The Panasonic Lumix LX15 is a new premium compact camera from the company, which features a one-inch sensor in a pocket-friendly body. It sits below the LX100, which has a larger Four Thirds sensor, while having a different kind of lens from the travel oriented TZ100.
The LX15 has a one-inch MOS sensor, with 20.1 megapixels. It is joined by a 3x optical zoom, which offers an equivalent of 24-72mm in 35mm terms. The maximum aperture available is f/1.4 at the widest point of the lens – making it the widest available on the market. That rises to f/2.8 at the telephoto end of the lens. The lens can focus on subjects 3cm from the front of the lens (wide-angle). The lens features 6 aspherical elements, 4 asph. 2 asph. ED, and 1 UHR element, with 11 elements in 9 group. There is also an aperture and control ring around the lens. The Panasonic Lumix LX15 is available as the LX10 in some countries.
Like all of Panasonic’s newest cameras, the LX15 has 4K (UHD resolution) video and photo functions. Not only does this mean that you can record 4K video, but it also means that you can do things like extract stills from 4K footage, change the point of focus after you’ve taken the shot, and use that to focus stack.
Other interesting features of the camera including a tilting touch-sensitive screen, inbuilt Wi-Fi and Light Speed AF. Unlike some of the other premium compact cameras on the market – most notably the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V – there’s no electronic viewfinder available on the Panasonic Lumix LX15.
The LX15 is a very similar size to some of the other premium compact cameras of its type on the market, and as such it fits nicely into a pocket or a bag, making it an ideal travel or every day camera.
Despite its small size, it has a nice weight to it, which helps it to feel like a solid piece of premium kit. The camera is not textured, so it’s recommended that you use it with a strap in case it slips out of your hands. The front is raised slightly for your finger to rest easily against it.
The majority of the camera’s buttons and dials are found on the right hand side of the camera, which means you can reach them all with your right hand – particularly handy when shooting one handed.
On the top of the camera, there’s a mode dial for quickly choosing between the different modes that the camera offers. You’ll also find a zoom rocker switch, as well as a rotating dial which can be used for a variety of different functions, usually depending on the shooting mode you’re working in.
Around the camera’s lens, there’s also two rings. An aperture ring which you can use in aperture priority or full manual mode, and a second ring which can be set to a variety of functions, such as controlling the zoom. One thing to note about the aperture ring is that at the wider angle of the zoom, you can’t have the widest apertures. Therefore that means that if the lens is zoomed in, the widest apertures displayed on the aperture ring can’t be used even if the ring is set in that position.
On the back of the camera are a few very useful buttons. One of which is the function3 button, which by default accessed the quick menu. This gives you speedy access to a range of differently commonly used settings, such as ISO and white balance. Also on the back are two buttons for using Post Focus mode and 4K Photo modes.
To use Post Focus is very easy. You select it from the button, then take a photo of your subject. You’ll see that it is recording all of the different focus points. Once it’s finished, you can either select a focus point and save a single image, or you can merge all of the shots together for a “focus stacking” effect, whereby you have a very large depth of field. You can also merge just a certain area of the frame depending on exactly what you would like to be in focus.
4K Photo modes allow you to quickly and easily extract a still from 4K video, with three different methods to do this. Again, you can save the image you want directly in the camera.
The screen is bright and clear, and is very responsive as a touchscreen. You can set the autofocus point, as well as navigate around menus and use it during playback for various functions, such as swiping between photos. Although there’s no viewfinder, you can tilt the screen upwards which helps with direct bright sunlight. It would be even better if you could tilt the screen downwards or out to the side for all different kinds of awkward angles.
Battery life is rated at 260 images, which is about average for a camera of this kind. In practice, it seems to last for a full day of reasonably moderate usage, but if you think you’re likely to want to take several hundred shots in one day, or you think you won’t be able to charge it in between days, it might be worth investing in a second battery.
The camera takes around two seconds to go from completely off to ready to shoot. If you’re shooting lots of shots in reasonably quick succession you can leave it switched on – a sleep timer will switch it off if you don’t use it after a while. Focusing times are very good in bright light, quickly snapping into focus easily. In lower light, the lens can hunt a little more, and on occasion it displays a false positive if the subject is reasonably small – it’s worth double checking that focus has been properly acquired before fully depressing the shutter release.
Wi-Fi connectivity is easy to set up using a QR code. The Panasonic Image App lets you remotely shoot as well as transfer images to your smartphone or tablet.
The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
General1 | 1/200 sec | f/8.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 125
General4 | 1/60 sec | f/2.8 | 8.8 mm | ISO 320
Lowlight indoor | 1/4 sec | f/4.0 | 10.2 mm | ISO 3200
Portrait with flash | 1/60 sec | f/1.4 | 8.8 mm | ISO 200
Macro2 | 1/60 sec | f/1.4 | 8.8 mm | ISO 200
Sample Photos – The LX15 is capable of producing some great images – especially, as is so often the case, in situations where there’s good light. Colours are well saturated, being natural and vibrant without going over the top to be too much. If you think images are little underwhelming, you could switch to the “Vibrant” Photo Style setting.
