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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Panasonic LX2

Panasonic Digital Cameras


Panasonic LX2 Review

Review Date: Nov 1, 2006

Category: Serious to Advanced Amateur

Panasonic LX2
Photoxels Editor's Choice 2006


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 features 10.2MP resolution, a 28-112mm (35mm equivalent) 4x optical image stabilized zoom in a 16:9 aspect ratio, a large 2.8-in high resolution (207K pixels) LCD, and fast performance. It can be carried in a large trouser pocket though it would be more comfortably carried in a coat pocket since its lens juts out about 17mm (0.7 in.). It uses the Secure Digital (SD) memory card.

The camera comes in silver and black body, and I believe it looks much better in all black than in silver. The camera has a "clip" that serves as a finger grip. On startup, the lens extends approx. a further 25mm (1 in.). At max telephoto, the lens has extended a further 13mm to about 38mm (1.4 in.).

Performance is great: startup time is less than 1 sec., shot to shot times about 1 sec., and there is no practical shutter lag. Autofocus is fast and precise.

- Colours: silver or black
- Looks: the black body looks much more professional
- Good "handgrip" (finger grip)
- Controls are well positioned and spaced, and intuitive to use
- Medium Compact
- Dimensions: 105.7 x 55.8 x 26.3 mm /
4.16 x 2.20 x 1.04 in. (Not including protruding parts)
- Weight: 187g / 0.41 lb (Body)
217 g / 0.48 lb (with Battery and SD Memory Card)
- Takes 1 rechargeable Li-ion battery CGA-S005A 3.7V 1150mAh (300 shots/charge)
- Startup with no lens extension and LCD turning on in less than 1 sec.
- Shot to shot time approx. 1 sec.
- No practical shutter lag

Included in the box is a rechargeable Li-ion battery that can take about 300 shots with LCD on (CIPA standard) on a fresh charge and a Battery Charger DE-A11 that will recharge a new battery in approx. 130 min. The Battery Charger is of the type that plugs directly into a wall electrical socket.


Panasonic LX2 top view

The top of the camera has, from left to right, the Flash Open switch, the Mode Dial, the Shutter Release Button, the Zoom Lever around the Shutter Button, the Optical Image Stabilizer button and the Power ON/OFF switch. The Mode Dial has SCN (Scene Mode), AUTO Mode, Playback, the usual PASM modes, plus Movie. On top of the lens barrel is the Aspect Ratio Switch: 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9.

Image Stabilizer Mode1 and Mode 2

Press and hold the Image Stabilizer button down to bring up the 3 possible options: set it to OFF when putting the camera on a tripod; MODE1, if you want to see the effect of image stabilization at all times; MODE2, for the most effective stabilization, which takes place just before the image is taken.

Burst Mode

Burst Mode allows you to take up to 3 or 5 images (depending on Quality selected) at 2fps in High Speed mode and 1fps in Low Speed, and an unlimited number of images (depending on the space available on your memory card) at approx. 1fps in Unlimited mode.

The Mode Dial rotates easily using your thumb. It clicks positively in place and I've not had any problem where the setting on the Mode Dial is inadvertently changed.

The Zoom Lever is around the Shutter Button and it takes about 2.5 sec. to zoom from wide to tele. I counted 21 intermediate steps, which is excellent (other digicams typically give you only 9 or 10).

The pop-up flash is manually opened and will not automatically pop up when needed. Advanced photographers will welcome this implementation; beginners must remember to lift up the flash if they want to use it.

Manual Focus Mode 1 and Mode 2

You select AF, Macro and MF on the lens barrel. When in Manual Focus, there are two Manual Focus Assist modes (SETUP - MF ASSIST): MF 1 will enlarge the central portion of the screen and MF 2 will enlarge the whole screen. The enlarged portion provides a pretty clear view of what you are focusing on. Do note that, unless your camera is rock steady on a tripod and your subject is not moving, it can be quite challenging to manual focus. A Manual Focus Assistant pops up briefly with distance markings.

Manual Focus Mode 1 and Mode 2

When the AF Mode is one-area focusing or one-area focusing (high speed), you can select the AF area from up to 9 areas: move the joystick to select AF AREA (it will be highlighted in yellow); press the joystick to display the 9 AF areas; move joystick or arrow buttons to select an AF area; press joystick or MENU/SET to set the AF area.

