WIth the LX100 starting to ship to retailer's warehouses, it is a pretty hot time to consider if this is a great compact camera or just a 'whole bunch' of trendy buzzy things actually achieved with an old mFt camera and some clever compromises.
Reasons Not to Buy?
Well the resolving power of the lens is still very much in question , and so far it does not look as good as even the first generation PENs or of course FT cameras, even with kit lenses. The RAW files show better sharpness though, so maybe the jpeg engine is either undertuned on sharpening or is just a bit "loss-y". Default saturation is a bit high, as is maybe contrast but that would need to be seen.
On my e450 i like to use out-of-camera images, just really because raw developing is time consuming and my images are mostly going up on the web, hdmi lines max required ie less than half the original file size. So i have set sharpness +2, contrast +1, and gradation -1. I do regret forgetting to set RAW for some landscapes or high dynamic range shots, but because i like to underexpose often then attempting batch is hopeless for raw. Better to adjust jpegs. Even litho printers ask me for jpegs, less than 4 megs due to their workload and knowing that the shots will work at 330dpi ...ie that is from about 75% sized e450 shots
The reach onnthe lx100 - 75mm - is a little short for many, maybe for me ideally, but more on that below.
Now what is considered 'mid ' ISO is 3200 and here it picks up more noise than say the D7100. No big deal for me, the black cat leaping in a darkened room crowd may disagree. 1600 iso jpegs show smoothing but are very acceptable and noise is low. RAW low light shots are embargoed by panny marketing for now.
You need a big, expensive SD 1 card. Yep to do 4k justice then you will need to spend two hundred euros-dollars on a fast 64 or 128 gigger primary SD card. Wifi suddenly seems very cool, but how much space do you have on your tablet, and how long to dropbox it on less than a 3G line ?. Also you really need to move out of PC land and into iMac and unix land for editing video within reason of productivity.
Size, ergonomics, non touch screen....something has to give at this price and size point in the market, so it has for some given. Basically this camera plays to te old joes like me in the gallery, but also to POS-mobile upgraders who are really wanting to get to grips with A and S modes.
Diallling in controls. the classic controls appeal to me, but many would rather have a more familiar set up with a multi wheel and a touch screen because they are spoiled techno toy brats!
Reasons to BUY ?
The lens! Yep it is so fast and has a really nice range without making the camera too big. Ok not that long, but it is so fast and onto a bigger sensor so your thin depth of field happens way soon and is way smoother than either DSLR kit lenses or competing smaller sensored enthusiasts compacts
Size- got to be a plus, a true jacket pocket, light camera.
Tactility- good use of the lens A ring and focus - zoom ring, and the dial in hard controls for A, S and not forgetting manual mode plus a little fine adjust on the exposure comp wheel. This is very well thought out actually.
The Wide End .......24mm is a lovely angle to work with for land- amd city -scapes because it does not distort so very much as to make the cameras presence obvious, while it does add to that 'vista experience' and zero to infinity DOF.
11fps / in full size, this is impressive. Coupled to 8mpx frame grab from 4k video
4k video? bit gimmicky ? maybe for some, but future proof and you avoid total mess ups in 'lossy' processing. Also it secures 1>1 from the sensor chip which means better fidelity in camera capture to card.
wifi check , high iso check and so on.
Bye bye pasm. I find pasm really annoying these days as many of the shots i choose to spend time on i want to do my own manual bracketing for exposure, depth of field and trying to avoid camera shake. This is largely solved by going back to basics and i like the idea of then overlaying the exposure wheel which will give you the opposing shift when in S or A. This is a real plus for me these days, i end up not knowing where i am in the series of possible shot set ups, or suddenly wanting to take a fast shot and finding S to be left on a half second or P to be aperture biased on my camera unfortunetly. I would hope the lx100 has a max auto ISO setting to then not worry about going over into noisey squishy 6400 land. 1600 will be enough for me with the OIS on or using a tripod.
Last but not least you are getting a very, very good electronic view finder, which for enthusiasts is a real plus.
You are essentially buying a very good lilttle package which will for the non pixel peeper take better shots than anny kit lensed crop frane dslr or mFT or nikon 1 .
Pricey ? Think of the pckage over the immediate competition-possible price differentials for the goodies you get...
200$ for the evf
100$ for sub f2 to 2.8 in this focal zoom range.
$200 for 4k vid - think also resale even if you do no videography, this camera is three years video future proof at least.
Ok by 2016, the new rival models will have caught up but what will these cameras cost then ? Panasonic recognisw that now is the time for a quantum jump in features and yes, a price hike, to maken this level of camera truly head and shoulders over mobile phone cameras in $500 devices you must remember. With one inch mobiles, fovean and repixelising digizoom , intelligent blur etc in camera, for the above average facebook -instagram glamour snapper then having a separate compact as well as your mobile is going to be a harder ask, as the next level of compacts up to one inch sensor sizes are eaten into by mobile devices. The only place left to go is larger sensors over an inch and faster lenses, longer too and here panny are blazing the trail with this neat lx100 and the FZ1000 for people who must take birdy - mammal shots from a far.
I have sat on the fence with mFT because i do not like the ergonomics and really the fast glass shows that the systems are overpriced. It is only with the last two levels of GH-G series and the OMD that sensor IQ is really impressive and iso 3200 useable. I am glad i waited because 900€ on an lx100 gives me a better option than a GX7 or epl7 duen to size and price for those f2 numbers.
The only reasonb not to buy is probably the LX110 !!!