The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX40 has a stainless steel body that feels great to the touch. It also makes the camera more robust than a lot of others, so it should stand up to being treated a little roughly.

It's a compact unit that weighs 128g and feels incredibly light in the hand. On the top of the camera you'll find a power switch, rather than a button, as well as a shoot and zoom ring.

On the back of the camera is a thumb-wheel for clicking through the various modes, which, along with the mode shift button, gives the DMC-FX40 a slightly retro feel.

The menu buttons are rather small and you may find them difficult to read. The onscreen menu system can also be a little tricky to get the hang of, as there are an incredible number of functions and features you can access. Fortunately, if you're in a hurry, there is a dedicated Quick Menu button under the main navigation controls, which we found made using this camera a whole lot easier.

The 2.5-inch screen is a bit on the small side, but we found it quite appealing. The colour balance is great and the level of detail really allows you to get in close and focus on your subject.

When it comes to image quality, you can use this camera in full 12.1-megapixel mode in 4:3 aspect ratio or switch to 16:9 aspect ratio with a resulting drop to 9-megapixel rating. Image quality in both modes proves more than satisfactory.

This camera also has a built-in movie mode that defaults to QVGA (640 x 480 pixels), but can be changed to record in full HD quality. AV-out and Component ports let you send your recorded footage out.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX40 is an appealing camera that has a great viewfinder and excellent image quality. However, the rather retro buttons and awkward menu system detract from what otherwise would be an award-winning compact camera.

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