Panasonic LX100 Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops comparing the Panasonic LX100 with the Panasonic GM1, Canon G7X, Fuji X100S, Nikon Coolpix A, and Sony RX100 III. All of these models sit at relatively similar price points and/or categories in their respective product lineups as compact enthusiast cameras.

NOTE: These images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved, click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Panasonic LX100, Panasonic GM1, Canon G7X, Fuji X100S, Nikon Coolpix A, and Sony RX100 III -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Panasonic LX100 to any camera we've ever tested.

Panasonic LX100 vs Panasonic GM1 at Base ISO

Panasonic LX100 at ISO 200
Panasonic GM1 at ISO 200

Here, we compare the fixed-lens LX100 to its compact interchangeable-lens cousin, the Panasonic GM1, as they likely use the same or very similar sensors. The GM1 offers slightly higher resolution since it uses more of its 16MP Live MOS sensor (about 15.8MP vs 12.7MP) so the elements in the LX100 crops look a bit smaller, however fine detail from both cameras is very good at base ISO. Interestingly, the LX100 image is a bit crisper and colors are rendered somewhat differently, but the GM1 does a touch better in the red-leaf fabric. (Note that although the exposures look different, middle gray levels are closely matched between the two, so the apparent exposure difference is due to slightly different tone curves and color mapping.)

Panasonic LX100 vs Canon G7X at Base ISO

Panasonic LX100 at ISO 200
Canon G7X at ISO 125

Above, we compare the 12.7-megapixel "4/3" sensored LX100 to the 20-megapixel 1"-type sensored Canon G7X. The resolution difference is much more apparent here in both the relative element sizes and the higher detail from the G7X in all three crops at base ISO. But while the Canon's resolution is higher, noise is also a little higher, as you can see in the background of the bottle shoulder crop. The G7X applies slighter stronger sharpening, though, which tends to exacerbate noise. Still, the Panasonic's larger pixels pay off in terms of slightly lower noise already at base ISO when comparing at 100% like this, but the G7X still wins with better detail.

Panasonic LX100 vs Fuji X100S at Base ISO

Panasonic LX100 at ISO 200
Fuji X100S at ISO 200

This comparison is perhaps a bit unfair given the Fuji X100S price premium, but at the time of writing, the X100S is available on sale for about the same price as the LX100. Here we see that the Fuji's larger 16-megapixel APS-C X-Trans II sensor produces lower noise levels (particularly chroma noise), but it doesn't really resolve any additional detail in most areas. Fine detail in the mosaic crop is actually a little better from the Panasonic despite the lower resolution, but the Fuji does better with fine detail in the red-leaf fabric.

Panasonic LX100 vs Nikon Coolpix A at Base ISO

Panasonic LX100 at ISO 200
Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 100

Here's a comparison to a 16-megapixel APS-C sensored compact with a 28mm eq. prime lens, the Nikon Coolpix A. The Nikon does resolve more detail as well as produce lower noise at base ISO, but its advantage over the LX100 is perhaps not as great as one would expect at base ISO, in part due to the Nikon's rather conservative image processing.

Panasonic LX100 vs Sony RX100 III at Base ISO

Panasonic LX100 at ISO 200
Sony RX100 III at ISO 125

Here's another comparison to a 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor, this time from the company that started the category. Here again we see Sony's 20MP sensor clearly out-resolve the Panasonic, but the camera is working harder to control noise, producing a somewhat more "processed" looking image. The Sony does however do noticeably better in the red and pink fabrics.

Panasonic LX100 vs Panasonic GM1 at ISO 1600

Panasonic LX100 at ISO 1600
Panasonic GM1 at ISO 1600

As expected, image quality from both Panasonic cameras at ISO 1600 is quite similar, though again, the slightly higher resolution from the GM1 is apparent, but mostly just in the size of the elements within the crops. Both blur subtle detail in the red-leaf swatch quite a bit, with the LX100 blurring it a bit more.

Panasonic LX100 vs Canon G7X at ISO 1600

Panasonic LX100 at ISO 1600
Canon G7X at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, we see the LX100 start to pull ahead of the G7X with better detail despite the lower resolution, as well as lower luma noise. The Canon does a little better with controlling chroma noise, though. Both struggle with the red-leaf fabric.

Panasonic LX100 vs Fuji X100S at ISO 1600

Panasonic LX100 at ISO 1600
Fuji X100S at ISO 1600

Similar to base ISO, the Fuji produces a cleaner, smoother image with almost no chroma noise, but both show very good detail in most areas for this sensitivity. However, the X100S does much better in the red-leaf fabric as the LX100's default noise reduction blurs it quite a bit.

Panasonic LX100 vs Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 1600

Panasonic LX100 at ISO 1600
Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 1600

Again, differences in tone curves and color handling make the Coolpix A looks quite a bit brighter in this comparison, but middle gray is closely matched and the same aperture and shutter speed were used. While the Nikon clearly does better with the red-leaf fabric, elsewhere it's a much closer contest, though the Nikon applies less aggressive noise reduction and sharpening, producing a softer but more natural looking image.

