Panasonic LX100 Review

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LX100 SUMMARY

Panasonic’s first large-sensor, enthusiast compact camera is here, and it’s a beauty! The 12.8-megapixel Panasonic LX100 opts for a slightly larger body than most rivals, but that also frees up room for the same generous sensor size used in the company’s Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras. Paired with a bright zoom lens and a powerful processor, the result is an enthusiast-grade compact that takes really great photos, day or night! Does the LX100 belong at the top of your wish-list? Find out now in our detailed Panasonic LX100 review!

PROS

Very good image quality; Great performance in most respects; Bright zoom lens with good macro performance; Photographer-friendly body easily fits in a coat pocket or small bag; Roomy, high-res built-in viewfinder; Decent battery life

CONS

Won’t fit in a pants pocket; Relatively low resolution by modern standards; Zoom lens has only a modest telephoto; Soft corners at wide or tele positions; Aperture dial is too easily bumped; Bundled flash is fairly weak

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

The Panasonic LX100 began shipping in the US market at the end of October 2014, with a suggested list price of around US$900. Black or silver body colors are available.

IMAGING RESOURCE RATING

4.0 out of 5.0

The Panasonic LX100 is easily one of the most impressive compact cameras we’ve seen come through our labs, which is why we gave it top billing in our best compact camera for $1,000 article. Check out the article to see your other options for compact cameras under $1,000.

In the first half of 2012, two cameras launched that were the start of an entirely new market segment. The Canon G1X andSony RX100 were both incredibly exciting, pairing fixed zoom lenses with much larger sensors than in previous enthusiast compact cameras.

Panasonic LX100 Review -- Front three-quarter view

Each also had its shortcomings, however. It’s these that Panasonic aims to address with the Panasonic LX100, its first entry in what has become a radically more competitive category almost overnight. (The same day that the LX100 launched, the competingCanon G7X also debuted.)

Sony’s RX100-series cameras are pocket-friendly, but they opt for a much smaller sensor than that of the LX100, and either rely on a somewhat delicate-looking popup viewfinder, an external accessory finder, or forego one altogether. All but one model also skip basics like a flash hot shoe.

Canon’s G1X-series cameras, though, go to the other extreme: They have a sensor that’s almost as tall as the APS-C chips in most consumer and enthusiast DSLRs, and many mirrorless cameras. They also offer hot shoes, and one model even has a built-in viewfinder. The problem is that they’re not even close to being pocket-friendly in anything other than a coat.

Panasonic LX100 review -- Front view compared to Panasonic GM5 and Sony RX100 III

Panasonic LX100 vs Panasonic GM5 and Sony RX100 III

The Panasonic LX100 strikes a middle ground between the two approaches. It’s a fair bit bigger than an RX100-series camera or Canon’s simultaneously-launched G7X, but it’s also a fair bit less tall and thick than a G1X-series camera, and much lighter. On balance, it’s probably more comparable to the pocket cameras in proportion, even if its a bit too deep to be considered pants-pocket-friendly itself.

Panasonic LX100 review -- Front view compared to Canon  G1X II and Fuji X100S

Panasonic LX100 vs Canon G1X II and Fuji X100S

And compared to its rivals that will fit in a pants pocket, the Panasonic LX100 sports a much bigger sensor. Where its rivals are all based around 1″-type chips, Panasonic has opted for the same 4/3″-type sensors it uses in its mirrorless cameras, and that offers almost double the surface area of a 1″-type chip. (Note, though, that the LX100 doesn’t use all the available area for any single aspect ratio.)

The difference in sensor real-estate shows itself in sensitivity: Panasonic allows the LX100 to roam to ISO 25,600 max., when all of its rivals are limited to ISO 12,800 or below.

Panasonic LX100 review -- Side view compared to X100S, G1X II, GM5, RX100 III

Fuji X100S, Canon G1X II, Panasonic LX100, Panasonic GM5, Sony RX100 III

But it’s not just the larger sensor at play here. Panasonic’s Venus Engine performance is also impressive, and the company’s clever Depth from Defocus technology — first seen in the Panasonic GH4 mirrorless camera — also helps a lot. The net result is a swift manufacturer rating of 11 frames per second with focus and exposure locked. Even with autofocus and exposure adjustment between frames, you’ll still see a manufacturer-rated 6.5 fps.

