We are living in bountiful times. Especially if you're on the lookout for a small camera with a superb lens - and 4K shooting capability
Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, along came Panasonic with the LX100: a camera that, by some accounts, almost makes you feel guilty for paying such a low price.
It builds on a formula perhaps started by Sony's RX100, with a very good lens and a great sensor. The LX100 has a 4/3 inch sensor with 16 megapixels, of which only 12.5 million are used when shooting, but which allows a wide range of aspect ratios including 4:3, 1:1 and 16:9. So, although this is by today's standards a relatively low number, the noise floor should be very low.
Panasonic's latest entry to this competitive arena boasts a Leica 11mm F1.7 - 2.8 24-77mm. Our friend Andrew Reid from EOSHD loves the camera:
"That lens - it's utterly astounding".
Andrew has written a short but enthusiastic review which you can see here
Among the other plus points for the camera are low weight, long batter life, and, of course, 4K video, which some are saying is essentially the same quality as the top-selling GH4. It uses the same "Venus Engine" as the Gh4 and the FZ100: it's a quad-core processor. It has the DFD ("Depth from Defocus) autofocus system as other Panasonic cameras, with a very short 0.14 sec focusing time.
4K video is recorded at 3840 x 2160 at 100Mbit/s in MPEG 4. Full HD is recorded at 50p in the PAL version and 60p elsewhere.
There's also a "4K Photo Mode" which makes it easy to select 3840 x 2160 still JPEGs from a 4K video - and this works at any of the selectable aspect ratios (4:3, 3:2, 1:1 and 16:9).
This certainly does seem like a great package in a very solid body. There are, some downsides. Some reviews report a purple flare issue when shooting towards the sun. And while the 4K video mode is laudable, there's no audio input for a mic, which will limit the LX-100 to shooting B-roll unless you have an external recorder.
Most of all, this does seem to be a photographer's camera. That's not to detract from its 4K video ability: if anything it adds to it, because this is a camera that you can take with you and know that you have both video and stills covered.
But still photographers will love the selectable aspect ratios and the range of fully manual, dedicated controls.
It will be interesting to see if and how the other manufacturers respond to this.
We'll write a full review as soon as we get our hands on one.
The LX100 costs £699/$899
Cinematographer Benjaminn Todd captured the city of Berlin in 4K with the LUMIX LX100
(Select the 2160p version to see 4K)