LX7 ~ how is the camera for family shots

Started Apr 23, 2013 | Discussions
Gingertwist
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LX7 ~ how is the camera for family shots
Apr 23, 2013

I have been doing a lot of researching for a compact camera. I currently have a Nikon D7000 which I love. Sometimes I just don't feel like lugging everything with me so would like a compact camera I can throw in my purse. I am the main photographer when we gather with family and friends both at home and when travelling.

I am looking at the LX7 because I have seen incredible landscape and closeup pictures as well as black and white street photography but rarely any everyday people pictures. Can anyone tell me what the LX7 is like for people pictures? We don't have any small kids so not really looking for anything to capture sporting events mainly just candid pictures at the lake or sitting at the dinner table but still able to take great travel shots.

Thank you in advance.

Nikon D7000 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
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morepix
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Re: LX7 ~ how is the camera for family shots
In reply to Gingertwist, Apr 23, 2013

IMO, being "good for people pictures" is a property of the photographer, not of a D800 or an LX7 or an iPhone. Is there something more specific you have in mind about your requirements besides being able to toss it in your purse?

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David
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Gingertwist
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Re: LX7 ~ how is the camera for family shots
In reply to morepix, Apr 23, 2013

For example, I am looking for a smaller camera I could take to a restaurant or family gathering rather than bring my DSLR. I also like to travel and the LX7 looks great for that.

Some of the pictures I have seen of people don't quite look in focus. It looks like the camera was focusing more on the back ground. Does the LX7 let you manually focus anywhere? Like if I wanted to focus on the eyes or the left side of the screen rather than the middle etc, can you move the focus point around?

thank you

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elemenoP
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Re: LX7 ~ how is the camera for family shots
In reply to Gingertwist, Apr 23, 2013

Gingertwist wrote:

For example, I am looking for a smaller camera I could take to a restaurant or family gathering rather than bring my DSLR. I also like to travel and the LX7 looks great for that.

Some of the pictures I have seen of people don't quite look in focus. It looks like the camera was focusing more on the back ground. Does the LX7 let you manually focus anywhere? Like if I wanted to focus on the eyes or the left side of the screen rather than the middle etc, can you move the focus point around?

thank you

Can you show an example of what you mean? Because I find I get "too much" in focus. With a small camera it's much harder to get those nice people pictures where the people are in focus and the background is nicely blurred. On the other hand, that same problem of physics/more DOF makes is easier to get what you want in focus, since more of your shot is in focus!

As for focusing where you want, I have been using the typical half-press shutter and reframe of all P&S cameras. But I have recently learned that it IS possible to manually move the single-point focus frame to wherever you want it. I haven't tried it yet, it seems rather slow to me. But maybe other people have tried it and can weigh in.

As for indoor shots with no flash, it's good and bad. The LX7 actually has a much wider lens than a DSLR with typical kit lens, so you can get some very good low-light pictures that way. But if you open up all the way and there is still not enough light to get low ISO, it is a lot more challenging to shoot at ISO400-1600 with the LX7 than with a DSLR. That's not to say that you'll never get a great shot at those ISOs, it's just harder. (at least, I find it harder.)

I am enjoying my LX7 for family shots, unfortunately I don't post pictures of my family here so you'll have to take my word for it!

eP

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morepix
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Maybe this is more than you wanted to know
In reply to Gingertwist, Apr 23, 2013

Gingertwist wrote:

Some of the pictures I have seen of people don't quite look in focus. It looks like the camera was focusing more on the back ground. Does the LX7 let you manually focus anywhere? Like if I wanted to focus on the eyes or the left side of the screen rather than the middle etc, can you move the focus point around?

Good, that helps. Manual focus is a bit of a problem for a lot of compact cameras. There's nothing like a focusing ring right on the lens barrel to facilitate manual focus. I use my LX7 quite a bit for people pictures, and in indoor lighting the fast lens is a real help. But unless the subjects are really mellowed out (i.e., not moving much), I don't mess with manual focus because on the LX7 it's manipulated by a little lever that's kind of squirrely. It's helped by a magnifier that appears in the EVF, but because it's so easy to overshoot with lever control, it can be hit or miss.

That said, the LX7's autofocus is quite quick, and you can control a single focus area to be quite a small portion (or larger portion, if you wish) of the view frame. And if that's not enough, face detection works a lot better than I would have expected.

My indoor shots of people often draw me to my FZ200 instead of the LX7 because of the reach and because I like head-and-shoulder shots. The longer lens gets me there. Both these cameras have relatively fast lenses (esp., the LX7, of course), but they're llimited in usable ISO. Fortunately, the place where I do a lot of my shooting is sufficiently bright that I can get away with no higher than ISO 400. The problem for me is, I like to be able to see eyelashes and flyaway hair clearly, and over ISO 400, this tends to get lost in noise (or noise cleanup) with either the LX7 or the FZ200.

