Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Review
The Lumix LX1, announced July 2005, was a camera that proved just how commited Panasonic is to shaking up the digital camera market with innovative, often quirky products rather than taking the easy (though unimaginitive) 'me too' route followed by so many other manufacturers. Designed with the photo enthusiast in mind it offered the world's first 16:9 widescreen CCD sensor, a useful 28-112mm 4x wide angle zoom lens (with optical stabilization, naturally) and full photographic control. And now, a year later we have the LX2, which adds a 16:9 widescreen LCD to match the sensor, ups the pixel count to 10.2 megapixels and upgrades the processor to the latest Venus Engine III. There are also minor enhancements to the control interface and a new (low resolution) ISO 3200 mode.
- 10.4 Megapixel 16:9 aspect CCD
- 28mm wide 4x optical LEICA DC lens
- MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer)
- Venus Engine III
- Joystick-operated manual control
- Large 2.8” 16:9 aspect ratio LCD monitor (207k pixels)
- Raw and JPEG recording modes
- Up to ISO 3200 sensitivity
- Up to 1280x720 (15fps) pixel movie capture
- Manual exposure and focus options
- 1/2000th to 60 sec shutter speeds
- Available in black or silver
LX2 vs LX1: main differences
Like the FZ30/FZ50 upgrade the changes made to the LX1 for the upgrade are mainly 'under the hood' - a new sensor and processor being top of the list.
- Higher pixel count sensor (10.4 vs 8.4 MP)
- TIFF file format dropped (RAW remains)
- Venus Engine III (vs Venus Engine II)
- Full resolution ISO settings up to 3200 (vs 400)
- 16:9 aspect ratio 2.8-inch screen (was 2.5-inch 4:3)
- SDHC support (for capacities over 2.0GB)
- Internal memory (13MB)
- New 16:9 (1280 x 720 pixel / 15fps) movie mode
- Slower continuous shooting (from 3 to 2 fps)
- 'SilkyPix Developer Studio' for RAW conversion included
- Intelligent ISO feature
- Improved battery life
- Minor control and interface changes
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 LX2's three aspect ratio options. Unlike most 'widescreen' modes the LX2'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 LX2 has a sensor that is roughly the same height as a standard 7 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 10 million.
Because we don't always want a 'panoramic' shot the LX2 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 roughly half a million pixels off each side and 4:3 crops out roughly 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.
|Street price|| US: $480
|Body Material||Metal and plastic|
• 1/1.65 " Type CCD
• 16:9 (default, CCD native)
• 3168 x 2376
• 3568 x 2376
• 4224 x 2376
• 1280 x 720, 848 x 480 (16:9), 30 / 10 fps *
|File formats||• RAW
• JPEG (EXIF 2.2): Fine / Standard
• MOV (Movies, Motion JPEG codec)
|Image processor||Venus Engine III|
• 28-112mm (35mm equiv) in 16:9 aspect mode
|Image stabilization||• Optical, "MEGA OIS"
• Modes: 1 (all the time), 2 (at shutter release only)
|Digital zoom||• Up to 4x
• Extra Optical Zoom 16:9 Aspect Ratio: 4.4x for 8Mega, 5.5x for 5Mega, 2Mega / 3:2 Aspect Ratio: 4.4x for 7Mega, 5.6x for 4Mega, 3Mega / 4:3 Aspect Ratio: 4.4x for 6Mega, 5.5x for 4Mega, 6.2x for 3Mega, 2Mega, 1Mega
|Focus||• AF / AF Macro / Manual (switch on dial)
• Continuous AF On/Off
• One-shot AF
• Manual Focus (Joystick)
|AF area modes||• 1-point
• 1-point high speed
• 3 point high speed
• 9 point
|AF assist lamp||Yes|
|Focus distance||• Normal: Wide 50cm/ Tele 100cm - infinity
• Macro/ MF/ Auto: Wide 5cm/ Tele 30cm - infinity
|Metering||• Intelligent Multiple
• Center Weighted
|ISO sensitivity||• Auto
• Intelligent Auto
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
• High Sensitivity Mode: 3200
|Exposure compensation||• +/- 2.0 EV
• 1/3 EV steps
|Exposure bracketing|| • 3 frames
+/- 1/3 EV -1EV step
|Shuttter speed||• 1/4 - 1/2000sec.
• Program AE : 1 - 1/2000sec.
• Aperture Priority AE / Shutter Priority AE : 8 - 1/2000sec.
• Manual : 60 - 1/2000sec.
|Aperture|| • Wide: F2.8 - F8
• Tele: F4.9 - F8
|Modes||• Exposure Auto
• Program AE
• Aperture Priority AE
• Shutter Priority AE
|Scene modes||• Portrait
• Soft Skin
• Night Portrait
• Night Scenery
• Starry Sky
• Aerial photo
• High Sensitivity
• Baby 1/2
|White balance fine tune||150K step, -1500 - +1500 K) (except for auto WB)|
|Self timer||2 or 10 sec|
|Continuous shooting||• Full resolution: 2 or 1 fps
• Full resolution: max 5 images (standard mode), 3 images (fine mode)
• Infinite consecutive (unlimited but slower shooting rate)
|Color Effect||• Cool
• Black & White
|Flash||• Built-in (manual pop-up)
• Modes: Auto, Auto red-eye reduction, Slow sync, Forced On/Off
• Range: 0.6 - 4.9 m (W), 0.3 - 2.2 m (T)
• Flash exposure compensation (+/-2 EV in 0.3 EV steps)
• 2.8-inch wide Polycrystalline TFT
|Record review||1 sec / 3 sec / Zoom|
|Playback|| • 2x / 4x / 8x / 16x magnification
• 9 / 16 / 25 thumbnail index
• Image rotation
• Aspect ratio conversion
• DPOF setting
|Connectivity||• USB 2.0 (Full-speed)
• A/V out
|Storage||• 13 MB Internal memory
• Secure Digital card, SDHC card, MMC card
• 32 MB SD card supplied
|Power||• 1150 mAh, 3.7V Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
• Charger included
• Optional AC adaptor
|Weight (No batt)||187 g (0.41 lb)|
|Dimensions||105.7 x 55.8 x 26.3 mm (4.16 x 2.20 x 1.04 in)|
|Supplied software||LUMIX Simple Viewer, PhotofunStudio -viewer-, SILKPIX DEVELOPER STUDIO, ArcSoft Camera Suite (ArcSoft PhotoImpression, ArcSoft PanoramaMaker), Adobe Reader, Quick Time, USB Driver|
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