It may look like a relatively minor update over its predecessor, but Panasonic’s latest enthusiast-focused compact is still an excellent camera
Panasonic Lumix LX100 II: Verdict
Testing the Lumix LX100 II left me with somewhat mixed feelings. On the one hand, it reminded me of just how great the LX100 design is; the chunky body feels really good in your hand, and the analogue dials positively encourage you to take more creative control over your photography. This is aided by the fast zoom lens, which provides greater scope for selective focus and background blur than those on its main rivals, the Sony RX100 V and the Canon G1 X Mark III. In combination with the effective image stabilisation, it also allows hand-held shooting in very low light. The unique multi aspect ratio sensor with its prominent selection switch adds further to the appeal.
However, I was also perpetually reminded of the design’s failings. As a habitual viewfinder user, I find Panasonic’s 16:9 field-sequential EVF rather less pleasant to use than those on its direct competitors, and the view becomes decidedly small when shooting 4:3 ratio images. Just as importantly, whenever a low or high-angle shooting opportunity presented itself, the fixed screen hindered my efforts to take advantage. It’s really disappointing not to have an articulated screen on a camera this large, especially when Sony provides one on the pocket-sized RX100 V.
On a more positive note, the various updates certainly add up to a better shooting experience compared to the original LX100. The extra sensor resolution is very welcome, while the touchscreen and additional customization options improve the usability no end. Finally the addition of Bluetooth brings connectivity right up-to-date. So while there’s not necessarily one killer feature to justify the substantial premium that the II commands over the original, the cumulative improvements mean that it makes a decent case for itself.
As a result, the LX100 II should still appeal strongly to enthusiast photographers looking for a small camera that isn’t merely a point and shoot. It’s just a shame Panasonic didn’t try that little bit harder to make it the standout leader in its class.