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"Picky Details" for the Panasonic DMC-LX1 |Digital Camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

 

Timing

When you press the shutter release on a camera, there's usually a lag time or delay before the shutter actually fires. This corresponds to the time required for the autofocus and autoexposure mechanisms time to do their work, and can amount to a fairly long delay in some situations. Since this number is rarely reported on (and even more rarely reported accurately), and can significantly affect the picture taking experience, I routinely measure both shutter delay and shot to shot cycle times for all cameras I test, using a test system I designed and built for the purpose. (Crystal-controlled, with a resolution of 0.001 second.) Here are the numbers I collected for the Panasonic DMC-LX1:

Panasonic DMC-LX1 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
3.5
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. On the slow side of average.
Shutdown
3.7 - 8
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. On the slow side of average for lens retraction, buffer clearing is quite fast though.
Play to Record, first shot
0.6
Time until first shot is captured. Pretty fast.
Record to play
2.4 / 1.1
First time is that required to display a large/fine file immediately after capture, second time is that needed to display a large/fine file that has already been processed and stored on the memory card. Average.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.48 / 0.46
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Quite fast.
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.019
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. VERY fast.
Shutter lag, continuous autofocus
0.50
As usual, no benefit to continuous AF with a stationary subject, and we have no way to reliably measure AF speed with moving subjects.
Shutter lag, manual focus
0.24
Average for manual focus.
Cycle Time, max resolution, RAW/ TIFF

3.81 / 3.98

First number is for RAW files, second number is time for largest TIFF images. Times are averages. In both modes, maintains this pace until card fills, clearing the buffer after each shot. Quite fast for such large files.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution, JPEG

1.38 / 1.07

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for lowest resolution images. Times are averages. In both modes, maintains this pace indefinitely, clearing the buffer after each shot.* Excellent speed, particularly given the lack of any buffer-memory limitation.
Cycle Time, Flash exposures 5 (Flash at maximum power output) About average for this class of camera.
Cycle Time, continuous High mode, max/min resolution 0.47 / 0.46
(2.15 / 2.19 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for lowest resolution images. Times are averages. Shoots a burst of 5 frames in large/fine mode, or 9 frames at lowest resolution. Buffer clears in 2 seconds in either mode.* Good speed.
Cycle Time, continuous Low mode, max/min resolution 0.57
(1.76 fps)
Shoots at the same speed for large/fine files or lowest resolution images. Times are averages. Shoots a burst of 5 frames in large/fine mode, or 9 frames at lowest resolution. Buffer clears in 2 seconds in either mode.* Good speed.
Cycle Time, continuous "Infinite" mode, max/min resolution 0.57
(1.76 fps)
Shoots continuously at the same speed for large/fine files or lowest resolution images. Times are averages. Buffer clears in about a second in either mode.* Good speed.
* Buffer-clearing times were measured with a fast Kingston 133x SD memory card. Slower cards may produce significantly slower clearing times.

 

Power

Very good battery life.

The Panasonic DMC-LX1 uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power. Because it doesn't have a standard external power connector, we weren't able to conduct our usual power consumption tests on it. Panasonic's own numbers for the DMC-LX1 (based on the CIPA standard test procedure) indicate that you should be able to get about 240 shots on a freshly-charged battery, half of those shots using the flash. This compares very well with other cameras the LX1 competes with, but if you plan extended outings (which might involve a lot of viewing of images on the LCD screen), you may want to consider purchasing a spare battery.

 

Storage Capacity

The Panasonic DMC-LX1 stores its photos on SD / MMC memory cards, and a 32 MB card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 128 MB card, preferably a 256 MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings.) The chart below shows how many images can be stored on the included 32 MB card at each size/quality setting.

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
32 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
TIFF
RAW
2880 x 2160 Images
(Avg size)
9
3.3 MB
19
1.7 MB
1
21.3 MB
1
19.3 MB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 11:1 - -
2304 x 1728 Images
(Avg size)
15
2.1 MB
29
1.1 MB
2
13.5 MB
-
Approx.
Compression
6:1 11:1 - -
2048 x 1536 Images
(Avg size)
19
1.7 MB
37
864 KB
3
10.7 MB
-
Approx.
Compression
6:1 11:1 - -
1600 x 1200 Images
(Avg size)
30
1.1 MB
59
542 KB
4
6.5 MB
-
Approx.
Compression
6:1 11:1 - -
1280 x 960 Images
(Avg size)
46
695 KB
85
373 KB
7
4.2 MB
-
Approx.
Compression
5:1 10:1 - -

 

Download Speed

The Panasonic DMC-LX1 connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to my Sony desktop running Windows XP (Pentium IV, 2.4 GHz), I clocked it at 731 KBytes/second. This is fast enough that few users will feel any need for a separate card reader, although it isn't as fast as external readers can go, nor as fast as many cameras with high-speed USB v2.0 interfaces. (Cameras with slow USB interfaces run as low as 300 KB/s, cameras with fast v1.1 interfaces run as high as 600 KB/s. Cameras with USB v2.0 interfaces run as fast as several megabytes/second.)

LX1 Review
LX1 Test Images
LX1 Specifications
LX1 "Picky Details"
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