As eP wrote, the focus problem with the LX7 often tends to be too much focus than too little, because of the small sensor. It's a world different from even your D7000, pretty much whatever lens you hang on it.

Are there better compact cameras from the point of view of low light capability and focus on faces? I really don't know. I'll be watching in case you find one. Good luck.

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David
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tedandtricia
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Re: LX7 ~ how is the camera for family shots
In reply to elemenoP, Apr 23, 2013

elemenoP wrote:

Gingertwist wrote:

For example, I am looking for a smaller camera I could take to a restaurant or family gathering rather than bring my DSLR. I also like to travel and the LX7 looks great for that.

Some of the pictures I have seen of people don't quite look in focus. It looks like the camera was focusing more on the back ground. Does the LX7 let you manually focus anywhere? Like if I wanted to focus on the eyes or the left side of the screen rather than the middle etc, can you move the focus point around?

thank you

Can you show an example of what you mean? Because I find I get "too much" in focus. With a small camera it's much harder to get those nice people pictures where the people are in focus and the background is nicely blurred. On the other hand, that same problem of physics/more DOF makes is easier to get what you want in focus, since more of your shot is in focus!

As for focusing where you want, I have been using the typical half-press shutter and reframe of all P&S cameras. But I have recently learned that it IS possible to manually move the single-point focus frame to wherever you want it. I haven't tried it yet, it seems rather slow to me. But maybe other people have tried it and can weigh in.

As for indoor shots with no flash, it's good and bad. The LX7 actually has a much wider lens than a DSLR with typical kit lens, so you can get some very good low-light pictures that way. But if you open up all the way and there is still not enough light to get low ISO, it is a lot more challenging to shoot at ISO400-1600 with the LX7 than with a DSLR. That's not to say that you'll never get a great shot at those ISOs, it's just harder. (at least, I find it harder.)

I am enjoying my LX7 for family shots, unfortunately I don't post pictures of my family here so you'll have to take my word for it!

eP

My Fn button is custom set to AF mode. This speeds up moving the AF point on the LX7. Within a few button clicks, you are repositioning your AF point. You can adjust the size of the AF box (I use the smallest).

I have the LX7 and D7000, I bought the LX7 last fall and the D7000 in maybe Feb/Mar. It's hard to pinpoint why the results vary, since there are so many factors, but I'd say PDAF vs CDAF makes a big difference if you have young kids. If you don't have young kids, DOF on the LX7 should make things easier. Lens quality on the Nikon also makes a difference. In my limited experience, I am quite happy with LX7 portraits as long as the subject is stationary and light is sufficient.

Getting the eyes nice and sharp is relatively doable on the LX7 when your subject is stationary. This photo is unedited SOOC. Indoors, be prepared to adjust WB in PP (or custom WB before shooting), and make sure you have enough light to keep ISO low.

I just picked up an 85 mm 1.4D for my D7000, so part of it is still learning the equipment, but I am working harder to get sharp shots on my kids, even with PDAF for moving subjects. I suspect it's just harder due to thin DOF.

The LX7 is a nice package that's portable. Sharp f/1.4 lens, landscapes, portraits, ND filter, macro, advanced video, there's a lot built into the LX7 that really costs a pretty penny to replicate on the likes of a D7000.

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Gingertwist
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Re: LX7 ~ how is the camera for family shots
In reply to tedandtricia, Apr 23, 2013

Thank you all for your quick response. The LX7 intrigued me because of all the excellent pictures I have seen.

One other factor is that I have enough airmile rewards to get the camera free. The other choices I have are the Nikon Coolpix S9400, Fuji XF1, Canon G15, Nikon 1 with lens kit, Canon S110, Olympus PEN E-PM2 and sony Cyber-shot WX300.

I am off to Las Vegas with friends in three weeks so there are all kinds of different pictures to take in differant lighting situations.

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Gingertwist
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Re: LX7 ~ how is the camera for family shots
In reply to Gingertwist, Apr 23, 2013

Thanks all, I ordered the LX7

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Ronomy
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Re: LX7 ~ how is the camera for family shots
In reply to Gingertwist, Apr 23, 2013

Thanks all, I ordered the LX7

I just used my LX7 for an indoor wedding shower party this past weekend. I shot jpg&raw but didn't need to use any of the RAW files. The jpgs came out great. Most were ISO 400. I used standard photo style in program mode. Ires on high, -1 sharpness and +1 contrast. The rest of the settings were on defaults. Both the stills and video are sharp and clean! The only post processing might be color and only on a few from 50 images. Color balance was nearly perfect in all images. I used face detection focusing and it worked great! I love this little camera! I settled on the above settings testing the camera indoors at my house so that I was ready for the shower. The images are very clean with only a tiny bit of grain even at ISO 400 and with that F1.4 lens you rarely need to go higher. I had on image that used ISO 800 and it was at home in room that had light coming in from outside at dusk about 10 minutes before dark. It was very dark in the room. The jpg had a lot of color noise but taking the RAW file and silkypix 5.0 pro I was able to get a very nice looking image. I reaction was WOW! Never expected that shot to be any good when I snapped it.

