THE LOVE FOR TRAVELLING, THE PASSION FOR PHOTOGRAPHY (MADE IN MELBOURNE AND AROUND THE GLOBE)

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY

Panasonic Lumix LX10 review for travel and city exploration

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What is the best camera for travel?

That’s a great question I get asked many and many times.

My simple answer is the camera with you and that is why I was so happy to have the Panasonic LX10 for a review.

There are already few amazing sites that provide a deep technical review. This post is more dedicated to people that plan to use it for long trips or just a city weekend exploration. Is it a good buy? How does it compare to other compacts?

Yes, I know, the mobile is really the camera always with us nowadays however there is a small issue with the Android/Iphones, that missing depth of field and lack of real blurry background.

And let’s not forget that we do not have any optical zoom capability on the mobile lenses either.

The depth of field was one of the features I loved the most in the Lumix LX10 (24mm, 1/640sec at f/1.4, ISO 125)

The depth of field was one of the features I loved the most in the Lumix LX10 (24mm, 1/640sec at f/1.4, ISO 125)

I must be honest with you. I love the full sensor cameras, the big DSLRs. They deliver super high quality when I work in the studio. They are amazing in low light environments. They are so reliable in sport photography.

However when I travel, well, they are a pain…in my neck and back. I was looking around for a nice compact to buy and take with me, especially when I go for a short weekend away, with friends and family.

That is why I was super excited when I had the possibility to do a Panasonic LX10 review ……and I had indeed a great time.

As it often happens with Panasonic, this camera is known as LX10 or LX15 based on the markets you buy it.

Panasonic LX10 sensor

The LX10 is a newcomer in this new wave of high quality compact cameras based on a 1″ sensor.

Why is so important to have a 1″ sensor?

In simple words, think about your eye. The more is opened the better you can see.

The sensor works in a similar way, the bigger it is the more light, and information, it gets.

On a bright day, or studio environment, you can have almost the same result with a mobile or with a DSLR, exposure wise.

However problems start in low light or with a high dynamic range of luminosity. Think a photo in the middle of the day, with really dark shadows and super bright sunny areas.

The entry level compacts have usually a sensor size of 1/1.7″ (7.60 x 5.70 = 43.32mm2) or 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 = 28.07mm2). The best mobiles have a sensor size of 1/2.6″.

Having a 1″ sensor makes a difference. Great quality in a tiny camera.

However the Lumix LX10 is not the only camera of this type in the market. Direct competitors are the Sony RX100 V or the few months old RX100 IV. Also the Canon G7X Mark II is a great contender. Not to mention the Panasonic LX100. They are all made with similar, if not the same, sensor.

However they all differ in something to make everyone almost unique. That is a great news for us customers as we have a wider offer.

Visiting street art in the Melbourne lanes (24mm, 1/200sec at f/1.4, ISO 125)

Visiting street art in the Melbourne lanes (24mm, 1/200sec at f/1.4, ISO 125)

The maximum aperture of F/1.4

This is what impressed me the most when I saw the release notes.

At least on paper.

But would the Lumix LX10 deliver that nice bokeh in the background?

Equivalent focal length on a 1″ sensor

If you have been following this blog you may have already read the difference between equivalent focal length and focal length.

  • On a full frame sensor camera the two are equivalent.
  • On a MFT camera the eq.focal length = 2 x focal length of the lens. Therefore when you buy a 50mm lens, the field of view is like a 100mm on a full frame camera (or the old 35mm film camera).
  • On a 1″ sensor camera, like the LX10 the eq.focal length = 2.7 x focal length of the lens. Therefore a 50mm lens has the field of view like a 135mm on a full frame camera (or the old 35mm film camera).

I hope it all makes sense as it is time to introduce the equivalent aperture.

Equivalent aperture on a 1″ sensor

The depth of field is dictated by the physical size of the aperture (in mm) and not by the f-stop.

