RX100 vs LX7 on the streets of Philly

Started Aug 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Ray Sachs
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RX100 vs LX7 on the streets of Philly
Aug 25, 2012

I've had an RX100 for a few weeks now and had to try the LX7, given how much I loved the LX5 when I had it. So when I saw the LX7 was for sale, I grabbed one and did some shooting on the streets of Philly yesterday, figuring I'd keep one and sell/return the other.

I've seen enough testing of both raw and jpegs from both cameras to have an idea of what they can do now and what they'll be able to do once there's raw support for both and its not all that much different than the jpeg differences (except that the LX7 jpeg colors kind of stink, but I can work around that). So I got the LX7 on Thursday and hit the streets of Philly yesterday with both little compacts in hand and did a bunch of shooting. I've had enough time with the RX100 to learn it as well as I'm likely going to. And I had an LX5 for a good long while so I felt right at home with the LX7 pretty much right away.

And the tradeoffs are about what I expected. The LX7 is an absolute delight and joy to use - everything is in the right place, is easy to work, is intuitive, you never really have to think about how to do anything, you just naturally do it. Its better than the LX5 and the LX5 was the most fun compact I'd ever shot with before this. The RX100, which I've had plenty of time to adapt to now, is more or less a pain in the ass to use. I have to think way too much while I'm shooting with it. I get into an immediate groove with the LX7 where it just disappears. The Sony is always present and requires my attention while changing settings on the fly.

BUT....

The Sony just creates so much better files to work with its just not even funny. They're easier to work with in processing, they handle crops better, everything about them is more malleable and better. The LX7 is a joy to use but creates files that are a pain in the ass to work with. I'm sure the raws will be better, but that's true of the RX100 also. The RX100 is a pain in the ass to shoot with but creates files that are an absolute joy to work with. And you can use the RX100 in low light in ways you just can't even imagine using the LX7.

Ultimately, I can create my type of photographs with either. If I only shot in good light and only shot street stuff (where the IQ isn't all that critical), I'd probably choose to keep the LX7. But I can get shots with the RX100 I can't get with the LX7, I miss shots with the LX7 I don't miss with the RX100, and I can't get any shots with the LX7 that I can't also get with the RX100 (except for 24mm wide angle shots). I could take just the RX100 for light travel and be confident I could shoot with it in any situation - I wouldn't be comfortable enough with the LX7 in low light to do the same. So, the LX7 is going back to Amazon on Monday. The RX100 is staying around until someone comes up with a compact camera as capable as the RX100 and as much fun to shoot with as the LX7. It'll happen sooner than later, I'd imagine. But I think it'll take one more year/generation of small camera development. That's my guess - I could be wrong. I sort of hope I am, but I'm fine with the RX100 until it does.

RX100

A low light shot from the train - the LX7 would have had trouble with this one:

A couple of low light shots that the RX100 handled quite well that the LX7 had a lot of trouble with:

LX7

The one passable low light shot I managed with the LX7 - took a lot of work to get it to a useable state and still pretty rough...

No problems in good light, though:

-Ray
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/20889767@N05/collections/72157626204295198/

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Sony RX100
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