So? How was the second week? Very cold, but that's not the point. Well... Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm still in love with the LX100. I tried many things against this week. Since I had a lot of positive feedback on last week's post, I decided to do a follow-up. You can read about my first week with the LX100 here.
Thursday and Friday
I got inspired after seeing a very nice video on Vimeo so I took my tripod and slider and went into the woods behind my house. I wanted to try to give a cinematic look to the 4K video coming out of the LX100. Color grading is an art as easy as playing Mozart while dragging your fingernails on a blackboard. I have soooooo many things to learn in video and color correction and grading is only one of them.
In photography, I like to expose to the right. With video, it is still a good thing to do, but too much and you clip the highlights. No RAW recovery for that. It's like trying to recover the white area of a JPEG. Nope! Can't be done! The information is gone... Bye Bye! So go easy on me because you will see some overexposed video in this post.
Anyway, here is my video from last Thursday.
My daughter had an admission test for high school next year and I had an hour and a half to kill. I found a little path just behind the school. The sun was fighting against the clouds. There was some snow mixed with sunlight. Winter is almost here and the golden hour is much longer than usual. I took some pictures and also shot some handheld video to test the stability.
There was snow falling lightly. We went outside to play with Roxy, my dog. I took some photos, did some more handheld video, froze my hands again, but it was fun. I edited the handheld video in the afternoon with a hot tea to try to put some heat back into those old bones. Overall, I think the LX100's stabilization system works fine. I am not the steadiest guy (besides the fact that I've been with my wife for almost 21 years, but again, that's not the point). The handheld video is good enough to use. With that said, I still prefer the look when it is done with a good video tripod, a slider and a steadicam. A video monopod does a very good job too, and you can move around more easily.
My little girl had a mini-basketball tournament on Monday. Perfect place to test low-light AF performance and continuous autofocus (C-AF). The lighting was awful. I always wonder who the heck is choosing the colors inside those gymnasium. Did you get a deal on the yellow-greenish bricks and decided to choose the same ugly colors for the rest of the walls? Do you really want everyone to look sick because you don't like sport yourself? Maybe he was color blind.
Fortunately, like the GH4 and GX7, it is really easy to do a custom white balance on the LX100. You select one of the custom white balance setting, point the camera to something white and hit the set button and Voilà! Done!
I shot mostly at 6400 ISO, and even then, I was a bit under-exposed (1 stop on the lay-up pictures). I was shooting at 1/500s to freeze the kids. Maybe I could have done it at 1/250s without blur. I also shot with the GH4 and the 45 and 75mm. In low light, having a fast prime is nice. Both cameras performed really well in C-AF. I did not have any rejects because of bad AF on a player moving around. I felt the lack of a touch screen for the AF area selection though. It would have been easier and faster.
Speaking of High ISO, here is a comparison I did between the LX100, GX7 and GH4. I used the Panasonic 20mm at f/2.5 on the two micro 4/3 cameras and matched those settings with the LX100. The photo below is a 100% crop of the picture I presented last week's post. I can't see any difference between the three cameras with the exception of the last picture to the right in the last row. I don't know if it is a bug, but the GH4 don't have a true 25600 ISO. It uses the 12800 ISO instead, so the photo is underexposed by 1 stop. It does that in RAW, but the JPEG is correctly exposed. This leads me to believe that it takes the photo at 12800 ISO and add 1 stop in the JPEG development process in the camera.
You can see noise in the pictures, but it retains details (when you work in RAW). IMHO, the noise is more organic than digital. It looks more like grain than noise.
I had a long day at work and popping lessons with my boy in the evening so no photos or videos today. Let's go back to last Tuesday because I forgot to show you how good C-AF is. I did not try tracking, but took those 20 pictures in continuous autofocus and it did not miss one frame. They were taken at the long end and wide open (75mm at f/2,8, ISO 200).
That day started with a very good news: Adobe updated Lightroom and it now supports the LX100 files. Yay! No more need of Exiftool to change the camera model to GX7 in the RAW files. I compared a "tricked as GX7" file to the same file imported as a LX100 RAW and could not see any difference. I tested the new version 5.7 of Lightroom with pictures of my youngest kid and my two furry girls. Everything works as it should be.
Days and weeks fly so fast when you are having fun. Like I said countless times, I love the Panasonic LX100.
I compiled a list of the pros and cons of the camera. Some things could be deal breakers for you while they would not matter to another person. As for myself, I can live easily with the cons.
There is so much feeling involved with using a camera. You can't reduce it to a list of pros and cons (even though I did that below). A camera is much more than that. You can read as many spec sheets as you want. You can analyze as many test results as you can find... But you have to hold the camera and use it to see if the connection pass and if you enjoy taking pictures with it. Professional or amateur, you need to remember that the first reason we do this is for the love of the art. Over the years, with the rush jobs and the overwhelming retouching that piles up on the hard drive, we sometimes forget that. I forgot that. My switch to micro 4/3 gave me back the joy of shooting. This camera is making me explore areas of photography I never even tried before. My wife made a comment last week that made me realize that: « You seem to enjoy taking photos again. It is fun to see you go outside and shoot anything you can find. »
Go out and shoot!
- Nice zoom range (24-75mm equivalent)
- Wide aperture f/1.7 to f/2.8
- Blazing fast autofocus
- Great image quality
- Great video quality
- Beautiful Bokeh with a Summilux look
- Lens very sharp in the center, even wide open
- Great ergonomics and solid build
- Aperture ring, shutter speed dial and exposure compensation dials make it fast and easy to change the exposure settings
- Good Image stabilization, but not as good as Olympus' 5-axis IBIS
- Leaf shutter allowing flash sync speed of 1/4000s
- Leaf shutter is almost silent and you could go in full Silent Mode with the electronic shutter
- Good ISO performances (on par with the GX7 and GH4)
- Better than expected battery life
- Same menus as the other Panasonic Lumix so it's easy to get started if you used once before
- No Touch screen
- No Tilting screen
- Borders and corners not as sharp as the center
- A bit of the tunneling effect in the viewfinder for people using glasses (like the GX7)
- Exposure compensation ring a bit too small for my taste making it cumbersome to reach when shooting
- No exposure compensation when using Auto-ISO combined to manual aperture and shutter speed
- No minimum shutter speed settings in Auto-ISO
- Awkward tripod screw position. Can't open the battery/card door with a base plate mounted
- Zoom a bit slow to extend or retract (~3 seconds from one end to the other)
- Green and purple lens flare when shooting against the sun. It gets bad at f/8 and closer
I like photography and writing. I do it for myself first, but I like to be read too (like everyone I guess). So I always wonder what people like to read and see in blog posts. My wife told me I should do a Photo Recap of the week post... Every week. I would like to hear you on that. Would you like that type of post? Do you have any suggestion to make it better? Is there something you would like to see or read about every week? You can leave your feedback in the comments on this post.
Thank you! :D