Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 Review
Announced alongside the FZ30 in July, the Lumix LX1 is the world's first compact camera with a 'widescreen' 16:9 ratio CCD sensor, combined with a 28-112mm (equiv.) wideangle 4x Leica-branded zoom lens. As with all Panasonic cameras, the LX1 features a two-mode MEGA OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) system, plus a wealth of real 'photographic' features, including fully manual exposure and focus options. Obviously designed to appeal to serious photographers, the LX1 also features more external controls than any previous Lumix compact, has both raw and TIFF capture modes and a high quality all-metal, traditionally-styled body. Here's just a few of the headline features to whet your appetite:
- 8.4 Megapixel 16:9 aspect CCD
- 28mm wide 4x optical LEICA DC lens
- MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer)
- Venus Engine II
- Joystick-operated manual control
- Large 2.5” LCD monitor (207k pixels)
- Industry’s first 16:9 aspect Wide VGA moving image recording
- Raw, TIFF and JPEG recording modes
- Manual exposure and focus options
- 1/2000th to 60 sec shutter speeds
- Available in black or silver
16:9 CCD: what it means
|The image on the left shows the result of shooting the same scene at the same zoom setting using the LX1's three aspect ratio options. Unlike most 'widescreen' modes the LX1's unique sensor means you actually get a wider field of view at 16:9, with 4:3 and 3:2 being cropped at the sides.|
Virtually all compact cameras use sensors with a 4:3 aspect ratio (giving a picture shape similar to a standard television). The LX1 has a sensor that is roughly the same height as a standard 6 megapixel CCD, but is considerably wider, giving the option of 16:9 shooting (16:9 is the shape of a widescreen television), and increasing the total number of pixels to just over 8 million. This is the first time a consumer stills camera has been equipped with such a wide sensor (although 16:9 modes are not unusual on stills cameras, they are achieved by cropping some of the top and bottom off the picture).
Because we don't always want a 'panoramic' shot the LX1 has an ASPECT switch on the top of the lens barrel that lets you swap between three different picture shapes; 16:9 (widescreen), 3:2 (same as most print papers) and 4:3 (same as most compact cameras and computer screens).
16:9 uses the entire CCD, whereas the 3:2 mode lops half a million pixels off each side and 4:3 crops out a million pixels from each side. As well as reducing the number of pixels in the final image, changing the aspect ratio also increases the equivalent focal length, so the 28-112mm lens in 16:9 mode becomes a 34-136mm lens when you switch to 4:3 mode.
Panasonic DMC-LX1 Key specifications
|Street price|| US: $570
|Sensor|| 1/1.65" CCD, 8.61 million total pixels (16:9 aspect ratio)
8.4 million effective pixels
• 3840 x 2160 (16:9)
|Movie clips||• 640 x 480 (10 / 30 fps)
• 320 x 240 (10 / 30 fps)
• 848 x 480 (10 / 30 fps) (16:9)
• Quicktime (.mov) M-JPEG with audio
• Limited only by storage
• 28 - 112 mm equiv. (4x zoom)
• Normal: 0.5 m - Infinity (wide), 1.2 m - Infinity (tele)
|Shutter Speeds|| • 1/4 - 1/2000 sec.: Auto
• 1 - 1/2000 sec.: Program AE
• 8 - 1/2000 sec.: Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE
• 60 - 1/2000 sec.: Manual
|Apertures|| • Wide: F2.8 - F8
• Tele: F4.9 - F8
|Metering|| Intelligent Multiple
|White Balance|| Auto
Cloudy, daylight, halogen, manual x 2 (custom)
White balance fine tune
|Image parameters|| Color (Cool, Warm, Black & White, Sepia)
Picture Adjustment ( Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation, Noise Reduction)
3 fps high speed, 2 fps low speed
|Flash|| Built-in pop-up flash
Auto, on/off, red-eye reduction: on/off, slow sync with red eye reduction
Range (ISO auto): W 0.6m - 4.1m, T: 0.3m - 2.3m
Flash Output Adjustment (1/3EV step, -2 +2EV)
32 MB supplied*
|LCD monitor|| 2.5" TFT LCD
|Connectivity|| USB 2.0
|Power||• Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
• Charger included
|In the box*||
|Weight (inc batt)||220 g (7.8 oz)|
|Dimensions||106 x 56 x 26 mm (4.2 x 2.2 x 1.0 in)|
* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area
If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).
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