Tag Archives: Sony RX100

First Look at Panasonic LX100

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I really have to commend our local London Camera Exchange stores (here in Lincoln), they usually manage to get hold of the latest photographic gear quite early and they are also quite happy for me to spend a few minutes trying out some of their gear too. I guess it helps that I am a good customer. 🙂

With the introduction out of the way they recently managed stock the Panasonic Lumix LX100, this is the final new compact camera that I wanted to try out. Like all of the other cameras this one was very light and also on the border of being too small; in fact it was too small for my friend Mike who has normal sized hands. The camera did have a nice solid feel too it, there was no creaking and it would certainly take a few knocks before it came to harm.

I tried out the viewfinder and like the RX100 it was really too small, I don’t like these teeny-tiny EVF (electronic viewfinders) that are now appearing on these compact cameras; they border on being too small to use I have to squint my eye to view them, this is not comfortable. I applaud and appreciate that these are becoming more common and I prefer them to be present over not having them but I am not sure if they will ever be used. The one on the Fuji is the smallest I would like to use and that also goes for the Olympus Stylus-1 as well.

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Panasonic have gone retro with the LX100, we have an aperture ring on the camera as well as a shutter speed dial (both have an “A” setting allowing anything from full manual to aperture/shutter priority and full program) and we also have an exposure compensation dial too. I like the fact that the aperture dial on the lens has a protrusions to allow quick and precise changes by “feel” but otherwise I am not a fan of aperture rings and shutter speed dials.

Like all of the cameras these days the LX100 has WiFi and Panasonic can make good iOS/Android software so should allow full control, picture transfer amongst other capabilities.

Now on to the main selling point of this camera, Pansonic unlike Sony and Canon went with a four-thirds sensor in this camera which is much larger. If they allowed the whole senior to be used the lens that they would have to use would have been much larger than the one they fitted (a 24-75mm f1.7-2.8) so instead they took a leaf out of their older LX camera series and allowed just some of the sensor to be used whilst at the same time allowing different aspect ratios. Unlike other cameras they didn’t have to crop off parts of the sensor they just used different parts of the larger sensor – this is quite ingenious.

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So the camera offers up to an effective 12MP as well as four aspect ratios as follows – 3:2; 16:9 1:1 and 4:3 (the megapixel rating does vary slightly spending on which ratio you choose). Like the LX series the ratio selector is located on the lens itself. I played with all of these and I cannot see why I would vary this much, I was happiest with 4:3.

The camera didn’t have a card fitted so I couldn’t try out the 4K video recording or the 4K picture mode either.

One thing I did like was that this is a true Lumix camera and is controlled just like the Lumix G series cameras so if you have an investment in them you will get on fine with this camera.

The 24-75mm lens is a OK range (if a little limiting) and is controlled via a rocker switch around the shutter release button or a further rotating ring around the lens. So we have an aspect ratio selector, an aperture ring, a user-selectable rotating ring and finally an focus mode selector all around the lens, fortunately this didn’t seem cramped. I have to say although there were no annoying clicks the ring didn’t seem right, the resistance was off and it seemed very slow. If you go into Manual-focus mode the ring controls focus and this by comparison was very nice – strange. Unusually for a Panasonic camera, there was a dedicated macro focus mode on the focus selector and it did allow very close focusing – nice.

I also tried many of the various modes on the camera – there is a plethora of AF modes (face detection, etc) and drive modes too. I don’t see this camera limiting you in any way as there is little missing. Typically for a compact camera the tripod socket was off-centre from the lens axis and the SD card socket was in there with the battery compartment – I hate that. 😦

So all in all what did I think? I didn’t “connect” with the camera even though it is very feature-laden, has one of the largest sensors out there and does 4K video. My favourite new camera is Fuji X30, I prefer the camera’s larger size and viewfinder. It is also cheaper at £480 vs £699, I know that this is a little apple vs oranges but I prefer the larger and therefore more comfortable size.

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My overall favourite compact camera on the market? This would be a close run thing between the Fuji and the Olympus Stylus 1 (£399), although the Stylus will most likely be updated early next year. When I am a position to purchase one I will have to do some extensive testing and try them out side by side.

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First look at Fujifilm X30

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As is usual for a Monday I visited my favourite coffee shop Caffé Nero which is not far from the Silver Street branch of London Camera Exchange store.

On the way back I usually have a quick look in the window to see if they have anything new and to also have a look at the second hand section. Whilst I was in there I noticed that they had the new Fujifilm X30 in the compact cabinet. It wasn’t long before I had the camera in hand to “play” with.

If you didn’t know the X30 is the 3rd edition of this model in Fujifilm’s line-up and whilst last year’s update was quite minor (X10 to the X20), this year’s model has had quite a bump in features. Just like Canon and Sony this camera has an “X” in the name but at least they have been doing this product when adding an X to the model number was quite a new idea.

Like the Canon Powershot GX7 I had not seen this camera before. My first impressions were very positive; it’s larger than the GX7 and the Sony RX100 models and has a slight handgrip. I have a major problem with anything that is so small it becomes too small. The Canon is too small, the Sony is borderline too small, the Fujifilm is “just right”.

Like the other cameras that are in vogue at the moment this one has a lot of metal and it gives the camera a nice heft and like the size is just the right amount. I wouldn’t like to use the camera for too long without a wrist strap of some kind but that could just me being paranoid about dropping the X30.

