Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Review

 
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Optics


Lens

Zoom
A wide 4x optical zoom range, with good performance from the Leica lens.

28mm 112mm 4x Digital Zoom (4:3)

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2's optical zoom covers the equivalent of a 28-112mm range, which is dramatically wider than the average consumer digital camera, especially in 16:9 ratio mode. The Leica lens performed well at wide angle, with only minor corner softness or coma distortion. (A tiny amount of coma distortion and chromatic aberration is visible in the leaves against the sky, but the results are actually quite good here.) The camera's 4x digital zoom also performed well. Though there is some loss of resolution and fine detail, overall results are not too shabby for digital zoom.

Macro
Excellent macro performance with very good detail and resolution. Flash exposure is quite uneven, however.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2's macro setting performed very well, capturing a very small minimum area of 2.30 x 1.73 inches (59 x 44 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both excellent, with only minor softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The position of the flash results in a strong overexposure in the top left corner, and a strong shadow in the lower right corner. Thus, you'll most likely want to take advantage of external lighting for your closest macro shots.

Distortion
About average barrel distortion, fairly low pincushion.

This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto). The DMC-LX2's 0.7% barrel distortion at wide angle is about average among the cameras we've tested, although it is still fairly noticeable in some images due to the 16:9 ratio. At the telephoto end, the DMC-LX2 produced about 0.26% pincushion distortion, which is reasonably low.

Barrel distortion at 28mm is 0.7%
Pincushion at 112mm is 0.26%

Chromatic aberration
Moderately high to high.

Wide: High and very bright,
top left @ 200%
Wide: High and very bright,
lower right @ 200%
Tele: Moderate, less bright,
top left @200%
Tele: Moderately high and brighter,
bottom right @200%

Chromatic aberration is moderately high to high depending on the zoom setting. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) The effect is noticeable in several of our test shots.

Corner Sharpness
Very little blurring in the corners of the frame, compared to center, at both zoom settings.

Wide: A hint soft in the
corners (upper left)
Wide: Sharper at center
Tele: Also a hint soft in the
corners (lower right)
Tele: A tad soft at center

The DMC-LX2 produced only very slightly soft corners at both zoom settings, though the effect really wasn't strong enough to worry about in the camera's images.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Excellent accuracy with the LCD monitor, though some tweaking required during framing to get the right shot.

28mm eq., LCD 112mm eq., LCD

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2's LCD monitor proved very accurate, showing about 103% frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 99% at telephoto. Though these numbers are good, our tester reported that getting the framing right is actually a bit tricky, as the viewfinder shifts the image up and to the left. So take note when ultra-tight framing is critical. Note: these shots are taken at 4:3, but since we measure viewfinder accuracy top to bottom, these numers still work.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 Photo Gallery.

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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