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Cameras

Panasonic LX100 II improves on one of our favorite compacts

Panasonic brings the four-year-old Lumix LX100 up to date with a higher-resolution Four Thirds sensor and current features.

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The Panasonic Lumix  LX100 has been one of my go-to compact camera recommendations for what seems like forever, although it's really been four years. Panasonic has now finally updated it, replacing the 12.8-megapixel Four Thirds sensor with a 17-megapixel version that doesn't have a blurring optical low-pass filter and incorporating Panasonic's latest features. (Actually, it's a 21.8MP sensor, but but because the camera supports multiple aspect ratios the effective resolution is lower).

Panasonic expects to ship the LX100 II in October for $1,000 (directly converted, £775 and AU$1,360). But if that's too pricey for you, the original will be staying around, and currently goes for $600 or so (around £500 and AU$750)

Most of the upgrades copy the GX9; it incorporates the same sensor and Venus Engine image processor, as well the addition of Panasonic's 4K Photo burst mode, post focus and focus stacking with a new Light Composition mode (which merges burst shots to improve the tonal range of the final photograph).

Relative sensor sizes

Lori Grunin/CNET

Other updates include:

  • Touchpad AF (the ability to use the LCD for touch focus while looking through the viewfinder)
  • New monochrome profiles
  • Bluetooth for connecting and remote shutter
  • USB charging
  • New grip material
  • Increase to 10 programmable function buttons 
  • Time mode increase from 2 minutes to 30

The Four Thirds sensor (17.3 x 13mm) in the LX100 models definitely provides a step up in photo quality from the 1-inch sensor (13.2 x 8.8mm) popular in most advanced compacts these days, but by the same token Fujifilm's new XF10 offers a bigger APS-C sensor (23.5 x 15.8mm) for a lot less money -- $500. But the XF10 also has a fixed focal-length lens compared to the 24-75mm f1.7-2.8 on the LX100 and LX100 II, which makes it less practical as a general-purpose camera.

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