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The ultimate digital for UL control freaks?
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John Chan
The ultimate digital for UL control freaks? on 10/01/2005 07:48:59 MDT Print View

Has anyone taken a look at the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-Lx1 as a serious UL camera? Its about 220 g with battery and SD card but for serious photographers it offers a few key features lacking in the lighter consumer offerings.

1) Optical image stabilization system
2) 16/9, 4/3, 2/3 formatting options (CCD, NOT cropping)
3) Ability to shoot in RAW
4) FULL manual control of aperture and shutter speed
5) Leica Vario-Elmarit lens (pretty sharp)

Check out the recent review on dpreview:

Its about 80g (2 1/2 oz) heavier than a Pentax Optio WP and not waterproof but the versatility of this digital camera is unique for this form factor and highly seductive to the serious amateur.

So much that I recently ordered one to replace my 4 yr old Digital Elph S110.

I'll report back on its performance as I plan on using it for my yearly trip to Killarney.


kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
re. ultimate digital---not quite yet on 10/01/2005 08:34:05 MDT Print View

Looks good on paper but never get version one of anything. As dpreview stated---noise, noise,noise.
It underperforms badly at ISO ratings of over 80. You can see this on the reviews test photos.

Everything else about this camera recommends itself to the serious backcountry user--the manual capabilities, the format options, shooting in RAW (very nice) and a reasonable weight (under 9 oz.).
Leica will have a version of this camera out for next year in a slightly different form.

Perhaps, when Panosonic uses a decent sensor on this camera I'll snag it. But until then, I can only hope that Canon and the rest will be moved to produce as potentially a versatile camera as this.

The name (Lumix) has to go, too. Makes me think of lummox---as in "stupid, clumsy". ;-)

Edited by kdesign on 10/01/2005 08:49:32 MDT.

John Chan
Re: re. ultimate digital---not quite yet on 10/01/2005 08:47:44 MDT Print View

I agree that chroma and luminance noise is a problem... for a recreational user.

The simple fact that you can shoot in RAW should partially obliviate the concern over "noise". You can always use more sophisticated PC programs like Noise Ninja to fine tune that balance between "pleasantness" and "detail".

Personally, I prefer to capture the most information possible and "remove" instead of "add". With JPEG, the former is severely limiting.

My assessment.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
ultimate digicam on 10/01/2005 08:57:26 MDT Print View

John, noise ninja and other such software is simply a stopgap for poor design. as someone working in the design world, this drives me crazy.

I would prefer to have my cake and eat it,too.

Anyway, please report on how you like the camera
when you get it.

John Chan
Re: ultimate digicam on 10/01/2005 09:08:18 MDT Print View

I'll do that Kevin,

In the meantime, I'm suprise that NO manufacturer has come out with a basic method of integrating a "digital ND grad" into their product offerings. Like a Gradient ISO function at the CCD level for landscapes.

I'll be pretty upset if the "next version" of the Lx1 has such a feature... but I suppose these new innovations need time for "teething" as well.


John Chan
Re: ultimate digicam on 10/01/2005 09:24:10 MDT Print View

deleted by user.

Edited by ouroboros on 10/01/2005 09:26:15 MDT.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: ultimate digital---not quite yet on 10/01/2005 11:07:20 MDT Print View

Thanks for volunteering as a pioneer John. I'll be interested to hear (and see) how it works out.

No optical viewfinder is a deal-killer for me; otherwise it hits a lot of my hot buttons. Adobe has tipped Leica's hand on its cousin--the D-Lux 2--by releasing its RAW plug-in along with the one for the Lumix. Perhaps that version will deal with the noise problem?

I'm interested because they're going to make a Televid spotting scope adapter for it, which could give me the coolest long-range digital camera on the planet :-)

Do keep us posted.

p.s. If you're shooting RAW, I hope you have a nice storage chip collection!

Edited by halfturbo on 10/01/2005 12:20:29 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Re: Re: ultimate digital---not quite yet on 10/06/2005 17:12:59 MDT Print View

I have had a test drive of the LX1, it was a sunny day so no problem with "noise".The Leica version (Digilux2) should be out in November and will have a modified firmware for more neutral tones, the Pana is a bit over processed.See
Keep in mind that close ups look a lot better than distant shots, digital cameras with small sensors don't like grass, foliage and water, come to think of it they don't like very much.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Re: Spotting scope adaptor on 10/06/2005 17:21:17 MDT Print View

Leica will have two adaptors available soon, one specific for their cameras and a generic one.The feature I like is that you can unlock the camera and tilt it away from the eyepiece, making it easy to quickly change from viewing to shooting

John Chan
LX1 initial impressions on 10/11/2005 09:59:34 MDT Print View

Got the LX1 last week and put it through some paces during the Thanksgiving weekend. Here are my initial impressions.

