Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 Digital Camera, size: 5.1 MB
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1
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User reviews and opinions
|Mantaki||2:12am on Saturday, October 23rd, 2010|
|If you are a camera snob, and you like fooling with the controls and settings then this camera is great for you. I had a Panasonic Lumix camera for about 2 ye... Nice camera as long as it works Pansonic has never heard the word "customer service"|
|cahowley||10:26am on Monday, August 16th, 2010|
|The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 is a slightly above average camera for its class. This camera goes anywhere and takes great quality pictures without the size, bulk or weight of a larger SLR. Recent Problem on 18 month old camera. Have been very happy with images, features, and quality of camera until 1 week ago.|
|mosir||5:56am on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010|
|BEAUTIFUL inside and out, SHARP WIDE FAST images, and just plain ELEGANT. NOISY SHADOWS at higher ISO settings. Not a true 28mm. A very very well designed, solid, sleek, smart camera, with a lens to die for and easy layout and use. The sharpness is evident immediately. Manual everything, image stabilized, metal body, 16:9, fantastic photos, RAW and TIFF, gorgeous black finish. Noise even at low ISO.|
|sprezzatura||10:43am on Monday, July 5th, 2010|
|This was my first digital camera purchase. This model was recommened to me by a professional photographer who keeps this model in his bag.|
|cosmocon||3:01am on Sunday, May 23rd, 2010|
|Time to upgrade Great little camera. By now though (2009) the LX3 is available and is very much better (if a bit bigger). If, however.|
|robina||10:47am on Saturday, May 1st, 2010|
|After using an FX8 for 2 months I just had to have this one. Manual focussing, exposure choices. 28mm on a digital camera, this is a dream for users who are really into landscape. 28mm on a 16:9 mask.|
|casigamblin||4:43am on Friday, April 16th, 2010|
|This was my first digital camera purchase. This model was recommened to me by a professional photographer who keeps this model in his bag. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 is a slightly above average camera for its class. High megapixel, excellent wide-screen video, clear stills, good lens.|
|jkfly||5:41am on Friday, March 12th, 2010|
|A Brilliant Camera Like many. Incredible This gem from Panasonic meets all expectations. I have had mine for probably over a year and it continues to stand up to the competition.|
Comments posted on www.ps2netdrivers.net are solely the views and opinions of the people posting them and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of us.
John Henshalls Chip Shop
Panasonics Little Gem
John Henshall looks at a compact digital camera which can produce truly professional quality images
will be serious contenders at the rnst Leitz of Wetzlar in forefront of the market. Germany introduced the Leica These days there are so many camera to the world at the compact digital cameras that the choice 1925 Leipzig trade fair. is truly bewildering. Where twelve or so Originally designed by Oskar Barnack in 1913 as an exposure testing device for years ago we would have given major attention to a new digital camera having his 35mm movies, the Leica camera was to become the miniature camera which changed the direction of photography. Over the years the bulk of camera manufacturing has moved from Germany to Japan. The Japanese were captivated by the German precision skills in optics and engineering. Today those early cameras have become much sought after collectors items. And there are no more avid ABOVE: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 at actual size. collectors than the Japanese. BELOW: The Vario-Elmarit lens is not the only Leica link. It is natural therefore that the design of some of todays Japanese digital cameras gain inspiration from those early German marvels of optical and mechanical precision. At the same time as the Leitz company was growing in Germany, Konosuke Matsushita founded a company in Japan which made electrical products under the National brand name. Matsushita has since grown just to become the 640 x 480 largest Japanese pixels, there electronics producing company, are now so employing over 334,000 people and many digital having a revenue of more than 74 billion camera models on the market that the US Dollars in 20042005. chances of even a significantly good In Japan the company also produces design being recognised can be home appliances and renovation somewhat remote. services. But we know it best for its Fortunately a little gem of a compact international brands such as Technics digital camera from Panasonic has been and Panasonic. recognised and in fact is so good that it When a company with Panasonics has won our Photo Industry Award 2006 clout gets into digital camera design and for the Best Digital Compact Camera. manufacturing you know its products
So what makes a camera the awardwinning best in its class? To find out, I asked Panasonic to send me the camera so that I could put it through its paces. Enter the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1. The Lumix brand name is said to come from a an amalgam of the words luminance and mix, signifying the meeting of optical technologies supplied by Leica and digital technologies added by Panasonic. This Lumix camera has a Leica-designed 4x DC zoom lens and a decidedly Leica look and feel to it. In many ways the DMCLX1 is reminiscent of the first Leica, which is why I have photographed it alongside one of my Leica 1s which at 80 years old still function perfectly. No wonder todays manufacturers want to emulate the success of the Leica. The first digital feature which makes the Lumix DMC-LX1 stand out is its sensor, which is has a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio the first digital still camera to use this format. A switch on the lens barrel enables switching to the conventional 3:2 ratio of 35mm film, or the 4:3 Academy format of old film and television screen proportions. But using 4:3 would be like buying a modern widescreen tv set and just watching your old VHS recordings on it, wasting the extra coverage on each side. At the 16:9 setting the camera has 8.4 megapixels 3840 x 2160. Thats slightly more than a Canon EOS 30D DSLR with 3504 x 2336. Mind you, at 499 list including VAT, the DMC-LX1 costs more than some DSLRs. Quality, precision and miniaturisation such as this only comes at a price. However, I have found it as low as 282.44 on the Internet.
