Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Review
In addition to the auto white balance mode the LX2 offers five presets (daylight, cloudy, shade, flash, and halogen) - up from three on the LX1. There is no preset for fluorescent lights, but there is a manual white balance mode that allows you to point the camera at a white or gray card and create / save two custom settings.
In use - especially when light levels are good - the LX2 delivers consistently accurate color. Under artificial lighting the results are on a par with most of the competition - as long as it's bright enough the auto WB does a good - but not great - job. When light levels drop (indoors at night) you'll get a very warm cast unless you switch to manual WB. There is also an enhanced WB fine tune function that allows you to move sliders in two directions (blue-amber and green-magenta).
Fluorescent - Auto WB
|Incandescent - Auto WB
Red 2.9%, Blue -1.6%
|Incandescent - Manual WB
Red 8.4%, Blue -10.2%
No real complaints here, though it is a little underpowered if you like to leave the LX2 set on ISO 100 (when it only reach about 6 feet). The range quoted in the literature is slightly greater than the LX1 (around 2 to 16 feet with auto ISO), though we presume this is simply because the auto ISO will go higher (up to ISO 640 - complete with noise and NR problems). For 'across the table' social shots it performs perfectly, and color and exposure very reliable. We did get some blown out results when shooting too close, though these were rare, and we'd rather the auto mode didn't use 1/30th sec so readily. The positioning of the flash so near to the lens means red-eye is fairly common unless you use the red-eye reduction system (which uses a pre-flash, so is a bit slow, but does work).
|Skin tone Excellent color and good exposure||Color chart Excellent color and exposure|
Like the LX1, the LX2 has a separate macro focus mode (as opposed to a macro scene mode), activated by a prominent switch on the fixed part of the lens barrel. The macro mode works throughout the zoom range, but - as is usual on this type of camera - only gets really close when used at the widest setting. There is inevitably some distortion when you get really close, but it is nowhere near as bad as many similar models.
Barrel and Pincushion Distortion
Nothing to complain about here - there is a small amount (1.1%) of measurable barrel distortion at the wide end of the zoom, though nothing you'd see in real-world pictures, and a lot better than many ultra compacts. There is virtually no measurable distortion at the telephoto end of the zoom. Excellent. Note that all our test shots were taken in 4:3 mode; distortion is inevitably slightly higher if you shoot at 3:2 or 16:9.
|Barrel distortion - 1.1 % at Wide angle
Equiv. focal length: 34 mm
|Pincushion distortion - 0.3% at Telephoto
Equiv. focal length: 136 mm
Specific image quality issues
There is no denying that the LX2 has an excellent lens, and that its color is pleasingly natural and white balance and exposure generally very reliable. But like the LX1 before it this is a camera plagued by noise - or more specifically excessive, intrusive noise reduction at all ISO settings over 100. We also encountered occasional metering / dynamic range issues, which can lead to clipped highlights or blocked-in shadows, but this tended only to be in very contrasty scenes at the very widest setting.
I don't want to sound like a broken record but the major issue with the LX2 is the excessive noise reduction at anything over ISO 100. The effect is so pronounced that even ISO 200 images have the characteristic 'watercolor' effect common to most Panasonic cameras. The saving grace is that you can turn the noise reduction down in-camera or shoot in RAW mode; frankly if you don't you may as well be using a 2 megapixel camera unless you stick to ISO 100.
|100% crop||ISO 200, Std NR, 112 mm equiv., F4.9|
Like the LX1 before it, the LX2 suffers very occasionally from mild purple fringing (there is no evidence of Chromatic Aberration in real world shots). It only happens as here at the boundaries of areas of extreme overexposure.
|100% crop||52 mm equiv., F2.8, 16:9 mode|
Exposure / clipping issues
The curse of small, high resolution sensors, lack of dynamic range means that like the LX1 the LX2 - in common with most cameras of this type - struggles to capture the full range of tones in very bright, very contrasty scenes, which can result in highlight (or shadow) clipping. Again this is something you can mitigate slightly by shooting raw. Less easy to deal with is the occasional tendency to overexpose bright scenes shot at the wide end of the lens; you soon learn to check the review image and use exposure compensation if needed.
|75 mm equiv., F4||30 mm equiv., F2.8|
Nikon turns 100 years old today, and the company is celebrating with a wacky music video, some tributes to its history, and a new vision presented by president Kazuo Ushida.
