It took a long time for me to find a point and shoot camera that I felt comfortable recommending to real estate agents. There were several criteria that needed to be met and the Kodak met all of them.
- Cost: Must be less than $400.
- Portability: Small enough to carry with you at all times.
- Simplicity: Works right out of the box without reading instructions.
- Ultra-Wide Angle: Not your basic 28mm wide angle lens, “extra” wide for capturing small rooms.
Lots of you purchased the Kodak v705 based on my recomendation. So many, I wish I were making some form of commission, that’s for sure. But the Kodak v705 has been discontinued and no replacement has been announced.
Enter the Panasonic Lumix FX35.
The Panasonic Lumix FX35 was announced in January, but was not officially launched to the public until last week. Mine arrived yesterday and I tested it this morning. For me to recommend a camera for the average user, it has to do one thing very well, take a great photo right out of the box without changing a single setting. Why? Because I know most people will never take the time to learn how to use all of the feature of any camera. So, if a camera doesn’t allow you to take a good photo with it’s basic, default settings, I can’t recommend it.
How does it compare?
- Cost: $239 – $349 online.
- Portability: It is slightly smaller than the Kodak v705.
- Simplicity: The photos below were taken using the default settings.
- Ultra-Wide Angle: The Panasonic Lumix FX35 has a 25mm wide angle lens.
You must not underestimate the importance of a really wide angle lens.
It took me a long time to find a replacement for the Kodak v705, mainly because most of the “wide” angle lenses touted by camera makers are 28mm. The Kodak was 23mm and really showed off rooms in a home. A 28mm lens doesn’t come close enough. The Panasonic Lumix FX35 touted a 25mm lens, so that caught my attention. As you can see from the photos below, it gets very close to the viewable range of the Kodak, but with better color quality.
House shot from sidewalk: click on photos to view large originals.
The photo above on the left was taken with the default settings on the Kodak v7o5, the one on the right, with the Panasonic Lumix FX35. As you can see, the Kodak caught a slightly wider angle, but the Panasonic has much richer, truer color. This was shot near sundown. No question, the Panasonic does a better job of capturing this shot. Changing the settings would improve the Kodak shot, but that would not be a fair comparison. Also, the slight difference in viewable area between the 23mm on the left and the 25mm on the right, is not significant.
Room Shot With Curtains Closed: click on photos to view large originals.
Again, the Kodak is on the left and the Panasonic on the right. There is a slight difference in viewable area, but not enough to make a real difference. The real difference is the photo quality, again. It is noticeable and relevant. When you view the photos at their original size, 5.o megapixels for the Kodak and 10.1 megapixels for the Panasonic, you will see the difference even more clearly. The Panasonic Lumix FX35 wins on this test as well.
Small Bathroom: click on photos to view large originals.
This is a very small room and the difference in the wide angle lenses is noticable, but not significant. And the photo quality of the Panasonic Lumix FX35 is superior once again.
The Panasonic Lumix FX35 does not have the ability to stitch a panoramic shot in the camera. This is a nice feature for real estate. However, I have found myself using my Autostitch software more often than in-camera stitching. Mainly because aligning the shots in camera is a bit of a hassle. Using a tripod with stitching software can achieve superior results.
The addition of High Definition Video
The Panasonic also allows you to shoot in high definition video. Here you can see a direct comparison between video shot with the Kodak v705 and HD Video shot with the Panasonic Lumix FX35. The quality difference is readily apparent.
If you’re looking for a new camera to shoot real estate, this one will do the trick.
I’ve spent the day out and about with the FX35. I really like the Intelligent Auto Focus on this camera. It can sense faces, scenes and proximity to subject and adjust the settings automatically. And it does a good job of it, as you will see in this photo of ice in a glass. One of the complaints about the Kodak v705 was not knowing what setting to switch on to get the best shot. There is less need to know that on the FX35.
I’ll be posting more photos from this camera on Flickr. You can find them in this Panasonic Lumix FX35 Tests photo set. Every photo in this set will be shot using the Intelligent Auto Mode, and the comparison shots on the Kodak v705, or any other camera, will be taken on the default setting.
So far, I am very, very impressed.