CHIP SHOP at www.epi-centre.com May 2006
Copyright 2006 by John Henshall email@example.com
At the 3:2 setting the sensor delivers 7.1 megapixels. It does this by cropping the image to 3248 pixels long, whilst retaining the 2160 pixel width. At the 4:3 setting the images are 6 megapixels 2880 x 2160 pixels. After initial tests I shot everything at the 16:9 setting, having fun experimenting with the new wider format. Why throw away those lovely pixels? You can crop later if you wish. Turn the camera sideways and you have a new taller 9:16 format. Try doing that with your 16:9 television set! During a recent trip to China, this little beauty lived in my shirts top pocket, from where it was instantly available to capture the unexpected in less time than I could get the DSLR out of its bag. The pictures on the next two pages show how much fun I had pushing the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 right to the limits. Handheld shots of a quarter to half a second at night? It sounds impossible but they really are sharp, thanks to Panasonics Mega Optical Image Stabilisation and a reasonably steady hand. The cameras ability to shoot in any light and mixed light is also very impressive. If you shoot seriously youll undoubtedly want to shoot raw files and this is where most compacts fall down with JPEG only. But not the DMC-LX1. The problem with capturing raw files is that they can take an age to save to the SD memory card. At first I used an Integral SD card and each image took twenty seconds to write to the card. When I switched to one of the latest Lexar Professional 133x cards the write time dropped right down to two seconds. The moral of this story is simple and clear. Dont waste your money on generic cards. Buy the best. They only cost a lttle more. Youre a professional, you need the best. Any less is a false economy. Another big plus for the professional is PASM on the DMC-LX1s dial Programme, Aperture priority, Shutter priority and Manual modes. And this is real Manual control. Its easy to set aperture and shutter speed by nudging the joystick on the back of the camera. The LCD actually gives a live preview of what the image will look like at the selected manual settings. And would you believe it there are viewfinder grid lines and a histogram too. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 is a serious piece of truly professional equipment. Its exactly the compact digital camera weve all been dreaming about. And now that dream is alive.
The DMC-LX1 has the ability to record raw images, as well as JPEGs and TIFFs, and for me this is one of its most important advantages. Set the camera Quality to RAW and in fact it saves both raw and JPEG versions useful for a quick look. The on-board JPEG processing is very good but cannot compare with a raw file carefully processed in Adobe Photoshop CS2 using Camera Raw. That is how all my DMC-LX1 images were processed.
After initial tests I opted to shoot everything using the 16:9 aspect ratio setting. For some subjects, such as this plaque, that results in excess space left and right just as you would see if the plaque was on tv, being displayed on your widescreen tv set. The excess space is not necessarily a bad thing because it allows room to superimpose text, if required. For a picture library this could be an advantage. To show the plaque and its case a square crop is what is needed for this product even smaller than 4:3 aspect ratio. The enlarged section below is at 200% 150 pixels per inch and shows the incredible quality of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1s sensor, together with the 4x Leica DC Vario-Elmarit zoom The John Henshalls Chip Shop archive is online at and Panasonics image stabilisation. This was a handheld shot with an exposure of 1/100 sec at f/2.8 and ISO80 sensitivity, with the lens set to its widest angle.
Annelies enjoying Champagne in British Airways business class at 37,000 feet. A difficult exposure against very strong incoming sunlight. Camera held aloft from adjacent seat. Framing guesstimated. Forced flash 1/60 sec f/2.8 ISO 80, 28mm equivalent.
Kathleen in an old guard tower on the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu. Natural light from open window opposite. The fog filter is real the tower was shrouded in cloud. Hand-held camera steadied against a wall and using the cameras Panasonic Mega O.I.S. Image Stabiliisation. Half a second f/4 ISO100, 28mm equivalent.
RIGHT: No he isnt drunk or drugged this is China. Hes just talking on his cellphone. Note that he has removed his shoes so as not to soil the seat. 1/4 sec f/2.8 ISO200, 28mm equivalent. Hand-held using the cameras built-in Image Stabilisation.