If you’re willing to accept the compromises still inherent in an electronic shutter — and a greatly reduced three-megapixel resolution — you can boost this all the way up to a truly staggering 40 frames per second!

In this respect, the Panasonic LX100 leads the large-sensor, fixed-zoom camera category. For better performance at full resolution, you need to look to a mirrorless camera or DSLR, and you’ll lose the size advantage of the LX100. The autofocus system is sophisticated in other respects, too, and very point-dense with a 49-point array.

Panasonic also seems to have done a great job at aiming its body directly at enthusiasts, rather than feeling the need to handhold beginners as some cameras do. There’s no mode dial here, nor any consumer-friendly fluff like user-selectable scene modes. The sole concession to beginners is Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto mode, favored with its own dedicated button. Instead of these ease-of-use aids, physical shutter and aperture dials with Auto positions grace this camera, plus a physical exposure compensation dial.

Panasonic LX100 review -- Front right view

And that extends beyond the body design, too: You get a 1/4,000-second top shutter speed as in Canon’s G1X-series cameras, not the 1/2,000-second limit of the RX100-series and G7X. Enable the electronic shutter, and the Panasonic LX100 will take you all the way to 1/16,000 second. Nor is there any internal flash strobe, a feature many enthusiasts treat with a measure of disdain. Instead, the LX100 has a hot shoe, something that among its rivals only the RX100 II and G1X series also offer. (A compact flash strobe is included in the standard camera kit.)

And there’s also a built-in electronic viewfinder, a feature shared only by the RX100 III. (Although admittedly, the RX100 II and G1X-series can accept optional viewfinder accessories.) Nor is that all: The Panasonic LX100’s viewfinder is a very high-resolution unit, based around a high-definition, field-sequential panel as used previously in the Panasonic GX7.

Admittedly, though, the LCD monitor is rather more basic, a standard three-inch VGA panel with no touch screen or articulation. Other noteworthy features include Wi-Fi wireless networking with NFC for easy pairing, and a 24/30p 4K movie capture function which also allows you to extract high-res 4K stills.

Let’s take a closer look at Panasonic’s first entry in the large-sensor, fixed-zoom camera market!

Walkaround

Measuring 4.5 x 2.6 x 2.2 inches (114.8 x 66.2 x 55mm), the Panasonic LX100 is noticeably larger than its rivals, the Sony RX100-series and Canon G7X, but not unreasonably so given that it also boasts double the sensor surface area. The difference in mass is more noticeable: At a weight of 14.3 ounces (405g) loaded and ready to shoot, it’s about a third heavier.

The difference in size and weight is such that — unlike those cameras — you won’t be keeping it in your pants pocket, but it’d easily slip into a jacket pocket or modestly-sized purse.

Comparing in the other direction, the size and weight difference as compared to the larger-sensored Canon G1X and G1X Mark II are much more stark. While width differs only slightly, Canon’s cameras are a third to two-thirds of an inch taller, and almost half an inch deeper. And again, those cameras weigh around a third more than the LX100.

Panasonic LX100 review -- Front view

Looking at the front of the Panasonic LX100, things are clean and straightforward. There’s a small but worthwhile handgrip to give your fingertips some purchase, and above right of the lens (as seen from the rear) is an LED that serves as autofocus assist lamp and self-timer indication.

The lens itself, a bright f/1.7-2.8, 3.1x optical zoom beauty, not surprisingly takes center stage.

Panasonic LX100 review -- Top view

Seen from above, it’s clear that this is a camera aimed at experienced photographers. There’s no Mode dial on the Panasonic LX100; instead, Auto positions on both Aperture ring and Shutter Speed dial give you an intuitive way to switch between manual, priority and automatic shooting.

