The camera includes optical image stabilisation, allowing you to shoot hand-held in lower light conditions.
Another way in which the Lumix LX100M2 camera differs so very much from most compact cameras is that just about all the stuff you’d expect to do on a high-end camera you can do on this one. With reasonable convenience. Perhaps the weakest part is that zooming is by means of a “W/T” toggle around the shutter release. That means a certain imprecision in frame size.
Aperture is set by a ring on the barrel of the lens, with an “A” setting for automatic. There’s a dial on top for choosing shutter speed (with an “A” setting) and another dial for exposure compensation. ISO is set via the control arrow cluster.
You can choose manual focus by means of a switch on the lens barrel. The focus ring is smooth and focus assist via edge highlighting is on by default. Not on by default, but worth switching on, is AF+MF. This is the same as auto focus, but you can tweak the focus manually while on a half-press. That’s great for doing things like focusing on a bird, when the auto focus is concentrating on the twigs of the tree in front of it. Also on the barrel is a switch for several different aspect ratios.
Intelligent Automatic to the rescue
If you set the camera in “iA” mode – that’s intelligent automatic, in which it assesses scenes and tries to choose appropriate settings – all manual settings are overridden except for focus and exposure compensation.
There are also a number of assignable buttons.
But there was a problem. For a right hander like me, the only way to hold the camera without accidentally tapping a control button was with my thumb on the thumb-grip near the top of the back. It felt insecure, like I was merely pinching the camera. Grasping naturally with the heel of my hand wreaked all kinds of havoc on the settings. I ended up using the “iA” mode more than I wanted to, just so I didn’t have to go search through the settings to undo the accidental ones. I’m not sure how that could be fixed. There simply isn’t much room on the body of this camera.
There is no flash built into the camera. But there is a hot shoe and a tiny little accessory flash is included. That slips into the shoe and is automatically recognised by the camera. The camera powers this flash. The battery life of the camera is rated at around 340 images when using the rear monitor, and 270 images using the live viewfinder. The flash knocks a little more than 10% off those figures.
A Micro-B USB connection is provided for charging the phone and transferring photos. Photo transfer was rather slow using this, despite me using a fast memory card. It ran at about 12 megabytes per second. That was 10:20 minutes for transferring 1,080 photos (amounting to 7.23GB).
By contrast, popping the card out and using a fast card reader had the same material across to the computer 38 seconds. That works out at nearly 200MB/s. Get yourself a fast card reader!
The typical size of a photo at the default settings was around 8MB. But you can choose RAW as well. They were usually a little under 19MB in size.
There’s also a micro-HDMI output and both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so you can use Panasonic’s apps to transfer photos or control the camera.
Taking photos with the Lumix LX100M2 camera
I relied entirely on the Lumix LX100M2 camera (and my phone) for my time in Barcelona. I used it for tourist stuff, but also for business.
For example, during the Huawei presentations, I was more than halfway back from the stage in a very large venue. I see that I took 222 photos throughout the one hour presentation, mostly of the large slides on the stage. More that half of them were razor sharp, utterly clear and clean, despite me holding the camera up high with one hand (trying to get over the top of everyone else taking photos). Maybe ten per cent were unusable because of focus. And then there were a bunch of accidental shots, taken as I was fumbling between camera and the computer I was using to take notes.
Here’s a typical shot, sharp, effective: