The LX7 is miles ahead of LX5, XZ-2, etc

Started Dec 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
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LucaPCP
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The LX7 is miles ahead of LX5, XZ-2, etc
Dec 10, 2012

I have long been in the quest of a small camera, that can fit in my coat pocket when skiing or in a small belt pouch while hiking, and that gives me excellent quality photos.

So I have gone through the whole series of cameras, and each one had some problem for me:

  • LX3: Wonderfully sharp, but pretty bad JPG colors.  Even in RAW I had difficulties finding a good profile for Adobe Lightroom.
  • LX5: Less sharp than LX3, a very tiny bit fuzzy at infinity for landscape use, better colors, occasionally some funny artifacts on the right (electronic noise from sensor? Never understood).  So-so JPG colors during the day, needed to use RAW, which led to decent results.
  • XZ-1: Wonderfully sharp in the center, decent on the corners.  Great colors during the day, but prone to severe under-exposure under incandescent light (had to dial in +0.7 or +1 all the time). JPGS are blurred, total lack of customization options, terrible movie mode that goes in and out of focus all the time.
  • XZ-2: Great colors, great lens contrast, great customization.  Does nearly everything just right. But, lens blurry in the edges of frame even at f/4 when subject is at infinity.  Bulkier than I like, due to the tiltable LCD screen which is a feature I don't really need. 
And now the LX-7.  With a slight tinkering with the AWB color balance (less green, more red and magenta) the colors are perfect.  The lens is super-sharp, never seen anything like that, even better per-pixel sharpness than my Olympus E-5.  I can clearly see sharply delineated features (lines, far away branches) that are exactly 1 px wide, and yet are perfectly sharp and well delineated! The per-pixel contrast is also astonishingly high.  It may be "only" 10 MP, but those are 10 sharp MP.   And the sensor is very good: it has a bit of noise at high ISO, but it is very "pleasant" noise (very well done in-camera noise reduction; I keep it on -1 NR setting typically), there is little chroma noise, and the luma noise is similar to the grain pattern of film.  I have no problems using it up to ISO 1600, and ISO 800 indoors yields very good results. 
It has been various years, but I finally have a camera that I feel is without blemish, a true gem! 
I have to note that the first LX-7 I ordered had a slightly decentered lens, so that the left hand side of images was blurrier than the right hand side.  I returned it for an exchange, and my new LX-7 is perfect.  So there is some sample variation. 
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Luca

 LucaPCP's gear list:LucaPCP's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Olympus XZ-2 iHS Olympus E-5
Olympus E-5 Olympus XZ-1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
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