A second lens ring is also provided, and a switch atop the lens barrel selects between various aspect ratios. This might seem unusual, but makes sense once you learn that — as the company as done in the past — Panasonic has actually specified an image sensor slightly larger than the lens’ image circle. None of the aspect ratio choices uses the full sensor area. Instead, they work to fit within the image circle while maximizing sensor area, giving you the ability to switch aspects without pixel guilt (but a fair bit lower resolution than the sensor could natively provide with a fixed aspect).

Atop the body, meanwhile, are a flash hot shoe — a rare treat in this style of camera, but a necessary one given that there’s no popup flash — which sits centrally above the lens, and further right a profusion of controls. The Power switch sits beneath the Shutter Speed dial, and a zoom rocker encircles the shutter button.

The Intelligent Auto mode is the sole concession to beginners, and merits its own button; so to do digital filters. Finally, there’s an exposure compensation dial within easy thumb-reach.

In front of the hot shoe are two ports for a stereo microphone, and at left you can see that the eyepiece for the camera’s electronic viewfinder protrudes a bit beyond the rear deck.

Panasonic LX100 review -- Back view

Switch to the rear panel, and you’ll see both a fairly straightforward fixed-position, 3.0-inch LCD panel (which, sadly, isn’t touch-sensitive), and the electronic viewfinder at very top left.

This is a beauty of a finder, and quite similar to that in the Panasonic GX7. It sports a high-definition 1,280 x 720 pixel array, and uses a field-sequential design. In plain English, that means every single pixel provides all three colors — but only one color at any given time. By cycling through the colors repeatedly, your eye gets the impression of a sharp, full-color image. Lining the right side of the viewfinder is a proximity sensor used to enable or disable the viewfinder and LCD automatically as you raise the camera to your eye, or vice versa.

This can also be accomplished manually using the LVF button adjacent to the finder. Other buttons in this row include Wi-Fi, Movie Record, and autofocus / autoexposure lock. Right of the LCD and beneath a small protruding thumbgrip are Quick Menu, Playback, Function1, and Display buttons. Two buttons in that top row also serve as function buttons, incidentally, the customizability being another indication that this is an enthusiast camera.

And finally, there’s the Four-way controller surrounded by another dial, and with central Menu/Set button. Each cardinal direction serves double-duty as a Record-mode control — ISO sensitivity, Focus area, White balance, and Drive mode. Directly beneath the Four-way controller, a tiny dimple indicates the location of the card access lamp.

Panasonic LX100 review -- Right view

The right side of the camera body is free of controls and features, save for a D-ring for a shoulder strap, and the cover over the HDMI high-definition video output. It’s not marked on the door, but the combined USB data / standard-definition A/V output port also lives here. In the US market, this A/V output is NTSC-only.

Panasonic LX100 review -- Left view

The left side of the body is even more unencumbered, with only a metal D-ring and a curiously non-standard logo for the camera’s NFC antenna, indicating where you should hold your smartphone or tablet to pair automatically.

Also visible is a switch on the side of the lens barrel with which to select the Focus mode.

Panasonic LX100 review -- Bottom view

And finally, we come to the base of the Panasonic LX100. At camera left is a nine-hole grille for the camera’s speaker. Moving right, you come to a metal tripod mount, sadly situated off the lens’ optical axis, a position less than ideal for tripod-mounted panoramas. (Although it’s easy enough to source a bracket and reposition the camera over the tripod correctly, if you shoot a lot of panos.)

Lastly, the battery / flash card compartment sits beneath the hand grip, with a locking switch and a large rubber cutout to allow ingress for a dummy battery.

Basic Specifications
Full model name: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100
Resolution: 12.80 Megapixels
Sensor size: 4/3
(17.3mm x 13.0mm)
Kit Lens: 3.13x zoom
(24-75mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 200 – 25,600
Extended ISO: 100 – 25,600
Shutter: 60 – 1/16000
Max Aperture: 1.7
Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.6 x 2.2 in.
(115 x 66 x 55 mm)
Weight: 14.3 oz (405 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $900
Availability: 10/2014
Manufacturer: Panasonic
Full specs: Panasonic LX100 specifications

Below are crops comparing the Panasonic LX100 with the Panasonic GM1, Canon G7X, Fuji X100S, Nikon Coolpix A, and Sony RX100 III. All of these models sit at relatively similar price points and/or categories in their respective product lineups as compact enthusiast cameras.

