One Month One Camera – Jan 2020 (IV) – Panasonic Lumix FX10 Summary

Throughout January I used only the Panasonic Lumix FX10 as part of my ongoing One Month One Camera (OMOC) project. 

Here are the three previous update posts if you missed them –

One Month, One Camera – Jan 2020 (I) – Special FX?

One Month One Camera – Jan 2020 (II) – Snapseed Returns

One Month One Camera – Jan 2020 (III) – How Auto Do You Go?

So finally, a summary of the month, the camera, and the project. 

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This is my favourite photograph I’ve made with the Lumix FX10, and showed me its potential

What I like about the Lumix FX10

– It’s very compact and light, but not so it’s awkward or fiddly to use.

– The camera is easy to set up and use, the menus are logical, and there aren’t many (or perhaps any) silly superfluous features to get in the way.

– The FX10’s zoom lens starts at 35mm, my favoured focal length for a digital compact, so I just powered it up and started shooting, without touching the zoom rocker. No need to reverse engineer and figure out different focal lengths.

– The Intelligent ISO mode is great for optimising the camera’s performance. I set the ISO limit to ISO400, then the camera always used the lowest ISO it could (starting at its native ISO100) without dipping too low with shutter speed, thus avoiding camera shake.

– The reliable exposure system of this Lumix meant very little need for using the exposure compensation dial, which is certainly not the case with many of my favourite digitals where I begin with -1/3 or -2/3 to avoid blowing out highlights, and sometimes need to drop further.

– The FX10’s lens was fast enough at f/2.8 and plenty sharp enough with decent light, in fact significantly sharper than I expected. Again the 35mm focal length at the wide end helps here – many compact cameras go wider, to say 28 or even 24mm, with a maximum aperture of perhaps f/2.8 or f/2.4, but once you zoom in to 35mm, they’re slower than that, meaning longer shutter speeds and increased risk of camera shake.

– Overall the Lumix FX10 just gets on with making decent, reliable photographs, in a very portable package, there’s very little to disappoint.

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What I didn’t like about the Lumix FX10

Really, there’s only one thing, and that’s something shared by the majority of cameras I use, so it’s unfair to isolate the FX10 for this exclusively.

The b/w mode is just too middly muddly grey (technical terminology!), only starting to show the deeper blacks and crisper whites I like in high contrast scenes with bright light and strong shadows.

I realised to avoid writing off 95% of the b/w shots I made with the FX10, I’d need to run them through one of my b/w Snapseed presets, something I increasingly want to avoid when I have a number of cameras that deliver b/w images I love straight out of camera.

Aside from this, no complaints with the little Lumix!

What I liked about the One Month One Camera project overall in January

It reminded me again of the simple joy of going to your camera shelf and knowing which camera to grab, because you already decided at the start of the month.

It completely eliminates the kind of near endless deliberations I used to have, wasting precious time I could be out on a photo walk.

With a simple digital compact like the FX10, this project works even better, because there are no alternative lenses to consider, and a straightforward set of features that can be set up in a few minutes of using the camera, then virtually forgotten about.

In other words, the OMOC project hugely optimises my photography time, meaning as much as possible is spent looking for and capturing compositions I find beautiful.

It minimises the time spent choosing between different cameras, then faffing around with the settings of the one I have chosen because I’ve forgotten what/where most of them are, having not picked up that particular camera in months.

The Lumix FX10 isn’t special enough, or doesn’t have any outstanding features to make it a dead cert keeper in my small collection, but for now I’ll just tuck away in the corner of a box, and perhaps revisit it later in the year.

For February, I’ve chosen a camera I adore, but has spent an disproportionately small time in my hands since I bought it a couple of years ago, the Ricoh GR Digital III. Which makes it a prime candidate for an OMOC experiment.

More on that very soon.

How about you? How long do you usually use one camera for, before switching to another? What benefits have you found of using just one camera for a sustained period? 

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

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10 thoughts on “One Month One Camera – Jan 2020 (IV) – Panasonic Lumix FX10 Summary”

  1. I like the concept of not thinking endlessly about the gear to take out and simply pick the only choice )imposed or not), then shoot for a month with the same setup. You have the discipline to do this and also stick with a single focal length. This is very commendable.

    I wish we would have more options like these, but using newer technology. Pity that the camera makers dump so much into the new gear. I use so little from a camera and I always struggle to customise it to simplicity. I myself have settled on Fujifilm XPro2 with old M42 manual lenses and heavily modified jpegs through the camera simulations.

    I sometimes think I have over engineered my workflow: not so compact gear, heavy, lots of lenses to choose from, large files to manage. I am happy with the results, however I am not always out shooting.

    I think your articles nudge me over to simplify and reduce the weight :). Thanks for that.