I need to introduce here a formula:

Aperture = Focal Length / FStop

Therefore taking the previous examples and assuming I am working at F/2 with a field of view of a 50mm full frame

  • On a full frame sensor camera with a 50mm lense I have an Aperture = 50mm/2 = 25mm
  • On a MFT camera Aperture = 25mm/2 = 12mm
  • On a 1″ sensor camera Aperture = 18mm/2 = 9mm

Let’s take the Panasonic LX10. When I use it at smallest focal length value of 9mm (or equivalent 24mm) and f/1.4 I have:

Aperture = 9mm / 1.4 = 6.4mm

Which is the same aperture I have with a full frame using a 24mm lens at f/3.75

The Sony and the Canon have instead an aperture of 5mm (at f/1.8) or in full frame as a f/4.8

What does all this mean?

With the Lumix LX10 you have potentially a narrower depth of field when compared to the Sony or Canon. This may help with portrait and photo of details. It won’t make any difference with landscape photography.

It may also make a difference with street photography however you may need lots of practice to get the subject right (not that easy with such a small camera in your hands)

Can you have a better bokeh (out of focus background)?

This is usually connected to the number of blades used in the lens however there is more than just that. The quality of the lens is also so important. It would be very hard to say which one is better.

Great DoF and bokeh (25mm, 1/50sec at f/1.4, ISO 125)

Great DoF and bokeh (25mm, 1/50sec at f/1.4, ISO 125) – The busy background is not a problem anymore

Focal length 24-72mm

The Panasonic LX10 has a zoom capability which covers perfectly the travel and city exploration.

It has an equivalent focal length of 24-72mm which is really perfect for any weekend away. On a long trip it would be nice to have a bit more than that, maybe up to 105-120mm, however I like the fact that Panasonic worked on providing a better maximum aperture than a longer zoom.

When travelling, there are situation when the light can be quite poor, think a market environment or just a night at a restaurant. That’s where F/1.4 helps a lot.

24mm, 1/200sec at f/1.4, ISO 125

24mm, 1/200sec at f/1.4, ISO 125

1:1 view of the eye

Great details with the Panasonic LX10 – check this 1:1 view of the eye of above photo

If your trip involves a visit to a zoo safari or you just love bird photography, than I would probably suggest the Panasonic TZ110.

Panasonic Lumix 4k and post focus

One of the thing I love the most of the new Panasonic cameras is the firmware.

It’s very simple to use, so easy to go through the configuration and the Quick Menu button helps a ton.

The touch screen monitor is also a real plus (something that Sony still doesn’t have)

However my favourite feature is the 4K shooting feature that allows you to extract a frame from a 4k video.

I know it can be done also in post production however the point is that it can be done so easily on the Lumix LX10 that I would not even bother to load the video on a computer software.

It takes 3 touches and here is the best photo from a video.

Considering there are 30 frames per second in a video, the 4K shooting feature is ideal for sport, action and children photography.

You can read more info and see more examples on a previous review.

The post focus can help you to decide later on what you want sharp and what blurred in your photo. You can see more examples here.

Post focus works however my personal suggestion is to frame and compose your photo yourself, already with the idea of which area in the image you want to have sharp.

Deciding later may help in few occasions though.

Sunny star at sunset (24mm, 1/125sec at f/11, ISO 125)

Sunny star at sunset (24mm, 1/125sec at f/11, ISO 125)

Dimension and weight

This is an extremely small camera.

The Panasonic LX10, the Sony RX100 and the Canon G7X have all very similar dimension (105 x 61 x 42mm). You can put them in a jacket pocket

I always say smaller is better in travelling. If you have big hands it may be a problem though.

The grip on the Lumix LX10 is not the best I must admit. You need to be careful or use a wrist strap (first thing I would buy is this vintage one)

Street photography using the tilt-up screen (24mm, 1/60sec at f/5.6, ISO 320)

Street photography with the Panasonic LX10 was very easy using the tilt-up screen (24mm, 1/60sec at f/5.6, ISO 320)

Panasonic LX10 and the weather

Unfortunately the LX10 is not weather sealed, which is a real pity, assuming that this camera is dedicated to weekend away, city exploration and travelling as well.

It would be a nice feature to have.

