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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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I've been a fan of the LX lineup for years. I started with the LX2, then then LX3, then LX5 and now I have the LX7. When they announced the LX-100 the other day I almost fell off my chair.

The only thing I use my LXs for is from-the-hip street shooting, with lens at full wide-angle and manually focused for optimum DOF. The LXs are perfect for this, except for the tiny sensor. Because of the shooting style, I get motion blur all the way up to 1/500, so I usually shoot at ISO 250, 320, or 400, and that can get a bit noisy. With the 4/3 sensor, that problem is gone.

Not convinced yet that I'll switch (I need to see how MF is handled and if there's a useful DOF scale, and if the larger camera is discreet enough), but something tells me I won't be able to resist!

I was thinking exactly the same when I saw the news of this camera.

I've been into Panasoic as well since getting the GF1 upon release. I now have several GX1s that I bought second hand, and coupled with an EVF and panckake lens they are my go-to cameras. That said, they are still a bit bulky, and I'm sure the LX100 won't be any worse in terms of IQ than the GF1 or GX1.

I have a Sony RX100, but lack of viewfinder makes it limited in use to me. Despite shooting tens of thousands of images with just a screen, I can't get used to not having a viewfinder.

From having almost zero quality small cameras a few years back, we're now spoiled for choice. Just shocking to see how passive/uncapable Nikon and Canon have proven to be over the last few years. Panasonic, Olympus, Ricoh, Sony and Leica are doing fantastic things. Lets hope they keep it up, because they're getting very close to perfection.

Odd and disappointing that Panasonic left out the touchscreen.

I think your argument is bang-on. The LX100 looks like a very nice camera. The zoom has a useful range and is very bright. It has some nice physical controls. 12MP is enough for a lot of purposes. However, I'm in that group that has a small camera already - an EM-5 in my case. The EM-5 with the 20mm pancake isn't much different in size from the LX100. Sure I would rather have the fast zoom, but I'm not going to buy another small camera just for that. If the 24-75 zoom range was the only range you were interested then maybe, but it still isn't an upgrade compared to what I have already except in size.

For a DSLR user, who would always pull out their bigger rig if they wanted to go outside of 24-75mm, I could see this as a nice 2nd camera. I think most mirrorless users will skip it.

What I keep coming back to is that, even accounting for the smaller-than-an-ILC* de facto sensor size, this product is, by ILC standards, a pretty damn impressive amount of lens for the price and the size of the package - never mind the rest of it. The price, size, and spec comparison with something like the Panasonic 12-35mm is especially striking.

Or at least, that's how it looks on paper.

Also, again only on paper, it looks like there's enough camera behind the lens not to seriously hold back its more impressive characteristics.

Only I already have a perfectly good MFT zoom in this range, and a perfectly good MFT camera to put it on, and, yeah, it's a bigger package, but that LX100 isn't cheap.

But if I needed to start from scratch, this device would be a pretty hard proposition to argue with, especially given the seductively old-school controls.

*Well, except Nikon 1.

I agree with you, Mike, this one has got my attention as well. A fast, quality lens covering a very useful range of focal lengths. Real, proper, controls (knobs and rings) for shutter speed, aperture, and comp...just how like I like my cameras! The top deck looks remarkably like a Fuji X100T...hmm.
An eye-level viewfinder and compact enough for times when even the Fuji X-T1 or Oly E-M1 would be more than than I might want to carry around (fantastic cameras, but not jacket-pocketable). Much as it pains me to say it, this is the camera the Fuji X30 could, and should, have been.

Oddly enough, the Panasonic LX100 with a red Leica dot on it ( the D-Lux Typ 109) is only 33% more than the Lumix-branded one. It's arguably better looking, and it comes with Lightroom, too!

But I can't help but giggle a bit whenever I read D-Lux, as it makes me think of "D-Lux Do-nuts To-nite!"