Exposures are generally well produced, giving a nice balanced looks to shots when using the all-purpose metering setting.
Lens test images
Wide angle | 1/100 sec | f/8.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 125
Trees against bright sky | 1/2000 sec | f/1.4 | 8.8 mm | ISO 125
Macro4 | 1/30 sec | f/8.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 1600
Digital zoom | 1/160 sec | f/8.0 | 26.4 mm | ISO 125
Lens Performance – The optical zoom doesn’t cover a huge range, but it’s a flexible offering, being roughly the same as the classic 24-70mm lens (the LX15 is in fact 24-72mm). At both ends of the lens, performance is great, with a good amount of detail. A digital zoom allows you to get even closer to the subject, but it’s essentially a crop into the centre of the image – it’s good if you desperately want to get closer, and if you’re printing and sharing at normal sizes you’ll barely notice the drop in quality.
Macro images show a good amount of detail, and allow you to fill the frame with your subject. You can also get a good degree of background blur.
ISO test images
1/10 sec | f/1.4 | 8.8 mm | ISO 125
1/25 sec | f/1.4 | 8.8 mm | ISO 400
1/200 sec | f/1.4 | 8.8 mm | ISO 3200
1/1000 sec | f/1.4 | 8.8 mm | ISO 12800
ISO Noise Performance – The ISO performance between ISO 100 – 800 is very good, with very little noise and image smoothing visible. Jumping up to ISO 1600, and while the image is still more than usable, it’s when you start to see a little loss in quality. By ISO 3200, image smoothing is becoming more apparent, while in some areas noise creeps in a little. ISO 6400 and ISO 12800 are useful to have in very dark situations, but are best avoided unless absolutely necessary as images shot at these speeds tend to have a slight painterly look to them.
White-balance test images
Awb1 | 1/8 sec | f/2.8 | 8.8 mm | ISO 1600
Awb2 | 1/20 sec | f/2.8 | 8.8 mm | ISO 1600
Awb3 | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 10.2 mm | ISO 3200
White Balance Performance – Automatic white balance does a good job when faced with a range of different shooting conditions, not being too confused by artificial lighting. Under these conditions, images are slightly warmer than is accurate, but the look is generally pleasing. You can switch to a more specific white balance if you want to change the look of the images.
Filter silkymonochrome | 1/60 sec | f/8.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 640
Filter crossprocess | 1/60 sec | f/8.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 800
Filter highdynamic | 1/15 sec | f/8.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 500
Filter expressive | 1/320 sec | f/1.4 | 8.8 mm | ISO 125
Digital Filters – There are numerous creative effects, and we’ve shown examples of these above.
Panorama1 | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 125
Panorama mode – Panoramic mode works well and is quick and simple to use. The resulting images look good at normal sizes – it’s possible to see some areas where the stitching has gone a little bit wrong if you scrutinise the images particularly closely, but it’s unlikely you’d notice if you were just sharing online for example.
Video – The camera records both Full HD video and 4K (UHD) video. Both produce good footage, which allows you to zoom while recording. The zoom mechanism itself is very quiet, but there’s an audible click if you switch between zooming in and zooming out. Image stabilisation does a good job of keeping moving footage steady though.
f/1.4 – f/2.8
24mm – 72mm
Sensor Size (width)
Sensor Size (height)
Shutter speeds shortest
Shutter speeds longest
Centre-weighted – Average
80 – 25600
4K 30p, 25p, 24p, FullHD 60p, 50p
Optical Zoom with Video
RAW + JPG
Value For Money
The Panasonic Lumix LX15 retails at the moment for around £599/$898, making it a little more expensive than the older Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II (£549/$823). It’s likely that over the next couple of months, the prices will even out. Also by contrast, the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 Mark IV retails for around £749/$1123, and the RX100 Mark V retails for around £999/$1498, making the LX15 seem like a fantastic buy. While nearly £600/$900 is a lot to spend on a compact camera, if it’s something you’re going to always have with you and use often, you may consider it value for money.
There’s lots of competition in the one-inch premium compact camera market, and it’s quite hard to choose between those that are available.
The Panasonic Lumix LX15 doesn’t offer quite such a long focal length as the Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II, and while image quality is roughly on par, if you think you’ll need that extra focal length then it’ll the Canon that persuades you.
On the other hand, the LX15 has 4K Photo modes, as well as things like Post Focus which could tempt you in. Don’t forget you can also record 4K video as well. At the widest point of the lens, it’s a little brighter than the G7 X II, as well as allowing you to get closer to macro subjects.
Another competitor is the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V, which offers a retractable electronic viewfinder. While that’s attractive, the price is also almost twice as much – so you’re paying a huge premium for it.
Overall the LX15 is a very good camera, producing great images, especially in the right conditions. It’s versatile and would make for a great travel or every day camera when space is at a premium. It’s a touch on the expensive side for now, but hopefully the price will come down in the following months.