Summer Palace, Beijing. 1/160 sec f/4 ISO 80, 28mm equivalent. Slight barrel distortion corrected in Adobe Photoshop CS2.
LEFT: Enlarged section from the shot at bottom right on previous page at 200%. Bear in mind that this was hand-held for a quarter of a second. Note that some noise is visible at ISO200. ABOVE: The lens shows slight barrel distortion at its widest angle but this is corrected easily using a Remove Distortion setting of +4.00 in Filter > Distort > Lens Correction in Adobe Photoshop. TOP: The resulting distortion-free wideangle shot.
Beijing street and taxis at night. Hand-held shot through car windscreen. 1/5 sec f/2.8 ISO200, 28mm equivalent. This beautiful little camera really will cope with every challenge it is presented with. Its an absolute delight.
John Henshalls Chip Shop
John Henshall continues his search for a professional-quality compact camera.
surprising number of professional photographers ask me to advise them which compact camera I feel would be best for them to buy. This might at first seem a strange question. Surely we want only the very best, such as one of the top-end DSLRs? That may indeed be true but there are occasions when we are off duty or dont want to carry a heavy bag around. Or perhaps we just want to blend into all the other photographers. The choice of compact cameras is now truly bewildering and there is no way we can possibly keep track of them all. Just look at the phenomenal number of digital imaging magazines on sale in your newsagents, most of them giving star or percentage ratings to cameras. The the virility contest gives the very definite impression that more is better, especially as far as pixel count is concerned. But what about picture quality? Are any of them remotely likely to be suitable for professional use? I am just like everyone else who wants to find the perfect compact camera. And I want the best. The first feature I look for is the ability to save raw files, so that I can make decision later about how to process my images. And, yes, I want a lot of pixels enough of them to make good big files suitable for sale on a picture library. I want the camera to be small enough and light enough to fit into my shirt pocket, ready to be available at all times. Good battery life is another essential. Back in May 2006 I reported on the Panasonic DMC-LX1 which Id taken with me on a trip to China. I described the camera as a serious piece of truly
professional equipment exactly the compact digital camera weve all been dreaming about. I compared the camera to the original Leica camera, designed by Oskar Barnack and introduced in 1925. Well, the news is that there is now an update to this camera and it is available in two iterations the Panasonic DMCLX2 and the Leica D-Lux 3. The cameras are very similar, so far as the layout of the controls, the display and lens are concerned. The bodies are slightly different. The Panasonic body has sloped away edges to the top and bottom plates and has a grip at the front right. Although it is shown in brushed silver finish in the illustration, it is also available in black.
The Leica body is smoother and has that impressive circular red badge which tells everyone that this is a marque with real photographic heritage. The sensor resolution has been increased from the 8.4 megapixels of the DMC-LX1 to 10 megapixels, again in a 16:9 widescreen format. This format is unusual in stills photography but very familiar in television, where everything is now shot in 16:9 landscape format. A switch on the top of the lens enables selection of the normal 3:2 ratio we are used to from 35mm SLRs and the
CHIP SHOP at www.epi-centre.com December 2006
Copyright 2006 by John Henshall firstname.lastname@example.org
4:3 format of old-style television and many computer monitors. My advice is to just forget these. In fact, a spot of Blu-Tak may be a good idea, to ensure that the switch doesnt get moved accidentally. The reason is that the squarer formats are merely cropped from the 16:9 format. All formats have 2376 pixels across the smaller dimension but only the 16:9 format has 4224 across the longer dimension. If you want one of the other formats then you can simply crop in post-production. Why throw away any of the resolution you have paid for? The 16:9 format is almost panoramic and may seem strange at first but youll soon get used to it just as television cameramen have got used to it. But you have a feature which tv cameramen dont have the ability to turn the camera on end to produce tall, portrait format, pictures. Strictly speaking the tv camera could be turned on its side but its not very convenient for the viewer to do this with a tv receiver. The lens on both cameras is a Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 1:2.84.9/6.325.2 [mm] which is equivalent to 28112mm on a full-frame 35mm SLR. The cameras are clearly a collaboration, though which company makes what I am not sure. The Leica states Leica Camera Germany at the bottom of the LCD screen but the base plate tells us that the camera is made in Japan. Whatever the case, the Leica looks and feels like a true Leica. In fact it might look uncannily like a Leica 1 if it was not for the absence of one component: the optical viewfinder. Have you noticed how easy it is to spot a digital snapshotter by their extended arms? The problem is that, as
