Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2: test and review

Even though Canon has decided to withdraw the RAW format on a compact model for enthusiasts (the PowerShot G7), Panasonic specifically chooses to add this functionality to rival the G range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 also uses a CCD sensor of 10 megapixels, as the G7. A major difference Implementation should however be noted: the LX2’s sensor offers a height / width native 16/9 against 4/3 for the G7. To compose photographs 4/3 or 3/2, the LX2 simply uses the relevant portion of the sensor. He can produce 16/9 shots higher resolution than those that would take a standard 10-megapixel sensor. (It would take a 4/3 sensor of 13 megapixels to produce 16/9 shots of 10 megapixel.) Conversely, resolution 4/3 shots LX2 is limited to 7 megapixels.

All this raises a question: what is the point to move to 10 megapixels? This is extremely small pixels that result in a pronounced noise. Panasonic noise suppression algorithms are rather effective at high ISO (400 to ISO 1600), but with low settings such as ISO 100, images are unusual noise. Fortunately, they stand out better in print than on screen, even if you have an interest in avoiding significant trims.

In other respects, the LX2 pictures are pretty decent, with a white balance, exposure, dynamic range and excellent color saturation. Rare optical artifacts are visible, essentially a fringe effect, and although the aim 28-112 mm (equivalent of a 35mm camera) 4x zoom produces a slight distortion in its wide-angle end, it is relatively symmetric and little embarrassing. However, the videos are not up to par. They are full of compression artifacts and it is impossible to zoom while filming.

The performance of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 does not make you certainly enrage, but the device really is less reactive than the G7. He always took a split second too when we photographed animals and children. In ordinary light conditions, the shutter lag of 0.7 second is just a little too long, but in the dark, it is quite satisfying to 1.1 second. The time between each shot is 2.2 seconds in optimal conditions, and the charging time of the flash increases slightly (only 0.5 seconds).

When shooting in RAW format, the time between each shot is relatively long, to 5.1 seconds. Finally, even if the speed burst shooting of the LX2 is suitable (between 1.3 and 1.5 frames per second), the unit may only take a few shots before stopping.

At least the device interface does not slow you down much. We would have preferred that some settings are accessible via an external command, rather than the menus, including white balance, ISO sensitivity, measurement and the AF mode. Nevertheless, it is possible to access most shooting options using all well arranged buttons, dials and switches. However, you must flip the manual, otherwise some options could escape. For example, you have five AF modes: 9-point, 3 point high-speed, high speed 1 point 1 point and spot. It is quite difficult to identify by the icons if you do not know they are available. However, with the LCD screen bright and spacious 16/9 7.1 cm, they are relatively readable, but can be as satisfying as the screen, we regret the lack of optical viewfinder.

With 215 g, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 is not light in her and durable metal construction. That said, if you are looking for a compact camera with advanced features, this model is an interesting choice.