Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 Review

October 25, 2016 | Mark Goldstein | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 20 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 8Mb.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 produced images of excellent quality during the review period. It produces noise-free images at ISO 80 to 1600, with limited noise starting to appear at ISO 3200. ISO 6400 exhibits quite visible noise and loss of fine detail, and the fastest settings of ISO 12800 and 25600 are even noisier but still usable for small prints and web use.

The LX15 dealt extremely well with chromatic aberrations, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The pop-up flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate exposure. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 60 seconds allowing you to capture plenty of light.

Anti-shake is a feature that sets this camera apart from its competitors and one that works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. Macro performance is very good, allowing you to focus as close as 3cm away from the subject (although it's difficult to get the lighting correct at such a close distance). The new Post Focus and Focus Stacking functions both worked very well. The images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpening setting and ideally require further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting if you don't like the default results.

The large number of Creative Controls and Photo Styles allow you to quickly and easily customise the look of the camera's JPEG images. We struggled to see any differences between the Intelligent Resolution settings, but Intelligent D-range is an effective feature for capturing more detail in the shadows and highlights, as is the HDR mode. The clever Panorama mode allows you to take panoramic images very easily by 'sweeping' with the camera, with the ability to optionally apply one of the creative filters.

Noise

There are 11 ISO settings available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting for both JPEG and RAW file formats:

JPEG RAW

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)
   

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15's 3x zoom lens offers a fairly versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples.

24mm

 

72mm

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 has 2 different JPEG image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

Fine (7.84Mb) (100% Crop)

Standard (3.92Mb) (100% Crop)

   

RAW (22.5Mb) (100% Crop)

 
 

Chromatic Aberrations

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review. There's very slight purple fringing between areas of high contrast, but it's only noticeable on really close inspection, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 offers a macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 3cm away from the camera when the lens is set to 24mm wide-angle. This image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card).

Macro

Flash

The flash settings on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync., Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (72mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (72mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. Neither the Forced On or Forced On/Red-eye Reduction options caused any amount of red-eye.

Forced On

 

Forced On/Red-eye Reduction

Night

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15's maximum shutter speed is 60 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 30 seconds at ISO 125.

Night

Image Stabilisation

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 has an antishake mechanism which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, we took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with the stabilizer turned off, the second with it turned on. As you can see, with image stabilisation turned on, the images are sharper than when it's turned off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Image Stabilisation Off (100% Crop)

Image Stabilisation On (100% Crop)

1/15th / 24mm
     
1/15th / 72mm

Post Focus and Focus Stacking

Post Focus is a new function that enables users to select the in-focus area after shooting simply by touching it on the LCD screen. The first three images show the effects of switching between the three memory cards.

The new Post Focus Stacking function enables users to take multiple images of the same frame with different areas in focus, then combine all or selected focus areas into one image. The fourth image below shows the effect of merging the first three images into on stacked image.

Right

 

Middle

 

Left

 

Focus Stacking

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 - Post Focus from photographyblog on Vimeo.

Intelligent Resolution

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15's Intelligent Resolution feature e makes a standard image look like a higher resolution one by processing the contour areas, texture areas and smooth areas individually, with three different strengths available and an Extended setting which extends the zoom range.

Off

Low

   

Standard

High

   

Extended Off

Extended On

Intelligent Dynamic

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15's Intelligent Dynamic setting adjusts the exposure setting to record more detail in the highlights and shadows, with three strengths available - low, standard and high.

Off

Low

   

Standard

High

HDR

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15's HDR setting automatically akes and combines three differently exposed shots to record more detail in the highlights and shadows, with three EV strengths available.

Off

+1EV

   

+2EV

+3EV

Aspect Ratios

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 offers four different aspect ratios.

4:3

1:1

   

16:9

3:2

Multiple Exposure

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15's Multiple Exposure mode combines two or three different pictures to create one composite image.

Multiple Exposure

Photo Styles

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 has 6 preset Photo Styles, with Standard as the default setting. The contrast, sharpness, saturation and noise reduction can be individually set for each picture style, and there is also a Custom style so that you can create your own look.

Standard

Vivid

   

Natural

Monochrome

   

Scenery

Portrait

Filters

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 has an extensive range of creative Filters with 22 different options on offer.

Expressive

Retro

   

Old Days

High Key

   

Low Key

Sepia

   

Monochrome

Dynamic Monochrome

   

Rough Monochrome

Silky Monochrome

   

Impressive Art

High Dynamic

   

Cross Process

Toy Effect

   

Toy Pop

Bleach Bypass

   

Miniature Effect

Soft Focus

   

Fantasy

Star Filter

   

One Point Color

Sunshine

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