NOTE: These images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera’s actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved, click these links to visit each camera’s respective sample image thumbnail page: Panasonic LX100, Panasonic GM1, Canon G7X, Fuji X100S, Nikon Coolpix A, and Sony RX100 III — links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Panasonic LX100 to any camera we’ve ever tested.

Panasonic LX100 vs Panasonic GM1 at Base ISO

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Panasonic GM1 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Panasonic GM1 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Panasonic GM1 test image taken at ISO 200
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 200
Panasonic GM1 at ISO 200

Here, we compare the fixed-lens LX100 to its compact interchangeable-lens cousin, the Panasonic GM1, as they likely use the same or very similar sensors. The GM1 offers slightly higher resolution since it uses more of its 16MP Live MOS sensor (about 15.8MP vs 12.7MP) so the elements in the LX100 crops look a bit smaller, however fine detail from both cameras is very good at base ISO. Interestingly, the LX100 image is a bit crisper and colors are rendered somewhat differently, but the GM1 does a touch better in the red-leaf fabric. (Note that although the exposures look different, middle gray levels are closely matched between the two, so the apparent exposure difference is due to slightly different tone curves and color mapping.)

Panasonic LX100 vs Canon G7X at Base ISO

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Canon G7X test image taken at ISO 125
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Canon G7X test image taken at ISO 125
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Canon G7X test image taken at ISO 125
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 200
Canon G7X at ISO 125

Above, we compare the 12.7-megapixel “4/3″ sensored LX100 to the 20-megapixel 1”-type sensored Canon G7X. The resolution difference is much more apparent here in both the relative element sizes and the higher detail from the G7X in all three crops at base ISO. But while the Canon’s resolution is higher, noise is also a little higher, as you can see in the background of the bottle shoulder crop. The G7X applies slighter stronger sharpening, though, which tends to exacerbate noise. Still, the Panasonic’s larger pixels pay off in terms of slightly lower noise already at base ISO when comparing at 100% like this, but the G7X still wins with better detail.

Panasonic LX100 vs Fuji X100S at Base ISO

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Fuji X100S test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Fuji X100S test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Fuji X100S test image taken at ISO 200
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 200
Fuji X100S at ISO 200

This comparison is perhaps a bit unfair given the Fuji X100S price premium, but at the time of writing, the X100S is available on sale for about the same price as the LX100. Here we see that the Fuji’s larger 16-megapixel APS-C X-Trans II sensor produces lower noise levels (particularly chroma noise), but it doesn’t really resolve any additional detail in most areas. Fine detail in the mosaic crop is actually a little better from the Panasonic despite the lower resolution, but the Fuji does better with fine detail in the red-leaf fabric.

Panasonic LX100 vs Nikon Coolpix A at Base ISO

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Nikon Coolpix A test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Nikon Coolpix A test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Nikon Coolpix A test image taken at ISO 100
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 200
Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 100

Here’s a comparison to a 16-megapixel APS-C sensored compact with a 28mm eq. prime lens, the Nikon Coolpix A. The Nikon does resolve more detail as well as produce lower noise at base ISO, but its advantage over the LX100 is perhaps not as great as one would expect at base ISO, in part due to the Nikon’s rather conservative image processing.

Panasonic LX100 vs Sony RX100 III at Base ISO

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Sony RX100 III test image taken at ISO 125
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Sony RX100 III test image taken at ISO 125
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Sony RX100 III test image taken at ISO 125
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 200
Sony RX100 III at ISO 125

Here’s another comparison to a 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor, this time from the company that started the category. Here again we see Sony’s 20MP sensor clearly out-resolve the Panasonic, but the camera is working harder to control noise, producing a somewhat more “processed” looking image. The Sony does however do noticeably better in the red and pink fabrics.

Panasonic LX100 vs Panasonic GM1 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Panasonic GM1 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Panasonic GM1 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Panasonic GM1 test image taken at ISO 1600
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 1600
Panasonic GM1 at ISO 1600

As expected, image quality from both Panasonic cameras at ISO 1600 is quite similar, though again, the slightly higher resolution from the GM1 is apparent, but mostly just in the size of the elements within the crops. Both blur subtle detail in the red-leaf swatch quite a bit, with the LX100 blurring it a bit more.

