I have been fairly busy with work and actually there have not been many things to look at on the digital compact market until Photokina.
Possibly the most interesting news is the release of the Panasonic DMC-LX100 which is coming in the UK stores on the 20th of October at £699 list price the same of the Sony RX100 Mark III.
Looks like the Panasonic will beat the RX100 Mark III quite easily on the video compartment due to the ability to shoot 4K the few samples I have seen compared to the GH4 show that with a normal lens the two cameras give pretty much the same result
Moreover the fact that the LX100 has a 12.8 Megapixels sensor with constant diagonal field of view means that at 16:9 for video the resolution for stills is 11 Megapixels and the crop to get to 8 Megapixels of 4K is minimum.
In fact the camera reports a 26-81mm focal length equivalent in movie mode at all resolutions in video. This is different from the Panasonic GH4 where the 4K crop includes considerable reduction of the field of view.
This has a positive and a negative implication, the positive is of course the field of view at wide, the negative is that the zoom of only 81mm means little magnification in macro.
The LX100 has a close focusing distance of 30 cm and this means to achieve 1:1 you need at least 9 diopters so an achromatic lens like the subsee 10 or the Inon UCL-100 is what is required, this means a working distance around 3″ from the back of the lens which really means 2″ from the front a bit close similar issue of the RX100 Mark III
However with 4K there is a lot of resolution to play with and looking at the manual it seems iZoom is available in all modes so maybe even a weaker diopter and a bit of iZoom produce good results. Most likely with a camera like this one a Subsee 5 with iZoom is more useable than a 10 diopter but this needs to be confirmed.
Some people will think why bother with all of this as maybe there will not even be a housing, well some sources tell me that my favorite housing manufacturer will in fact produce a unit for the DMC-LX100
I have not handled the camera so I do not know how the zoom works, the lens seems somewhat similar to the LX7 and therefore could work with the Inon UWL-H100 but this needs to be confirmed.
Reading the instruction manual the only disappointment is the lack of an ND filter, Panasonic has put a 43mm thread on this camera lens, surely more flexible than the electronic ND filter however this was quite a good feature underwater.
Also Auto ISO work in manual so you can leave your desired shutter speed and even aperture for your subject and rely on the camera large sensor to do the rest. The LX7 worked quite well even at f/1.4 so I am not sure this will really be needed however with a base ISO of 200 and a micro 4:3 sensor this camera could work just fine at f/4 pretty much at any depth we shall see
So it is only a matter of waiting to see what the housing will allow or not.
For all the still fans out there, this camera is going to be disappointing for macro worse than the RX100 Mark III my recommended set up remains the Sony RX100 Mark II for wide and close and decent macro, super macro is out of range with a 1″ sensor but this is another story.
If you want to understand why check this graph from dpreview