In mid September this year, Panasonic announced their "most sophisticated COMPACT featuring an MFT Sensor and 4K Video, BUT it took them nearly THREE MONTHS before the LX100 reached The Land of The Long White Cloud!
Last weekend, I had the pleasures of assessing if this much anticipated compact is really Panasonic's best.
The LX100 is a solidly build camera, holding it in your hand, you can feel the heft; it is 393 g (13.9 oz), my favorite GM1 is only 274 g (9.6 oz).
Sitting side by side with the GM1, the LX100 is noticeably much larger; mind you, I still manage to put it in my jacket's pocket, but the weight is bothersome.
The LX100 came with many similar features of other compact cameras, but the one that "shine" are...
A 12.7MP 4/3 sensor with instant multi-aspect ability.
A fast 24-75mm equiv. F1.7-2.8 Leica branded lens.
Ability to shoot 4K video and 4K photo grab.
Apart from those features I mention above, the main feature that make me want this camera is the ability to be able to adjust the aperture and shutter speed settings in real time. Just like my film camera days!
The new and the old, the compact Lumix LX100 and my 1975 Leica M4-P; notice both got aperture settings on the lens and a shutter speed dial?
The slider switch under the aperture ring enables instant aspect ratio change. With this feature, out of 16MP of the LX100's 4/3 sensor, only 12.7MP are used!
Reviewers reckoned this is no big deal, to me, however, it is big deal; effectively, the smaller GM1 will OUT RESOLVED the larger LX100!
Personally, I think the real reason that Panasonic is using this "crop sensor" was because if they require the excellent 1.7-2.8 lens for FULL sensor coverage, the same lens will have to be made much LARGER and heavier!
Because of the EVF, there are no space for a built-in flash, you are provided with a tiny external flash which I bound to misplace or loose ;)
That's that about the camera's profile.
Do understand that this is NOT a full review, it is just a quick user experience. There are lots of detail reviews on the net that you can spend hours on.
I am more interested in how the camera handle and how good the pictures are :)
Pick up the camera from Photo Warehouse, mother nature however, was not cooperating; nagging rain the whole day! Ended up taking Le General for her shopping :(
This was our lunch, shot at full F1.7, I like the nice out of focus background. This is a straight out of camera JPEG file, bright and contrasty colour. Nice lens!
Two point and shoot shots taken at where my wife did her shopping, I find the AWB (auto white balance) very accurate.
Mother nature did a reprieve! The sun is out!
A quick shot on my house deck before we attend an invited "yum char" lunch. Thought I will set the LX100 to enable "4K photo".
At the restaurant, I found to my horror that, once in "4K photo" mode, I CANNOT shoot still picture at all! The camera lock itself into 4K video mode only!
NOT user friendly for 4K photo grabs, Panasonic!
Later I found, unlike my GM1 which I can shoot stills at the same time while videoing, I CANNOT do that with the LX100.
After lunch we went to the nearby open market and I caught some of these shots.
After our shopping at the open market and since Te Papa is near by, I decided to try out the available light ability of the LX100.
|A granite selfie of moi and Le General ;)|
|This was shot at ISO6,400 it is pretty "grainy" but usable.|
It was a fruitful Sunday! The LX100 starts to "grow" more and more on me! Ha ha ha...
That's part of our Sunday night dinner, why, I might even like the LX100 better than my default GM1 as a foodie camera!
Took the LX100 with me to work.
My colleague, Nigel; was excited over the little compact, I am sure he is going to buy one for Christmas!
Nigel tries out the face recognition feature on me and also took portraits of Margeret and Liza, nice shots Nigel! He reckoned the face recognition work like a dream and he was especially impressed with the MANUAL FOCUS ability of this gem. Personally, I don't see the reason for having manual focus on this FIXED LENS camera ;)
|A snap shot of moi at my work station, shot with Face Recognition active.|
|A 100% crop of the above, look like the Face Recognition was spot on!|
Portraits of work colleagues, Margeret and Liza; both shot by Nigel at ISO400, F2.7 and 70 mm zoom setting. Nice!
I left my office at 2.30 pm and decided to have a last fling with the parting LX100 at our Rose Garden.
It was a glorious sunny day!
LX100 on the left and little GM1, right; the large aperture lens on the LX gave better looking Bokeh :)
The difference between the LX100, top and GM1, bottom. Do you think the Leica Summilux branded, F1.7-2.8 lens is much better than the little zoom on the GM1?
The LX100 exposed at F2.8, left and F11, right. Notice how much more depth of focus the smaller F11 setting gave.
The slightly blurred background of the F2.8 made for a more visually pleasing shot though.
After the test shots, I had a very refreshing tea break over a bottle of sparkling water and a slice of carrot cake, before I return the camera to Photo Warehouse.
Somehow, the little GM1 made the carrot cake looked more delicious? Am I making any sense here? Ha ha ha...
This little critter was after my crumbs! I shot with the LX100 set to continuous firing mode. This camera response likes a machine gun! Super Fast!!
Famous Last Words...
What do I think of Panasonic's latest offering, the Lumix LX100?
A candid shot I took at the Te Papa museum on Sunday sums up my feeling...
This awesome little compact is not cheap though, awesome things are never cheap!
Some say that, the LX100, at NZD 1,349 is more expensive than it's main competitor, the slightly smaller Sony DSC RX100 Mklll (NZD 1,195) which feature a movable LCD screen but a smaller 1" sensor.
To me, the strongest competitor to this awesome camera is the GM5 which was announced at the same time as the LX100.
The little GM5 replaced the GM1 with more features and is selling at $30 cheaper.
The awesome compact LX100 is facing awesome competition!
Just found out that there are 20 short videos made by Panasonic USA on using the LX100! Buggar! Where were you when I need you? Ha ha ha..
Go and watch them here!