Panasonic has today announced the world's first wide angle compact camera with a 16:9 ratio CCD. The fully manual Lumix DMC-LX1 offers a 8.6 megapixel 1 /1.65" CCD and is the first camera in the LUMIX 16:9 wide LX series. The aspect ratio is easily selectable between 3:2 and the conventional 4:3 by using a slider switch located on the lens barrel. As with all Panasonic cameras, the LX1 features two-mode MEGA OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) for its 4x optical Leica DC zoom lens. It also boasts a 28 - 112 mm focal length, Venus Engine II, five AF modes and a 16:9 wide VGA movie mode at 30 fps.

Update: We have a gallery of sample images from a pre-production camera online now.

Jump to:

Press Release:

8.4-Megapixel World’s First 16:9 CCD* with 28 mm Wide Angle** LEICA DC Lens Full Manual Compact DMC-LX1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1

*As a CCD of digital still camera, as of July 7, 2005 **28 mm in 16:9 aspect ratio

Panasonic is launching a new LUMIX 16:9 wide LX series with the introduction of the DMC-LX1, 8.4-Megapixel 4x optical zoom (equivalent to 28 mm to 112 mm on a 35mm film camera) full manual compact camera. This creative compact incorporates a 8.4-Megapixel CCD and a high resolution 2.5-inch LCD in its undersized body. The aspect ratio is easily selectable between 16:9 wide, 3:2 and conventional 4:3 with a switch located on the lens barrel to shoot in the framing aspect that best suits the subjects’ composition or image’s purpose of use.

The lens unit is comprised of 4x optical zoom LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT Lens and renders superb picture quality. Like other LUMIX cameras, what distinguishes the DMC-LX1 from the rest is MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), a key feature Panasonic considers should be standard in all digital still cameras. Unintentional handshake, the major cause of digital camera mis-shooting, is controlled by MEGA O.I.S. to allow every user to take clear, beautiful images even indoors or at nighttime. The newly incorporated Extra Optical Zoom extends the zoom ratio by using the center part of the high resolution CCD to achieve 5x for 5.5-Megapixel 16:9 image recording with minimal deterioration.

Extensive manual controls including manual focus and manual exposure can be smoothly operated with a joystick incorporated along with an omni directional cursor. Just pressing and holding the joystick shortcuts to a setting menu containing the frequently used white balance adjustment, ISO setting, image size setting and compression format.

Taking advantage of these outstanding features, the LX1 incorporates the high speed, high quality image processing LSI, the Venus Engine II. It boasts quick responsiveness that realizes the best-in-class level release time lag of 0.01 sec. For the AF, five AF modes are available; 9-point, 3-point high speed, 1-point high speed, 1-point normal speed and spot. The 1-point high speed AF boasts predominantly fast AF for stress-free focusing.

In addition, the DMC-LX1 is the first digital still camera that can record moving images at 848 x 480 16:9 Wide VGA, as smooth as 30 fps.

With a volley of features providing both enhanced image quality and responsiveness, the DMC-LX1 is an advanced compact offering elaborate manual controllability while being accommodating to entry-level users through a variety of scene modes and auto setting functions. Panasonic dares to introduce this artistic instrument suited to users at all levels who enjoy creative shooting.

1. 8.4-Megapixel 16:9 aspect CCD and 28mm wide 4x optical zoom LEICA DC Lens

The DMC-LX1 features the 8.4-Megapixel Industry’s first* 16:9 aspect CCD and 4x optical zoom 28mm wide angle** (equivalent to 28 mm to 112 mm on a 35 mm film camera) LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens. Incorporating three aspherical lenses provides high optical performance while preserving the compactness of the unit. The aspect ratio can be easily selected between 16:9 or 3:2 in addition to the conventional 4:3 with a switch on the lens barrel on a shot-by-shot-basis to best suit the composition of the image. Even after shooting, the 16:9 ratio can be converted to 3:2 or 4:3 with the camera according to your purpose of use.
The extra optical zoom, made possible by using the center part of 8.4-megapixel high resolution CCD, further extends the zoom ratio to 5x for 5.5-Megapixel image recording in 16:9 aspect with minimal deterioration.

* As a CCD of digital still camera, as of July 7, 2005.
** In 16:9 aspect ratio.

2. Image stabilizing technology MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer) and high speed high quality image processing LSI Venus Engine II
MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer), that Panasonic thinks it indispensable for all digital cameras, especially for compact models that lacks stability, is subsumed under LUMIX all line-up released in this year. Every slight hand-shake movement is detected accurately with the sampling frequency at 4,000 times per second and will be compensated to render clear, sharp images.
MEGA O.I.S. is equipped with 2 selectable modes. In “Mode 1”, the O.I.S. lens continuously compensates for vibration and in “Mode 2”, the O.I.S. lens suppresses hand-shake only at the moment the shutter button is pressed. In this mode, the lens can move in all directions at the moment to maximize its effect, and higher-resolution image can be taken by capturing the image as close as to the center of the lens. In consequence, since MEGA O.I.S. enables a beautiful picture shot without blurring at slower shutter speeds of more than three steps compared to the conventional models without O.I.S., you can enjoy shooting clear and beautiful pictures easily even in the situations using slow shutter speeds, like indoor shots for portraits and nighttime scenery for illuminated object, as well as in shootings using zoom or macro mode.

For the brain of the camera, high-speed high-quality image processing LSI Venus Engine II is incorporated to render clear images in detail, compensating for the color aberration at the edges subject to occur. It also compensates for vignetting and generates bright image in every detail. This engine boasts its high performance resulting in the industry leading level in class release time lag of 0.01 sec for achieving more stress-free operation.
*Not including the time for AF.

3. Joystick-operated intuitive manual control
The DMC-LX1 offers manual focus and manual exposure, and both are adjustable with a joystick independent of an omni directional cursor. A switch on the side of the lens barrel lets you quickly change the focus mode between MF, AF or Macro AF. When you focus in the Manual Focus mode, not only the focus distance but also the DOF (depth of field) according to the zoom range and aperture is displayed. An MF assist function enlarges the center of the image to make focusing easier. Both features contribute to easy and comfortable manual focus.

A joystick was incorporated to facilitate operational ease and thereby get the best technical advantage of the multitude of functions offered by the camera. You can quickly shortcut to frequently used variables containing white balance adjustment, ISO setting, image size setting and compression format just by pressing and holding down the joystick, even while monitoring a subject on the LCD.

Shutter speed extends up to 60 sec at slowest in Manual Exposure mode and adjustable from 1/2000 to 60 sec for wider ranging shooting opportunities. Noise reduction is available for images taken at slow shutter speed.

The AF/AE lock button supports free framing while keeping the focus locked or fixes the same exposure setting regardless of the color of a subject for taking multiple shots.

4. Crystal-clear, large 2.5” LCD monitor
The 2.5” large LCD is excellent not only in size but also in the resolution, which is as high as 207 k pixels. The advantage is apparent when you check the focus during or after shooting, or when you display images even in tiny thumbnail size, across which you can move an omni-directional cursor to select. They can be played back in 9, 16 and 25 on multi-split screen in addition to the normal 1 frame playback thanks to the large high resolution LCD. This helps you to search for the image you want out of a number stored on the SD Memory Card, even if the images are in bulk. Furthermore, you can virtually checkmark your favorite images and keep them selected apart from the others to make a special slideshow with them only, or make concurrent deletion of the non-checkmarked ones if you do not need them anymore. Thanks to this feature, the LX1 can serve not just as a tool of shooting images but also as a digital album, to enjoy the seeing and showing of your favorite pictures.

To offer a clear view even in sunny outdoor conditions, the Power LCD function increases brightness by 140% just by pressing an independent button.

5. Excellent responsiveness, smart control and quick AF
The DMC-LX1 incorporates high performance image processing LSI the Venus Engine II in both speed and image quality. Thanks to the multi-task image processing, response has also been accelerated, resulting in the best-in-class level release time lag of 0.01 sec achieving more stress-free operation. For the burst shooting mode, it also boasts high consecutive shooting performance, providing shooting at 3 frames/second at 8.4-Megapixel full resolution. This function can be instantly activated with the independent button*. Unlimited Consecutive Shooting function** allows limit-free consecutive shooting up to the capacity of the SD memory card.
An AF method can be selected according to the shooting situation: 9-point, 3-point high-speed, 1-point high-speed, 1-point normal-speed and Spot. The 1 point high-speed AF, initially incorporated in the high zoom line DMC-FZ5, dramatically reduces the AF time to realize stress-free operation. Although screen-freeze in high-speed AF is now minimized, if you take the picture of subject with fast movement, you can select 1 point normal-speed AF which does not have any screen-freeze while focusing.

* The button also performs as “DELETE” in playback mode.
** The speed of the unlimited consecutive shooting varies depending on the SD Memory Card.

6. Industry’s first 16:9 aspect Wide VGA moving image recording*
In addition to the conventional 4:3 VGA moving image recording, the LX1 can record moving images even in the 848 x 480 16:9 Wide VGA format at 30 fps, making the most of the industry’s first 16:9 CCD. Shooting is one thing but viewing is another, and you will be suitably impressed by the 16:9 moving image when it is displayed on a wide screen TV.
* As a digital still camera, as of July 7, 2005.