The LX100 is not too different in size from the older LX7. A bit wider and much thicker in the lens. That's an impressive achievement for a camera with a sensor with double the diagonal (from crop factor of 4.55 to 2.2)

http://camerasize.com/compare/#534,350

A "multi-aspect" sensor lets the image have the same diagonal angle of view regardless of aspect ratio. This allows the zoom lens to have a smaller image circle because you use the biggest circle that just fits on the sensor rather than using an image circle that includes all the corners and overspills the edges of the sensor. This means the lens can be smaller (by about 10% in linear dimension). You might see this with other manufacturers too.

It also means the effective crop size of the sensor increases from 2.0 to 2.2) and you "lose" pixels with 3:2 mode having the most with 12.7Mpx from a 16Mpx sensor. A 16Mpx microFourThirds camera would give 14Mpx in the 3:2 crop mode.

This is perhaps the largest size for a "compact" camera with a bright 3x zoom lens and a "large" sensor. I suspect you'll see other manufacturers opting for the slightly smaller type 1-inch sensor and using a longer (equivalent) focal length as Canon has done in the G7X. You're not going to see APS-C sensor "compacts" with a fast zoom lens.

I expect they're using the new Panasonic MN34230PL sensor first seen in the GH4. It has very low read noise and some very nice video features for 1080p/60fps and 4k2k/30fps. The sensor can do decimation of the whole image rather than line skipping to generate HD or lower resolution video so it can use the whole sensor area and deliver fewer artifacts in the video stream.

It's smaller than the Fujifilm X100 but thicker. Clearly the X100 influenced the control layout. One can see them as two different design end-points of a retro design: a bigger sensor with a fast prime lens or a smaller sensor and a fast zoom lens.

Comparing this camera to the obvious rival the Fujifilm X30 which is very similar in size to the LX100 but with a much smaller sensor. Fuji will have to go to a bigger sensor (a Sony type 1-inch?) in the next model to get some buzz though they will have a manual zoom.

There are still lots of unknowns for this camera. I presume, like the LX7, it has step zoom for people (like me) who prefer to treat a zoom as a "box of primes". It might be too much to ask for AutoISO in manual mode as Panasonic really believe "manual means manual". Back-button focus, too? I can do that on my G5 (but it's rather odd setup). Once the manual becomes available these questions will be answered.

As the owner of the LX7 (and LX 3 previously) which is my go-to camera for any occasion where photography is not the main event, I'm really Jonesing for the LX 100. Just wish it had a tilting LCD as I take a lot of waist level and over the head shots.

Mike,

Given this from you:

My style of photography—I'm a generalist, walk-around-and-take-notes kind of photographer; small, easy-to-carry but capable cameras naturally appeal.

I'm surprised you seem completely uninterested in Nikon 1. I'd pass on the V1, don't like the V3 because the EVF is add on. But the V2 is an interesting camera. You could rent one and try it out.

"this certainly looks like one I could not only live with, but live with very happily"

To which I say, "Me too."

Except that when the GX7 suddenly plunged $300, and $100 gift card from B&H made it even more attractive, I also plunged ... and am now fund-less for a while.

Maybe when I can sell off my LX5, the IR-converted D100, and several lenses that I do not use, maybe ...?

This camera excites me, because it will replace my Olympus XZ-2 (same size except for being 7mm thicker) which is just big enough to be easily used by an adult. I will finally have a small, belt pouch camera with a reasonable zoom range that I can make high quality, largish prints from.

I've been shooting µ4/3 for almost 3 years and have made excellent 13x19 prints using the 12mp E-PL2, so I know I won't have IQ issues with the LX100. Not having an interchangeable lens is actually an advantage for me since I'll never have to think what lens I should put on it, or stick and extra lens (or two, they're small) in a pocket.

Criticism on Another Forum of the VF ('tearing'/rainbow effects) has made me a bit cautious. And the manual zoom is a definite attraction of the Fuji X20/30. Otherwise the LX100 ticks all the boxes. The tele end is not vital to me. I was looking recently at some old shots I took years ago with an LX3. I'd forgotten how good they could be, at lowish ISOs anyway. So yes, I am a potential purchaser in need of a capable, light travel camera. This might well be it. I will just have to look through the VF in the shop before waving my credit card around.

Mind you, while people have been making a big deal of the X30's smaller sensor, the X20 (which I have) makes very good files with the same Fuji sensor, capable of printing/cropping well beyond what most people routinely do. So while the LX100's m4/3 sensor is a killer feature in marketing terms, in real life I am not sure it is as decisive as the forums suggest. And yes, I know all the noise/high ISO/DOF arguments.

It's funny, when Canon (the company that is supposed to be boring and not innovative) introduced the G1X two years ago (the really first fixed zoom large sensor compact camera), it was bashed from head to toe...

This year they have upgraded to the G1X Mark II, which has a 24-120 f2.0-3.9 lens, on a sensor larger than 4/3... still not enough interest?

A manufacturer willing to sacrifice pixels to utility at last.

I long for a square multi-aspect sensor in a camera; which will also crop the EVF and initial image rendering, to rectangular landscape or portrait aspects, at the flick of a switch (without rotating the camera).

VERY interesting camera, given the largish sensor in a compact body. This might be the camera that replaces my much-used Olympus XZ-1.

It certainly looks very nice, almost a X100 with a zoom. It's nice having manual focus AND aperture on the barrel, although I do hate (with a passion) those little zoom levers by the shutter button. The X30 certainly wins there!

The other thing that slightly worries me is the lens protrusion. The LX100 looks very nice switched off, but some of the picks of it switched on show an apparently enormous lens. They don't tend to say which zoom setting, but so far it looks a bit ridiculous!

I want to love the LX100. I really do. I'm totally there with the styling, size, sensor, lens and control interface. What's more, I have the cash in hand and can actually afford it.

But the lack of an integrated flash drives me crazy. The whole idea of the LX100, at least to me, is to have a reasonably sized grab-and-go all-rounder for daily use. But definition, I don't want to have to bring along extra bits - be they lenses or flash units. I have other cameras and gear for those situations.

I'm only asking for something good enough for fill purposes and snapshots in fairly close quarters. It doesn't even have to be a pop-up (although being able to tilt back a pop-up unit for bounce would be nice). Something akin to the flashes used in Panasonic's travel-zoom cameras would be good enough.

I'm not saying that I won't buy the LX100. But whereas the camera would have been an instant "pre-order" with an integrated flash, I am know waiting to find out more about it. And I am seriously considering the Fuji X100T, Sony RX100 III and even the Canon G7X while I wait.

Cheers Mike,

Having my toes in both the µ4/3 and LX waters (LX-3 and -5) I'm happy to see the LX100 but am not tempted, as it's simply too large to consider as an alternative to, say, a GM5 with compact zoom or fast prime. Even my E-M5 is close, although it sports that EVF hump that keeps it from having a nice, smooth profile.

If I didn't have some nice µ4/3 primes and was still solely in dSLRs my tune would change, because the camera hits many high notes and is lavishly spec'd. IMHO they should'a made this instead of the LX7

As to the poor beleaguered G1 X mentioned earlier, I see that Canon has finally ditched the comical optical "framing aid" but the MkII EVF is an accessory add-on, not built-in. Until they address that problem it will remain on the sidelines, staring at its shoelaces. They might take note of the new GM5, which corrected that very issue from the GM1 (a surprisingly fast update). My hunch is Canon either doesn't understand this market niche or it doesn't fit within their business strategy, which remains very SLR-centric.

A Sony A6000 with the compact 16-50 PZ is almost the same size and focal range (almost equivalent aperture too for those who care).

The Panny gives you some nice controls and 4K (good for the 0.00001% that can edit and watch it), but you lose 12MP (and a smaller than MFT sensor as not all of it is used), a tilt LCD, a flash (they include one though), and most importantly, a lens mount. The AF and EVF might also be better in the Sony, maybe not, the lens may be better in the Panny. All in all, I fail to see the value of this LX100 when compared to the A6000.

