Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Review

 
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Operation

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2's user interface is straightforward enough that it shouldn't require more than a relatively short learning curve if you read through the included manual. The Mode dial on top of the camera sets the main exposure mode, and the Four-Way Arrow pad on the rear panel provides quick access to some of the main camera functions. Welcome on the LX2 is the Joystick controller, which serves navigational purposes but also lets you quickly set the exposure in the manual and partial manual exposure modes. The LCD menu system is fairly concise and simple to navigate, when you do need to delve into it.

Record Mode Display: In any record mode, the LCD display shows either the image area with information (exposure mode, flash mode, metering mode, ISO, quality and resolution, battery, available images, memory, optical stabilization mode, and any other optional settings), image with information and live histogram, alignment grid, and image with no information modes. Pressing the Display button cycles through the available displays. When the information display is active, it reports battery life, resolution and image quality settings, the number of available images, the specific Record mode, orientation, and a handful of exposure settings (including the predicted aperture and shutter speed). Through the Record menu, you can choose between two grid styles, turn off the histogram, and turn off the recording information.

Playback Mode Display: Playback mode also offers three display modes, including the image only, the image with limited information (quality and resolution, memory, filename, series number, and date and time), and the image with expanded information (exposure settings) and a histogram. The camera's Setup menu also offers a blinking highlight display mode, which flashes any overexposed areas of the frame. You can also display nine or 25 thumbnail images at a time with the index display mode, as well as access a calendar display mode. Playback zoom enlarges the image by up to 16x.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Modes and Menus

Record Mode: In Record mode, the Panasonic LX2 can capture still images or movies, with a range of options available through the Record menu. The Exposure Mode dial sets the camera to Scene, Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, or Movie exposure modes. The LCD menu -- accessed by pressing the Menu button in any Record mode -- provides the following exposure options (some options are not available in all modes):

Record Menu: Available in all Record modes, but depending on camera setup, it may take a second press of the Menu button to access the menu from the Scene modes (the first displays the Scene menu). The three-page Record menu offers the following selections:


  • White Balance: Sets the white balance to Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Halogen, Flash, White Set 1, White Set 2, and White Set modes. (White Set isn't a separate white balance mode, it's just the option for manually setting the white point that's selected by the Manual option.)

  • White Balance Adjust: Displays an adjustment grid for tweaking the color balance toward green, amber, magenta, or blue.
  • Sensitivity: Adjusts the camera's sensitivity setting. Choices are Auto, Intelligent ISO Control, 100, 200, 400, 800 or 1600 ISO equivalents.
  • Picture Size/Mode: In still Record modes, options for the 4:3 aspect ratio are 7.5M (3,168 x 2,376), 6M (2,816 x 2,112), 4M (2,304 x 1,728), 3M (2,048 x 1,536), 2M (1,600 x 1,200), and 1M (1,280 x 960); in 3:2, they are 8.5M (3,568 x 2,376), 7M (3,248 x 2,160), 4.5M (2,560 x 1,712), and 2.5M (2,048 x 1,360); and in 16:9, they are 10M (4,224 x 2,376), 8M (1,920 x 1,080), 5.5M (2,816 x 1,584), and 2M (1,920 x 1,080). In Movie mode, 4:3 options are 10 or 30 fps in either VGA (640 x 480) or QVGA (320 x 240) size; 16:9 options are 15 fps at 1,280 x 720, 10 or 30 fps at 848 x 480 pixels.
  • Quality: Determines the compression and file format used to record the image. Options include RAW (uncompressed), Fine (low compression to maintain image quality), and Standard (high compression to optimize the number of pictures you can store on the card).

  • Audio Recording: When enabled, causes the camera to record five seconds of audio with each still photo. (Audio recording isn't available when shooting auto bracket, burst mode or when quality is set to RAW.)
  • Metering Mode: Selects between the default Multiple (which reads the whole screen), Center-weighted (which gives priority to readings from the center of the screen), and Spot (which bases exposure on the reading of the spot target in the center of the screen).
  • AF Mode: Sets the Autofocus mode to Nine-Area Focusing, Three-Area Focusing (High Speed), One-Area Focusing (High Speed), One-Area Focusing, or Spot Focusing.
  • Continuous AF: When enabled, the camera continually focuses on the scene, helping you to compose the image. If the AF mode is set to One-Area focusing or Spot focusing, half-pressing the shutter button will more quickly set focus.
  • AF Assist Lamp: When enabled, the AF assist lamp illuminates under low light conditions to help find focus.

  • AF/AE Lock: Sets the AF/AE Lock button to either AF, AE or AF/AE.
  • Digital Zoom: Enables or disables the digital zoom option.
  • Color Effect: Selects a color effect, with options of Cool, Warm, Black and White, Sepia, or Off.
  • Picture Adjust: Allows Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation, and Noise Reduction adjustments of either High, Standard or Low.
  • Flip Animation: Creates 5 or 10 fps motion picture files of 320x240 pixels up to 20 seconds long without sound.
  • Clock Set: Sets the camera's internal clock and calendar, with options for the display format as well.

Scene Menu: If designated through the Setup menu, this set of five menus automatically appears whenever the Panasonic LX2 is switched to the SCN. If turned off, pressing the Menu button when in either scene mode calls up this page. For each Scene mode option, you can press the left arrow button to receive a brief description of the mode.

