Panasonic LX100 II First Look

Key Features

  • Review Price: £849
  • Four Thirds sensor with 17-megapixel effective resolution
  • 24-75mm lens with f/1.7–f/2.8 aperture
  • Built-in viewfinder with 0.7x magnification
  • 3-inch touchscreen with 1240k-dot resolution
  • 11fps burst shooting (5.5fps with continuous autofocus)
  • Shoots 4K video at 30fps
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
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What is the Panasonic Lumix LX100 II?

The original Panasonic LX100 is one of our favourite ‘big sensor compacts’, with its mix of a Four Thirds sensor, 3x optical zoom and serious portability adding up to a cracking street photography camera.

Four years on, the LX100 Mark II brings a set of minor improvements rather than a revolutionary overhaul.

Like its predecessor, which will remain on sale, the premium compact camera combines a Four Thirds sensor with a fixed 24-75mm lens, although this time the sensor’s effective resolution has been boosted from 12.8-megapixels to 17-megapixels.

Other improvements come in the form of a new touch-sensitive screen, additional features for its 4K Photo mode, extra creative modes for the L.Monochrome setting and the ability to charge the camera via a USB power bank.

I took one on a trip around the streets of London’s Shoreditch to see how it shapes up next to rivals like the Sony RX100 VI, Canon G7X Mark II and the forthcoming Fujifilm XF10.

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Panasonic Lumix LX100 II – Build and Handling

If you were to place the older Panasonic LX100 and the new LX100 II side-by-side you’d be pretty hard-pushed to spot the difference. The main physical adjustment has been made to the hand grip, which is now slightly chunkier and a little more comfortable to hold during long shooting sessions. The thumb rest on the back of the camera helps too.

While you’re not quite going to be able squeeze this camera into your jeans pocket, it still makes for a good middle ground between portability and high-image quality. A jacket pocket or small bag should be enough room to house the Panasonic LX100 II.

Panasonic LX100 II

As with its predecessor, the LX100 II goes big on tactile controls for pretty much any shooting aspect, even though there’s now a new touch-sensitive screen.

On the top of the camera is a shutter speed dial and exposure compensation dial, as well as the zoom lever. To alter aperture, you use a dial around the lens itself, while another function ring around the lens can be set to adjust something of your own choosing. Also on the lens you’ll find switches for adjusting the focusing mode, and the aspect ratio you’re shooting in.

Flip to the back of the camera and you’ll see a pretty familiar array of buttons – certainly if you’ve used any Panasonic cameras before. There’s a navi-pad, but perhaps more interestingly are the four different customisable function buttons (another can be found on the top of the camera).

Using these you can set up the LX100 II to work whichever way suits you best. Which is a good thing, because navigating its many menu options can be a little confusing.

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Panasonic Lumix LX100 II – Screen and EVF

While touch-sensitivity has been added to the LX100 II’s rear-screen, we disappointingly don’t have a tilting action.

It’s understood that this decision has been made in order to keep the size down, but it would have been so handy for discreet street-style shots that I think it would have been worth the sacrifice.

Panasonic LX100 II

On the plus side, being able to use the screen to quickly change your autofocus point is a big bonus, and it also comes in useful for quickly swiping through images in playback or altering menu settings.

The LX100 II’s viewfinder has a sensor, which means it automatically switches on when you bring the camera to your eye. It makes for a seamless transition, and although the viewfinder is relatively small, it offers a high-resolution which gives a clear and bright view of the scene in front of you.

In bright conditions it’s extremely handy, while there are plenty of us (particularly those coming from larger DSLRs or mirrorless cameras) who simply prefer to compose in this way.

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Panasonic Lumix LX100 II – Features and image quality

The LX100 II’s 24-75mm lens, which effectively gives you 3x optical zoom, is a very nice ‘walkaround’ focal length for street photography.

It’s a little on the slow side to zoom in and out, so if you’re walking around taking shots, you might want to set the focal length to roughly where you want it to be before lifting it to your eye.

Panasonic LX100 II

Being able to charge the camera via USB is a welcome new addition and makes a lot of sense for a camera aimed squarely at travel photographers. In fact, if you pre-order the camera before the 1 October launch date, you’ll be able to claim yourself a free Goal Zero battery pack.

The LX100 II sample we’ve been using so far is a pre-production model, and as such, final image quality may differ.

Still, early indications of image performance are very promising. Colours are nice and vibrant, while there’s plenty of detail. It’ll be interesting to see how well the camera fares in low light as, so far, we’ve only had chance to try it in gleaming sunshine.

Panasonic LX100 sample images

Panasonic has included a number of features, such optical image stabilisation and a bright aperture range of f/1.7–f/2.8, which are designed to appeal to those that like to shoot in low-light, so hopefully it can deliver on those promises.

The new L.Monochrome D setting is a nice addition too, and again will be especially favoured by street photographers looking to emulate a classic look and feel.

Panasonic Lumix LX100 II – Early verdict

It’s easy to see why Panasonic has gone for an incremental upgrade rather than a complete overhaul for its flagship compact camera – the LX100 was so well liked that it just needed a few tweaks to bring it up to date.

Although it’s disappointing that the engineers couldn’t have found room for a tilting screen to make shooting those street scenes even easier, there’s no denying that this is an incredibly small camera considering it houses a large Four Thirds sensor.

With the same tried-and-tested 24-75mm lens as its predecessor and an almost overwhelming number of shooting effects, it’s shaping up to be one of the most versatile compact cameras you can buy.

We’ll be keen to put it further through its paces just as soon as a full-production sample becomes available, so keep an eye out for a full review soon.

Panasonic LX100 II

Features

Camera type Digital Compact
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