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onsdag 15. oktober 2014

Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 100 Shows Its Value

Finally the jury is in final discussion in the back rooms, while all over the papers it is clear the LX100 has won its case.  Purely and simply it is far better value for money than a mid level mFT camera with either the 12/35 or the oly 12/40 fast zooms.

Technically though it can be argued that the camera needs some tweaks to its jpeg software. The evidence finally from digital photography review, is right there now which both appeases the prosecution for the pixel people, while also basically making panasonic go do some tweaks on the fast pass jpeg processing, more on that below.

The new mFT sensor camera has gone back in my mind to some of the soul of compact camera photography. It is a small tool for taking impressive, high visual impact pictures, doing this a little incognito even candid, and basically is something you take with you when you dont take a DSLR. It has a tactile, eyes off camera way of just going between A and S or P, just a click without needing to line the screen or EVF up to line of sight. You are going to be working with the settings for this little, inconspicuous beauty while your eyes are firmly on the subject. Head up out of camera I call it. Being a photographer and not a camera technician. Capturing high image value while of course not perfecting pixcel peeping  image quality, it is a compact not a mid format studio camera!!

Not convinced ? Firstly look at the RAW and compare to the LX7 and G7X and then the GM1. It seems that Panny will have to address a couple of in camera processing issues because the raw processing (at this early stage of convertor software) catches back details and adds some subtlety to the colours for the LX100.

It is interesting that the LX 7 raw and jpeg files show little difference at all, meaning that Panalieca have fully optimised the jpeg engine there, while there needs to be some optimising on the LX100 before it ships out. I suggest they take the sharpness up, and link that to f stop, take the contrast up again linked to low f stops in particular, alter the gradation slightly and then drop the saturation of colours slightly while allowing for a bit more brightness, possibly achieved anyway in the higher contrast.

Then have a look at the depth of field control, which for the money is best in class. That is the rub for mFT, you need to go up in focal length and back off before you get it. Irritating in a portable camera, curable only with expensive top end lenses.

This is the big problem for me with mFT, you have to spend a huge amount of money for the fast lenses really, okay they are good and comparable to the better Canikon APS-C quality, but so far there is a lack of budget lenses which maybe compromise a little on something but make up for it with killer speed and depth of field control. I would hate to suggest that the mFT federal bureau are holding up mFT software for new APS=C lens conversions from the OEM folk at Sigma and Tamron. I expect though maybe a mid range fast zoom which trumps the lens shift on the two Brand wide to mid fasties and is much faster wide open, say an f1.8/f 4 25-75 from tamron, and also a killer portrait lens at around f 2 / f 2.8 with a macro switch from sigma. Possibly collapsing, we cannot turn our eyes away from these systems being compact. From the main marques, Panny will probably do a couple more motor zoom video lenses, while Oly, well a long end zoom and of course the previewed 300mm f2.8 is out soon, around maybe 2000  USD all be it. Kodak have a whacky races long telephoto which although it may need manual focus, with focus peaking it may be a bit of a fun lens to own.

Also the fast mFT glass is not that much smaller than say the wonder duo from Olympus for FT DSLRs , the 12/60 and 50/200mm covering 24mm to 400mm at f2.8. This is because it is pretty much impossible to make them any smaller . All that has become smaller is the camera bodies, mainly by reducing this flange distance and removing the pentaprism over the older mirror touting FT DSLRs. Ye cannae defy the laws of physics, f stop is an absolute length to diameter relationship. Given also the need for software correction for the super short flange to film plane distance (which makes mFT possible)  it seems that optically both Panny and Oly have reached the limits of the speed to range trade off in zooms, and are not willing to go any further. The LX100 trumps this by exceeding the speed on f stop wide open, and then compacting down more than the 12/35 and only beingg a tweet short of the 12/40.

On telefoto, let us talk tele-conversion, I think that in fact panny may have a 1.4 teleconvertor front end in mind for the LX100  ( what other up selling opportunities do they have????? an LX110 ??) which I could see myself using if it was okay in the centre, used maybe a further aspect crop and then was actually under 200 USD.

Need more convincing that this camera could just maybe take much better artistic shots than your five year old DSLR or your point and shoot ???  More links then > cut and paste them at will to see what the camera has to offer in depth of field (blurry backgrounds) and





As with mFT though, it could end up replacing your DSLR because of the creative quality of images you can capture, and because you miss fewer photo opportunities.

Now in effect this camera is a 12 mpx mFT camera and as you may expect for the size and not least price, it will not take as good a technical image quality as any mFT camera with the fast zooms mentioned above. However it will achieve the same over all artistic impression, the same pop and bang for youse in the USA, for a far better price.

Essentially you are though getting only those 12mpx, all be it in a nice multi aspect choice which appeals to me. BNut the D4s is just launched with 16  mpx so what are we moaning about ? many an only D3 on 12 too. Ah, wandering onto compact camera forums is bad for the psyche. You are not really getting then the Sony 16 mpx mFT chip performance, nor their 1" in terms of ISO. You are getting better colours though.

Also you are only getting just above eye sight magnification at 75 mm, which is short of the sweet range for portraits being around 90 - 120mm in old money, the Full Frame SLR days. Hang on though a minute, this is a really small camera and very unobtrusive. It  focuses super fast apparently in low light too, and focuses down to good minimum distances (with a macro setting too btw, which is a real plus for many of us) so you can do go-go-zoom-gadget-legs or arms and get closer in. Also the centre of the images are pretty sharp and detailed whatever the fringes are, so you have maybe an acceptable digital crop post zooming of upto 1.5, down to around 8 mpx for printed output, but acceptable down to I would say 4 mpx for putting up on Flickr and of course, then 2 mpx for anything else on the web were it will be shown in no more than 1 mpx resolution on screen.

In video you are getting 4 K which means 8 megapixels per frame, yes you need a pair of big SD cards which will cost you maybe 300 dollars. There is an HDMI out which presumably can give a live feed for that quality for recording perhaps onto something external, I am not getting my hopes up. On a 64 gig chip you maybe get 20 minutes of 4K and an hour of HDMI. What you do get is GH3 quality sharpness and dynamic range, plus panasonics rather nice muted you could say natural, beigey colour pallette. Also there are art filters, mostly complete junk, but a couple I saw would really be nice to use to give a feel for the shot. Videography here I come any ways, I have a couple of hours to cut to 40 minutes from a Blue Grass Music Festival from a camcorder. So this does actually excite me,  but so far no external mike is a bad, it is like selling a luxury car without sun visors.

Is mine on pre order? Well no, I do not want to buy this camera before I handle it and feel that the 75mm long end is acceptable, and that focus works well on moving objects and low light.

Panasonic LX100 Hands-On Field Test (With HC-X100…: http://youtu.be/4K7v3IyuMnE

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