Panasonic LX100 vs Canon G7X at ISO 1600

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Canon G7X test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Canon G7X test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Canon G7X test image taken at ISO 1600
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 1600
Canon G7X at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, we see the LX100 start to pull ahead of the G7X with better detail despite the lower resolution, as well as lower luma noise. The Canon does a little better with controlling chroma noise, though. Both struggle with the red-leaf fabric.

Panasonic LX100 vs Fuji X100S at ISO 1600

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Fuji X100S test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Fuji X100S test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Fuji X100S test image taken at ISO 1600
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 1600
Fuji X100S at ISO 1600

Similar to base ISO, the Fuji produces a cleaner, smoother image with almost no chroma noise, but both show very good detail in most areas for this sensitivity. However, the X100S does much better in the red-leaf fabric as the LX100’s default noise reduction blurs it quite a bit.

Panasonic LX100 vs Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 1600

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Nikon Coolpix A test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Nikon Coolpix A test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Nikon Coolpix A test image taken at ISO 1600
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 1600
Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 1600

Again, differences in tone curves and color handling make the Coolpix A looks quite a bit brighter in this comparison, but middle gray is closely matched and the same aperture and shutter speed were used. While the Nikon clearly does better with the red-leaf fabric, elsewhere it’s a much closer contest, though the Nikon applies less aggressive noise reduction and sharpening, producing a softer but more natural looking image.

Panasonic LX100 vs Sony RX100 III at ISO 1600

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Sony RX100 III test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Sony RX100 III test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Sony RX100 III test image taken at ISO 1600
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 1600
Sony RX100 III at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, the LX100 does noticeably better than the RX100 III, producing a crisper, more finely detailed image all around. The Sony’s looks a little drab in areas, and has a much more “processed” look. The RX100M3 does however do a little better in the red-leaf fabric.

Panasonic LX100 vs Panasonic GM1 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Panasonic GM1 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Panasonic GM1 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Panasonic GM1 test image taken at ISO 3200
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 3200
Panasonic GM1 at ISO 3200

Again, similar performance from the two Panasonics apart from the slight resolution difference, though at this ISO, it’s clear the LX100 applies slightly stronger default noise reduction, particularly in the red channel.

Panasonic LX100 vs Canon G7X at ISO 3200

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon G7X test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon G7X test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon G7X test image taken at ISO 3200
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 3200
Canon G7X at ISO 3200

Once again, the LX100 comes out on top in this contest, with better detail, lower noise, and better color, but both struggle reproducing any fine detail in our red-leaf fabric.

Panasonic LX100 vs Fuji X100S at ISO 3200

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Fuji X100S test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Fuji X100S test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Fuji X100S test image taken at ISO 3200
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 3200
Fuji X100S at ISO 3200

Here we see Fuji’s X100S really shine at ISO 3200, producing lower noise, better detail and great color. And there’s simply no contest in the red-leaf fabric.

Panasonic LX100 vs Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 3200

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Nikon Coolpix A test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Nikon Coolpix A test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Nikon Coolpix A test image taken at ISO 3200
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 3200
Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 3200

The Nikon leaves behind higher noise levels (both luma and chroma), but noise “grain” is more film-like, and it also renders more detail in the mosaic crop and especially in the red-leaf fabric. We’ll give the edge to Nikon, but it’s difficult to make a call on which is better overall, as it’s really up to the viewer’s tastes.

Panasonic LX100 vs Sony RX100 III at ISO 3200

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Sony RX100 III test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Sony RX100 III test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Sony RX100 III test image taken at ISO 3200
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 3200
Sony RX100 III at ISO 3200

Here again the LX100 comes out on top despite its resolution handicap. The RX100 III image is noisier with more noise reduction artifacts as well greater saturation loss. And while there’s slightly better contrast in the red-leaf swatch from the Sony, it actually appears as if it’s almost smeared horizontally.