7. Easier and more comfortable operation
Along with the joy stick and omni-directional cursor, a dial-operated mode shift also improves the camera’s controllability. The mode dial allows quick, direct switching between various shooting modes, moving picture mode and playback mode. In addition to the conventional ProgramAE, the LX1 is equipped with Auto mode, which caters for the entry level users. A total of 14 scene modes including Baby, Soft Skin, Food, Starry Sky and Candle helps you to take beautiful images easily in wide-ranging situations. Still it is easy to select the one out of them thanks to the Scene Mode Help Screen that shows the description of each mode and the knack for shooting of each scene and helps users to take beautiful image easily.

The LUMIX DMC-LX1 is like no other compact camera, enabling both high-end amateurs and entry-level users to explore the creativeness that surely enhances the joy of shooting.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 specifications

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1

Sensor

• 1/1.65" Type CCD
• 8.6 million pixels total
• 8.4 million effective pixels

Image sizes

16:9 Aspect Ratio
• 3840 x 2160
• 3072 x 1728
• 1920 x 1080

3:2 Aspect Ratio
• 3248 x 2160
• 2560 x 1712
• 2048 x 1360

4:3 Aspect Ratio
• 2880 x 2160
• 2304 x 1728
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 1280 x 960

Movie clips

• 848 x 480 (16:9 Aspect Ratio)
• 640 x 480 (4:3 Aspect Ratio)
• 320 x 240 (4:3 Aspect Ratio)
• 30 fps/10 fps
• Limited only by capacity of the memory card
• With sound

File formats

• Still: RAW, TIFF, JPEG
• Movie: QuickTime Motion JPEG

Lens • 28 - 112mm (35 mm equiv) 4x optical zoom
• 5 x "Extra optical zoom" for smaller sizes (3:2 aspect ratio: 5.1x for 4.5Mega, 2.5Mega)
• F 2.8 - F 8.0 (W) F 4.9 - F 8.0 (T)
Image stabilization MEGA OIS Mode 1 and 2
Digital zoom Up to 4x
Focus Autofocus
AF area modes • 1-point
• 1-point high speed
• 3 points high speed
• 9 points
• Spot
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance • Normal: Wide 50cm / Tele 120cm - infinity
• Macro: Wide 5cm/Tele 30cm - infinity
Metering • Intelligent multiple
• Center-weighted
• Spot
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
Exposure compensation • +/- 2 EV
• 1/3 EV steps
Shutter speed • Auto : 1/4 - 1/2000 sec
• Program AE : 1 - 1/2000 sec
• Aperture Priority AE / Shutter Priority AE : 8 - 1/2000 sec
• Manual : 60 - 1/2000 sec
Aperture F 2.8 - F 8.0 (W) F 4.9 - F 8.0 (T)
Modes • Program AE
• Shutter priority
• Aperture priority
• Manual
Scene modes • Portrait
• Sports
• Night Scenery
• Night Portrait
• Fireworks
• Party
• Snow
• Self-Portrait
• Food
• Baby
• Soft Skin
• Candle
• Starry Sky
• Scenery
White balance

• Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Halogen
• White Set 1 and 2

White balance fine tune 150K step, -1500 - +1500K except for auto WB
Self timer 2 and 10 sec self timer
Continuous shooting 3fps or 2fps max 9 images (standard) 5 images (fine)
Image parameters • Fine, standard, cool, warm, black and white, sepia
• Contrast
• Saturation
• Sharpness
• Noise reduction
Flash • Built-in pop-up
• Modes: Auto, red-eye, slow sync, red-eye reduction, on, off
• Flash output Adjustment: 1/3EV step, -2 - +2 EV
• Range: Wide: 0.6 - 4.1m, Tele: 0.3 - 2.3m (ISO Auto)
Viewfinder None
Orientation sensor Yes
LCD monitor • 2.5" TFT LCD
• 207, 000 pixels
Connectivity • USB
• DC in
• AV out
Print compliance • PictBridge
• DPOF
Storage • SD/MMC card
• 32 MB card supplied
Power • Lithium ion battery
• Charger supplied
Weight

• 185 g (0.41 lb) without battery and card
• 220 (0.48 lb) with battery and card

Dimensions 106 x 56 x 26 mm (4.2 x 2.2 x 1 in)

Additional images

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1

Samples Gallery

There are 14 images in the samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.

Pre-production disclaimer: Note that all the images in the gallery below are from a pre-production Lumix DMC-LX1, there may be differences in image quality from these samples to that of the final production cameras.

Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution (16:9). A reduced size image (within 1024 x 1024 bounds) is provided to be more easily viewed in your browser. As always the original untouched image is available by clicking on this reduced image.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 Beta Samples Gallery - Posted 26 July 2005