Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX77 Review: Build quality & handling

The FX77's design is a simple rectangle with no sticky out bits except for the slight, smooth lens bulging out on the front of the camera. Considering this simplistic approach to the design, it's not an unpleasant or boring camera to look at. In fact it fits perfectly with the stylish range that Panasonic have placed it in thanks to its flush seams and clean lines.

Because of the high build quality, the camera feels solid enough with only the minimum of movement in the lens barrel. We're happy to see a metal tripod bush for extra durability, but it's unfortunate that the HDMI and battery/card covers are made of feeble plastic.

A small area is usually reserved on the back of the camera as a thumb rest, but because the screen on the back dominates the entire surface area, there's no such place. However we found our hands instinctively found the right place to hold it so we didn't touch the screen when we were taking pictures.

The screen isn't that sensitive and most of the time we had to stab at the buttons and icons in the menu to try and get the camera to work. It's nowhere near as sensitive as a smart phone, which is a shame because that's what we and a lot of people are used to so it takes a lot longer and can be more frustrating inputting commands.

The menu and playback screens echo smart phones using a drag system to move modes along a ticker or to move through photographs you've taken. One of the cooler ideas in the menu is similar to creating a short cut on a computer desktop. It allows you to drag an icon onto the main screen so you can access it quicker. This is done by entering the menu, pressing the icon on the right that looks like a letter M with a spanner next to it then choosing the mode you want on the screen and sliding it into one of the empty spaces on the left. If they're both full, you can replace them by simply loading a new mode over the existing one.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX77 is a well designed and made camera. The menu system is easy enough to navigate and the only issue that we had was that the buttons aren't the most responsive we've encountered. We like the fact that you can set your favourite modes onto the screen, though.