ISO200 and almost unusable at ISO400 so forget about indoor shots without the flash. And it's tiny flash is pretty much useless beyond the distance of 2-3 meters. In fact low ISO performance and crappy noise reduction algorithms are the two major reason why you should avoid this camera at all cost. In addition, the image stabilisation is somewhat ineffective and even in the broad daylight you'll end up with quite large percentage of unfocused, blurry photos. Besides that, all is great. The lucky, in focus snapshots, taken at low ISO in full broad daylight, are great. Nice colours, decent contrast etc.
If you are into compact camera models, then I strongly suggest getting one of the high end Canon compacts. Current (as of December 2009) top models are S90 for small pocket models and G11 for larger models. You cannot go wrong with one of these. If you are after much better ISO performance or shoot people, sports etc. then consider Digital or Film SLR. Browse through Ken's recommended cameras page.
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