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Will the real LX100 please stand up?

Discussion in 'Panasonic LX100 / D-LUX (109) Forum' started by demiro, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. demiro

    demiro Serious Compacts For Life

    527
    Dec 15, 2011
    It seems to me that the LX100, more than most cameras, is a polarizing little beast. Some folks swear by it's image quality and seem to find it to be an irreplaceable piece of kit. Others seem to be convinced that it is soft, and that image quality is anywhere from average to kind of poor. I can't sort those out very well. Some folks have surely been romanced by the ridiculous spec sheet of the LX100, and maybe refuse to evaluate it with a critical eye. And some surely are comparing it to prime lenses and reporting the results as a failure when it doesn't quite measure up. Is reality simply in the middle somewhere? Or do we maybe have wider than normal performance between different copies?

    I suppose I am going to rent one to find out for myself. I really want the all-in-one convenience, and I have convinced myself that I am willing to make some sacrifices to achieve it. But I'd still be curious to hear more user comments, especially from the middle 60% of you that neither love nor hate the camera.

    Thanks.
     
  2. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    If nothing else, reaction to it seems particularity idiosyncratic. Renting may be the wise move in this case.
     
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  3. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Man, everything I've seen from it looks pretty good to me. I guess I've never been the biggest sharpness junkie, but still, if it was really soft I'd see it. But even though the numbers say it's about the same, I find it to be a step up from the 1" sensor cams. I'd have bought one for sure, but for two details - zoom range and auto ISO setup - either was a deal breaker for me, but probably wouldn't be for most folks. The G7X was a better choice for me, but I wish it hadn't been. I'd love to have had a good reason to choose the LX100...

    -Ray
     
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  4. RT Panther

    RT Panther SC All-Pro

    Dec 25, 2012
    If I had listened to what other people thought instead of listening to my own heart, I would not be a happy owner of a Nikon Dƒ right now. :wink: :smile:

    Bottom Line: Do what YOU want :smile:
     
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  5. demiro

    demiro Serious Compacts For Life

    527
    Dec 15, 2011
    Sure, but what I want is a more convenient camera with only minimal reduction in IQ vs what I am used to with m4/3s. That's the point of this thread. User reports on that IQ vary pretty widely. I'm not asking anyone what I should do; just how the camera performs.
     
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  6. RT Panther

    RT Panther SC All-Pro

    Dec 25, 2012
    You've already answered your own question (see below). Don't be surprised if the responses here vary widely too...:biggrin: :smile:

     
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  7. demiro

    demiro Serious Compacts For Life

    527
    Dec 15, 2011
    I won't be. My goal was to elicit comments from the folks who have not reacted strongly to the camera, one way or the other. The famously silent majority. I think therein may lie the most accurate judgement about the camera. It is admittedly a long shot.
     
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  8. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    I think Dean is wise to simply rent an LX100 and see for himself. I believe the wide range of reactions to the camera has to do with widely varying expectations. Panasonic cameras do not typically vary all that much from copy to copy. People are funny. I read posts from some of the kiddies on dpreview complaining about unacceptable levels of noise in images from a given camera (not necessarily the LX100). But, coming out of the film era, the noise might be barely noticeable to me; appearing as a pleasing grain. Edge softness? Since when is that critical when shooting people or landscapes? So go figure. Everyone has a point of view and an opinion. Rent the camera and, if you like it, buy it. Internet chatter be damned.
     
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  9. demiro

    demiro Serious Compacts For Life

    527
    Dec 15, 2011
    Yep. Lensrentals conveniently has a 25% off deal over the holidays. Looks like I'll be "evaluating" an LX100 after Christmas rather than getting caught up on work and home projects like I had planned. :clap2:
     
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  10. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    Look forward to your results and conclusions.
     
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  11. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I'm no pixel peeper, but my guess would be that it will comparable to recent m43 cams with a kit lens and maybe a half step down in IQ for the wider range in focal lengths. You just can't make a lens that goes wider AND longer AND has a constant aperture and have it be BETTER than the kit lens. I think people buy it for the spec sheet and assume that at it's price point it has figured out a way around physics.

