As a high-end compact camera in a market decimated by smartphone cameras and currently limited to budget options, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 was a welcome addition to photokina 2014. That it was also the first Panasonic LX device in 2 years helped it garner attention from the show’s attendees, and its impressive specs certainly didn’t hurt either.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 has an exceptionally large sensor for a compact camera. The Four Thirds sensor is double the size of the trendy 1-inch sensor found in other advanced compacts, and five times larger than the 1/1.7-inch sensor in the DMC-LX7 (the last of the LX series, dating back 2 years).
It’s worth noting however, that Panasonic doesn’t use the whole sensor in Lumix DMC-LX100, but effectively crops it in order to enable the creation of photographs with several size ratios, including 4:3, 3:2, and 16:9. The maximum shooting resolution amounts to 16 megapixels, but that only slightly mars the fact that Panasonic managed to construct such a photosensitive chip.
All of this is accompanied by, well, an interesting lens. Effective focal length provides the interval of 24-75mm, with a maximum aperture F/1.7-F/2.8.The idea is that this enables quality images even in poor lighting, with very little noise.
Premium Feel, Large Build
During hands-on time with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100, it became obvious that Panasonic put a great deal of effort into the design. It feels professional, and more of a premium shooter than the previous LX cameras.
It’s laid out well too. I loved the fact that the aperture control was located on the ring around the lens. The shutter speed control is on the dial located on the camera’s upper surface.
That said, it’s rather large and heavy for a compact, partially because of its sensor size. If there’s a flaw to be found, it’s that this compact isn’t very compact. The focal range might also turn off some would-be buyers. It’s not very wide.
But otherwise, this seems a capable shooter. The Lumix DMC-LX100 seemed to attain above average speed, as it automatically focused and rapidly shot images, up to 11 images per second, i.2, or 6.5 with continuous autofocus on. In terms of video, it shoots 4K at 30 frames per second and full HD at 60 fps.
Taken as a whole this large-sensor, compact flagship has an interesting lens and spec sheet that it could entice the creative set looking to do different things with photography. It won’t be cheap, unfortunately. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 will cost $899 when it ships this November.