    1. Alex, I think because it’s only for a month, I’m happy to be this disciplined. Contemplating a year with one camera would be a very different proposition! A month, then a chance to try something else and get to know it to the same degree, is working well.

      I realised when shooting film and trying to scan it myself, how much I disliked it, mostly because it was supposed “photography time” I was engaged in, but it wasn’t being used to make any photographs.

      It was similar around 2017 when I was shooting DSLRs RAW and using LightRoom with presets to post process. I was spending too much time processing, and the infinite options were overwhelming.

      I love just committing not only to one camera, but to whatever it outputs as a JPEG, and knowing that aside from editing (ie choosing which photos to keep and which to delete) when I press the shutter button, that’s the end of the process(ing) for me.

      Yeh compactness is another major appeal with cameras like this little Lumix, the Lumix LX3 I used in December, the Ricoh GRD III I’m using this month, and others like my Pentax Q. Even though I don’t carry out a range of lenses with a DSLR or mirrorless, it is more bulky and unwieldy, and I wonder why I didn’t just stick with a little compact.

  2. I think I should ‘borrow’ the contents of this post and run a point-by-point comparison of your FX10 experience to my ZS60 experience. Some of them are exactly the same, others widely different.
    Also I think middly-muddly should be hyphenated. 😀

    1. Marc, that would be a very interesting comparison. I had in my mind that the ZS60 (called the TZ80 over here) was much higher spec and better than it seems you’re finding it to be so far. Although after a quick look at the specs just now and the max aperture of only f/3.3 and fairly small 1/2.3″ sensor, I think perhaps I thought it was much higher end than it is?

      The good old LX3 has a 1/6.3″ sensor and f/2 wide open at 24mm, so really a different bracket to the TZ80. That said, I thought the FX10 was a much lower end camera than the TZ80, but perhaps not, maybe it’s just older. Still it has a pretty decent 35/2.8 lens and the sensor at 1/2.5″ is only slightly smaller than the TZ80. Oh and it’s CCD of course, not CMOS, which I favour!

      Anyway, I would like to see/hear more about any Lumix really.

      Your probably right about middly-muddly! A thousand shades of grey!

      1. Dan, I have to say I feel a bit misled by the ZS60 specifications; it simply doesn’t live up to expectations, although I have got it ‘usable’ after a lot of adjusting the defaults.

        I think the loss of CCD sensors is a big problem. They give a better range of image, which means you can get black blacks and white whites and a lot of tones in between. The CMOS sensor seem to be too ‘harsh’ – probably a result of dividing up the analog into too few digital components – so they compensate and end up losing the fine gradients. The best B&W images I get out of camera are from the old Kodaks with the CCD sensors. The newer cameras all look better if desaturated afterward. Not to mention that this saves ‘missing out’ if the picture would have been better in colour.
        With your permission I would like to use the salient points of your post with responses referencing the difference in the ZS60.

      2. Marc I agree, I think the spec sheet can be very misleading, and indeed the manufacturers do this intentionally, try to dazzle and impress us with ever increasing numbers to encourage us to upgrade. Even for those of us (I include myself) who are perhaps less likely to be influenced than others in this sense, it still doesn’t seem logical that a 10 or 15 year old camera will comfortably out perform a brand new one and be more fun to use because of its greater simplicity. I guess the mantra the “newer = better” is so ingrained in us by advertising.

        Yes feel free to link to and quote parts of my FX10 post in your comparison. It would be really interesting if you could get your hands on a similarly old Lumix from the FX or TZ series and do a head to head road test against your ZS60. The FX10 is from 2007 I think, your ZS60 about nine years newer. In another thread Chris was talking about a couple of Pentax compacts that had Kodak CCD sensors, I’m very tempted to see if I can pick up one of those sometime…

  3. This concept of one month one camera seems pretty nice. Speaking of the cameras i use, sometimes it really is a task to choose between the gears. Am not a professional photographer, but I’m learning, and sometimes it’s hard to choose between the Nikon P500 and L27, and many-a-times i leave the gear and get out with my cell phone to click some shots, and then do spend a plenty of time with the shots in Lightroom. I guess i should get back to the cameras, rather than using the phone.

    1. Thanks Ekka, yes the One Month One Camera project is really working for me.

      Generally I oscillate between DSLRs and compacts, spending a few months with each, and wondering if I’ll ever go back to the other.

      And there’s nothing wrong with using camera phones, my first five years or more of intentional photography was on Sony Cyber-shot camera phones, from about 3MP-6MP.

      I went back to one of them in 2018 for a bit after finding it in a drawer –

      https://35hunter.blog/2018/06/07/beneath-the-old-elm-a-nostalgic-wander-with-an-former-flame/

      In the last couple of years I would say 95% of the photos I’ve made of my family have been on my Sony Xperia phone, and it’s plenty good enough to use for other photography too, I just much prefer the ergonomics and handling of a dedicated camera.

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