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.
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.
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.
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?
If you have been following this blog you may have already read the difference between equivalent focal length and focal length.
I hope it all makes sense as it is time to introduce the equivalent aperture.
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
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.
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.
If your trip involves a visit to a zoo safari or you just love bird photography, than I would probably suggest the Panasonic TZ110.
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.
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)
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.
Other things about the LX10:
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.
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!!
|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))|
|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))|
|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|
|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)|
|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)|
|Wi-FI||2412 MHz – 2462 MHz (1-11 ch)|
|Wi-FI||WPA / WPA2|
|Wi-FI||Infrastructure Mode / WPS|
|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|
|Resize/ Cropping||Yes / Yes|
|Title Edit / Text Stamp||Yes / 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