Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Review
Review Date: October 10th 2005
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 is the second-ever compact digital camera to feature a 16:9 ratio CCD sensor, following on from the original LX1 model that was released back in 2005. The 16:9 format is perfect for viewing on your widescreen TV or just for achieving a more panoramic effect. Panasonic have sensibly added a wider 2.8 inch LCD screen to the DMC-LX2 to match the ratio of the sensor. The Panasonic LX2 also offers more conventional 3:2 and 4:3 ratio images via a switch on the lens barrel, achieving these sizes by removing 1.5 megapixels and 2.5 megapixels respectively. Other improvements on the Panasonic DMC-LX2 include a 10 megapixel sensor, new Venus III image processing engine, extended ISO range (100-1600), 18 different scene modes and SDHC memory card support. The Panasonic LX2 also retains a wealth of options that will appeal to the more serious photographer. A 4x optical zoom lens from Leica which starts at a wide-angle 28mm, optical image stabilizer, full range of manual exposure controls, compact all-metal body and both JPEG and RAW image formats are all on offer. So does the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 significantly improve on the original LX1 model, and is it the right compact digicam for you? Find out now by reading our extensive review.
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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 has a 10.4 megapixel, 1/1.65 inch CCD that delivers 10.2 effective megapixels. There are 3 different aspect ratios on offer (16:9, 3:2 and 4:3) each with a range of image sizes. In the 16:9 aspect ratio, there are 4,224 x 2,376 pixel, 3,840 x 2,160 pixel, 3,072 x 1,728 pixel and 1,920 x 1,080 pixel sizes. In the 3:2 aspect ratio, there are 3,568 x 2,376 pixel, 3,248 x 2,160 pixel, 2,560 x 1,712 pixel and 2,048 x 1,360 pixel sizes. In the 4:3 aspect ratio, there are 3,168 x 2,376 pixel, 2,880 x 2,160 pixel, 2,304 x 1,728 pixel, 2,048 x 1,536 pixel, 1,600 x 1,200 pixel and 1,280 x 960 pixel sizes. All of these different configurations can be recorded as either Fine or Standard quality JPEGs, or RAW files. The camera's 4x Leica DC Vario-Elmarit optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 28-112mm lens on a 35mm format camera. There is also a 4x digital zoom should you feel the need to use it. MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) is available with 2 different modes. The camera has built-in memory and also supports SD Memory Cards, SDHC Memory Cards and MultiMedia Cards.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 offers Auto and Program exposure modes plus 18 different scene modes (Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Self-Portrait, Food, Party, Candle, Fireworks, Starry Sky, Beach, Aerial photo, Snow, High Sensitivity, Baby1, Baby2). More advanced shutter priority, aperture priority and manual exposure modes are also available. The maximum aperture is f2.8 (wide) – f4.9 (tele), and the shutter speed range is 60 secs. – 1/2000 sec. There are 4 ISO speeds ranging from 100 to 1600 and an Auto option. The Intelligent ISO Control option detects the subject's movement and automatically adjusts the ISO setting and shutter speed to best suit the subject movement and the lighting conditions. There are 3 different White Balance presets to choose from (Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Halogen, Flash and White Set1/2), plus an Auto setting and White Balance Adjustment (150K step, -1500K - +1500K). The camera offers exposure compensation in ± 2 in 1/3 EV steps and auto-bracketing is available (+/- 1/3 EV -1EV step, 3 frames). The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 offers 3 different exposure metering options - Intelligent Multiple, Center Weighted and Spot.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 has a normal shooting mode, Self-timer (2 secs. or 10 secs.) and 2 different Continuous modes - High (2 fps) or Low (1 fps), with a maximum of 5 images in Standard JPEG Mode and 3 images in Fine JPEG Mode for both modes. Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness and Noise Reduction can all be adjusted in 3 levels (Low, Standard, High). There are also 4 different colour effects available (Cool, Warm, Black and White and Sepia). The Macro setting allows you to focus on subjects that are as close as 5cms. The camera offers 5 auto-focus metering systems - 1 point, 1 point high speed, 3 point high speed, 9 point and Spot - and you can choose from Normal/Macro, Continuous and Manual focus. An AF assist lamp helps to achieve focus in low-light situations. The built-in flash offers 4 different modes (Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced On/Off). The flash range is 60cm - 4.9m at the wide-angle lens setting and 0.3m - 2.2m at tele-photo. Flash compensation can be set in ± 2 in 1/3 EV steps.
To compose your images, you can use the LCD monitor - there is no optical or electronic viewfinder. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 has a 2.8 inch Polycrystalline TFT LCD Display which has 207,000 pixels and offers 100% scene coverage. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 can record movies with sound at 16:9 Aspect Ratio: 848 x 480 pixels, 30 fps / 10 fps, or 1280 x720 pixels, 15fps, and at 4:3 Aspect Ratio 640 x 480 pixels or 320 x 240 pixels, both at 30 fps or 10 fps. Video is recorded in the Quicktime with audio format. The length of the video is only limited by the size of the memory card that you are using. You can also record a 5 second voice memo and attach it to a still image. A histogram is available in both shooting and playback modes. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 supports the DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) and PictBridge printing standards, and it connects to a computer via USB 2.0.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2's dimensions are 105.7 (W) x 55.8 (H) x 26.3 (D) mm, and it weighs 187g without the battery and storage card fitted. The camera is powered by a Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 1150mAh), which has an approximate CIPA battery life of 300 shots. There is a metal tripod mount in the left of the bottom of the camera.
Finally, the standard box kit contains a Battery Charger, Battery Pack, Battery carrying case, Lens Cap, Lens Cap Strap, AV Cable, USB Connection Cable, AC Cable, Strap, and CD-ROM (containing LUMIX Simple Viewer, PhotofunStudio -viewer-SILKPIX DEVELOPER STUDIO ArcSoft Camera Suite (ArcSoft PhotoImpression, ArcSoft PanoramaMaker) Adobe Reader, Quick Time, USB Driver). Note that you can only store a single image at the highest quality JPEG setting on the built-in memory. You will therefore need to invest in some memory cards to store your images on.
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