In the Field with the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II

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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.

Except for minor tweaks to the order of camera controls and new touch-screen technologies, the Panasonic Lumix LX100 II is nearly indistinguishable from its predecessor, the Lumix LX100.

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.

When set to f/1.7, the LX100 II’s Leica DC Vario-Summilux zoom lens displays natural-looking bokeh (above). But stop the lens down to f/16, and your pointal light sources produce dramatic star bursts.
The ability to shoot at a wide maximum aperture also enables you extensive selective focusing control.

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 24mm to 75mm equivalent zoom range of this lens makes it well suited for travel and day tripping.

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.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 II captures video in a choice of 4K, MP4, AVCHD, and AVCHD Progressive modes.

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.

Changing aspect ratios with the Panasonic Lumix LX100 II is as easy as flipping a switch, or simply placing the camera in Aspect Bracket mode.

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.

15 Comments

My first LX 100 was fantastic. Controls were good. Color and sharpness , good. I bough a second one as back up and that is not so good. It's been in shop twice and need to go back for sensor cleaning.  Huge dust spots on photos.  I've read the dust on sensor is a problem for that model and has me hesitant to try the LX 100 II.  I'll look for a camera with sensor cleaning and better seals on the lens.

[quote=James G.]

My first LX 100 was fantastic. Controls were good. Color and sharpness , good. I bought a second one as back up and that is not so good. It's been in shop twice and need to go back for sensor cleaning.  Huge dust spots on photos.  I've read the dust on sensor is a problem for that model and has me hesitant to try the LX 100 II.  I'll look for a camera with sensor cleaning and better seals on the lens.

You mention that one of the new features is a touch screen for improved focusing.  Did you try this ?  How well did it work? Is this a reason to upgrade?

I love my LX100- it was a big improvement over my Canon for travel.

I really liked having the physical controls, and the viewfinder. The camera also did night shots (nature, and sky) well. However, dust was a big problem. I sent it in once under warranty, and two months after I got it back, I started to see spots again. Too soon, there were so many spots it was more than I wanted to fix in post. Panasonic blamed it on me using it in dusty conditions (but when I had it with me while hiking, it was covered). I did not have this problem with the LX5 I had before this. And now, the lens will not extend and the camera gives an error.

My DMC-LX100 was not getting much use anymore, so I found some dissassembly instructions for it on the web and took it apart just enough to remove the hot mirror glass which was installed right in front of the sensor. I now have a full spectrum LX100 which I use as an infrared camera by simply mounting a standard IR filter on the front of the lens. It does not have any hot spots and it is very easy to carry around. It is not my primary infrared camera, but it is handy and I do use it occasionally. More now than when it was a color camera.

I had a LX7 for which I was passionate and bought an LX100. I had a big disappointment with the dust problem coming in through the lens. I researched a lot and saw that it is a common problem in the model. I hope they have managed to soften it.
In LX7 I had no problems regarding poeria.
I'm from panasonic, but I sold the LX100 after removing the dust and bought a GX85 for use with interchangeable lenses. I find a deal more interesting than 1000 USD. Without a doubt the leica lens gives great value to the camera.

 

I had a smaller Leica Lumix before that was damaged in an accident. It was my casual camera and it took some time before I replaced it with a Canon EOS-M. I was so disappointed with the performance of the EOS-M, the image quality, and most especially the focusing, which hunted so much even with its own lenses, that I returned it, or rather traded it in for the Lumix LX-100 in preparation for a fast-paced documentary in Spain. I was so impressed with this new Lumix at that time. Its focusing was precise and very fast. Being in a fast-paced documentary, there were many times I had to turn the camera on quickly and hope for the shot. All those times, I thought I missed the shot as the screen had not yet displayed anything. But it actually focused and took the shot as it was turning on, and just rendered on the screen when it was ready. It is a very fast camera to operate, and kept pace with the volumes of images. I went through multiple batteries per day and left it downloading to my storage device while at dinner. With the quality of the lens and the superb images that can be sold, I hoped to be able to also use it for fine art, but it wasn't that high a quality, lacking crispness in high magnification. The other concern I have is that it uses much battery power even while turned off. And the settings take so much to learn, too. I was trying to find out why the flash wasn't firing, and it needed some seemingly unrelated setting in order to. My son uses it now, and I am using a Leica X-U and M4 (yes, film with vintage M lenses). The LX-100 was a superb performer for many various tasks, and I'm sure the new version is even better.