Phottix just released the Premio Parabolic Umbrellas series, replacing their Para-Pro line with a stronger, deeper and better made set of parabolic umbrellas.
The Moto Z2 is Motorola's first dual-camera smartphone and, compared to its predecessor, comes with a number of improvements and new camera features.
Researchers at Stanford have revealed a new '4D camera system' built for robots. The system is based on the same light field tech that allowed Lytro cameras to refocus images after they were taken.
If you want 'beautiful rendition' from your lenses, follow this simple rule: only buy classic low-element prime lenses with lead glass elements—everything else is junk.
In an interview with CNBC, Leica Chairman Andreas Kaufmann said he dreams of a 'true Leica phone,' and hinted at what's next for the Leica and Huawei partnership.
Wildlife and nature photographer Peter Mather tells the story behind this exceptional shot of a mama grizzly and her cub searching for salmon in Yukon, Canada.
Popular YouTube channel TastyTuts has put together this 33-video Beginner's Guide to Adobe Photoshop—a godsend for anybody who wants to learn Photoshop from scratch.
The long anticipated replacement for the popular Rode VideoMic Pro is almost ready for shipping. The price of the upgraded VideoMic Pro+ will be £290/$300 when it goes on sale in mid-August.
A new iOS app called Explorest wants to help you find new locations to shoot. It's limited to Singapore for now, but the app is packed full of useful location scouting features.
Nikon's D850 development announcement is extremely light on details, so we assembled a wish list of upgrades and features we'd love to see.
Nikon has announced the development of the long-awaited replacement to its full-frame D810: the D850. Nikon says that the D850 will build on the strengths of its predecessor and offer 'new technologies, features and performance enhancements.'
Lens manufacturer Voigtlander has introduced a 65mm F2 macro lens for Sony E-mount that it says "rates as one of the finest in the history of Voigtländer."
The UK released a preview of their upcoming drone safety regulations, and it looks like drone pilots will have to both register their device and pass safety awareness tests.
National Geographic photographer Bob Holmes talks about light, and why you need to learn how to 'see' and not just 'look' at your subject.
Photographer Alessandro Barteletti shares the story behind his National Geographic Italia cover, shot with a 10-year-old DSLR and an iPhone flashlight.
Fashion catalog photographers in China have some next-level models to work with. In this video, you see one model hitting 30 poses in 15 seconds as the photographer snaps away.
Photographer Paul Adshead breaks down 11 photography-related smartphone apps he couldn't live without—from a pocket light meter to a lighting diagram app.
Fast-growing Chinese flash brand Godox is teasing a brand new flash trigger... for smartphones. The Godox A1 is a 'phone flash system' that can act as both flash and 2.4GHz trigger.
On July 12, Canon opened its newest Technology and Support Center, designed to serve the motion picture industry, in Burbank, CA. DPReview got a sneak peak and takes you behind the scenes.
The Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is truly one-of-a-kind. It offers the fastest aperture of any lens that shares its focal length, produces beautiful sunstars and is incredibly sharp to boot. If you're in the market for a fast ultrawide prime, this looks to be the one to get.
In this article, expert macro photographer Thomas Shahan shares advice for successful closeup photography of bugs, insects and small animals.
DJI's new firmware makes it difficult to fly in restricted airspace, even when you have proper clearance. Is DJI placing themselves between professionals and the FAA?
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk and see what it takes to capture a dangerous, harrowing, stunning Nat Geo photo essay.
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has the worst effect on youth mental health.