we grow older, our arms need to be longer in order for our failing eyes to be able to focus on the viewfinder. Extended arms mean wobbly cameras. There is no substitute for holding a camera with elbows against the chest when it come to keeping it steady at the moment of exposure. But this doesnt work if your only viewfinder is a big wide screen covering fifty percent of the camera back area. Both models have a tantalising space on the top plate, between the pop-up flash and the main dial, where an optical finder could be sited. Its right above the centre of the lens, too. I have been tempted to find a piece of brass sheet and fashion a sports finder from it. Maybe Hama, or one of those other accessory manufacturers, has one? Perhaps to compensate for W.A.S. (Wobbly Arm Syndrome), the cameras have Mega O.I.S (Optical image Stabilisation) built in. This facility works well. Take a look at my night shot of Times Square, New York, in the picture below. Its nice and sharp, even though hand-held at 1/13 second. The OIS enables the camera to be used at shutter speeds twice, four or even six times longer than would otherwise be possible. My method is to frame the shot at arms length, then bring elbows into the body and squint at a close-up screen which my eyes cant possibly focus on. If the LCD screen wasnt so huge Id be trying to fix an old loupe onto the back of the camera. Of course, another way to reduce camera shake in the shot of Times Square wouldve been to use a higher ISO. The camera goes up to ISO1600. ISO400 wouldve pushed the shutter speed up to 1/26sec, ISO800 to 1/50 and ISO1600 up to a very respectable 1/100sec. The trouble is that this would introduce another problem. Image noise. Without a doubt, image noise is the worst aspect of these cameras. Even at ISO100, the images are not completely smooth when viewed at 100%. The noise rises at an alarming rate to the point where, at ISO1600, it is unusable and quite ridiculous. Why they even bothered to put ISO1600 on these cameras I really dont know. Could it be that it looks impressive in the literature? It isnt just the noise itself but the crass way it is processed. I shot my standard test of Bear House on each camera at each ISO setting and enlarged just the name plate to 300% of the normal 300 ppi resolution we use in the magazine. The results are over the page. The magazine printing process masks some of the noise but I think you should be able to get the idea of how badly the noise rises with ISO setting. I did the test on each camera because Leica claims that it uses different firmware which improves image quality. I can see no difference between them. The problem of noise seems common to most compact cameras which pack ten million pixels into a tiny sensor. Each sensor bucket is minuscule, so it cant hold many electrons when full. The signal-to-noise ratio is therefore high. I would prefer to have fewer pixels and lower noise images. But then I dont have to do the sales and marketing hype. My advice is never to use Auto ISO and never to set the ISO higher than 200, except in dire emergency. This way, youll be very happy with the pictures. One feature I really do like is the ability to set AF mode, metering area, white balance, ISO and JPEG compression level or raw by direct access. Just push and hold the largest (unlabelled) joystick button. This is much quicker and better laid out than menus. The cameras use SD cards and, if you shoot raw, you will certainly need the highest speed and highest capacity (HC) cards. The new SanDisk 4GB SD-HC cards can save a raw image in four seconds and have the capacity for at least 170 images. Prices range downwards from 490 list for the Leica iteration, including a beautiful retro leather case. But no one pays list. Look on the Internet or consult your favourite dealer. Would I have one? You bet. Which one? Well Im nostalgic. If I could afford the extra cash it would be the Leica. Mind you, Id be glad of either.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 1/13sec f/2.8 ISO200
Leica D-Lux 3 1/100sec f/3.2 ISO400
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 1/20sec f/3.6 ISO200
TOP LEFT: Even at ISO400 noise is evident in this 6.3mm wideangle (equivalent to 28mm lens on a 35mm SLR). I chose this shot because of the roof structure which reveals chromatic aberration in the Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 1:2.84.9/6.325.2 Asph lens, used on both the Leica and Panasonic iterations of the camera. CENTRE LEFT: Section from the top left of the same shot at 300% showing the aberrations at the edge of the lens at wideangles. The colour fringing is far more apparent in the RGB file than in the CMYK separation necessary for reproduction here, which does not have sufficient colour gamut to show the level of the effect. BOTTOM LEFT: Section from the centre at 300%. Sharp but unfortunately noisy. ABOVE: Window in Gloucester Cathedral at 12.5mm (equivalent to about 50mm). I held the ISO down to 200 to reduce noise, which is barely visible even in the dark areas in the section enlarged to 300%. The question now is whether the Mega O.I.S. image stabilisation can keep the image sharp at the slower shutter speed.
Leica D-Lux 3
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2
TOP: Test shot set-up using my standard rig made by Manfrotto. CENTRE: What the cameras saw. LEFT: The familiar full-frame shot. TEN SMALL IMAGES: Sections of full-frame shots at different ISO settings, all reproduced at 300% of normal 300 pixels per inch res.
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