I love the joystick idea but find it a bit tricky when trying to engage AF AREA: after I've highlighted AF AREA, I press the joystick and 2 times out of 3, I get a different option instead of the 9 AF AREAS displaying on screen. Perhaps, it's just a matter of practice, but I suggest you give the joystick a try before purchasing. Besides AF AREA, you use the joystick as a FUNCTION button to set Metering mode, WB, ISO, Picture Size, and Quality (incl. RAW).

You can record movies with sound (until the memory card is full -- when using a super high-speed SD memory card) at either 848 x 480 (16:9 aspect ratio) or 640 x 480 or 320x240 pixels (both at 4:3 aspect ratio) at 30fps or 10fps. Movie at 3:2 aspect ratio is not available. You cannot zoom during movie recording. Sound is always recorded. You cannot use MultiMediaCard (MMC).

Video Storage Capacity
9m 44s
29m 02s
8m 31s
4:3 VGA
11m 21s
33m 48s
4:3 QVGA
33m 48s
1h 38m 16s

As you can see, even on a 1GB SD card, you can record only about 9m 44s at 16:9 VGA 30fps. We recommend using a 2GB or 4GB high-speed (at least 10MB/s) SD memory card.

Panasonic LX2 back controls

FUNCTIONS ACCESSIBLE BY CONTROL BUTTONS (top to bottom starting from the AF/AE Lock button)
- The AF/AE LOCK button can be customized in Menu to either lock Focus only, lock AE only or lock both Focus and AE when it is pressed.

JOYSTICK. The Joystick acts as a FUNCTION button and provides a shortcut for setting the following 6 items: AF mode, Metering mode, WB, ISO, Picture Size, and Quality (incl. RAW).

I loved the joystick on the FZ7, but this one seems to be a bit different: there does not seem to be any "give" when you press it any direction -- somewhat similar to the IBM Thinkpad "mouse stick" in the midst of the keyboard.


DELETE button. I've always loved the way the Delete function is implemented on Panasonic digital cameras. Press once to delete image displayed; press twice to invoke Multi Delete/All Delete. No need to access the Menu.


CURSOR buttons. UP ARROW (Exposure Compensation, Auto Bracket, Flash Output Adjustment/Backlight Compensation); RIGHT ARROW (Flash); DOWN ARROW (REView); LEFT ARROW (Self-timer 10s, 2s).

Though Playback is on the Mode Dial, the REView button [DOWN Arrow] is more convenient to use. It allows you to review all your captured images and even allows Multi Delete/All Delete. When in REView, a touch of the Shutter Button takes you quickly back to shooting mode.

Note: To play back your movies, you must rotate the Mode Dial to Playback.

MENU SET button in the middle calls up the Menu; use CURSOR buttons to navigate the Menu screens; press MENU SET again to accept a screen choice.

- DISPLAY/LCD MODE. Press button repeatedly to cycle through: Normal, add Histogram, add Grid Lines, No Info displayed. Press and hold button for more than 1 sec. to activate Power LCD or High Angle.
- DRIVE/DELETE. In Recording mode, select Single or Burst (High Speed, Low Speed, Unlimited). In Playback mode: delete one, multiple or all images.
- Exposure Compensation is accessed with the UP ARROW
- Once set, the Exposure Compensation Indicator conveniently stays displayed on screen until it is reset to "0"
- Range: -2 EV to +2 EV (13 steps in 1/3 EV increments)
- The screen brightness will increase or decrease to reflect the value you use
- Note: the exposure compensation value selected is retained even when the camera is turned off. So remember to reset to "0" after using it or the next time you turn the camera on, your shots may be over- or under-exposed.
- Press UP ARROW repeatedly to cycle thru the other available options: Auto Bracket, Flash Output Adjustment
- P: 1 - 1/2,000 sec.
A, S: 8 - 1/2,000 sec.
M: 60 - 1/2000 sec.
Starry Sky Mode: 15, 30, 60 sec.

LCD & Menus

There is no viewfinder but a large 2.8 in. LCD monitor with a high 207,000 pixels resolution. The LCD has a fast enough refresh rate for a smooth display. The LCD monitor's brightness can be adjusted in MENU/SETUP. The LCD gains up slightly in low-light.

There is a very effective AF-assist Illuminator and I've found auto focusing to be quite fast and precise in low-light situations.

The menu structure is very easy to understand and use, and one of the best we've seen. Where necessary, the menu becomes transparent to allow you to see the effect of your choices (e.g. for WB and Color Effect). There are 4 RECord and 5 SETUP pages worth of menu settings.

