Informal Camera Comparison: Panasonic LX100 vs. Nikon D4
Seeing... -- Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/1000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Seeing...
...Double -- Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
...Double

Paul Barr at the Toji-in Temple (等持院) in Kyoto, Japan, in photos taken by two different cameras (whose names are included in the data under each photo).

最近小さいカメラ(パナソニックLX100)を買いました、サイクリングをする時に使うと思います。 僕の普通のカメラ(大きいなニコンのD4)と比べると質はどうでしょうか。京都市等持院でテストをしました、同時二つのカメラを使って、だいたい同じ写真二枚撮っ。結局LX100は結構良かった。この記事写真の下にカメラ名が付いている。

When I started cycling earlier in the year, I brought along my big Nikon D4, carried slung across my back like this so that I'd have it ready to shoot when I wanted (like this).

It's a heavy camera to carry, especially on steep uphill mountain rides, but I like the quality of photograph that it allows me to get. I don't think I'd be able to get these kinds of shots with a smartphone.

But the D4 is big, so for some of the more mountainous rides like this, I reverted back to my older, lighter Nikon D700.

Still, I hoped for something a lot lighter without sacrificing too much image quality, and after some mild searching, decided to give a Panasonic LX100 a try. Among other reviews, the review at DP Review was glowing, and this camera won out on its Enthusiast Compact Camera Roundup, which looks at compactish cameras from the point of view of someone used to a high-end SLR.

In the conclusion to the roundup they declare the LX100 the best with:

The LX100 offers just about everything you could ask it to: a fast, bright lens with an adequate zoom range, a large sensor, and well-thought-out, responsive controls. DSLR and mirrorless slingers searching for an all-in-one compact that will satisfy their needs for control and image quality will not be disappointed with the LX100

Good enough to give it a try.

The first thing I did when I got it was set it to record images in raw and not JPEG (because working with the raw sensor data gives you so much more latitude to work with in post processing, and to recover from exposure disasters that might happen).

Other than that I've not done much more than skim the 332-page manual, so I'm sure I'm not using the camera to its potential, but I'm quite pleased with it so far.

The first cycling outing I used it on was this jaunt with Manu, and then on the 330km ride around Lake Biwa, but before those I put it head to head with my Nikon D4 on a trip to the Toji-in Temple (等持院) with Paul Barr and Damien Douxchamps, a wonderful hidden treasure location that I learned about on a tour with NORU last month.

I tried to take comparable shots, and processed them in Lightroom to taste. It's a very unscientific test... sometimes I screwed up the exposure on one or the other, and had to recover it in Lightroom, but this is what I do anyway, so it's a real-world (for me) test.

Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/1250 sec, f/2.2, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/320 sec, f/4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1600 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/100 sec, f/1.4, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/100 sec, f/9, ISO 110 — map & image datanearby photos
Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/100 sec, f/6.3, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/7.1, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/100 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/5, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Toji-in Temple (等持院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/500 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Overall, given the convenient size and reasonable quality, I'm happy with the camera. I still need to understand more on how to use it best.

I've only two complaints so far. One is that you can't easily set the time to the exact second, something important when you intend to combine photos with those taken with another camera, or when you intend to geoencode the photos from a tracklog. You'd think that when you set the time to a specific minute, the seconds would start at :00, but it doesn't seem to be that way all the time. I haven't figured out a pattern yet.

The second is that I'd like to have the lens ring, which you can have perform a variety of functions, always be manual focus. That's what the ring does when you're specifically in manual-focus mode, but I'd like it to override autofocus mode temporarily and dump me into manual-focus mode if when activate it.


All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

There should be a setting in the custom menu called “AF+MF” that automatically turns on manual focus-by-wire (and adds peaking and/or focus zoom, if you have those turned on) with a half-press of the shutter button (or the back focus button it you have that set). I use this a lot on my GX7.

Excellent, that’s exactly what I was looking for (except I was looking in the wrong place). Thanks! —Jeffrey

— comment by Benjamin Moore on June 17th, 2015 at 8:29am JST (2 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Am I correct in thinking that you put the ISO selector on ‘automatic’ for these images?

Second question: Did you notice any latency between pushing the shoot button and then having the shutter activate?

I put everything on automatic except aperture (to match how I shoot with the D4, which is Aperture Priority with Auto ISO turned on), though it’s easy to accidentally knock the Shutter Speed dial from Automatic to Bulb, which make for some confusion as it made it appear the camera was broken until I figured out what was happening. I haven’t noticed a lag except for focus acquisition, which in many cases feels instant. —Jeffrey

— comment by Tom in SF on June 17th, 2015 at 9:39am JST (2 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

First off I love your ride reports.

I was wondering how you mount the LX100 when riding, do you use the same sling as with the D4 (a Blackrapid?) or a lighter solution (around the neck?). I’m considering the LX100 to replace my GM1 as the lack of manual controls is getting a little frustrating while riding.
I use it with its strap, which I loop over my neck and one shoulder. It swings around to my back when I’m not using it, and mostly just disappears from consciousnesses until I need it. —Jeffrey

— comment by Mat on January 26th, 2017 at 9:07pm JST (7 months, 26 days ago) comment permalink
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