It may look like a relatively minor update over its predecessor, but Panasonic’s latest enthusiast-focused compact is still an excellent camera
Lumix LX100 II: Viewfinder and screen
If there’s one area where the LX100 II falls behind, however, it’s in how you view the world while you’re shooting. As on the LX100, the viewfinder employs a 16:9 panel, so it’s only fully utilised when you’re shooting video or panoramic stills. As you switch to narrower aspect ratios, the edges of the finder get increasingly blanked-off. As a result, its impressive sounding 0.7x magnification drops to 0.6x at 3:2, and just 0.53x at 4:3. So while the specs suggest you’re getting a biggest-in-class viewfinder, in reality it normally provides much the same size view as those in the Canon G1 X III and Sony RX100 V.
The panel also uses a phase-sequential design, which means that rather than having separate red, green and blue sub-pixels, it creates an illusion of full colour by displaying each of these primaries in quick succession. Much of the time this works well, but if you’re panning to follow a moving subject, or simply blink, it can result in a coloured ‘tearing’ effect. Some people find this really difficult to live with, so if at all possible I’d recommend trying it before you buy. On a more positive note, the display calibration seems much more realistic compared to the original LX100, meaning you’re no longer confronted by a high-contrast, over-saturated rendition of the world.
As for the rear screen, it’s been updated to a 1.24-million-dot unit that’s now touch-sensitive. Unlike the viewfinder, it has a 3:2 proportion, so less of the area is wasted when switching between aspect ratios. The screen is bright, clear and colour-accurate, and the touchscreen is highly responsive.
The problem though is that it’s fixed in place, with no articulation whatsoever. This is disappointing on a camera this size, and a serious disadvantage compared to the competition. I’ve got used to flipping out a screen whenever I see an overhead or low-angle shot, but the LX100 II makes shooting such scenes far more awkward than it should be. A tilting screen is also great for unobtrusive shooting, for example with street photography. Fitting such a screen would necessarily result in a slightly larger camera, but that’s a trade-off I’d happily take. It’s not as if this would make the LX100 II significantly less portable; you’ll be carrying it in a bag or large coat pocket anyway.