The Panasonic revs up the enthusiast premium compact fixed-lens camera category with the new LUMIX DMC-LX100, which incorporates a large high sensitivity Four Thirds sensor to enable shooting at high ISO with minimum noise, a built-in Live View Finder with a 2764K-dot equivalent high resolution, dedicated control dials for intuitive manual operation, a redesigned bright F1.7-2.8 LEICA 3.1x optical zoom lens and 4K video capability — a combination of high-end features not currently available in other premium compact fixed-lens cameras.
In design, the LX100 reaches back to the Panasonic LC1. It is beautiful in either the all-black or silver version, and looks really elegant with not one unwarranted line, bump or color. It thankfully features a dedicated Shutter Speed Dial, Aperture Ring and Exposure Exposure Compensation Dial.
The LX100 competes with other similar cameras with a large sensor. The LX7, which it replaces, had a small 1/1.7-in. sensor; the LX100 uses a large Four Thirds sensor which is about 5x bigger than the 1/1.7-in. sensor and 2x than the 1-in. sensor used in most of the other cameras it competes with.
Panasonic has upped the ante with 4K video recording capability. The LX100 also introduces a new way of photo creation called “4K Photo”. By grabbing a 3840×2160 8-megapixel equivalent image from the 4K video footage, it basically allows you to snap 8M stills at 30fps. Or, shoot 11 fps in full 12.8M resolution using High speed burst shooting. Need to freeze action? Maximum shutter speed is 1/4,000 sec. (mechanical) and 1/16,000 sec. (electronic).
As expected from cameras these days, the LX100 integrates Wi-Fi connectivity (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n) with NFC (Near Field Communication) technology. Other practical functions include Focus Peaking, Level Gauge, White Balance bracket, highlight/shadow control, Creative Control (Filter) with adjustable aperture and shutter speed, Creative Panorama and Photo Style.
The LCD is 3.0-in. with 921k-dot resolution. It is not touch panel (hence no touch AF) and does not tilt.
The LX100 comes with a newly developed LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMILUX 24-75mm (equivalent) 3.1x optical zoom lens with a fast F1.7-F2.8 maximum aperture. It features a 9-blade aperture diaphragm and, from images we have seen on many reviews, it produces beautiful and smooth bokeh. The lens features built-in optical image stabilization. The lens is not interchangeable.
The LX100 can develop RAW images into JPEG in-camera. A compact external flash is bundled.
Though the LX100 mainly targets the enthusiast crowd, those upgrading from a point-and-shoot will take comfort in the iA (Intelligent AUTO) button that allows the LX100 to take control of all the settings while you learn and grow in the craft. Of course, PASM modes are intuitive using the Shutter Speed dial and Aperture Ring.
If you are looking for a fixed-lens compact camera that gives great image quality as well as enjoyable operation with its dedicated manual control dials, check out the Panasonic LX100 with its impressive combination of a bright lens and a large high sensitivity sensor — and find out why reviewers are raving about it.