There is no doubt that the Panasonic LX100 is a very capable camera and has a great 4K mode that works great especially at the wide end. In this post we will look at the settings that in my opinion maximize the camera features and have the best ergonomics for shooting underwater and actually also on land for most.
There is quite a bit of confusion between still image settings and movie settings and if your objective is to shoot video I recommend saving all the settings below or your preferred choice in a custom memory. The LX100 has 3 custom memory so you can save your settings for movie, stills and something else. Note that due to the absence of mode dials aperture, shutter and exposure are not saved so check you have the right settings before starting your recordings.
Photo Style: I tend to leave this on the standard setting. Some users like to define a custom setting with sharpening of -2 I don’t think this is necessary. Likewise noise reduction is fine out of the box
4K Photo: I leave this option off as I want to shoot in 24p, setting it on will force the camera in 25/30p mode.
Rec Format: mp4
Rec Quality: 4K 24p I like the cinematic movie but also want to extract the maximum quality from the image
AFS/AFF/AFC: AFS single focus at the beginning of the scene
Picture Mode: setting not relevant in 4K
Continuous AF: set to OFF to prevent the camera to hunt focus especially underwater. If used on land this may be set to ON
Metering Mode: I tend to use centered weighted average for macro and multi metering for wide angle.
Highlight/Shadow: this is a very powerful control but I leave it to default
i.Dynamic: set to OFF to avoid unpredictable artifacts
i.Resolution: set to OFF the camera is very sharp no need for this
i.Zoom: set to ON due to the limited focal range it is important to allow for some extended zoom although there is some quality loss especially at high ISO. It works pretty well on the first notch
Digital Zoom: set to OFF the digital zoom looses too much quality
Mic settings: all left default
Wind cut: auto
Custom Settings Menu
Silent Mode: can be set on if you are working with wildlife on land
AF/AE lock: set to AE lock, as we have disabled continuous focus and we keep the focus at the beginning of the scene there is no need for AF lock in video. AE lock allows you to lock exposure when entering caves and wanting to keep a natural light without abrupt changes in exposure
AE/AF lock hold set to on so that the exposure lock is released only when the button is pressed again.
Shutter AF: ON we want to focus when we press the shutter at the beginning of the scene
Half Press Release, Quick AF, Eye sensor AF: all left to OFF
Pinpoint AF time: set to MID
Pinpoint AF display: picture in picture
AF assisted lamp: off
Direct Focus Area: set to OFF otherwise moving the cursor will override other buttons
Focus/Release Priority: irrelevant in movie mode
AF+MF: this allows for fine tuning with manual focus if the shutter is half pressed can be useful if the camera struggles to focus
MF Assist: focus
MF Assist display: PIP
MF Guide: ON
Peaking: ON your preference of color and level. I find the defaults to work fine some people prefer orange.
Guide Line: rule of thirds
Highlight: irrelevant for video
Zebra: I use zebra 2 with 100% setting to just show me overexposed areas.
Monochrome live view: OFF
Constant Preview: OFF
Expo Meter: ON
Dial Guide: ON
LVF/Monitor Display: set default
Info display: ON
Rec Area: Movie, this settings makes the picture format lever redundant if you shoot videos so you don’t need to set the dial to 16:9.
Remaining Display: movie (this is only useful at the end of the memory card)
Fn button set: For underwater use F1-Set record area F2-default(Wireless) F3-Custom memory settings
Zoom Lever: I prefer to move in steps
Control Ring: defauls
Zoom Resume; OFF very important if you have the LX100 in the short port and accidentally you zoom too much leaving this to on can compromise your dive
iA button: default
Video Button: leave to On
Eye Sensor: LVF Monitor Switch: Mon
All settings default except
Menu Resume: set to ON
Focus Area: 1 Area recommended for underwater use alternatively pinpoint for macro
Recommended Shooting Settings
As discussed I prefer 24p and therefore I leave the aperture dial to auto and the ISO setting to auto too for wide angle. Generally the camera will operate prioritizing a low ISO to a small aperture and if you touch the aperture you end up in manual exposure that may be a possibility. Shutter dial on 1/60 with shutter speed reduced to 1/50 this gives plenty to play with in terms of aperture and in bright scenes the aperture will quickly go above f/8. The focus will be fixed as you set it at the beginning of the scene however if you need to refocus you can half-press the shutter and the camera will re-focus.
For macro other considerations on depth of field apply so you need to get going with the aperture until you get a decent focus, consider that the camera does not follow any rules so in effect you will set the shutter to 1/50 and then play with the ISO until you reach the desired exposure. As you will be shooting macro with lights this should not pose a large issue. If your subject is in the center of the frame use centered weighted average metering if not you need to be careful here is where the zebra control comes very useful. In general is better to avoid under exposure and the zebra can help to ensure you prime subject is exposed correctly. For what concerns focus here you can try auto+manual as a starting point and then fine tune. Depth of field is limited so once you lose the focus it may be worth stopping and starting again instead of trying to refocus.
You can also keep the focus constant and move the camera back and forth.
I hope you find those settings useful let me know how you get on.