Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Review
Timing & Performance
In most respects the LX2 offers broadly the same performance as the LX1, in some areas it's slightly better, though most playback functions are a little slower (due no doubt to the larger files). Focus is fast using the high speed mode, which freezes the display for a fraction of a second when focusing but works a lot quicker, though it can no longer be called 'class leading' (Canon and Sony amongst others have caught up in the last 12 months). Shutter lag (if not using IOS mode 2) is acceptable - around 0.1 seconds - but hardly class-leading. Overall the LX2 feels fast and responsive, and we certainly had no complaints about it in normal use.
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 Sandisk Extreme III SD card.
|Power: Off to Record||2.9 *1|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||3.3|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||2.0|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens extended||2.0|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens already retracted||1.3|
|Record Review||Image displayed||~0.9|
|Mode: Record to Play||2.1|
|Mode: Play to Record||Lens already extended||0.8|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (16x)||~1.1 *2|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||~2.1|
|Play: Thumbnail view||3 x 3 thumbnails||1.0|
|Play: Thumbnail view||5 x 5 thumbnails||4.4|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||28 to 112 mm (4 x)||2.5|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle, High Speed AF mode||~0.35|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle, Normal Multi-AF mode||~0.7|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto, High Speed AF mode||~0.45|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto, Normal Multi-AF mode||~0.7|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view Mega IOS off or Mode 1||~0.11|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view Mega IOS Mode 2||~0.23|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle||~0.75|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~3.6|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||1.6|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (anti red-eye off)||2.2|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (anti red-eye on)||2.6|
|*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 Sandisk Extreme III SD card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/160 sec during these tests.
Continuous drive mode
In burst mode the LX2 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
|10MP / 8MP / 5.5MP JPEG Fine||Continuous H||2.2 fps||3||~1.9s pause*3|
|10MP / 8MP / 5.5MP JPEG Fine||Continuous L||1.3 fps||3||~ 1.6s pause*3|
|10MP / 8MP / 5.5MP JPEG Fine||Continuous ∞||1.8 fps||limited by card capacity||n/a|
|10MP / 8MP / 5.5MP JPEG Std||Continuous H||2.3 fps||5||~1.6s pause*3|
|10MP / 8MP / 5.5MP JPEG Std||Continuous L||1.3 fps||5||~ 1.7s pause*3|
|10MP / 8MP / 5.5MP JPEG Std||Continuous ∞||1.8 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 (3 or 5 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.|
The LX2 offers a slower burst rate than its predecessor, and the buffer doesn't hold as many shots. That said this isn't really the kind of camera that needs a really rapid sports shooting mode, and the No Limit mode (around 1.8 frames per second until you fill the card) will be more than enough for most typical users. 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.
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 Sandisk Extreme III SD card.
Time to store
File size *1
Images on a *2
|10MP / 8.5MP / 7.5MP Raw||~4.5||~1.2||20,036 KB *3||42|
|4224 x 2376 (16:9) JPEG fine||~1.4||~2.2||4,600 KB||199|
|4224 x 2376 (16:9) JPEG Std||~1.4||~1.2||2,200 KB||396|
|3568 x 2376 (3:2) JPEG Fine||~1.4||~1.8||3,900 KB||235|
|3568 x 2376 (3:2) JPEG Std||~1.2||~1.1||1,900 KB||465|
|3168 x 2376 (4:3) JPEG fine||~1.3||~1.2||3,500 KB||265|
|3168 x 2376 (4:3) JPEG std||~1.1||~1.1||1,700 KB||524|
|*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.|
With write times averaging around 4.5 seconds for a 10MP, 20MB Raw file, the LX2 is very fast when used with a fast card - approximately 4400KB/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.