In saying that, neither Canon or Sony are environmentally sealed. No much choice, isn’t it.

Something more on the Lumix LX10

Other things about the LX10:

  • The screen is tilt-up and that is the way I love to use a compact camera, placing it in areas without needing 10-lessons of yoga for impossible positions
  • I love the aperture ring on the lens. It reminds me of some present cool cameras and old treasures. There is however one disappointment, the variable maximum aperture of F/1.4-F/2.8. For example, I have my ring at F/1.4 and I use a 72mm focal length then the LX10 uses an aperture of F/2.8. Confusing I know.
  • Missing Electronic View Finder (EVF). This may be a deal breaker for few people, not for me. In the compact camera segments the EVF are usually so small that I rarely use them. That’s only my personal opinion of course.
  • I love the USB in-camera battery charger. The camera can be charged from a computer, mobile charger etc. There is only one issue. You cannot charge the second battery once you are using your camera. But that can be easily fixed with a $13 investment (spare battery + charger!!)
  • Panasonic Image-App for Android and for Apple are available for Wi-Fi and NFC interconnection.
  • battery life is not that amazing, however quite similar to most compact cameras. The second batter is a must.
  • I was impressed by the 4K video, however I am not a videographer and therefore it’s difficult to add more than just my impression.
  • It is fast and responsive with a quick auto-focus that works great with the touch-screen
Shopping center interesting design (24mm, 1/60sec at f/5.6, ISO 500)

Shopping center interesting design (24mm, 1/60sec at f/5.6, ISO 500)

Final thoughts

The Panasonic LX10 comes at the same price as the Canon G7X and considerably cheaper than the Sony RX100 V.

The Panasonic and Sony excel on the video side with 4K however the Canon has a wider zoom range, up to 100mm.

The Sony does not have a touch screen however it does have an EVF

I personally absolutely love the 4K shooting feature provided by the Lumix LX10

My personal preference go to the Panasonic LX10 and the Sony RX100 V. In saying that the LX10 is cheaper.

Awesome high dynamic reange of luminosity - the flowers were in full shade in the middle of the day (24mm, 1/2000sec at f/1.4, ISO 125)

Awesome high dynamic range of luminosity – the flowers were in full shade in the middle of the day (24mm, 1/2000sec at f/1.4, ISO 125)

How to get the best price

This is a table with the best prices I could find in USA and Australia

Camera Price in USA Price in Australia Comment
Panasonic LX10 $$ $$ 4k shooting, touch screen
Sony RX100 V $$$ $$$ EVF
Canon G7X II $$ $$ 24-100mm zoom

Enjoy your travel photography!!


Support MEL365. Shop in US with amazon.com and in Australia with Camera HouseTed’s Cameras