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The X30 has a mode dial and exposure compensation wheel on the top plate, it has retained the screw-in cable release socket of its forbearers and now has a dedicated microphone/cable-release socket although it is only 2.5mm and not the full 3.5mm socket. Unlike the Sony and the Canon, the power and zoom functions are controlled by the zoom-ring at the front of the camera, you rotate this from the off position to the wide-angle focal length setting to switch the camera on and then rotate clockwise or anti-clockwise to adjust the focal length between 28mm and 112mm, the aperture is unfortunately variable from one end to another but the difference isn’t that great either (f2.0 at 28mm to f2.8 at 112mm).

I’m not sure how, but Fujifilm have managed to cram an integral “pop-up” flash, a full hot-shoe, a mode dial, exposure compensation wheel, shutter release and video record function all on the top-plate whilst also offering an EVF on the rear of the camera. Cram might be too strong a word here as it doesn’t feel cluttered or too close together.

And yes! The X30 now has an EVF instead of the parallax inducing optical viewfinder of the previous X10 and X20 models. This is clearly a superior EVF to the one on the Sony; Fujifilm have managed to fit a large 2360k-dot, 0.39in OLED panel in there whilst the Sony has to make do with a small (too small if you ask me) 1440K dot device..

Where the X30 might lack is in the sensor department; both the Sony and Canon have 20MP 1” sensors whereas the X30 only has a 12MP 2/3” X-Trans CMOS II sensor with no optical low pass filter. In real terms this probably doesn’t make agreat deal of difference but the camera will have less detail in some pictures.

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Like the Sony and Canon, the X30 has a tilting 3.0″ LCD screen (920K-dot) and this was nice, clear and lag free. The X30 also has a control ring around the throat of the lens (behind the zoom-ring) and this was just gorgeous, it had click stops but these were artificial and could be switched off if unwanted. This was buttery smooth and is reason enough to choose this over the Canon model – did I say I hated the wheel on the Canon camera? I cannot remember.

The controls on the rear of the camera were logical and if you will feel right at home if you have another Fujifilm camera particularly if it is one of the the X series models. The Q button is one of the best controls as it gives you access to all of the commonly changed controls and it is now customisable too. The final control that was a genius addition is the button on the front of the camera that allows you to quickly adjust the function of the front lens control wheel – it’s not buried in a menu somewhere.

So all in all I really liked this camera and my choice of compact would come down to this model or the Olympus Stylus; I also have a choice of silver or black. I’m afraid that the RX100-mkIII and Canon G7X are simply not on my sort-list. I still need to try out the Panasonic LX100 but this hasn’t shown up yet, my first try of the might be at the LCE Photo and Optics show in 2½ weeks time.

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Whilst the Canon G7X tries to compete with the Sony RX100-III and fails, the Fujifilm X30 gives the prospective purchaser/user something slightly different and at a much cheaper price point too.

On the subject of the cost, the Fujifilm X30 is £479, this is in the same range as the Olympus Stylus 1 which costs is between £435 and £450. These prices illustrate that the Sony and to a lesser extent the Canon may be out of touch here. The Canon G7X is £580 whilst the Sony RX100-MkIIl costs £699. The only real advantage that these cameras have is the 20MP 1” sensor; it may be that this is very important requirement in which case you have to pay a bit more otherwise save you money as the real world difference will be negligible in most cases.

Side-note: at the moment the Fujifilm X30 comes with a free leather case from most retailers (i.e. LCE and WEX)

I will leave you with a YouTube video from Digital Rev. Whilst I really like the Fujifilm X30 over the RX100 (and G7X) does Kai agree with me? Watch and find-out:

Follow up to my first look at the Canon G7X

Following on from my first look late last week about the Canon G7X here, “The Camera Store” posted their video review of the Canon G7X and compared it to the Sony RX100 MkIII. This was published late yesterday and I wanted to share their thoughts about the comparison with you here:

They seem to make a lot of the points that I made, but they also did some image comparisons too and I was a little surprised by the results.

First Look at Canon G7 X

PowerShot G7 X FRA
Today as I walked past the Silver Street London Camera Exchange store I noticed that they had a box for the new Canon “Powershot G7 X”, I have to say I’ll be happy when the camera manufacturers stop feeling the need to insert the letter “X” in their camera names; it’s starting to become a bit stale. I also noticed how similar this name is to the Panasonic Lumix GX7 – its not confusing is it 🙂

So I popped in and asked if I could have a go of the new model, this is the first time I saw the camera in the flesh (or is that metal). First impressions were that this model was a hybrid between the Powershot X series of cameras and the Powershot S series. It had a nice solid feeling and all of the controls seemed logicalcally placed – I like the fact that we get a mode dial.

The “big” feature of this model it has a large 1″ sensor just like Sony’s RX100 and RX10 cameras. It also has a “flippy” screen that allows the photographer to take selfies:
PowerShot G7 X FSL Flash Up LCD Up 180

There was also a control wheel around the lenses throat that can be used to adjust exposure or other camera settings; however, as you turn the wheel you hear a mechanical clicking noise. The wheel doesn’t spin quickly you need to use a bit of force to rotate the ring. Did I say that the clicking noise is very annoying? You couldn’t use the camera and use the control wheel in a quiet environment – bad decision Canon!

The other big issue that I have with the camera is that it is simply too small. I don’t have the biggest hands in the world but I had a real problem trying to come up with a grip that allowed you to firmly hold the camera and not have part of your hand rest on one of more of the rear buttons.

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As you can see from the picture above, the rear thumb-rest is flush with the buttons so doesn’t help much. So all in all Canon have released a 1″ sensor model but there are too many things that I don’t like.

Canon did price the G7 X quite competitively at £580 which is firmly between Sony’s similar RX100 models, the RX100-MkII is £489 and the RX100-MkIII is £699. The RX100-MkIII does however come with a viewfinder. The G7 X comes off as a “me too” product. Did I say that the clicking noise of the lens control wheel was annoying?