What's it like to use

Cameras can serve different purposes for different photographers; the right tool for one person might be the wrong one for someone else. With that in mind, we'll be taking a look at how the Panasonic LX100 Mark II stacks up for a variety of common uses, based on its specifications, our lab testing, and the time we've spent with it in the real world.


Travel

Out-of-camera JPEG
ISO X00 | 1/X sec | FX | Built-in lens @ Xmm equiv

The LX100 II's small size, fairly flexible fast zoom and relatively large sensor make it an excellent travel camera. The bright lens helps it work in low light. Its autofocus system doesn't readily lend itself to unexpected moments of action, but it's an easy camera to have with you.

Pros

  • Good image quality for a small camera
  • Bright lens with useful 24-75mm equivalent range
  • Effective Wi-Fi system for sharing images to smartphone
  • Good battery life for class
  • USB charging

Cons

  • Additional crop makes it difficult to shoot wide-angle 4K footage
  • Autofocus not dependable for fast, unexpected action

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Landscape

ISO 200 | 1/3200 sec | F4 | Built-in lens @ 37mm equiv
Processed in Adobe Camera Raw: Foreground roughly masked, warmed and brightened. Lit neon letters emphasized.
Mouseover or tap for [ the unprocessed version | Revert to processed version ]

The small size, comparatively large sensor and lens that maintains its wide angle of view in three aspect ratios, make the LX100 II a solid choice for landscapes. More of a photos-while-hiking camera than a dedicated 'I'm-only-here-for-the-sunrise' camera, but a solid option nonetheless. The sensor has a decent amount of dynamic range, meaning you should consider shooting Raw so as not to be constrained to the more limited dynamic range of the JPEG engine.

Pros

  • Good dynamic range for class
  • Light-weight and pocketable
  • Reasonably wide 24mm equiv. lens

Cons

  • Files lack resolution of larger sensor cameras
  • Lack of robust weather-sealing
  • Small controls tough to access with gloves on
  • No flip-out screen for low angles

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Family and Moments

Out-of-camera JPEG
ISO 800 | 1/160 sec | F2.4 | Built-in lens @ 37mm equiv
Photo by Allison Johnson

The LX100 II's bright lens is useful for a range of family and social shooting situations but its 24-75mm equiv range may feel a little restrictive. The camera's Face/Eye Detection AF works pretty well. But, perhaps most importantly, the camera is small enough that it's easy to keep with you at all times.

Pros

  • Painless to carry around
  • Attractive, easy-to-share JPEGs
  • Good Face/Eye detection
  • Decent low-light AF

Cons

  • No selfie screen
  • Low light image quality not as good as an ILC's

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Lifestyle and People

Out-of-camera JPEG
ISO 8000 | 1/60 sec | F2.8 | Built-in lens @ 75mm equiv

The bright lens and comparatively large sensor means the LX100 II can stretch to some lifestyle work. However, it can't compete with what an APS-C or full frame mirrorless camera would achieve when paired with an appropriate prime lens. Autofocus continues to work well in low light. And, if you pair it with an external flash, its leaf shutter will sync with flash at any shutter speed, extending the creative opportunities.

Pros

  • Attractive, easy-to-share JPEGs
  • Good Face/Eye detection
  • Gives a degree of shallow depth-of-field
  • Decent image quality (though can't match an ILC with a fast prime lens)

Cons

  • No flip-out screen for high/low angle shooting
  • Limited resolution compared to ILCs

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Candid and Street

Out-of-camera JPEG
ISO 400 | 1/125 sec | F2.8 | Built-in lens @ 70mm equiv
Photo by Carey Rose

The LX100 II is appropriately small and discrete to be used for candid and street photography. It's pretty responsive, and even quicker in situations where you can pre-focus. The lack of flip screen limits candid shooting from the hip, though.

Pros

  • Ready to share JPEGs
  • Easy AF point placement with touchscreen
  • Silent shooting
  • Discreet size won't draw attention

Cons

  • No flip-out screen for shooting from hip

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Video

The significant crop in 4K mode has a number of drawbacks: you can't tell what the composition of your video shots is going to be until you start recording, the lens is reduced to a 32mm equiv wide-angle setting and the low light performance drops. This and no mic input severely limits the LX100 II as a video camera.

Pros

  • Detailed 4K footage with well-controlled rolling shutter
  • Video autofocus is pretty dependable

Cons

  • Can't preview framing until you hit record
  • 4K crop limits wide-angle capability
  • 4K crop reduces footage quality
  • No mic or headphone socket
  • No control over AF speed

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The 'What's it like to use' section of our reviews tries to look at how the camera handles a series of different shooting challenges. However, not every camera is good at everything, nor do they necessarily try to be. The 75mm equivalent maximum focal length of the LX100 II probably means not too many people plan to use it for formal, posed Portraits, nor for Sports and Wildlife shooting. And, while it offers solid image quality for a compact, we can't see it being put to work at many Weddings and Events, so we've not assessed it for those use-cases.