1) Lens is 1st class. What you pay for in a modern Leica lens design (IMHO) is flare-resistance and this vario-elmarit is certainly that. Out-performs the lens on the Canon SD550 in a side-by-side with strong sidelighting (sun) in pictures.

2) The sensor isn't necessarily noisier than Canon's or Fuji's. There is abnormally high levels of noise in the blue channel and noise ninja actually does a poor job of retaining detail with the stock settings (picture profile). I'm planning on getting a McNally color chart to do a proper noise profile of the camera and we'll see where we go from there.

3) TIFF output is 24 bit (8 bit/channel) which is poor if you plan on using Noise ninja to maximum effect. Shooting RAW you save on file size and can convert to 48 bit for more detail.

4) ISO 80-100 is perfectly useable @ 50-66% screen (95-144 dpi) which is more than adequate for most applications unless you LOVE to crop (I don't).

5) ISO 400 is indeed VERY noisy but more luminance than chroma noise and pretty uniform across the picture so it should clean up very nicely with a proper Noise ninja profile.

6)Exposure modes are very good (matrix, center, spot) but screen preview doesn't really give an accurate expectation of the final exposure. Fortunately, the auto-bracket function (-,0,+) is intuitive to use and works very well.

7)Typical teutonic efficiency of execution of the various switches and buttons BUT one major pet peeve is the direction of the ON/OFF switch. It should be reversed to lessen the likelyhood of accidentally turning on the camera when putting it into a hip storage pouch.

8)Decent battery life... 190 pictures (combo JPEG fine, TIFF, RAW) and spare batteries are available on ebay for $4.50-$10 (depending on source). I bought 5 spares for $32 CDN (including shipping)

All in all, I'm so far pretty impressed with the camera. The excessive luminance noise in the blue channel + position of ON/OFF switch are the only pet peeves but I'll give a more definitive report after I get back from Killarney with both JPEGS and RAW both un-processed and processed through Noise Ninja Pro (with proper noise profiles).


kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Panasonic LX2 announced on 07/19/2006 21:58:17 MDT Print View

There had been some discussion of the Lumix LX1, earlier on this thread which held the promise of a relatively light digital camera that had good wide-angle capabilities, a panaramic mode, RAW format option and decent manual controls.

It's successor, the LX2, has just been announced by Panasonic. It is improved by having much better noise reduction ( the achilles heel of the earlier model) a larger LCD screen and more megapixals--10.2, up from 8.6.

The only things it lacks for me as a UL biased photographer is it's not being water resistant and not having a particularly long lens. I wish it had an optical viewfinder. Perhaps I can epoxy on a hotshoe to mount an old leica M-series finder on the top.

I'm going to snag one of these, I think.

The announcement----

Edited by kdesign on 07/19/2006 22:07:00 MDT.

Summit CO
(Summit) - F

Locale: 9300ft
I didn't buy the LX1 on 07/20/2006 13:19:14 MDT Print View

I didn't buy the LX1 because of (in order) price, noise, lack of OVF.

If either the noise or the price issues had been solved, I would have purchased.

Instead, I purchased a Canon A610 which I am VERY happy with.

I will not consider the LX2 because of it's lack of continuous shooting (2fps for 3 images... is it 1998?). Continuous shooting is one of my priorities. The LX1 had great continuous shooting. Continuous shooting is a casualty of the MP sticker game.

For those unconcerned with FPS, the LX2 could be everyhing you've dreamed for short of an OVF (which can hurt battery life, especially with a gargantuan LCD)... assuming they actually have fixed the noise issue which is somewhat doubtful when cramming 10.4MP into a 1/1.65" CCD sensor.

Edited by Summit on 07/20/2006 13:22:32 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
LX2 on 07/20/2006 13:52:28 MDT Print View

All those MPs are only utilized in panoramic mode. We shall see about the reputed noise reduction--that would be the deal breaker for me, just as it was w/ the LX1. The sensor was not the real issue, it was about the camera's processor. I wish Canon and Panasonic had a love child, though.

Burst mode is nothing I utilize in the backcountry. Product of my film based days--I'm very good at nailing what I want to shoot, even when it's moving. Primarily, the images I'm interested in aren't moving.
So, no worries.