  • Portrait: Utilizes a larger aperture to decrease the depth of field, and emphasizes flesh tones, resulting in a sharply focused subject in front of a slightly blurred background.
  • Soft Skin: Detects and softens skin tones for more flattering portraits.
  • Scenery: This mode fixes focus at infinity, and is best for capturing wide vistas and landscapes.
  • Sports: Employs a faster shutter speed to "freeze" fast-moving action.
  • Night Portrait: The camera uses a slower shutter speed for better color in night shots. However, the flash is set to Slow-Sync with Red-Eye Reduction mode.
  • Night Scenery: In this mode, the camera slows the shutter speed to as long as eight seconds, capturing more ambient light and preserving color in darker exposures. (The flash is disabled and a tripod recommended.)
  • Self Portrait: This mode is for holding the camera in front of you for a self-portrait, and enables the two-second self timer. (Wide zoom setting recommended.)
  • Food: Enhances certain colors to make food look more appealing.
  • Party: Best for taking pictures under dim indoor lighting with a flash, you can select between Forced Red-Eye Reduction and Slow-Sync Red-Eye Reduction modes. Biases white balance for indoor lighting.
  • Candle Light: Allows yellow cast from candlelit scenes to stay yellow to keep the mood, rather than making the light white. Because of the slower shutter speed, a tripod is recommended.
  • Fireworks: Here, the camera uses a slower shutter speed and enhances color slightly to capture the full pattern and color of fireworks. A tripod is also recommended here.
  • Starry Sky: For long exposures of the night sky. Be sure to use a tripod with this mode.
  • Beach: Prevents underexposure of the subject under strong sunlight, preserving color.
  • Aerial Photo: For taking pictures through an airplane window.
  • Snow: Similarly to Beach, this mode adjusts the white balance and exposure to counter the bright snowy areas of the scene, preventing the camera being fooled into underexposing the shot.
  • High Sensitivity: ISO goes as high as 3,200 to reduce blurry images of moving subjects especially when shooting indoors. Beware of high noise in shots taken in this mode.
  • Baby 1: Options include With Age, Without Age, and Birthday Set. Thus, you can track the age of your child in each photo.
  • Baby 2: As with the mode above, this mode allows you to set the birthday of a second baby.

Playback Menu: This three-page menu is only available in the Review mode. It lets you erase, protect, and rotate captured images or movies; or set up images for printing on a DPOF compatible device. The Play menu offers the following selections:

  • Slide Show: Automatically plays all images or only DPOF selected files in a slide show format. You can designate the display interval for images from one to five seconds, set a transition effect, and audio can be enabled or disabled.
  • Favorite: When enabled, adds photos to a Favorites list, from which you can run a slideshow including only the Favorites.
  • Rotate Display: Selects whether images that were tagged as rotated by the camera's orientation sensor, or using the next menu option, should be shown rotated on the LCD display.
  • Rotate: Rotates captured images 90 degrees clockwise or counterclockwise
  • DPOF Print: Marks individual or multiple images for printing on a DPOF compatible printer, or cancels marking of images.

  • Protect: Write-protects the currently displayed image, protecting it from accidental deletion, except by card formatting. There's also an option for protecting multiple images at once, or to cancels protection of images.
  • Audio Dub.: Lets record a brief audio clip to attach to the currently reviewed image.
  • Resize: Lets you resize an image to a smaller resolution and save a separate copy.
  • Trimming: A cropping function, this option lets you "trim" an image and save it as a separate file. To trim the image, you use the Playback zoom and pan functions to select the area of the image that you want to retain on the display, and then press the Shutter button to save the cropped image.
  • Aspect Conversion: Converts the current image to either a 3:2 or 4:3 aspect ratio.

  • Copy: Copies images from internal memory to flash memory card and vice versa.
  • Format: Formats the SD/MMC card or internal memory, erasing all files (including those that were protected using the Protect menu option).

 

Setup Menu: The four-page Setup menu provides universal camera control options that remain the same in both Record and Playback modes, though some functions are only available when accessed in Playback mode. Following are the available settings:

  • Clock Set: Adjusts the camera's internal clock and calendar, with an adjustment for the display format.
  • World Time: Lets you set the Home time and Destination time, so that you can track time in two cities when traveling.
  • Monitor: Controls the brightness of the LCD display.
  • Grid Line: Accesses display options for the Record Info, Histogram, and Grid Pattern. You can disable or enable any of these.
  • Travel Date: Lets you record the date an image was taken when on vacation. In addition to the time, the date display will also include "First Day" or "Second Day" to differentiate what day of the trip the image was captured on.

  • Auto Review: Enables an automatic playback of captured images, with display times of one or three seconds, or a review screen with a zoom function. You can also turn the review off.
  • Power Save: Disables the camera's power save option, or sets the camera to turn itself off after one, five, or 10 minutes.
  • Economy: Controls the LCD display to conserve on battery power. Options are Off, Level 1 (LCD turns off after 15 seconds of inactivity), or Level 2 (LCD turns off after 15 seconds or five seconds after snapping a picture).
  • MF Assist: Enables a focus assist page, options are Off, MF1, or MF2. In MF1, the center of the screen is enlarged only, while MF2 mode enlarges the entire image.
  • Beep: Turns the camera's beep sounds off, or sets the volume to low or high.

  • AF Beep: Turns the AF beep sound off, or sets the volume to low or high.
  • Shutter: Disables the shutter sound, or sets the volume to low or high.
  • Volume: Controls the camera's playback volume.
  • Number Reset: Resets file numbering, with an option to cancel.
  • Reset: Resets all camera settings to their defaults, with an option to cancel.

  • Highlight: Turns on a blinking highlight display in review mode.
  • Video Out: Sets the video out signal to NTSC or PAL.
  • TV Aspect: Sets the playback aspect ratio to 16:9 or 4:3, depending on your television set. (For use with video playback of images.)
  • MF M/Ft: Sets the manual focus measurement to meters or feet.
  • Scene Menu: Designates whether the Scene menu automatically appears on entering the mode, or by pressing the Menu/Set button.

  • Language: Sets the menu language to English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Simplified Chinese, or Traditional Chinese.

 

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