The Panasonic Lumix LX100 is a new large sensor (Micro Four Thirds) compact camera, with a bright f/1.7 - 2.8 Leica lens equivalent to 24-75mm in 35mm terms, built in Wi-Fi, an electronic viewfinder, and 4K video recording. The camera has an RRP of £699, and will be available from the 16th of October. The LX100 has a new design style like the GM5, inspired by the earlier Panasonic Lumix L1 / LC1 products. The LX100 doesn't replace the LX7, which will remain on the market.
Panasonic Lumix LX100 Features
Panasonic say that the premium compact camera market or serious compact camera market is in growth, with people being interested in 4K video, built in electronic viewfinders, as well as the higher image quality on offer from cameras with a larger sensor.
The Panasonic Lumix LX100 features a multi-aspect ratio sensor, offering 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios with minimal image size lost and the same angle of view, and 1:1 format. 4:3 aspect ratio gives a 4112x3088 (12.5mp) pixel image, 3:2 aspect gives a 4272x2856 (12mp) image, 16:9 aspect gives a 4480x2520 (11mp) image, while 1:1 square format gives a 3088x3088 (10mp) image.
- Multi-aspect ratio 12.8mp Micro Four Thirds Sensor (16mp total pixels), 1.33inch
- 24-75mm equivalent f/1.7-2.8 Leica lens, 9 blades
- Optical image stabilisation
- 3inch screen, 921k dot
- EVF, 2.7m dot, near AdobeRGB colour reproduction, eye-detection
- Aperture / Shutter control dials
- Exposure compensation dial (+/-3)
- Manual Focus Assist / Focus peaking
- 4K video recording, 4K photo priority mode (30fps)
- Wi-Fi / NFC / QR Code connectivity / Geotagging
- 11fps continuous shooting
- 3cm macro focus
- 22 filters
- Available in black or silver
The compact size of the zoom lens possible due to a more precise manufacturing process and the lens is positioned directly in front of the sensor. With 9 aperture blades it is designed to give improved bokeh / out of focus backgrounds. Under MTF testing the lens is said to give sharpness even into the corners of the image. Focus is rapid thanks to DFD (Depth From Defocus) technology from the Panasonic Lumix GH4.
4K video recording gives benefits for both improved video quality as well as photo stills shooting at 30fps. FullHD video recording quality is improved, as 4K video can be downsized and give better colour and image quality. From the 4K video it is possible to take 8 megapixel images from the footage at 30fps.
The camera features built in highlight / shadow adjustment, as well as RAW editing in the camera, and gives 300 shot battery life. Manual controls on the camera body include an aperture ring, shutter speed dial, exposure compensation, aspect ratio switch, focus switch, plus a number of customisable function buttons.
Panasonic Lumix LX100 Handling
With numerous physical switches, controls and dials, the Panasonic Lumix LX100 is a pleasure to hold feeling good in the hand, making it enjoyable to change settings such as aperture, shutter and exposure compensation. With direct control to these settings it's easy to learn and see what changing these settings does, using either the constant preview or function button (set to preview). The front rubber grip feels good, and there is a small but effective rubber thumb grip on the rear of the camera. The metal bodied camera feels very well built with re-assuring clicks to the dials and switches.
You can use the lens ring to set the zoom position in steps from 24mm to 75mm, or use the zoom ring around the shutter release button for more precise control over the zoom position. The setting changed by the lens ring can be customised in the camera menus to alter zoom, step zoom, ISO, white balance, filter or turned off completely.
The camera has 49 focus points along with Zebra display, focus peaking, manual focus, face and eye detection, AF tracking, pinpoint focus, and custom focus positions that can be setup. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) looks good with a quick refresh rate and high resolution of 2.7million dots (2,764K dots to be precise), with near AdobeRGB colour reproduction, and an eye-detection sensor means the camera will automatically switch to the EVF when held up to the eye. There is a rubber surround around the electronic viewfinder, along with a dioptre adjustment dial, making it comfortable for glasses wearers.
The menus are clearly laid out and will be familiar to anyone who has used other Panasonic cameras. There is a built in guide on the menu options making it easy to use the camera and change settings without having to study the manual. The Q Menu button gives quick access to common options on the rear screen, and there is access to numerous controls without having to go into the menus thanks to lots of buttons and switches on the camera.
Wi-Fi Features - The Panasonic Image App is available for iOS and Android devices and has four main options letting you setup remote shooting and view photos, setup Playback on TV, send images while recording, and send images stored on the camera. To setup the connection to the smartphone you can use NFC if your smartphone has it or use a QR code displayed on the camera. Alternatively manual setup is possible. The application gives you a very good level of control over the camera, and you can start and stop video recording as well as control the camera's zoom.
||Geotagging and Photo collage
Battery life - 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.
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
|Shot to Shot without Flash
|Shot to Shot with Flash
|Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
|11.9fps (77 shots)
|Continuous Shooting - Flash
|Continuous Shooting - RAW
||8.6fps (20 shots)
Focus and shutter response are both excellent, and the camera offers and impressive continuous shooting speed of nearly 12fps when shooting JPEG images, which slows to 8.6fps when shooting raw images.
Panasonic Lumix LX100 Performance
The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
Panasonic Lumix LX100 Sample Photos
Sample Photos - The camera takes images with good colour and detail, with reliable exposure, although images can sometimes appear a little dark at times, and +0.3 exposure compensation can help brighten up images. Detail is extremely impressive at times, with fine detail captured in portrait shots, particularly with single strands of hair noticeable. Photos taken with the supplied flash show no red-eye.