I find their GM5 more interesting:

http://camerasize.com/compact/#569,535.360,570.397,ha,f

Paulo, Mike: the G1X could have been a hit, but the dog slow AF, decent-but-not-great image quality, and slow lens when zoomed out, combined with huge-for-a-compact size, hurt it.

I was really hopeful that Canon would fix those issues when the Mk 2 was announced, but it just had too many negatives still - still slow AF, weird shadow noise problems, a 2+ year old sensor (and it shows), and clunky controls (the lens rings aren't the most responsive). Sure, some of the issues can be solved with firmware updates, but Canon is no Fujifilm In that regard, so I can't trust that it'll happen.

The LX100 looks great on paper. I'm looking forward to reading reviews.

When I saw the announcement, I thought this might be an ideal Mike camera. It's making me think hard about my next camera—the RX100III, the new Canon 1" camera, and this are all between $800 and $900, and all seem fantastic. I'm excited. What a time to love small form-factor, large-sensor cameras!

Paulo Bizarro's comment about the G1X being panned when it arrived omits the reasons why it was panned.

1. It's big. It's taller, thicker and heavier than the LX100 (and the other "around the neck" compact cameras). It was bigger than the Powershot G14.

http://camerasize.com/compare/#534,569

2. The G1X didn't have an EVF. There was a wailing and gnashing of teeth.

3. The G1X (and the Mark 2) are slow with a slightly clunky Powershot style UI

4. The lens wasn't very fast and got quite slow as you zoomed it. This was fixed in the mark 2.

5. It was expensive for what it was. It cost more than a DSLR. And it didn't have an EVF.

6. The Canon APS-C sized (1.6x crop factor) sensor was a not state of the art compared to other companies sensors.

The upshot of these issues was a general feeling of "why bother with the G1X" you might as well carry a slightly bigger DSLR instead i.e. accept #1 and improve on most of the other criticisms.

The LX100 wins on all points except #5 over the G1X mark 2. It is quite expensive for what it is. It shouldn't be priced more than a DSLR, IMHO, but camera companies are trying to make money.

We'll see how the LX100 gets reviewed (as we are all suffering from "new camera syndrome"). The camera in the hand is what counts.

The LX100 is indeed an excellent camera for the specs given. Only time will tell when the camera is available and we start to hear from users, what they think about this little gem of a cam. I'm pretty sure we will have some nay sayer's but mostly it will be be of positive note. I love the old school control layout. Make setting chaangin faster compared to diving in to the menu. I'm really looking forward to seeing samples and reading user reviews. It's one of my top 5 list for camera gear to get (G.A.S.). This will not a back up or primary camera but to compliment what I have now, m4/3 system

BTW, I read that a lot of people are comparing the top control layout to the Fuji which is not. The camera IMHO the LX100 i replacing is the old Panasonic LC1 from 10 years ago. Fuji retro style cameras did not come out till about 5 or so years ago.

http://www.dpreview.com/products/panasonic/compacts/panasonic_dmclc1

I've been playing around with a pre production model for a few days and it is very good, couldn't get it that sharp wide open - better half a stop down -, but there will be some tweaks to come. One thing that didn't impress too much was the feel of the build, I know I might be running against the grain here, but it felt a bit too light and not as robust as I would prefer: a bit 'plasticky' compared to, say, an E-M10 or a high quality 'compact'. However, this is personal and it will probably/definitely be to its advantage when I come to sell it over the counter.
Good wishes, Mark Walker.

Actually, I disagree that it's based on the LC1. The only similarity is the shutter speed dial and shutter release. But compare the top of the LX100 with the Fujifilm X100 and they are identical in terms of the shutter speed dial, the exposure compensation dial, and the placement of both relative to the shutter button.

One of the things that draws me to this camera is that it seems like a perfect mix of my LX7 and my X100s!

I guess this is what the Leica X1 [or that other name] should have been from the get-go.
Shame that the "best" Leicas are done by Panasonic.

Hold on... shame that the best british sport cars are done by Mazda.

:-)

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