REC 1 of 4

- White Balance
- WB Adjust
- ISO Sensitivity
- Picture Size
- Image Quality

REC 2 of 4

- Audio Recording
- Metering Mode
- AF Mode
- Continuous AF
- AF Assist Lamp

REC 3 of 4

- AF/AE Lock
- Digital Zoom
- Color Effect
- Picture Adjust
- Flip Animation

REC 4 of 4

- Clock Set


- Off, Cool, Warm, B/W, Sepia


- Contrast
- Sharpness
- Saturation
- Noise Reduction

SETUP 1 of 5

- Clock Set
- World Time
- Monitor Brightness
- Guide Line
- Travel Date

SETUP 2 of 5

- Auto Review
- Play on LCD
- Power Save
- MF Assist
- Beep

SETUP 3 of 5

- AF Beep
- Shutter
- Volume
- No. Reset
- Reset

SETUP 4 of 5

- Highlight
- Video Out
- TV Aspect
- Manual Focus (m/ft)
- Scene Menu

SETUP 5 of 5

- Language




- Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Halogen, Flash, White Set 1, White Set 2, White Set (Manual)


- Fine manual adjustment of WB


- Auto, Intelligent ISO, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600


- Record Info
- Histogram
- Pattern


- Portrait
- Soft Skin
- Scenery
- Sports


- Night Portrait
- Night Scenery
- Self Portrait
- Food


- Party
- Candle Light
- Fireworks
- Starry Sky


- Beach
- Aerial Photo
- Snow
- High Sensitivity


- Baby 1
- Baby 2


- -2EV to +2EV in 1/3EV steps


Top to Bottom, Left to Right:
- P=Program AE, Flash OFF, Multi-Pattern metering, WB 2, Intelligent ISO, 8M Image Size, Fine Image Quality, Battery Level Indicator
- Image Stabilizer MODE 2, Macro ON, High Speed Burst, Space left for 241 images
- Histogram
- +1/3 EV exposure compensation dialed in
- Note: the Shutter Speed and Aperture is not displayed until the shutter release button is half-pressed


- Half-press Shutter Release Button and move Joystick down to enable Program Shift
- Then move Joystick up or down to shift shutter speed/aperture combination in tandem


Top to Bottom, Left to Right:
- A=Aperture-Priority, Flash OFF, Multi-Pattern metering, WB 2, Intelligent ISO, 8M Image Size, Fine Image Quality, Battery Level Indicator
- Image Stabilizer MODE 2, Macro ON, High Speed Burst, Space left for 241 images
- Histogram
- +1/3 EV exposure compensation dialed in, Aperture F6.3, Shutter SPeed 2.5 sec.
- Note: the Shutter Speed is not displayed until the shutter release button is half-pressed


Top to Bottom, Left to Right:
- S=Shutter-Priority, Flash OFF, Multi-Pattern metering, WB 2, Intelligent ISO, 8M Image Size, Fine Image Quality, Battery Level Indicator
- Image Stabilizer MODE 2, Macro ON, High Speed Burst, Space left for 241 images
- Histogram
- +1/3 EV exposure compensation dialed in, Aperture F4.9, Shutter SPeed 1/100 sec.
- Note: the Aperture is not displayed until the shutter release button is half-pressed


Top to Bottom, Left to Right:
- M=Manual, Flash OFF, Multi-Pattern metering, WB 2, Intelligent ISO, 8M Image Size, Fine Image Quality, Battery Level Indicator
- Image Stabilizer MODE 2, Macro ON, High Speed Burst, Space left for 241 images
- Histogram
- Manual Exposure Assistance
- Aperture F6.3, Shutter SPeed 1/100 sec.
- Note: the Manual Exposure Assistance is not displayed until the shutter release button is half-pressed


- Press Display/LCD Mode button for more than 1 sec.
- Power LCD brightens display for outdoors setting
= High Angle brightens the LCD to the max; helps when you hold the camera above your head


- 640x480 30fps
- 640x480 10fps
- 320x240 30fps
- 320x240 10fps


- 9m44s left to record

A couple of other nice features: the hinged plastic Terminal door opens up wide to allow unimpeded access [don't you hate fighting with a rubber flap?] to the AV OUT/DIGITAL (USB) socket and DC IN socket. There is a very nice Battery/Card door and the battery has a latch to keep it from accidentally falling. You are able to change battery when the camera is on a tripod. Last, but not least, the tripod socket is metal but not inline with the lens.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 has very good handling for such a compact digital camera. Though the controls are small and we do recommend that you try them out (especially the joystick) first before you purchase, they provide a superb level of photographic control that advanced photographers will appreciate.

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