The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 has been a solid sales performer since it was introduced almost four years ago, which says volumes about the camera. Rather than tinker with a formula that works, Panasonic has released an update of this popular Micro Four Thirds (MFT) pocket rocket, and it's called the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II.
More of an update than a totally new product, the new LX100 II is the same size and weight as its predecessor. Apart from minor changes to the positioning of the camera's control dials and buttons, removing the Lumix "L" from the lower front of the camera, and adding "LX100 II," with the Roman numeral II in bright red on the top plate, the LX100 and LX100 II are nearly indistinguishable.
Photographs © 2018 Allan Weitz
What's not the same is the new camera's 4/3" MOS imaging sensor has been increased to 17MP, up from the LX100's 12.8MP sensor. Other upgrades include the camera's 3" TFT LCD display, which has been increased to 1240k-dots from 921,000-dots on the LX100. It also features touchscreen technologies for added focusing and exposure control. The pixel count of the camera's LVF (Live View Finder) remains at 2760k-dots, and both finders display 100% of the image field.
The lens in the DC-LX100 II is the same POWER O.I.S-assisted Leica DC Vario-Summilux 24-75mm f/1.7-f/2.8 (equivalent) zoom lens, which, image-quality-wise is a very able lens. It contains 11 elements in 8 groups, 5 aspheric lenses with 8 aspheric surfaces, and 2 dual-sided aspheric-surfaced ED lens elements.
The lens's fast maximum aperture allows for true selective focusing and the 9-bladed iris does a good job at producing specular star patterns when shooting at smaller apertures toward the sun or other pointal light sources.
There are two power zoom controls. One wraps around the shutter button and the other more conventionally located on the lens barrel. That's the good news. The bad news is that while power zooming is fine for video capture, it markedly slows you down when trying to respond quickly when shooting stills. (Personally, I would happily trade one or both power controls for a quicker, more responsive manual zoom control, but again, that's just my opinion.)
The ISO range remains the same (200-25600, extended mode 100-25600) and along with JPEG and RAW, the new camera also features Compressed RAW and 4K Photo, which enable you to extract 8MB still frames from 4K video capture. In addition to 4K, MP4, and AVCHD video capture, the new LX100 II can also capture video in AVCHD Progressive mode. RAW files can be processed in-camera or later in post—the choice is yours. An Auto Stacking and auto retouch mode (Clear Retouch) are also available. For wireless NFC image transfer Panasonic's Lumix DC-LX100 II features Bluetooth 4.2, 2.4GHz connectivity.
Something I enjoy using on this camera is the ability to switch quickly between aspect ratios with the flip of a switch, located on the top of the lens barrel. After inadvertently switching the camera into Aspect Bracket mode, the camera automatically captured the image and cloned it into 4/3", 2:3, 16:9, and 1:1 aspect ratios. Though I typically try to capture the maximum file size, when shooting photographs intended for multiple applications, I found this to be a quick method of producing a selection of crop modes to pick and choose from, especially when shooting photographs intended for multiple end uses and viewing formats. Manually cropping photographs is more precise but, for fast and dirty crop options, this is a handy option.
The LX100 II doesn't have a built-in flash, but a small shoe-mounted flash is included with every camera for times you need to pop a bit of light into the shadows.
I liked shooting with the Panasonic original Lumix DMC LX100, and the LX100 II reinforced my original impressions. There's a choice of several very able premium point-and-shoot cameras in this price range, some with 1" sensors and some with APS-C sensors, and the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II gives each of them a run for the money.
Do you have any experience with the Panasonic original Lumix LX100 or a comparable camera? Drop us a line and share your thoughts.