I love my LX100 for a middle camera in between SLR and a phone.  I had an LX3 before this, and the LX100 was a huge improvement, though physically larger as well.  For decades, any trip I took on an airplane meant a camera bag with SLR and lenses.  This year I took such a trip with only this camera which was a liberating experience.  My favorite feature is the real f-stop ring and shutter speed dial; a brilliant implementation of multiple manual/auto exposure modes.  The biggest problem I have is the exposure compensation dial is too easy to turn accidentally.  Just grabbing the camera to pick it up or pull from a bag will turn the dial, so you have to constantly be mindful that exposure compensation might not be set to what you think.  A little noisy in low light, but serviceable, especially after processing in Lightroom. 

Like Martin R, I, too own (but no longer use the LX7) and predecessors to LX100.   Have been waiting to see what would come next, as my LX100 has a zillion miles on it - both still and video - but is showing signs of being on its last legs (lens sometimes reluctant to extend on power-up).   My LX100 has been to Panasonic's McAllen service center twice - once while under warranty when the lens had sucked in dust particles that landed on sensor and appeared in solid color "sky" areas thus requiring retouch.   The same problem recurred about a year later and I expected to pay the out-or-warranty repair cost.   Instead, Panasonic service declared the camera unrepairable, wanted to sell me a reconditioned one at then-current ebay price (which I declined), and wouldn't return my "unrepairable" one until I prevailed on both B&H as well as NY Attorney General's office.   When finally returned, my "unrepairable" unit -- same serial number -- worked fine.   I.E. they were jerking me around.   Along the way, I came to understand that non-interchangable zoom lenses - even used exclusively in non-dusty environments are at risk of having dust enter and land on inaccessible sensor.   Before spending $1k on LX100 II - I still like the form factor and feature set - I'd like to hear if this little-known vulnerability has been addressed in the new model.

Hi Andrew,

While I personally have never had dust problems with any of the countless fixed-lens point-and-shoot cameras I have owned and used, I'm sure your problem isn't unique. Not knowing the circumstances of all that led up to your dust issues with your camera, it's difficult to offer any insights into the problem. What I will say is if you want to greatly reduce the risk of invasive dust particles you should seriously consider purchasing one of the many dust-proof, waterproof, crush-proof, and freeze-proof cameras we sell from a number of companies including Panasonic. If a camera can keep the ocean from seeping in 10, 20, 30, or 50-feet below the waves, dust shouldn't be a problem.

AW

LX100  is my 3rd  camera in the series harking back to LX 7 etc. Its my pocket camera when I dont want to carry  one of my Sony  SLT DSLR's around. Specs on Sony "equivalent" dont impress compared to LX100. The new model has a tempting boost in sensor size and pixels but a little hard to justify another $1,000 given the miserable trade in values of digital cameras! Tend to use as point and shoot but certainly practical as manual with external controls to handle. Excellent lens.

Hi Martin, 

On the topic of trade-in values of digital cameras, I feel your pain, but do keep in mind depreciation isn't a Lumix-centric issue - it's a global issue. I don't know how far you go back in camera years, but film cameras didn't fair much better when new models came out, albeit with more time between upgrades. That said, along with considering a camera based on cost, consider what it can do for you creatively, functionally, or both. If your photographs will notably benefit from the upgrade, i.e., it feels and functions better, that's a good thing.

Happy shooting regardless of your choice!

You mention its blue tooth capability. Does that mean it is easier to transfer photos with this updated version - I find the connectivity of my current model cumbersome. 

Hi Donna,

As far as I can tell the LX100 and LX100 II use the same 802.11b/g/n WiFi system, the only differences being the LX100 has AV / USB Multi, AV Output, & HDMI D (Micro) connectivity and the new LX100 II has HDMI C (Mini) and USB 2.0 connectors.  

We've been using the LX100 for years as 4K video camera for shots we'd otherwise have to use something like a GoPro (obviously not underwater - but for tight/closeup shots in tight spaces). It's tiny with incredible image quality, good battery life etc. It's been  and it's become my favorite travel/pocket camera as well. The Wifi functionality is also fantastic! Love this guy, so much so, we have 2 of them! 

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