Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 Review
Timing & Performance
As we've seen with all recent Panasonics - especially those utilizing the Venus II processor - the LX1 is very responsive, and in many cases has close to class-leading speed of operation. The figures below show that the LX1 offers broadly the same level of performance as the FX9, though the slightly larger files mean a few playback functions are slightly slower. The important stuff - focus speed, shutter lag and shot-to-shot times are excellent, and the burst mode very capable indeed.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3840 x 2160 Fine JPEG image (approx. 3,600 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 1.0 GB Panasonic PRO HIGH SPEED SD card.
|Power: Off to Record||2.9 *1|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||2.0|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||2.9|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens extended||2.1|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens already retracted||1.9|
|Record Review||Image displayed||~0.9|
|Mode: Record to Play||1.2|
|Mode: Play to Record||Lens already extended||1.0|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (16x)||~1.0 *2|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||~0.7|
|Play: Thumbnail view||3 x 3 thumbnails||0.9|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||28 to 112 mm (4 x)||2.5|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle, High Speed AF mode||~0.3|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle, Normal Multi-AF mode||~0.65|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto, High Speed AF mode||~0.35|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto, Normal Multi-AF mode||~0.8|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view Mega IOS off or Mode 1||~0.09|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view Mega IOS Mode 2||~0.2|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle||~0.6|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~3.6|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||1.4|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (anti red-eye off)||1.6|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (anti red-eye on)||2.0|
|*1||Power up time is around 2.0 seconds, but it takes 2.9 seconds from switching on to being able to take the first shot.|
|*2||To magnify to 16x you have to press the button 4 times - this is about as fast as you can do it.|
Lag Timing Definitions
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)
Many digital camera users prime the AF and AE systems on their camera by half-pressing the shutter release. This is the amount of time between a half-press of the shutter release and the camera indicating an auto focus & auto exposure lock on the LCD monitor / viewfinder (ready to shoot).
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (assuming you have already primed the camera with a half-press) to the image being taken.
(Take shot, AF/AE primed)
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (without performing a half-press of the shutter release beforehand) to the image being taken. This is more representative of the use of the camera in a spur of the moment 'point and shoot' situation.
(Take shot, AF/AE not primed)
The tables below show the results of our continuous shooting test, indicating the actual frame rate along with maximum number of frames and how long you would have to wait after taking the maximum number of frames before you could take another shot. Media used for these tests was a 1.0 GB Panasonic PRO HIGH SPEED SD card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/160 sec during these tests.
Continuous drive mode
In burst mode the LX1 shows a brief review image for each frame taken, but the live preview does not work between frames. There are three continuous drive modes; High (H), Low (L) and No Limit (∞).
Frames in a burst *1
|8MP / 7MP / 6MP JPEG Fine||Continuous H||3.0 fps||5||~2.0s pause*3|
|8MP / 7MP / 6MP JPEG Fine||Continuous L||2.2 fps||5||~ 2.0s pause*3|
|8MP / 7MP / 6MP JPEG Fine||Continuous ∞||2.2 fps||limited by card capacity||n/a|
|8MP / 7MP / 6MP JPEG Std||Continuous H||3.0 fps||9||~2.0s pause*3|
|8MP / 7MP / 6MP JPEG Std||Continuous L||2.2 fps||9||~ 2.0s pause*3|
|8MP / 7MP / 6MP JPEG Std||Continuous ∞||2.2 fps||limited by card capacity||n/a|
|*1||In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).|
|*2||In H and L mode continuous shooting stops when the buffer is full (4 or 7 frames according to the file quality setting. This is the delay before the next burst|
|*3||This is the average delay (which varies from around 1.3 to 2.2 seconds) and includes refocusing before the next burst.|
|*4||The frame rate varies slightly (from 2.9 to 3.1 fps) as you change image size.|
Not a bad performance at all, and pretty much as quoted in the LX1 specification (actually the 'low speed' burst mode is slightly quicker than quoted). The buffer clears very quickly, and most of the delay between bursts is due to the fact that you cannot just hold down the shutter and wait - you have to take your finger off the shutter and press it again. This means waiting for the camera to refocus.. If you want to take a really long burst with no pauses you can always switch to the 'no limit' mode (which averages around 2.2 frames per second). Note that when we switched to a slower no-brand card we found the LX1 struggled to keep going after 6 or 7 shots even in the no limit mode, so make sure you buy a fast one if you want to take a lot of extended sequences.
File Write / Display and Sizes
Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed and stopped when the activity indicator went out. This means the timings also include the camera's processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task". The media used for these tests was a 1.0 GB Panasonic PRO HIGH SPEED SD card.
Time to store
File size *1
Images on a *2
|8MP / 7MP / 6MP Raw||~3.4||~0.6||16,447 KB *3||52|
|3840 x 2160 (16:9) TIFF||~5.0||~0.6||24,316 KB *3||36|
|3840 x 2160 (16:9) JPEG fine||~2.3||~0.7||3,600 KB||236|
|3840 x 2160 (16:9) JPEG Std||~1.5||~0.6||1,700 KB||465|
|3248 x 2160 (3:2) TIFF||~3.5||~0.5||20,570KB *3||43|
|3248 x 2160 (3:2) JPEG Fine||~1.5||~0.6||3,200 KB||270|
|3248 x 2160 (3:2) JPEG Std||~1.2||~0.5||1,500 KB||549|
|2880 x 2160 (4:3) TIFF||~3.4||~0.4||18,241 KB *3||48|
|2880 x 2160 (4:3) JPEG fine||~1.4||~0.5||2,700 KB||313|
|2880 x 2160 (4:3) JPEG std||~1.3||~0.5||1,400 KB||616|
|3072 x 1728 (16:9) JPEG fine||~1.5||~0.6||2,150 KB||366|
|2560 x 1712 (3:2) JPEG fine||~1.2||~0.6||1,800 KB||441|
|2304 x 1728 (4:3) JPEG fine||~1.1||~0.6||1,760 KB||483|
|*1||All file sizes are an average of three files. As is the case with JPEG it's difficult to predict the size of an image because it will vary a fair amount depending on the content of the image (detail and noise).|
|*2||All raw files (irrespective of aspect ratio used) are the same size, and all are saved with a Std quality JPEG (~1,300KB to 1,400KB). All TIFF files taken at any particular size / aspect ratio are also the same size, again saved with a Std quality JPEG. The JPEG version is used for all playback functions.|
With write times averaging around five seconds for an 8MP, 24MB TIFF, the LX1 is very fast when used with a fast card - approximately 4900KB/s. Write times were much longer when using a slower card, so again, buy a fast one if you don't like to be kept waiting.