REVIEWED: Panasonic DMC-LX100 compact camera
This magically manual compact’s small size, power-saving viewfinder and awesome images make this a space-saving substitute for a DSLR
For anyone who wants to travel light, a meaty DSLR camera is just not an option. However, deciding to rely on a smartphone for your photography needs while travelling is a huge step down in terms of what you can capture. Cue the Panasonic LX100, a compact micro 4/3 camera that can easily slip into a jacket pocket.
Weighing just 393g and shipping with a good quality leather strap, the 115x66x55 mm Panasonic LX100 sports a retro look. happily, it has an optical viewfinder in the top left-hand corner, as well as a 4-inch LCD screen. If you don’t want to use up battery, that digital viewfinder is a lifesaver, and in our test enabled us to use the camera for a few days without recharging the batteries.
Hurray for 4K!
The Panasonic LX100 is a thoroughly advanced camera that has multiple features we didn’t expect to find on a compact. Shipping with a f1.7-2.8/24-75mm Leica lens, its can record video in 4K quality (as well as in Full HD), it has a manual focus ring, it can shoot in the RAW format, has a 3.1 optical zoom, and has a load of fun features like time-lapse and even stop-motion.
Manually focus on a tiny part of the frame – say, someone’s eyes – and the LX100’s ‘manual assist’ mode zooms-in only on that part, so you can get an exact focus. Nice. We also love its manual dials for exposure and aperture, while the manual wheel that navigates through on-screen menus is easy to use. The design is practical, too; aside from the space-saving compact-ness, there’s a rubber ramp to rest a thumb while gripping the camera firmly. The chance to customise using two function buttons near the top of the camera’s rear also proved useful.
The 12.8-pixel sensor produces some startling images, though we’re guessing that professionals will demand more, so won’t be tempted by the LX100. However, for most travellers the space-saving concept married to both awesome images and full manual controls make the LX100 impossible to ignore.