That's not all. The 25mm lens really is wide for a compact, and that makes it extremely useful. But the lens quality drops off considerably as you zoom in, so that, by the time you reach the 5x maximum zoom setting, pictures look distinctly soft, even without any magnification.
This makes the DMC-FX550 something of a mixed bag. The hybrid interface works, but not brilliantly. The lens offers an excellent zoom range, but doesn't deliver consistency across the range. While you get pro-style aperture-priority, shutter-priority and manual modes, they may end up wasted on a camera that isn't quite good enough for seriously keen photographers.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX550 is packed with good ideas and neat features, but the hybrid interface is patchy and the lens quality isn't good enough to justify the camera's manual modes. It's alright, and it's still pretty good value, but it's just not quite as good in practice as it looks on paper.
Edited by Charles Kloet