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)

iso80.jpg iso80raw.jpg
   

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg
   

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

iso125.jpg iso125raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg
   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)
iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg
   

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)
iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg

Focal Range

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

24mm

focal_range1.jpg
 

72mm

focal_range2.jpg

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)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

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)

quality_fine.jpg quality_standard.jpg
   

RAW (22.5Mb) (100% Crop)

 
quality_raw.jpg  

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)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

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

macro1.jpg

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

flash_on.jpg
 

Forced On/Red-eye Reduction

flash_redeye.jpg

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

night.jpg

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 antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg
     
1/15th / 72mm antishake2.jpg antishake2a.jpg

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

postfocus1.jpg
 

Middle

postfocus2.jpg
 

Left

postfocus3.jpg
 

Focus Stacking

postfocus4.jpg
 

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

intelligent_resolution_off.jpg intelligent_resolution_low.jpg
   

Standard

High

intelligent_resolution_standard.jpg intelligent_resolution_high.jpg
   

Extended Off

Extended On

intelligent_resolution_extended.jpg intelligent_resolution_extended1.jpg

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

intelligent_drange_off.jpg intelligent_drange_1.jpg
   

Standard

High

intelligent_drange_2.jpg intelligent_drange_3.jpg

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

hdr_off.jpg hdr_1.jpg
   

+2EV

+3EV

hdr_2.jpg hdr_3.jpg

Aspect Ratios

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

4:3

1:1

aspect_ratio_4.jpg aspect_ratio_1.jpg
   

16:9

3:2

aspect_ratio_2.jpg aspect_ratio_3.jpg

Multiple Exposure

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

Multiple Exposure

multiple_exposure.jpg

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

photo_style_01.jpg photo_style_02.jpg
   

Natural

Monochrome

photo_style_03.jpg photo_style_04.jpg
   

Scenery

Portrait

photo_style_05.jpg photo_style_06.jpg

Filters

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

Expressive

Retro

filter_01.jpg filter_02.jpg
   

Old Days

High Key

filter_03.jpg filter_04.jpg
   

Low Key

Sepia

filter_05.jpg filter_06.jpg
   

Monochrome

Dynamic Monochrome

filter_07.jpg filter_08.jpg
   

Rough Monochrome

Silky Monochrome

filter_09.jpg filter_10.jpg
   

Impressive Art

High Dynamic

filter_11.jpg filter_12.jpg
   

Cross Process

Toy Effect

filter_13.jpg filter_14.jpg
   

Toy Pop

Bleach Bypass

filter_15.jpg filter_16.jpg
   

Miniature Effect

Soft Focus

filter_17.jpg filter_18.jpg
   

Fantasy

Star Filter

filter_19.jpg filter_20.jpg
   

One Point Color

Sunshine

filter_21.jpg filter_22.jpg