Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Review

Review Date: October 10th 2005

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Page 1
Introduction / Features
Page 2
Ease of Use
Page 3
Image Quality
Page 4
Sample Images
Page 5
Design
Page 6
Specifications
Page 7
Conclusion

Conclusion


Ratings (out of 5)
Design
4
Features
4
Ease-of-Use
4.5
Image Quality
3.5
Value for Money
3

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 is an evolution of a very unique, innovative and intriguing camera, the DMC-LX1. The new model has the important addition of a 16:9 wide-screen LCD which matches the sensor, making the DMC-LX2 a true wide-screen camera. It still offers a choice of image aspects, from wide-screen 16:9 to the more conventional 4:3., so if you are interested in panoramic photography, but also want to take "normal" images (albeit at a reduced resolution), then the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 is a great choice. Other improvements over the original DMC-LX1 are less noteworthy - you may not use the extra scene modes, for example. The DMC-LX2 is actually a backwards step in some respects, most notably the fastest shutter speed which drops from 1/4000th to 1/2000th, and slower continuous shooting. The DMC-LX2 still offers a wealth of advanced features that all serious photographers will love, with a faster RAW mode and better software.

The one area where I hoped that Panasonic would make significant improvements was image quality, specifically the issue of noise, and that's certainly something that Panasonic claim to have rectified, with the introduction of the new Venus III image processing engine and an extended ISO range of 100-1600. Unfortunately the DMC-LX2 carries on the same old unwanted Panasonic tradition. Previous Lumix models have suffered from noisy images at relatively slow ISO speeds, and I'm afraid the DMC-LX2 with its 10 megapixel sensor is no exception. As Panasonic have attempted to keep up with their competitors by increasing the megapixel count, they have also had to try and hide the increased noise levels. The slowest ISO speed of 100 on the DMC-LX2 is perfectly fine, but ISO 200, which isn't exactly a fast speed, displays some noise, with ISO 400 being both noisy and blurred as the camera attempts to mask the noise. ISO 800 and 1600 should simply be avoided if possible. Panasonic claim that they have "dramatically reduced the noise levels that challenged its predecessor", the DMC-LX1, but only by introducing a water-like quality to images shot at ISO 400 and faster. The optical image stabilisation system partially makes up for the noise problems, in that you can take a photo at a slower ISO speed and therefore a slower shutter speed, and still get sharp results, without adversely affecting the battery life too much. But it isn't a complete solution. Panasonic's other attempt to alleviate the noise issue, the new High Sensitivity mode which provides a fastest ISO speed of 3200, is not successful because the image resolution is automatically reduced, resulting in much smaller print sizes.

The persistent noise issue unfortunately therefore makes the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 a premium-priced product that doesn't produce premium results. Although cheaper than the LX1 was at launch, you have to remind yourself that this camera costs just over 300, which is nearly as much as a Nikon D50 DSLR with a kit lens (which has fallen in price over the last year). Without all that noise, the DMC-LX2 would be an expensive but still unique and worthwhile purchase. As things stand, I would wait for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 and hope that Panasonic cures the achilles heel of the DMC-LX2.

Page 1
Introduction / Features
Page 2
Ease of Use
Page 3
Image Quality
Page 4
Sample Images
Page 5
Design
Page 6
Specifications
Page 7
Conclusion

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