It's nearly Easter, and we find ourselves haunted by the moment we lost our childhood innocence: the instant we first cracked open a giant chocolate egg and discovered that it wasn't full of sticky-sweet goodness after all. We've been as hollow as a cheap supermarket mockolate egg ever since. Jaded as we are, we expect the worst from most compact cameras, until every now and again we come across a camera so packed with features it's like breaking into a giant Creme Egg and discovering it's fondant all the way through. Say hello then, to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500.
The FX500 is a 10.1-megapixel point-and-shoot with a whole host of treats up its sleeve. The excellent Mega OIS system keeps pictures steady and unblurrisome, auto-focus tracking tracks subjects like Steve McQueen in The Hunter, and iA (Intelligent Auto) mode takes care of the thinking.
Panasonic is claiming performance figures such as shutter lag as short as 0.005 seconds -- oooh -- and 2.5 frames per second at full resolution -- aaah -- while face detection and an automatic scene mode selector are also included. We particularly like the sound of an intelligent exposure function, which increases the exposure of the darker areas to make sure detail isn't lost.
The FX500 will be available in silver and black. The recommended retail price is £330, although we're sure the street value will be slightly less. It's yours to own from the end of April, but if you can't wait that long, click through for pictures and details of the screentastic, lensriffic FX500. -Rich Trenholm
Update: Read our full Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 review.