What we like What we don't
  • Excellent image quality in both Raw and JPEG modes
  • Large sensor in small body
  • Flexible, fast lens
  • Customizable direct controls
  • Touchscreen improves shooting experience over original version
  • Good 4K video and useful 4K photo modes
  • Bluetooth improves Wi-Fi experience
  • Panasonic promises improved anti-dust sealing in lens
  • Low-res, field sequential viewfinder feels cheap on such an expensive camera
  • Fixed rear screen limits low or high-angle shooting
  • Raw files are cropped: no option to change aspect ratio in post
  • Significant crop on 4K video limits wide-angle capability and lowers quality
  • Changing view modes to preview video framing is awkward
  • Left-eyed shooters may nose-activate the AF touchpad

The LX100 has long been one of our favorite compacts and the Mark II improves on it in a number of ways. The higher resolution sensor, better JPEG color and touchscreen are all welcome improvements over the original but the question is whether they're enough to explain the four year gap between the two models and the $100 price hike.

The LX100 II is an engaging, multi-purpose camera that's easy to carry around with you.
Out-of-camera JPEG
ISO 200 | 1/1600 sec | F4.5 | Built-in lens @ 88mm equiv

In stills terms, it continues to offer some of the best image quality you can get in such a small package. The multi-aspect design means you don't get full Four Thirds image performance and the higher resolution seems to be showing the limits of the lens. But, even taking both into account, we find it competitive with the Sony RX100 models that are its closest rivals.

It's really enjoyable to use and encourages creative shooting

The outdated field-sequential viewfinder feels out of place on such an expensive camera, especially when compared with the higher-res (though smaller) OLED finder in the recent Sony cameras. The significant 4K crop (that you can't conveniently preview) is also disappointing for a contemporary camera from a brand that's usually so good at video.

Out-of-camera JPEG
ISO 200 | 1/400 sec | F8 | Built-in lens @ 28mm equiv

Overall the LX100 II is a small, good-looking camera that takes attractive photos. What's more, it's really enjoyable to use and its fast, flexible lens and multi-aspect design encourages creative shooting. However, while still competitive, the Mark II doesn't stand apart from its competition in the way its predecessor did. As such, it receives our Silver award, as a camera that's well worth considering if you're looking for a high quality compact primarily for stills shooting.


What we think


Carey Rose
Editor
If I could be granted three wishes for the LX100 II, the first would be for an updated viewfinder, the second would be for the lens to zoom more quickly and the third would be to lose that 4K video crop. But although the LX100 II's updates are modest compared to its predecessor, the improved JPEG engine and touchscreen in particular result in a camera that remains an absolute joy for travel and casual documentary stills photography.

Compared to its peers

For any modern high-end compact, the competition will primarily come from one of Sony's RX series cameras, with the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V(A) being the most direct competition. The Panasonic has much better ergonomics, whereas the Sony is happier in automatic mode. But the Sony has faster, more dependable autofocus, a better viewfinder and shoots more detailed video. We prefer using the LX100 (particularly for stills), but the Sony is smaller and a stronger all-rounder, so it depends on your requirements.

The other direct rival is Canon's Powershot G1X Mark III, another large sensor compact with plenty of direct control. The G1X III's sensor is larger but its lens is significantly slower, meaning greater dynamic range is likely to be the sole benefit of that. The Canon's lens is sharp by compact camera standards, too. The Canon is behind in terms of video and battery life. If you solely a stills shooter, the big Canon is worth a look, but the Panasonic offers the option of shallower depth-of-field and better low light performance, plus the appealing multi-aspect design.


Scoring

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category. Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.

Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II
Category: Enthusiast Large Sensor Compact Camera
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Optics
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
PoorExcellent
Conclusion
The LX100 II is a small, engaging enthusiast compact. Its bright 24-75mm equivalent lens and multi-aspect design make it highly flexible. Only the cropped video and slightly basic viewfinder stop this lightly-refreshed camera reasserting itself as a clear leader in this class.
Good for
Enthusiasts looking for an enjoyable always-with-them tool
Not so good for
Anyone needing something truly pocketable
82%
Overall score