LX10 specs

Metrics Dimensions (W x H x D) 105.5 x 60 x 42 mm
Dimensions (W x H x D) (4.15 x 2.36 x 1.65 inch)
Weight Approx. 310 g with Battery and SD Memory Card (0.68 lb)
Weight Approx. 280 g without Battery and SD Memory Card (0.62 lb)
Optics Pixels Camera Effective Pixels 20.1 Megapixels
Sensor Sensor Size / Total Pixels / Filter 1-inch High Sensitivity MOS Sensor / 20.9 Total Megapixels / Primary Colour Filter
Lens Aperture F1.4 – 2.8 / 9 Diaphragm Blades (F1.4 – 11.0 (W), F2.8 – 11.0 (T))
Optical Zoom 3x
Focal Length f = 8.8 – 26.4mm
Focal Length (26 – 78mm in 35mm equiv. in 4:3)
Focal Length (24 – 72mm in 35mm equiv. in 3:2)
Focal Length (25 – 75mm in 35mm equiv. in 16:9)
Focal Length (31 – 93mm in 35mm equiv. in 1:1)
Focal Length (36 – 108mm in 35mm equiv. in 4:3 4K PHOTO recording)
Focal Length (36 – 108mm in 35mm equiv. in 3:2 4K PHOTO recording)
Focal Length (36 – 108mm in 35mm equiv. in 16:9 4K PHOTO recording)
Focal Length (38 – 114mm in 35mm equiv. in 1:1 4K PHOTO recording)
Focal Length (25 – 75mm in 35mm equiv. in 16:9 video recording / O.I.S. Off / Level Shot function Off)
Focal Length (27 – 81mm in 35mm equiv. in 16:9 video recording / O.I.S. On / Level Shot function Off)
Focal Length (30 – 90mm in 35mm equiv. in 16:9 video recording / O.I.S. On / Level Shot function On)
Focal Length (36 – 108mm in 35mm equiv. in 4K video recording)
Extra Optical Zoom (EZ) 4.2x (3:2 / 10M (M)), 6x (3:2 / 5M (S))
Intelligent Zoom 6x
Lens LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMILUX
Lens 11 elements in 9 groups
Lens (4 aspherical lenses (dual-sided aspherical surfaces) / 2 aspherical ED lenses (dual-sided aspherical surfaces) / 1 UHR lens)
Optical Image Stabiliser 5-Axis HYBRID O.I.S. +*
Optical Image Stabiliser * 5-Axis compensation works in video recording except for 4K video or high-speed video recording.
Digital Zoom Max. 4x (When Digital Zoom is used simultaneously with Intelligent Zoom, you can only increase the zoom ratio up to 2x.)
Focus Focusing Area Normal: Wide 30 cm – infinity / Tele 30 cm – infinity
Focusing Area AF Macro / MF / Intelligent Auto / Motion Picture: Wide 3 cm – infinity / Tele 30 cm – infinity
AF Assist Lamp Yes (On / Off)
Focus AF / AF Macro / Macro Zoom * Each available with AFS (Single) / AFF (Flexible) / AFC (Continuous) / MF
Focus Quick AF, Continuous AF (during motion picture recording), Touch AF/AE Function, Touch Shutter, MF Assist, Touch MF Assist, AF+MF, Focus Peaking, One Shot AF (Set the Fn button in custom menu to AF-ON), Low Light AF, Starlight AF
Post Focus Yes
Focus Stacking Yes
AF Metering Face/Eye Detection / Tracking / 49-area / Custom Multi / 1-area / Pinpoint
AF Metering (Full area touch is available)
Shutter Shutter Speed [Still Image] Approx. 60 – 1/4,000 sec (Mechanical Shutter)
Shutter Speed [Still Image] Approx. 1 – 1/16,000 sec (Electronic Shutter)
Shutter Speed [Still Image] Time (Approx. 120 sec)
Shutter Speed [Motion Picture] Approx. 1/25 – 1/16,000 sec
Shutter Speed [Motion Picture] Approx. 1/2 – 1/16,000 sec (Creative Video M Mode / MF Mode)
Finder Viewfinder
Recording File File Format Still Image: JPEG (DCF/Exif2.3) / RAW, DPOF
File Format Motion Picture: AVCHD Progressive, AVCHD, MP4
Recording Modes Mode Dial Intelligent Auto, P, A, S, M, Creative Video, C (Custom), Panorama Shot, Scene Guide, Creative Control
Creative Control mode Expressive, Retro, Old Days, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Monochrome, Dynamic Monochrome, Rough Monochrome, Silky Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Toy Pop, Bleach Bypass, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, Fantasy, Star Filter, One Point Colour, Sunshine (22 filters)
