Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thoughts on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

Size Comparison - DMC-GX7 (Left) v. DMC-LX100 (Right)
Image Source: http://www.dpreview.com/articles/0540594623/opinion-why-buy-a-panasonic-lx100-when-you-could-buy-a-gx7
I am a huge fan of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7. I have owned LX-series cameras since the LX2 came out. They are absolutely amazing in terms of features, lens speed and quality (Pana-Leica lenses, including the DC Vario-Summilux f1.4-2.3 lens on the LX7), and compact design. Up until now, the only downside to the LX cameras has been small sensor size. Of course, that small sensor enabled some of the very positive features already mentioned, most clearly the overall compact design of both body and lens (not interchangeable). From the LX3 on, there has been an available accessory electronic viewfinder (EVF).
The newest LX-series camera is the DMC-LX100, which was announced a few weeks back. The LX100 addresses that small sensor question by putting a full-size Micro 4/3 sensor into a compact camera body. Not as small as the LX7, but still pocketable, the LX100 sports a 24-75mm equivalent f1.7-2.8 lens. And, the LX100 has a built in EVF. Very nice.
Knowing that the LX100 is a little larger than the LX7, I began to wonder if the GX1 Micro 4/3 camera I already have doesn't fill the space of the LX100. Both have the Micro 4/3 sensor, though the LX100 reported uses slightly less than the full sensor area. The GX1 is truly tiny, especially without the accessory EVF attached. Even with, it's quite small. But, I have nothing like a 24-75mm equivalent zoom with fast f1.7-2.8 aperture for the GX1. There's the 14-42 Series II kit lens, which is nothing short of great in my opinion, but it's a slow f3.5-5.6 aperture lens and makes the camera too big to fit in a pocket. The Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 zoom lens for Micro 4/3, slower than that on the LX100, quite expensive, and a lot larger, just doesn't compare.
If it weren't for the compact and fast lens on the LX100, I think the GX1 would make it completely redundant. As it is, that differentiates the LX100 as a very capable pocket camera from the GX1 or GX7 for that matter, which have the benefits of many great interchangeable lenses, but at the cost of size.
I still wonder how they can make this lens on a Micro 4/3 sensor as small as it is. Maybe I need to hold an LX100 to see just how compact it has remained (or not)
I decided to see if others had the same question about the overlap of the larger LX camera and the smallest Micro 4/3 cameras. Of course they did.
(Click Here) to read a comparison of the LX100 and GX7 on dpreview.com.
Author Damien Demolder comes to essentially the same conclusion as I did - the LX100 is indeed distinct from both the previous LX-series cameras, and the interchangeable lens G cameras.
At about $900, the LX100 is more expensive than the LX7 was. But, I'm pretty convinced that it's going to be worth every penny.