    I think renting it is wise. Some people LOVE the convenience of a Swiss army knife. Some would rather have a great knife and good corkscrew and set of screwderivers, etc.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. MoonMind

    MoonMind SC Top Veteran

    578
    Dec 29, 2013
    Switzerland
    Matt
    Luke nailed it! If you take the LX100 for what it is, namely a great looking and feeling tool for taking decent pictures in a wide variety of situations *and* in a very satisfying way because of its superior handling and a fantastic features set, this camera is for you. It will make you love taking pictures even more - though it might not take the world's best pictures.

    If you want maximum IQ, look elsewhere - it's not meant to deliver that; the sensor/lens combo is a compromise, though a very, very clever one. The camera is a joy to use and extremely handy (neither too big nor too small, and with superior controls), so it will help you take pictures you would miss otherwise, and quality will be fine as long as you don't expect too much.

    More to the point: IQ-wise, the LX100 sits firmly between my Olympus E-PM1 (which it beats thoroughly in all aspects, similar pixel count and smaller sensor area notwithstanding) and my Olympus E-M10; the lens renders beautifully, though it is not the sharpest there is - in fact, it is quite comparable to the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 in that respect: very appealing pictures, even though the IQ might not be the ultimate in detail and contrast.

    If I want all the IQ I can get out of a mFT system, I take the E-M10 with one of the great primes or, in most cases, the very impressive 12-40mm f/2.8. Of course, that setup delivers way more than the LX100. But you know what - it's actually quite some package, too: I need the additional grip for the E-M10 to handle it conveniently, and it won't go into any pocket. The LX100, on the other hand, slips easily into a jacket pocket, can be deployed and used one handed (with the automatic lens cap), but still lends itself to the same level of care and precision as the most sophisticated piece of gear if need be. So, while the E-M10 is clearly the better camera, the LX100 is actually the more useful one in many cases. If I want the same level of handiness from the E-M10, I have to forego the zoom - and use the 17mm f/1.8.

    In summary, the LX100 is what I'd call a "competent convenience camera". I suggest reading Ming Thein's review - he sums up very well what the camera is and what it isn't.

    M.
     
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  13. demiro

    demiro Serious Compacts For Life

    527
    Dec 15, 2011
    Thank you Matt. Your comparison vs m4/3s gear is a great point of reference for me. I'm a big fan of the 17/1.8. I think it is underrated by many people.
     
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  14. MoonMind

    MoonMind SC Top Veteran

    578
    Dec 29, 2013
    Switzerland
    Matt
    Dean: If you like the 17mm f/1.8 (and likely own it, too), you might want to consider the GM5 (or E-PM2 or even E-PL7, though that one is considerably bigger). Since it's only available as a kit (at least at a fair price), you land yourself a tiny, yet very good zoom lens for convenience (the 12-32mm), but could put the 17mm on the camera for quality and style. In fact, that's something I'm still thinking about myself (not something I'll do right now, though).

    Anyway, I've just come back from a little walk about (and Christmas shopping tour); and of course, I took the LX100 with me. It's such a useful camera - and the handling appeals to me a lot more than the GM5 does, even though that's a nice piece of kit, too. For me, the LX100 is certainly better suited than even the revered old little warrior, the E-PM1 (paired with either the 12-32mm I already own or the Panasonic 20mm for size and quality). I use the LX100 with a Leica wrist strap (for the X2, presumably) which helps to further stabilise the camera in the hand (it's ideally placed and attached), and I found out today that I can use the camera in aperture priority mode *entirely one-handed* - I can reach the aperture ring on the lens barrel with my middle finger without losing or so much as shifting my grip on the camera. Factor in the automatic lens cap, and it can be preset when off and then deployed with the flick of a switch while raising it to the eye - fantastic!

    M.
     
