Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1
- Different aspect ratios, great pictures, good battery life, all the features you could want
- Button layout difficult
A great advanced camera that packs a lot of features into a reasonably small package.
Price$ 1,099.00 (AUD)
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With a massive 8.4 megapixel resolution, Panasonic's Lumix DMC-LX1 is one of the most powerful cameras in its category. It comes sporting a 4x optical zoom, widescreen photo aspect ratio (16:9) and a popup flash.
When we first fired the camera up, we could only find an option to shoot at a maximum of 6 megapixels. Upon closer inspection we discovered the only way to shoot with the camera's full capabilities was to shoot in a 16:9 aspect ratio.
We liked the option to shoot at 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9. It is rare you have the option to shoot in different ratios so we applaud Panasonic for including this. The changeover is easy to make; a small switch on the top of the lens toggles between ratios.
The lens is the most prominent feature of the camera. The DMC-LX1 is a very small camera for its resolution; when placed next to the likes of the Olympus C-7070, it is absolutely tiny. If it wasn't for the impressive zoom lens it could easily be mistaken for a compact model.
It is a pity the model doesn't look as good as some of Panasonic's other cameras. The chassis is matte silver and fairly conventional in shape. The button layout is, unfortunately, similar to that of models like the Panasonic DMC-FX9, which means those with big hands could have problems navigating the menu. Panasonic has also decided to stray from the embedded function wheel back to an external wheel on the top of the camera. It's a shame to see them revert back to what we consider an inferior setup.
One new control feature is the navigation stick. This small thumb stick directly above the directional pad is used to change certain settings and move around different options on the screen. It felt quite responsive in our tests and takes up barely any room, so it gets the thumbs-up from us.
Picture quality was outstanding, as would be expected from such a powerful lens and CCD. Panasonic really seems to have a great grasp of colour balance. Reds and blues were displayed vividly, but not overpoweringly, and there was enough differentiation in greens and browns to make them easily stand apart in foliage shots. The contrast and sharpness was also beautiful, but during our tests very dense subjects sometimes tended to come out with a slightly blocky effect. Situations where this occurred were rare, however, and overall we were very satisfied with the quality of the pictures.
This camera has all the features one could want. It offers both aperture and shutter priority shooting modes, as well as a full manual shooting mode. The shutter speed ranges from 60 seconds all the way down to 1/2000th of second. The camera also supports 14 scene modes and a fully automatic mode.
The menu was reasonably easy to navigate, although it changed depending on the shooting mode we were using, which we found a little irritating.
Battery life was quite good. It lasted through 742 consecutive shots in our tests, which is a little better than average.
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