Still Image Scene Guide Clear Portrait, Silky Skin, Backlit Softness, Clear in Backlight, Relaxing Tone, Sweet Child’s Face, Distinct Scenery, Bright Blue Sky, Romantic Sunset Glow, Vivid Sunset Glow, Glistening Water, Clear Nightscape, Cool Night Sky, Warm Glowing Nightscape, Artistic Nightscape, Glittering Illuminations, Handheld Night Shot, Clear Night Portrait, Soft Image of a Flower, Appetizing Food, Cute Dessert, Freeze Animal Motion, Clear Sports Shot, Monochrome
Continuous Shooting Mode (Approx.) [AFS] SH: 50 frames/sec*, H: 10 frames/sec, M: 6 frames/sec (with Live View), L: 2 frames/sec (with Live View) [AFC] H: 6 frames/sec, M: 6 frames/sec (with Live View), L: 2 frames/sec (with Live View) * Electronic shutter only.
4K Photo Mode (*2) 4K Burst: 30 frames/sec, max. 15 min
4K Photo Mode (*2) 4K Burst (S/S): 30 frames/sec, max. 15 min
4K Photo Mode (*2) 4K Pre-Burst: 30 frames/sec, approx. 2 sec
4K Photo Mode (*2) (Depending on memory card size and battery power)
4K Photo Mode (*2) Exif Information: Yes
4K Photo Mode (*2) Marking Function: Yes (in 4K Burst (S/S) mode)
Motion Picture Recording (*2) 4K Video 3840 x 2160 pixels, 30p (4K: 100Mbps / MP4) (Sensor Output is 30fps) (AAC)
4K Video 3840 x 2160 pixels, 25p (4K: 100Mbps / MP4) (Sensor Output is 25fps) (AAC)
4K Video 3840 x 2160 pixels, 24p (4K: 100Mbps / MP4) (Sensor Output is 24fps) (AAC)
HD Video 1920 x 1080 pixels, 50p (FHD: 28Mbps / AVCHD) (Sensor Output is 50fps) (Dolby)
HD Video 1920 x 1080 pixels, 24p (FHD: 24Mbps / AVCHD) (Sensor Output is 24fps) (Dolby)
HD Video 1920 x 1080 pixels, 50i (FHD: 24Mbps / AVCHD) (Sensor Output is 25fps) (Dolby)
HD Video 1920 x 1080 pixels, 50i (FHD: 17Mbps / AVCHD) (Sensor Output is 50fps) (Dolby)
HD Video 1920 x 1080 pixels, 60p (FHD: 28Mbps / MP4) (Sensor Output is 60fps) (AAC)
HD Video 1920 x 1080 pixels, 50p (FHD: 28Mbps / MP4) (Sensor Output is 50fps) (AAC)
HD Video 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30p (FHD: 20Mbps / MP4) (Sensor Output is 30fps) (AAC)
HD Video 1920 x 1080 pixels, 25p (FHD: 20Mbps / MP4) (Sensor Output is 25fps) (AAC)
HD Video 1280 x 720 pixels, 30p (HD: 10Mbps / MP4) (Sensor Output is 30fps) (AAC)
HD Video 1280 x 720 pixels, 25p (HD: 10Mbps / MP4) (Sensor Output is 25fps) (AAC)
High Speed Video 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30p (FHD: MP4) (Sensor Output is 120fps)
High Speed Video 1920 x 1080 pixels, 25p (FHD: MP4) (Sensor Output is 100fps)
Continuous Recordable Time (Motion Pictures) (*2) AVCHD FHD/50p: Approx. 70 min
AVCHD FHD/50i: Approx. 70 min
MP4 4K/30p, 4K/25p: Approx. 60 min
MP4 FHD/60p, FHD/50p: Approx. 70 min
Actual recordable Time (Motion Pictures) (*2) AVCHD FHD/50p: Approx. 35 min
AVCHD FHD/50i: Approx. 35 min
MP4 4K/30p, 4K/25p: Approx. 30 min
MP4 FHD/60p, FHD/50p: Approx. 35 min
Exposure Parameters Exposure Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual
Exposure Compensation 1/3 EV step, +/-5 EV (+/-3 EV for motion picture)
Light Metering Intelligent Multiple / Center Weighted / Spot
ISO Sensitivity Still Image: Auto / i.ISO / 80* / 100* / 125 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400 / 12800 / 25600*
ISO Sensitivity Motion Picture: Auto / 125 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400
ISO Sensitivity (Changeable to 1/3 EV step)
ISO Sensitivity * Extended ISO
Picture Quality Still Picture Recording [4:3] 4864×3648 (17.5M) (L) / 3456×2592 (9M) (M) / 2432×1824 (4.5M) (S)
Still Picture Recording [3:2] 5472×3648 (20M) (L) / 3888×2592 (10M) (M) / 2736×1824 (5M) (S)