Panasonic Lumix LX100 Lens test images
Lens Performance - Detail is good whether shooting at the wide-angle (24mm equivalent) end of the lens or the telephoto (70mm equivalent) end of the lens. Macro performance is good, with the camera focusing on subjects just 3cm away from the front of the lens, although for sharper results it is best to stop the lens down. Purple fringing and chromatic aberrations were extremely low, although lens flare was occasionally quite high when shooting with the sun in the frame. Some vignetting is visible when shooting wide or telephoto, and in darker areas of images it's possible to see some noise, particularly in shadow areas when viewed at 100%. Pincushion and barrel distortion are well controlled, with little visible in the JPEG images.
Panasonic Lumix LX100 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO100 to ISO800, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO1600 to ISO3200 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced, particularly at ISO3200. At ISO6400 and ISO12800 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO25600 is best avoided as noise is at its highest, with the lowest level of detail.
Panasonic Lumix LX100 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a warmer result. AWB performs very well under fluorescent lights, with the camera not offering a fluorescent preset as the auto white balance does an excellent job.
Panoramic | 1/200 sec | f/4.0 | 10.9 mm | ISO 200
Panorama mode - The camera features an automatic panoramic mode, where you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other. Results are good, and well stitched together, with a good resolution image produced.
Panasonic Lumix LX100 Digital filters
Digital Filters -
There are 22 filter
effects are available including: Expressive, Retro, Old Days, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Monochrome, Dynamic Monochrome, Rough Monochrome, Silky Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Toy Pop, Bleach Bypass, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, Fantasy, Star Filter, One Point Color, and Sunshine. Monochrome Filter (Ye/Or/R/G) is available in the photo style settings. Dynamic range options including iDynamic, iHDR (in iAuto mode) and HDR with the latter option combining a number of shots in camera for extended dynamic range.
Video - A headline feature of this camera is 4K video recording, as there are very few digital cameras currently available that can record 4K video. 4K photo mode is an optimised recording mode for extracting 4K (8 megapixel) stills from video. AVCHD or MP4 are the video formats available, Full HD video can be recorded at 50p, 25p, and 24p, or 25p, and 24p for 4K video. The highest ISO setting available when recording 4K or FullHD video is ISO6400. Focus options include AFS, AFF, AFC, continuous AF (on/off). It's also possible to adjust highlight / shadow as well as colour options including contrast, sharpness, noise reduction, saturation and monochrome (with colour filters available). Additional video options available include iDynamic, iResolution, iZoom, Digital Zoom, Mic Level Display, Mic Level Adjust, and Wind cut. Video quality is very good with impressive levels of detail, particularly when recording 4K video. Additional example videos can be found on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel.
Value For Money
The Panasonic Lumix LX100 is available for £699 which makes it very good value for money considering the features on offer. Alternatives to consider include the following:
Leica D-Lux (Typ 109), m43 sensor, f/1.7-2.8, EVF, Wi-Fi, 3yr warranty, Adobe Lightroom, £825
Canon Powershot G1 X Mark II, 1.5inch sensor, f/2.0-3.9, £649
Canon Powershot G7 X, 1inch sensor, f/1.8-2.8, £579
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III, 1inch sensor, f/1.8-2.8, EVF, Wi-Fi, £699
Fujifilm X30, 1/2inch sensor, f/2.0-2.8, EVF, Wi-Fi, £479
Mirrorless alternatives, such as the Panasonic Lumix GM5 (£769), are also an option letting you change lenses as well as choose what in-camera features you want, thanks to there being a variety of bodies available. However, you would need to invest in a variety of lenses to get the same aperture on offer on the LX100.
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
Panasonic Lumix LX100 Verdict
The Panasonic Lumix LX100 is a serious compact camera with both a large sensor (Micro Four Thirds), and a brighter than normal f/1.7-f/2.8 Leica lens giving the equivalent of 24-75mm in 35mm terms. The LX100 offers an impressive combination of lens and sensor, without the size that would be necessary for such a bright zoom lens if you were trying to get the same with an interchangeable lens camera, in fact the lens on offer here is brighter than the typical 24-70mm equivalent lens, such as the f/2.8 Panasonic 12-35mm Micro Four Thirds lens, and considerably smaller. The LX100 is one of very few digital cameras capable of recording 4K video (with the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 being another) and as one of the smallest currently available, this will be a big selling point of this camera.
If you are looking for a "serious compact" with a large sensor, then there are no other cameras available that offer everything that the LX100 offers, for example, you can choose an alternative with a large 1.5inch sensor such as the Canon Powershot G1 X MKII, but this doesn't feature 4K video or an EVF built in. Another option would be the smaller Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III with built in EVF, however, this doesn't feature 4K video recording, nor the dedicated external aperture and shutter dials. A camera with the external controls of the LX100 would be the Fujifilm X100T/s, although this features a fixed lens without the optical zoom, or 4K video.
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!
The Panasonic Lumix LX100 offers an impressive range of features in a stylish metal body with great controls and design.
Panasonic Lumix LX100 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/1.7 - f/2.8|
|35mm equivalent||24mm - 75mm|
|Sensor Type||Live MOS Sensor|
|Sensor Size||Micro Four Thirds|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
- Face Detection
- AF Tracking
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/16000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||60sec|
- Scene modes
- Program Variable
- Centre-weighted - Average
- Multi Pattern
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 25600|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 1025mAh, 7.4 Wh)|
|Battery Life (CIPA rating)||300shots|
|Box Contents||Battery Charger, Battery Pack, AC Cable, USB Cable, Lens Cap, Lens Cap String, Hot Shoe Cover, External Flash, Flash Storage Bag, Shoulder Strap, DVD|
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