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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 LX2 is a digital camera targeted to advanced amateur photographers. It has 10.2 megapixel resolution on a 1/1.65" in. CCD image sensor with an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a 28-112mm (35 mm equivalent) 4x optical image stabilized zoom lens, with an aperture range of F2.8(W)–F4.9(T).

We find the overall image quality of the Panasonic LX2 to be very good to excellent, with low noise at ISO 100 and images retaining most of the details. Images at higher ISOs suffer from noise and loss of detail.

4x Optical Zoom
Wide-angle 28mm Tele 112mm
Wide-angle 6.3mm
(28mm, 35mm equivalent)
Telephoto 25.2mm
(112mm, 35mm equivalent)

In the above pictures, we show the coverage for 35mm and then 112mm (35mm equivalent).

Aspect Ratio 4:3 is the traditional TV/Computer aspect ratio, 3:2 is the 35mm film aspect ratio, and 16:9 is the new wide-screen/HD TV aspect ratio. The 10.2MP resolution is available only when the 16:9 aspect ratio is selected.

The Panasonic LX2 has full exposure flexibility with PASM modes, and Program Shift.

The camera also provides exposure compensation (with Auto Bracketing) and Custom (Manual) White Balance. A Histogram can be displayed in both Live and Playback modes.

Shutter speed ranges from 60-1/2,000 sec. in Manual Mode.

6.3mm, Manual, Pattern, 5 sec., F8.0, ISO 100
Manual WB, Macro ON

The Panasonic LX2 lens allows you to focus as close as 5cm (2 in.) at wide-angle. AF locks precisely and fast, even in low-light using the AF-assist Beam.

Manual Focus Mode 1 and Mode 2

The AF Area can be manually moved to any of 9 areas [Select AF AREA with the Joystick, press Joystick, and select an AF area].

There are three metering modes: Multiple (Multi-Pattern), Center Weighted and Spot.

White Balance Indoors
AWB Manual WB

As the above two pictures show, the auto white balance (AWB) indoors under tungsten artificial light tends toward the yellow.

Fortunately, there is Manual WB and WB ADJUST that are easy to set and provide excellent results. As expected, AWB works well in natural light.

ISO Comparisons
ISO 100
ISO 100
ISO 200 ISO 400
ISO 200 ISO 400
ISO 800 ISO 1600
ISO 800 ISO 1600

The Panasonic LX2 has 5 ISO settings going from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The 100% crops above (area delimited by the white square) demonstrate the noise at the available ISO Speeds. At ISO 100, noise is under control. Noise starts to be present at ISO 200 but is usable. At higher ISOs, noise is visibly present with loss of image detail.

Chromatic Aberrations

There is CA in high-contrast shots. The corner delimited by the red square at top right, and reproduced at 100% crop at bottom left, shows some purple fringing.

Long Shutter Speed
Long Exposure - Noise Reduction ON
6.3m, Manual, Patern, 40 sec., F8.0, ISO 100
Manual WB, Self-timer 10 sec., Tripod Used
Noise Reduction ON

The Panasonic LX2 allows the use of a long shutter speed of up to 60 sec. in Manual mode, therefore allowing night photography. Generally, with CCD image sensors, noise usually becomes more prominent at slow shutter speeds. Noise reduction algorithm introduces a longer processing time (approx. twice as long) before the next picture can be taken.

To test this noise reduction algorithm, we take a low-light indoors shot. To obtain a long exposure, I place Bamm-Bamm under my desk where it's dark.

I experiment a bit to obtain the optimum exposure, eventually settling on 40 sec. at F8. Even at this long shutter speed, the LX2's noise reduction seems to be working well.

The Panasonic LX2 allows you to save an image in the RAW file format. It takes about 5 sec. to write a RAW image to memory card (I used a regular 1GB SD card). Note that these times do not include the extra write times you'll experience if Noise Reduction kicks in.

At Image Quality = Fine, a 10.2MP image is compressed down to anywhere between 2MB and 4.8MB. A RAW image occupies about 20MB.

We find the overall image quality of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 at ISO 100 to be very good to excellent with good details in the shadows and highlights. ISO 200 is usable. Noise is objectionable at higher ISOs.

The pictures in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Photo Gallery page provide a good sample of what the camera is capable of. I have provided unprocessed samples at 800x600 pixels (compressed to Quality 60/100 in Photoshop Elements) as well as the 4224x2376 pixels original size (click on the image for the original version). Any of the 800x600 image that is adjusted for levels and/or sharpened in Photoshop has "_adjusted" appended to the file name. Original images are never adjusted.

You can safely assume that most macro shots and slow shutter speed shots required the use of a tripod.

I have defaulted the image size to 800x600 pixels. For those who have their monitor resolution set to 1024x728 pixels, everything should snugly fit and you should not have to scroll to see the whole image. If your monitor is set to 800x600 pixels resolution, start the slide show and then scroll to the right to position the image within your screen width. Then, press F11 (if you are using Internet Explorer) to switch to full screen mode, and the image should fill your screen nicely. Press F11 again at any time to switch your monitor display back to normal mode.

To return to this page from the Photo Gallery, click on the animated graphics of the camera.

Please open and download the original size version only if you need to and only once to your hard drive -- and save me some precious bandwidth. Thanks!


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