Still Picture Recording [16:9] 5472×3080 (17M) (L) / 3840×2160 (8M) (M) / 1920×1080 (2M) (S)
Still Picture Recording [1:1] 3648×3648 (13.5M) (L) / 2592×2592 (6.5M) (M) / 1824×1824 (3.5M) (S)
Image Quality RAW / RAW+Fine / RAW+Standard / Fine / Standard
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / Flash / White Set1 / White Set2 / White Set3 / White Set4 / Colour Temperature
White Balance (2-axis adjustable)
Photo Style Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait, Custom
Picture Adjustment Contrast, Sharpness, Noise Reduction, Saturation*, Colour Tone**, Filter Effect**
Picture Adjustment * Except for Monochrome mode. ** For Monochrome mode only.
Bracket AE Bracket 3, 5, 7 images in 1/3, 2/3 or 1 EV step, Max. +/-3 EV
Aperture Bracket 3, 5 or all positions in 1 EV step
Focus Bracket 1 to 999 images, focus steps can be set in 5 levels
White Balance Bracket 3 exposures in blue/amber axis or in magenta/green axis
Other Digital Red Eye Correction (Red-Eye Removal) Yes (On / Off)
GPS
Wi-FI IEEE 802.11b/g/n
Wi-FI 2412 MHz – 2462 MHz (1-11 ch)
Wi-FI WPA / WPA2
Wi-FI Infrastructure Mode / WPS
NFC
Zoom in Motion Picture Yes
Self Timer 2 sec / 10 sec / 10 sec (3 images)
Self Shot Mode Yes
Playback Display Playback Mode All, Slideshow, Filtering Play (Picture Only, Video Only, 4K PHOTO, Post Focus, Category Selection, Favourite), Calendar
Thumbnails / Zoomed Playback 12,30-thumbnails / Yes
Set Favourites / Rotate Image Yes / Yes
Show Histogram/ Show Highlights Yes / Yes
DPOF Print Setting / Set Protection Yes / Yes
Edit Retouch Clear Retouch
RAW Processing Yes
Resize/ Cropping Yes / Yes
Title Edit / Text Stamp Yes / Yes
Video Divide Yes
PictBridge Support Single / Multi / All / DPOF / Favourites
Setup OSD language Japanese, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified)
Others Monitor LCD Monitor 3.0″ (7.5cm) TFT Screen LCD Display (1040k dots), Tiltable monitor
LCD Monitor Static Touch Control
LCD Monitor Field of View: Approx. 100%, Wide Viewing-angle, AF Coating
Flash Built- in- Flash Auto*, Auto/Red-eye Reduction*, Forced On, Forced On/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync., Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off * For iA, iA+ mode only.
Built- in- Flash 0.5 – 12.1m (Wide / ISO Auto), 0.3 – 6.0m (Tele / ISO Auto)
Media Recording Media SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card
Recording Media (Compatible with UHS-I UHS Speed Class 3 standard SDHC / SDXC Memory Cards)
Built- in- Memory
Audio Microphone / Speaker Stereo / Mono
Interface Interface microHDMI typeD (*3), USB2.0 Micro-B
Power Power Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 680mAh, 4.9 Wh) (Included)
Power USB Power Charging
Battery life (Approx.) 260 images (CIPA Standard) (*1)
Standard Package Included Software ・ The software to process RAW file on PC is not bundled with DMC-LX10. To do this, SILKYPIX Developer Studio is available for download at Ichikawa Soft Laboratory’s website using PC connected to the Internet.
Included Software ・ The DMC-LX10 Operating Instructions for advanced features is available for downloaded at Panasonic LUMIX Customer Support Site using PC, smartphone or tablet connected to the Internet.
Included Software ・ The software for PC is not bundled with DMC-LX10. Please use the software pre-installed to the PC or other general image viewing software to browse pictures.
Standard Accessories Battery Pack, AC Adaptor, USB Cable, Hand Strap

As reported on the Panasonic LX10 Australian website


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