Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 Review
Although it shares a broad family resemblance to Panasonic's other metal-bodied compacts (the FX8 and FX9 in particular), the LX1 is a far more sophisticated camera (and a slightly larger one). Unlike most compacts the lens doesn't retract fully when not in use; there is an 18mm fixed 'barrel' that's home to the prominent Aspect Ratio and Focus switches.
As befits a camera with such a wide range of photographic options on offer, the LX1 has a fairly conventional - conservative even - design that has echoes of the rangefinder cameras of the 1950's and, dare I say it, has a touch of Leica about it. Despite its diminutive dimensions the LX1 puts a class-leading level of control at your fingertips, offering direct access to virtually every aspect of picture-taking, from white balance to ISO to shutter speeds, apertures and file size / quality. It's worth mentioning that the build and finish are fantastic, and the LX1 is a real pleasure to hold and to use. My only concern is the Aspect switch, which on our sample started to stick slightly after a couple of month's use.
In your hand
As mentioned above, the LX1 is a beautifully constructed camera with a real 'quality' feel and just enough weight (around 220g / 7.8 oz) to feel sturdy and stable in the hand. It's fairly well-balanced too, and the control layout lends itself well to single-handed operation (though the weight of the lens means it still feels more secure supported with both hands). I would perhaps have preferred a slightly more substantial front grip, but this is a minor quibble.