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elemenoP
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Re: LX7 ~ how is the camera for family shots
In reply to Gingertwist, Apr 23, 2013

Enjoy! It's a fun camera!

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elemenoP
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FN button
In reply to tedandtricia, Apr 23, 2013

>>My Fn button is custom set to AF mode. This speeds up moving the AF point on the LX7. Within a few button clicks, you are repositioning your AF point. You can adjust the size of the AF box (I use the smallest).<<

Good tip, I will try it out. Thanks.

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tedandtricia
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Re: LX7 ~ how is the camera for family shots
In reply to Gingertwist, Apr 23, 2013

Gingertwist wrote:

Thanks all, I ordered the LX7

Glad to hear! By the way, great idea on using points for camera equipment. Was that a special program or just an airline miles program? I wonder how many miles something like the LX7 or D7000 would run.

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Gingertwist
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Re: LX7 ~ how is the camera for family shots
In reply to tedandtricia, Apr 23, 2013

tedandtricia wrote:

Gingertwist wrote:

Thanks all, I ordered the LX7

Glad to hear! By the way, great idea on using points for camera equipment. Was that a special program or just an airline miles program? I wonder how many miles something like the LX7 or D7000 would run.

I live in Canada and its an airmiles collector card that you can use for trips or merchandise. You can collect points from a bunch of places. It's usually 1 point per $20 but sometimes places like Safeway have 100 to 200 bonus points or 3 to 5 x the bonus points etc. We just accumulate them till we want something. I cashed in 4800 points for the LX7. The choices are limited, they don't have the Nikon D7000. Now I just have to wait 2 to 4 weeks for delivery, that is the only downside.

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tedandtricia
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Re: LX7 ~ how is the camera for family shots
In reply to Gingertwist, Apr 23, 2013

Gingertwist wrote:

tedandtricia wrote:

Gingertwist wrote:

Thanks all, I ordered the LX7

Glad to hear! By the way, great idea on using points for camera equipment. Was that a special program or just an airline miles program? I wonder how many miles something like the LX7 or D7000 would run.

I live in Canada and its an airmiles collector card that you can use for trips or merchandise. You can collect points from a bunch of places. It's usually 1 point per $20 but sometimes places like Safeway have 100 to 200 bonus points or 3 to 5 x the bonus points etc. We just accumulate them till we want something. I cashed in 4800 points for the LX7. The choices are limited, they don't have the Nikon D7000. Now I just have to wait 2 to 4 weeks for delivery, that is the only downside.

Interesting. I checked United Airlines Mileage Plus. They have some older DSLRs like the D5100 or Sony A35, EPL-3 in m4/3, lots of Canon P&S and older DSLRs, but they actually have the RX100 too which is a current camera. For 80K miles. No LX7 though.

 tedandtricia's gear list:tedandtricia's gear list
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Gingertwist
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Re: LX7 ~ how is the camera for family shots
In reply to tedandtricia, Apr 24, 2013

tedandtricia wrote:

Gingertwist wrote:

tedandtricia wrote:

Gingertwist wrote:

Thanks all, I ordered the LX7

Glad to hear! By the way, great idea on using points for camera equipment. Was that a special program or just an airline miles program? I wonder how many miles something like the LX7 or D7000 would run.

I live in Canada and its an airmiles collector card that you can use for trips or merchandise. You can collect points from a bunch of places. It's usually 1 point per $20 but sometimes places like Safeway have 100 to 200 bonus points or 3 to 5 x the bonus points etc. We just accumulate them till we want something. I cashed in 4800 points for the LX7. The choices are limited, they don't have the Nikon D7000. Now I just have to wait 2 to 4 weeks for delivery, that is the only downside.

Interesting. I checked United Airlines Mileage Plus. They have some older DSLRs like the D5100 or Sony A35, EPL-3 in m4/3, lots of Canon P&S and older DSLRs, but they actually have the RX100 too which is a current camera. For 80K miles. No LX7 though.

I was wrong, just checked there is a separate category for DSLR's and they do have the Nikon D7000 for 13000 points.

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Fat Dragon
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Re: LX7 ~ how is the camera for family shots
In reply to Gingertwist, Apr 24, 2013

People post holiday shots, landscapes, street photography, and other photography made for artistic reasons.

People rarely post family shots because they're of less interest to the world at large, and many might feel that they're violating their family's privacy or safety by posting shots online.

Naturally, those rules apply to photography sites much more than social networking sites, but most Facebook profiles won't give you exif data on their shots, so you can't see what they used to take the shot (hint: it's probably a smartphone).

I get great shots of fast-moving kindergarten kids with my LX7. When they're not moving as much, my shots aren't as good because I'm not a very good photographer so I make a stationary subject look boring. The camera is capable of great people shots, static or active. The photographer in my case, not so much.

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