Panasonic LX100 vs Sony RX100 III at ISO 1600

Panasonic LX100 at ISO 1600
Sony RX100 III at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, the LX100 does noticeably better than the RX100 III, producing a crisper, more finely detailed image all around. The Sony's looks a little drab in areas, and has a much more "processed" look. The RX100M3 does however do a little better in the red-leaf fabric.

Panasonic LX100 vs Panasonic GM1 at ISO 3200

Panasonic LX100 at ISO 3200
Panasonic GM1 at ISO 3200

Again, similar performance from the two Panasonics apart from the slight resolution difference, though at this ISO, it's clear the LX100 applies slightly stronger default noise reduction, particularly in the red channel.

Panasonic LX100 vs Canon G7X at ISO 3200

Panasonic LX100 at ISO 3200
Canon G7X at ISO 3200

Once again, the LX100 comes out on top in this contest, with better detail, lower noise, and better color, but both struggle reproducing any fine detail in our red-leaf fabric.

Panasonic LX100 vs Fuji X100S at ISO 3200

Panasonic LX100 at ISO 3200
Fuji X100S at ISO 3200

Here we see Fuji's X100S really shine at ISO 3200, producing lower noise, better detail and great color. And there's simply no contest in the red-leaf fabric.

Panasonic LX100 vs Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 3200

Panasonic LX100 at ISO 3200
Nikon Coolpix A at ISO 3200

The Nikon leaves behind higher noise levels (both luma and chroma), but noise "grain" is more film-like, and it also renders more detail in the mosaic crop and especially in the red-leaf fabric. We'll give the edge to Nikon, but it's difficult to make a call on which is better overall, as it's really up to the viewer's tastes.

Panasonic LX100 vs Sony RX100 III at ISO 3200

Panasonic LX100 at ISO 3200
Sony RX100 III at ISO 3200

Here again the LX100 comes out on top despite its resolution handicap. The RX100 III image is noisier with more noise reduction artifacts as well greater saturation loss. And while there's slightly better contrast in the red-leaf swatch from the Sony, it actually appears as if it's almost smeared horizontally.

Panasonic LX100 vs. Panasonic GM1, Canon G7X, Fuji X100S, Nikon Coolpix A, Sony RX100 III

ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Coolpix A
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. High-contrast detail is also important, pushing the camera in different ways, so we like to look at it too. As expected, at base ISO, the higher-resolution Canon G7X and Sony RX100 III come out ahead with better detail and definition than the LX100. The Nikon A, Fuji X100S and Panasonic GM1 also do a little better, but not by much. It's interesting to note that aliasing artifacts are however more visible from the LX100 in other areas of the label, an indication it likely has no or a very weak optical low-pass filter. At ISO 3200, contrast is still good from the G7X, but it starts to have difficulty resolving the fine lines, and the Sony RX100 III even more so. The two Panasonics continue to do well, though, as do the Fuji and Nikon. At ISO 6400, the two Panasonics and the Fuji come out ahead. The Nikon does well too, but its wide-angle lens distorts the image such that the fine lines aren't as level, making them more difficult to resolve at the higher ISOs. The higher-resolution G7X and particularly the RX100 III struggle to resolve the fine lines as they combat higher noise levels from their smaller pixels.


Panasonic LX100 Print Quality

Very good 24 x 36 inch prints at ISO 100/200; a nice 13 x 19 at ISO 1600 and a good 4 x 6 at ISO 12,800.

ISO 100/200 prints are quite good at 24 x 36 inches, with crisp detail and rich colors.

ISO 400 shots look good at 20 x 30 inches, retaining good detail throughout our test image. 24 x 36 inch prints aren't bad, with only a minor trace of noise in a few areas, and can generally be used for less critical applications.

ISO 800 yields a good 16 x 20 inch print, which is a nice size for this ISO. There is a definite softening of contrast in our tricky red fabric swatch, common in most cameras by this sensitivity, and mild noise in a few flatter areas, but a very nice print all around.

ISO 1600 makes a nice 13 x 19 inch print, with only mild softening in the red fabric swatch and minor noise in the shadowy areas of our test target.

ISO 3200 produces an 11 x 14 inch print similar to the 13 x 19 at ISO 1600, and is a good size for this ISO, especially compared to most compact cameras! Most contrast detail is now lost in our red swatch, and there is minor noise in the usual flatter areas, but still a good print altogether.

ISO 6400 prints just pass our "good" standard at 8 x 10 inches. This is a sensitivity most compact cameras struggle with, but the LX100 handles it better than most. The most noticeable artifact is that there is a slight loss in saturation, but the amount is negligible and easily returned in post-processing if so desired.

ISO 12,800 yields a good 4 x 6 inch print for this ISO and sensor type.

ISO 25,600 prints are not usable and this sensitivity is best avoided when possible.

The Panasonic LX100 turns in an impressive performance in the print quality department, especially considering that it comes from the ranks of compact cameras. Starting with solid prints at 24 x 36 inches at base ISO (limited in size primarily by the relatively low 12.7-megapixel resolution) and then moving up to a good 8 x 10 inch print at ISO 6400, this camera can certainly deliver high quality prints. Most issues noticed are common for cameras with 4/3" sensors, and the LX100 stands in the same league with most of the best in the Micro Four Thirds class despite the fact that it doesn't use the entire sensor, and well above the crowd of traditional compact cameras.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Testing hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)


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