The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10 is a prosumer compact camera with a large 1-inch image sensor that competes with the likes of Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V and Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II.
The LX10 is not a successor to the two-year-old Panasonic LX100 - my personal favourite - but rather the four-year-old LX7.
Like the LX7, the LX10 does not have an electronic viewfinder (EVF).
The LX100 and Sony's RX100 V both come with it, and an EVF is something I think many photography enthusiasts prefer to use when composing photos.
In this sense, the LX10 is more similar to G7 X Mark II, which does not have an EVF but has a touchscreen display (the latter feature is not found in the LX100 and RX100 V).
While the LX10's touchscreen display cannot be tilted down, it can be flipped upwards 180 degrees, making it ideal for selfies.
It has a Leica 24-72mm f/1.4-f/2.8 lens, which has a focal range almost the same as that of the RX100 V, and slightly shorter than the G7 X Mark II's.
This range means you will not be able to capture football action from the stands, but it is good enough for street or travel photography.
The LX10's light weight and pocket size means you can carry it for your travels without adding too much burden on your shoulder.
It can be charged via its micro-USB port, so you don't need to carry a separate battery charger.
Despite its compact size, it has all the controls and buttons you can think of.
At the top, there is a mode dial, a command dial, a zoom lever and a dedicated video-recording button.
Around the lens in front, there is an aperture ring and the zoom ring. In manual mode, you can easily change aperture with the aperture ring, and shutter speed using the command dial.
At the right rear of the camera are four directional buttons that doubleas shortcut buttons to white balance, exposure compensation, drive mode and macro mode.
The display button and three customisable function buttons are also here.
Overall handling is good for a compact. Just be careful of slippage, as the body is all metal with no rubberised grip.
This camera starts up in 1.7sec and shuts down in 2.4sec.
Those times are average, given that most compact cameras typically take 2sec for each operation.
Using an SD card with a writing speed of 45MB per second, I shot14 RAW images in 1.4sec before the buffer ran out. Impressive.
Autofocusing (AF) is almost instantaneous in bright sunlight.
In dim lighting conditions, it took about 1sec to get the focus right using the AF assist light.
Image quality is top-notch. The photos I took were full of detail and with colours accurately rendered throughout its focal range.
Image sharpness depends on focal length and aperture size. I found softness at the image's edges compared with its centre, when using f/1.4 at 24mm.
But the edges get sharper when the aperture is set smaller at f/2.8. LX10's image noise performance is stellar for a compact camera.
There are no visible noise artefacts until ISO 800. At ISO 1,600, the noise artefacts become more visible.
But the loss of details is not apparent and the pictures are very much usable.
But at ISO 3,200, the detail loss is clearly evident.
The camera captured 4K full high-definition videos with terrific sharpness. Videos had minimal ambient and wind noises.
Battery life is slightly below average at around 260 still images on a full charge.
But you can always charge it using a power bank, like a smartphone.
Verdict: The Panasonic LX10 is a superb compact camera for travel or everyday use, if you can live without an electronic viewfinder.
IMAGE SENSOR: 20.1-megapixel 1-inch CMOS
DISPLAY: 3-inch touchscreen LCD with 1,040,000 dots
LENS: 24-72mm f/1.4-f/2.8
SENSITIVITY: ISO 100-25,600
SHOOTING SPEED: Up to 10 frames per second
WEIGHT: 310g (body with battery and memory card)
BATTERY LIFE: 3/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
This article was first published on Dec 28, 2016.
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