The DMC-FX33 is aimed squarely at the point-and-shoot photographer and its automated features do a pretty good job. The IA mode was rarely fooled, although we noticed that when shooting under artificial light, a number of shots had comet trails streaming from the lights or displayed a yellow cast. This suggests that the DMC-FX33 had the wrong white balance or shutter speed setting, and wasn't fully engaging the image-stabilistion system.
Close-up shooting was pretty impressive - you can even see the particles of dust between the keys
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The DMC-FX33 offers the equivalent of a 28mm wide angle lens, which means you can squeeze more into a frame
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Panasonic and Noise
It's not just the megapixel race that gives us noise on this camera. Panasonics are renowned for noise at anything over ISO100. I use a fantastic FZ20 with that amazing 12x Leica zoom and am constantly impressed by the class-leading glass stuck on the front, and constantly annoyed by the noisy low-light performance.
Swings and roundabouts ... if you live somewhere bright, get a Panasonic and marvel in the optics. If you live in gloomy Scotland, get a Canon or get a tripod and learn to work in low-ISO.
Re: Image Noise
Yep, it's the price we (as a society) pay for being obsessed with the megazoom and megapixel arms race. The sensors have to stay small to allow practical zoom ranges in a pocketable camera, and the (alas) vast majority of people still think an 8Mp camera is inherently better than a 6Mp one, all things being equal, when for the same size sensor the 6Mp one will deliver significantly less noisy images and still be perfectly adequate for printing at typical sizes.
Unfortunately, the manufacturers play to the mass market, and the retailers can't explain this kind of thing to the average customer. Retailers don't want low megapixel cameras on their shelves because they simply don't sell against the often inferior high megapixel stuff. As a result, the megapixels and zoom ranges carry on up and up as the image quality flushes itself down the loo. If you want to avoid bad image noise in a new camera, you have little choice but to go down the dSLR route now.
Still, console yourself with the fact that the successor to this camera (the DMC-FX35, announced in January) has 10Mp and a 4x zoom for only a minutely larger sensor, which will inevitably be still worse on the noisy image front.
Looks that way - probably been used one handed ...
Mine's the mac with the white stains in the lining near the pockets.