The Panasonic LX100 has been the hottest camera, not just in the Micro Four Thirds world, but all of photography since it’s announcement at Photokina. Stuffing a Micro Four Thirds sized sensor in a compact body WITH 4k video is an astonishing advancement, throw in the 24-75mm f1.7-2.8 equivalent lens and we have a legitimate game-changer. Since it’s been released for a little over a month now, we’ll take our first look at reviews from other photographers and we’ll generate a consensus on the Panasonic LX100.
I’ve previously mentioned that it’s not the camera for me (though it still is tempting) as I seldom shoot video, and with it’s 2.2x equivalent crop factor and fixed lens it can’t quite generate the background blur I would like to see for portraiture:
As you can see even with a Micro Four Thirds sensor, it still can’t generate the same amount of background blur as the relatively wide Panasonic 20mm f1.7. And when you compare it to a more traditional portrait lens, like the Olympus 45mm f1.8, it’s not even close. While the LX100 could produce pleasant bokeh compared to small high-end compacts such as the Sony RX100, I prefer the DoF flexibility of an MILC Micro Four Thirds, and it’s variety of lenses.
But that’s just one aspect of photography, it’s still an all-around great camera as these other reviews will illustrate. Let’s start with the gold standard, DPReview:
DPReview – The LX100 receives the illustrious Gold Award, outscoring it’s primary competitors the Canon G7X (77%) and Sony RX1oo III (82%). They called it “one of the best photographers’ cameras on the market and probably the best zoom compact ever made.”
Pro: Packed with features, unsurpassed combination of large sensor and bright lens.
Con: 12MP may be a little too limiting for some, and it’s not the smallest of the bunch. In fact, it’s only slightly smaller than the GX7 and much larger than the GM5 (albeit the GM1/GM5 are in a class of their own).
CameraLabs.com – Earlier I expressed concerns about lack of DoF, or more specifically, the ability to blur the background. This review features a couple examples of portraiture, and you could find out if it’s good enough for you. Again, it can produce bokeh just fine, I just like the greater flexibility of a m43 camera with interchangeable lenses. But with respect to the DoF/Bokeh/Background Blur argument, you could have the same argument for m43 to APSC or Full Frame. You just have to find the line, find what works for you.
Pro: Excellent OIS w/ roughly 2 stops compensation. Read the review for photo examples.
Con: Corner soften at 50-75mm unless stopped down to f8
PhotographyBlog.com – The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 is the most capable compact camera that we’ve ever reviewed, offering a mouth-watering combination of cutting edge technology, excellent image quality, and intuitive handling. There are still a few downsides – most notably the lack of a touchscreen or articulated LCD and a rather narrow control ring – but the new LX100 manages to pull off the trick of being both a technological tour-de-force and a camera that’s a veritable joy to shoot with.
Pro: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 produced images of outstanding quality during the review period. Packed with features, including NFC, built-in time-lapse and stop motion animation features.
Con: There are still a few downsides – most notably the lack of a touchscreen or articulated LCD and a rather narrow control ring.
ePhotoZine.com (5/5 Stars) – The Panasonic Lumix LX100 gives good noise performance, with good results up to ISO1600, and the camera is capable of resolving excellent levels of detail, producing very good images. The Panasonic Lumix LX100 offers an impressive range of features including 4K video recording, a bright f/1.7-2.8 Leica lens, great external controls, and packs it all into a stylish and good to use metal body, making the LX100 our Editor’s Choice!
Pro: Focus is rapid thanks to DFD (Depth From Defocus) technology from the Panasonic Lumix GH4.
Con: Battery life is rated at 300 shots according to Panasonic / CIPA test results, or 350 shots without flash, which is good, although extended use of flash and Wi-Fi is likely to drain the battery more quickly, so a spare is recommended if you want to extend your shooting time.
Reviewed.com – The Panasonic LX100 doesn’t reinvent the wheel. This isn’t the Fosbury Flop of cameras, but it borrows nearly all of the best parts of the Sony RX100 III and the Fujifilm X100 and meets somewhere in the middle. There’s still plenty of room for improvement, however. The EVF could be larger, the camera isn’t compact enough to be pocketable, and the menu system practically cries out for touchscreen control that just isn’t there.
Pro: We found shooting with the LX100 very enjoyable. The camera handles very well despite its compact size, switching from manual to automatic exposure is dead simple, and having an exposure compensation dial is a nice addition for people who prefer auto or priority modes.
Con: The back of the LX100 features a number of other controls for various settings. These aren’t nearly as pleasing to use as the physical dials, as Panasonic’s love of small, recessed buttons is still going strong after all these years. There’s also a control dial/directional pad for menu navigation and a quick menu button that gives you access to all the camera’s major settings—exposure, white balance, image format, color mode, etc.—on either the rear LCD or the electronic viewfinder. Unlike other advanced Lumix cameras, Panasonic hasn’t put in touch as an option. The LX100 works just fine without it, but it feels like a boneheaded omission.
AmateurPhotographer.co.uk – The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 is one of the most exciting new cameras to appear this year, and I’ve found that in real-world use it more than lives up to its considerable promise. Indeed, it has perpetually surprised me by just how well it works in almost every aspect of its operation. Overall, the LX100 is a camera I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using, and I’ve been pleased with its output too. It’s difficult to ask for more.
Pro: The construction quality is excellent, with most of the body and controls crafted from metal. It feels solid in the hand and built to last, without being overly heavy.
Con: The slight caveat here, though, is the viewfinder, which isn’t as good as it could be. It’s sharp and detailed, but much too contrasty, and colours are oversaturated and inaccurate. I found I had to occasionally force myself to ignore the EVF’s rendition while taking pictures, and trust my judgement that certain images which looked wrong in the viewfinder would actually turn out OK.
If you liked our review roundup of the Panasonic LX100, check it out on Amazon for additional reviews: