Category Archives: Panasonic LX100

Panasonic DMC-LX100 More Info and Reviews

Like the LX7 the LX100 has a multi aspect sensor. This means that the diagonal field of view does not change in the various aspect ratios.

The camera is a micro 4:3 so the sensor size is half of a full frame sensor at 18×13.5 mm. However only part of this is used by the camera more specifically 13.7×10.3mm are actually used in the same aspect ratio.

Resolution 4112×3088 in 4″3 format

When the aspect ratio changes to 16:9 although the diagonal field of view remains the same the horizontal pixel count increases

Pixel count at 16:9 Aspect Ratio

Now we have 4480 horizontal pixels and 2520 vertical so the horizontal field of view is wider than in the 4:3 or 3:2 aspect ratios.

This means that at normal 1080p the camera will perform like a normal 3:2 sensor at 22.9mm. All of this to say that the LX100 like the LX7 are wider in movie mode than the Sony RX100 Mark III despite the lens is declared at 24mm in both cases as when we go to 16:9 the Sony crops the sensor and goes to 25mm whilst the Panasonic cameras stay at 24mm. So even at 4K 16:9 the LX100 will be marginally worse than the RX100 Mark III at 26mm vs 25mm. Note that the crop is 2.56x at 4:3, 2.47x at 3:2 and 2.38x at 16:9.

We don’t have details about wet lenses yet but for the solution with a dome like the Ikelite housing or the Nauticam mini dome we are talking about a maximum field of view of 79.52º at 4K which is acceptable for most cases.

The challenge like with the Sony RX100 Mark III is at telephoto end were 81mm in 4K is quite little. Panasonic has however the option of the iZoom that was pretty useful with the LX7 and that crops down to a ‘normal’ 1920×1080 which promises to be pretty good with a 2x digital zoom with scaling.

In DxoMark sensor test the LX100 scored the same of the RX100 Mark II and III with a minimal improvement in low ISO.

Which in shorts leaves to the conclusion that unless you need 4K the Panasonic LX100 is not going to be your wonderful underwater camera however if you can process the 100 mbps IPB files that the camera produces, the result when scaled down to 1080p has got so much more quality compared to other 1080p cameras.

The lack of the ND filter compared to the previous LX7 is a miss, but Panasonic though that at f/16 there are anyway the 3 stops so performance will not suffer, we disagree with that as surely diffraction will be substantial at f/16 and we rather have less depth of field near the surface than more.

Let’s face it, the LX100 is half the cost of the GH4 if you use the nauticam housing and this is before the GH4 has added lenses and ports, the GH4 will give you richer color and probably 2/3 step ISO improvement and much more if you use an external recorder but the LX100 is the 4K camera for the consumer and we are looking forward to a full operational housing from Nauticam, Recsea or any other!

 

 

Panasonic DMC-LX100 Ikelite Housing

The American manufacturer is the first to reach the market with a polycarbonate housing for the Panasonic LX100.

Specifications

  • 200 ft (60m) depth rating
  • Controls for all camera functions except Diopter Adjustment Dial, Aspect Selector Switch, Front Control Ring, and Focus Selector Switch
  • Ikelite 5-pin bulkhead with TTL circuitry
  • Near neutral buoyancy in fresh water
  • Weight 4.7 lb (2.1 kg)
  • Dimensions 7 x 6 x 6 in (18 x 15 x 15 cm) including projections
  • 3.9-inch (99 mm) diameter glass lens port

The first thing that we notice is that not all controls are accessible, is this going to be an issue?

Diopter Adjustment Dial – this is normally set fixed

Aspect Selector Switch – this does not change during the dive

Front Control Ring – this controls manual focus and is important

Focus Selector Switch – this switches between macro and normal focus mode an is important if you don’t use a close up lens

As the LX100 with a 24mm lens is not going to be really a photographer dream Ikelite could have spared an expensive TTL converter but I requested confirmation from the manufacturer and they said only a TTL version is planned – not good for us!

Ikelite LX100 Front View
Ikelite LX100 Front View

The housing looks a bit bulky as usual but considering that for video we access a limited set of controls this is not going to be a major problem except maybe the rear metal buttons.

Rear View
Rear View

Probably the best feature of this housing are the accessories.

The housing comes with a large 3.9″ flat round port that per-se is not good for much, however you can add the WD-4 Dome and the macro M67 adapter to improve matters. The WD-4 dome is a glass removable dome that is sharp and will restore the lens field of view and allow for some zooming, the macro adapter allows to mount M67 close up lenses as a push on.

Probably the feature that will miss the most is the focus mode switch as the rest can work quite nicely with focus lock.

Cost wide the housing is $750 with the WD-4 and the Macro adapter this totals at $1115 plus taxes.

The nauticam housing is rumored to be $1,100 without ports so this ikelite housing could be competitive and we like the port system a lot for simplicity even if the choices are a bit limited as all in all this is good enough for video if combined with a selection of diopters. The lack of the focus mode switch could create some challenges in portrait work with the bare port but a series of mid range close up lenses can fix the issue.

Panasonic DMC-LX100 Housing and More

So the LX100 gets the highest score for a compact camera on dpreview with a staggering 85%

Full details are here

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonic-lumix-dmc-lx100

Of particular interest are the video grab comparisons

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonic-lumix-dmc-lx100/8

In my opinion the 4K mode of the LX100 is as good as the GH4 there are however fewer options and control and rolling shutter seems to be an issue with the LX100.

Nevertheless the 4K video mode blows the Sony RX100 series away in any version so I guess for land use the Panasonic DMC-LX100 truly is the camera to beat.

I have been waiting patiently for housing and now is confirmed that Nauticam will come up with a housing in early 2015. Wetpixel has a special on Dema on their news section and this has images of the LX100 housing prototype.

http://wetpixel.com/articles/wetpixel-coverage-dema-2014/P1

The housing has a changeable port system similar to a micro 4/3 and 3 ports were shown at Dema

Panasonic LX100 Flat Port

The rectangular flat port is very similar to the Recsea housing for the Canon G series.

Many people get very excited to read that the LX100 has a minimum focussing distance of 3 cm at wide end but this is as such not so exciting as it seems. Due to the wide field of view of 84º diagonal this means that the area captured at the minimum distance is somewhere in the region of 1:1.25 reproduction ratio. So this is not real life macro. This compares to the much smaller area of the older LX7 that had a 1.25:1 and as such offered super macro out of the box (though nobody would shoot macro at wide end or be 1 cm away from the subject).

Which means that the LX100 will need diopters with this flat port to achieve macro and more specifically a close up lens with power in water of 10 to achieve macro. This corresponds to the Subsee 10 or the Inon UCL100 or the Nauticam SMC.

The flat port is nothing to get very excited as in water the camera will behave as a 32-100mm equivalent lens camera and a field of view of only 68º.

The other option displayed was a mini dome port.

Nauticam LX100 Mini Dome Port

This looks around a 4″ dome, if this is the case the camera will not only maintain the land focal length 24-75mm but also potentially be compatible with a flip diopter as the one used with the micro 4/3.

This is a hope more than a guess, Nauticam please ensure you can apply a flip diopter to the dome port as that would be the best all round option for this housing. As previously noted 24mm is wide enough for reef scenes and with a +10 diopter, and possibly an additional +5 or +6 this becomes a great solution for underwater video. At 4K the focal length changes to 26-81mm which is still acceptable.

24mm is not enough for wreck dives or whale sharks so here it comes the wide option.

Nauticam LX100 Wide wet lens

I am not sure if this port will work at all with the zoom but it is declared to offer 110º and therefore a 0.63x magnification.

Nauticam has declared that standard wet lenses do not work with the LX100 and hence they have come up with this specific port system.

Looking at the G7X housing this seems to be just a special adapter with a set of wet lenses more than real ports

Nauticam G7X Housing

Anyway we will have to wait but my favorite option would be the mini dome especially if the flip diopter holder for 4″ dome can be used.

If this is not the case I would have a major problem with this housing as the lens out of the box is not good enough to be used as is. I am slightly confused also by that weird rectangular port considering that 32mm is not wide enough for anything I can’t comprehend the reason for its existence.

We will have to wait and see. I have contacted Nauticam asking if the dome can have a flip diopter holder. Will keep you posted

Final Note: the Panasonic LX100 is not an option for stills as the RX100 Mark III, a 24-75mm lens is not good enough and the lack of fisheye options combined with the short zoom is definitely a no go.

Right now for stills I would still consider the Sony RX100 Mark II as the winner until we get confirmation of that lenses can the Canon G7X use.