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  15. sgreszcz

    sgreszcz SC Rookie

    13
    Sep 18, 2014
    Moonmind and demiro, good points and analysis. I just bought the lx100, having recently sold my 2 ep5 and 12-40 zoom.

    I find it easier to get great results with my ep5, especially as I shoot JPEG most of the time. The thing was I needed something jacket pocketable, with a fast lens and good video quality. The zoom is a bonus. The lx100 fits this criteria and the output is quite good and is similar to the output from my o17/1.8 prime.

    I'm giving the camera a workout this Christmas visiting my inlaws in Madrid so it will be interesting to compare the results with last year when I was shooting with my Olympus mu43 cameras. I know already they the video will look better :)
     
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  16. serhan

    serhan SC All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    NYC
    I think there are lots of maybe faulty units released eg check Amazon ratings/dpreview. The lens is fastest and smallest of its kind. Mine had soft right edge at f5.6 where the lens was supposed to be sharpest. Central sharpness and af was great for 12MP, but I continue to use gm1 and primes since I already have them and eg Oly 25mm 1.8 wide open has better overall sharpness that I got from LX100. So I agree with Ming's review.

    Also there is so much deals incl Panasonic m43 cameras eg gm1/gx7/A6000/A5000/gr/nikon A etc competing with LX100 at half price or less. Panasonic overprices their cameras/lenses and drops it substantially eg gm1+12-35 was selling for $395 used at B&H last week. Next year at half price, I can consider LX100 again but again sizewise it will compete with the m43/Axxxx cameras...

    It would have been a perfect camera with 1" sensor that everybody is waiting for, but Panasonic preferred to have crop m43 for 4K video... Still there is no 1" camera in a comparable size to LX100, maybe Oly will go after that as a replacement to XZ-2.
     
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  17. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Why would they need to do a crop 4/3 sensor for 4K video? They do it in the FX1000 with a 1", no?

    I agree that it would be nice if someone would do a 1" sensor camera between the little guys (RX100, G7X) and the big guys (RX10, FZ1000). I'd think they could do a REALLY sharp and REALLY fast 24-100 or 24-120 or something. Although I'm fine with the tradeoffs of the G7X, arguably Sony and Canon shoved too much sensor into too small a package with the little cameras and Panasonic seems to have done the same thing with the LX100 to some extent, just with a bigger sensor and bigger body. The undersized lenses needed to shoehorn this all together need a LOT of digital correction... There's gotta be a sweet spot in this category but nobody's taken a shot at it yet. The G1X mkII seems the closest to me, but the sensor is bigger yet and the lens is slow-ish at the long end, but I'd STILL have probably bought one if they put a modern, high-DR, sensor in it. But a 1" sensor in a body in the neighborhood of the size of the LX100 or GX1 mkII could be magic if anyone sees a market there...

    -Ray
     
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  18. serhan

    serhan SC All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    NYC
    They don't need to downsample like they do with 20MP sensors. In 4K video 16:9 mode LX100 does 2.4x ~ 26mm-76mm compared to 2.2x ~ 24-70mm stills (1.09x crop of 12MP stills). Panasonic FZ1000 shoots 37-592mm in 4K mode at 1.5x crop of 25-400mm lens... So Panasonic FZ1000 doesn't have a direct 1x conversion for the 1" sensor.

     
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  19. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Given how aggressive Panasonic were with keeping the overall size of the camera down, I think that the size of the sensor is too ambitious for the lens as it is. A slighy larger LX100 with a lens benchmarked against the Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 X would have been quite some camera, and even more so if they hadn't gone full retro on the controls.
     
  20. Boompa

    Boompa SC Regular

    Interesting thread...

    I bought an LX100 and returned it due to IQ concerns. (I own an X-T1 w a variety of lenses and an X100T. In the past I've owned an RX1R [insanely great IQ but too darned expensive!] and both an RX100 and RX100 iii)

    BUT... the camera still intrigues me and like others mentioned, I suspect there is a wildly variable quality control issue based on user reports.

    SO... I just ordered another copy of the LX100 in hopes that my first one was a bad example. We'll see.