Panasonic LX100 vs. Panasonic GM1, Canon G7X, Fuji X100S, Nikon Coolpix A, Sony RX100 III

100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Panasonic GM1 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Canon G7X test image taken at ISO 125 100% crop from Fuji X100S test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Nikon Coolpix A test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Sony RX100 III test image taken at ISO 125
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Panasonic GM1 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon G7X test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Fuji X100S test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Nikon Coolpix A test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Sony RX100 III test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic LX100 test image taken at ISO 6400 100% crop from Panasonic GM1 test image taken at ISO 6400 100% crop from Canon G7X test image taken at ISO 6400 100% crop from Fuji X100S test image taken at ISO 6400 100% crop from Nikon Coolpix A test image taken at ISO 6400 100% crop from Sony RX100 III test image taken at ISO 6400
Panasonic
LX100
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Panasonic
GM1
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
G7X
ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Fuji
X100S
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon
Coolpix A
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
RX100 III
ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. High-contrast detail is also important, pushing the camera in different ways, so we like to look at it too. As expected, at base ISO, the higher-resolution Canon G7X and Sony RX100 III come out ahead with better detail and definition than the LX100. The Nikon A, Fuji X100S and Panasonic GM1 also do a little better, but not by much. It’s interesting to note that aliasing artifacts are however more visible from the LX100 in other areas of the label, an indication it likely has a weak optical low-pass filter. At ISO 3200, contrast is still good from the G7X, but it starts to have difficulty resolving the fine lines, and the Sony RX100 III even more so. The two Panasonics continue to do well, though, as do the Fuji and Nikon. At ISO 6400, the two Panasonics and the Fuji come out ahead. The Nikon does well too, but its wide-angle lens distorts the image such that the fine lines aren’t as level, making them more difficult to resolve at the higher ISOs. The higher-resolution G7X and particularly the RX100 III struggle to resolve the fine lines as they combat higher noise levels from their smaller pixels.

Panasonic LX100 Print Quality

Very good 24 x 36 inch prints at ISO 100/200; a nice 13 x 19 at ISO 1600 and a good 4 x 6 at ISO 12,800.

ISO 100/200 prints are quite good at 24 x 36 inches, with crisp detail and rich colors.

ISO 400 shots look good at 20 x 30 inches, retaining good detail throughout our test image. 24 x 36 inch prints aren’t bad, with only a minor trace of noise in a few areas, and can generally be used for less critical applications.

ISO 800 yields a good 16 x 20 inch print, which is a nice size for this ISO. There is a definite softening of contrast in our tricky red fabric swatch, common in most cameras by this sensitivity, and mild noise in a few flatter areas, but a very nice print all around.

ISO 1600 makes a nice 13 x 19 inch print, with only mild softening in the red fabric swatch and minor noise in the shadowy areas of our test target.

ISO 3200 produces an 11 x 14 inch print similar to the 13 x 19 at ISO 1600, and is a good size for this ISO, especially compared to most compact cameras! Most contrast detail is now lost in our red swatch, and there is minor noise in the usual flatter areas, but still a good print altogether.

ISO 6400 prints just pass our “good” standard at 8 x 10 inches. This is a sensitivity most compact cameras struggle with, but the LX100 handles it better than most. The most noticeable artifact is that there is a slight loss in saturation, but the amount is negligible and easily returned in post-processing if so desired.

ISO 12,800 yields a good 4 x 6 inch print for this ISO and sensor type.

ISO 25,600 prints are not usable and this sensitivity is best avoided when possible.

The Panasonic LX100 turns in an impressive performance in the print quality department, especially considering that it comes from the ranks of compact cameras. Starting with solid prints at 24 x 36 inches at base ISO (limited in size primarily by the relatively low 12.7-megapixel resolution) and then moving up to a good 8 x 10 inch print at ISO 6400, this camera can certainly deliver high quality prints. Most issues noticed are common for cameras with 4/3″ sensors, and the LX100 stands in the same league with most of the best in the Micro Four Thirds class despite the fact that it doesn’t use the entire sensor, and well above the crowd of traditional compact cameras.

(imaging-resource.com)

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