Lumix LX100 at Work.

Brian’s Review, Part 2.

It isn’t fair to judge a new camera after only a few hours of working with it. I find that it takes a while to get used to any new equipment.

In April 1990, I was given the loan of a Nikon F3 SLR. After a month of putting it through its paces, I knew I had to have one. Yet, I wasn’t fully comfortable with the camera for at least 6 months.

As mentioned in the previous post, last week Eric Rosenthal loaned me a brand new LX100. So I brought it out for some tests.

I found this to be a very powerful tool. It looks and feels much like a traditional rangefinder, yet has many electronic features.

While making a basic photo with the LX100 is straight forward, the camera’s multitude of buttons, dials and layers of menus needed to access the camera’s various modes, color profiles, filters, and features, plus video and panoramic options isn’t intuitive. In fact it’s intimidating.

To really give the LX100 a fair treatment, I’d need several weeks to properly figure it out and become comfortable with its operation.

However, I was able to make a variety of interesting photographs of which a few are presented here. Other than scaling the Jpgs, I’ve not altered the images in post processing in regards to color, contrast, gamma, or other visual effects.

A rangefinder makes panning easier because there is no interruption by a mirror flapping up and down. The LX100 has a built in viewfinder which comes on when you put your eye to it. Exposed with a Lumix LX100 at ISO 400 f3.5 1/25th of a second.  Autowhite balance. Image stabilizer 'on'.
A rangefinder makes panning easier because there is no interruption by a mirror flapping up and down. The LX100 has a built in viewfinder which comes on when you put your eye to it. Exposed with a Lumix LX100 at ISO 400 f3.5 1/25th of a second. Autowhite balance. Image stabilizer ‘on’.
Amtrak's Vermonter pulls by its conductor at CP83 in Palmer, Massachusetts. Lumix LX100 at ISO 400, f3.5 1/20th of a second. Auto white balance. Image stabilizer 'on'. Uncorrected JPG file scaled for internet presentation.
Amtrak’s Vermonter pulls by its conductor at CP83 in Palmer, Massachusetts. Lumix LX100 at ISO 400, f3.5 1/20th of a second. Auto white balance. Image stabilizer ‘on’. Uncorrected JPG file scaled for internet presentation. I selected a slow shutter speed to allow the train to blur.
Daylight was fading. I changed the color balance from 'auto white balance' to 'daylight' in order to preserve the twilight effect. There is a button on the back of the camera that makes this a relatively quick adjustment. Exposed at ISO 200, f2.2 at 1/40th of a second. My feeling is that the camera meter under exposed this by about 1/2 stop. However, there are several metering modes, and I may not have used the optimal setting for this difficult lighting situation. My feeling is that working with a camera in low light tells more about its capabilities than just  using it in bright sun.
Daylight was fading. I changed the color balance from ‘auto white balance’ to ‘daylight’ in order to preserve the twilight effect. There is a button on the back of the camera that makes this a relatively quick adjustment. Exposed at ISO 200, f2.2 at 1/40th of a second. My feeling is that the camera meter under exposed this by about 1/2 stop. However, there are several metering modes, and I may not have used the optimal setting for this difficult lighting situation. My feeling is that working with a camera in low light tells more about its capabilities than just using it in bright sun.  In this view, the locomotive is trailing, and thus shoving at the back of the train as it departs Palmer for Springfield, Massachusetts.
The rear screen makes it easier to hold the camer low to the ground. I used this strategically placed puddle to make a reflection of the old Palmer Union Station. Exposed at ISO 200, f4.5 1/1300th of a second. Auto white balance. Image stabilizer 'on'.
The rear screen makes it easier to hold the camer low to the ground. I used this strategically placed puddle to make a reflection of the old Palmer Union Station. Exposed at ISO 200, f4.5 1/1300th of a second. Auto white balance. Image stabilizer ‘on’.
CSX's westward home signal on the mainline at CP83 in Palmer, Massachusetts.
CSX’s westward home signal on the mainline at CP83 in Palmer, Massachusetts.

 

So is the LX100 a good camera for railway photography?

If you desire the ability to manually control a digital camera, and prefer traditional dials over toggle switches, along with a built in view finder in addition to a rear screen, the LX100 is a great option.

The camera reacts quickly. It has a ‘burst’ feature that allows you to take three images in rapid succession. It can make RAW and JPG file simultaneously. The lens is fantastic and the sensor is amazing, so the images are exceptionally sharp.

On the downside, it uses a fixed lens that is limited to a 24-75mm range (in traditional 35mm film camera terms). Its menu navigation is counter-intuitive. For a small camera it is pretty heavy. And, it’s relatively expensive, B&H Photo in New York advertises it for nearly $900, which is three-times what I paid for my LX7 a few months ago.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

Please share Tracking the Light!

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/

Tomorrow: sharpness and clarity too much? No problem! The LX100 has an easy solution for that too.

 

2 comments on “Lumix LX100 at Work.

  1. Tom Warger on said:

    I just bought a Lumix LX7 and love it.

    For its first outing, I took it to Puerto Rico last week and learned the lesson that in glorious sunshine the viewing panel is awfully hard to see. Any tips for coping with that?

    I did figure out that I should anticipate and make changes in the settings while in the shade. And, I did get some good pictures by guessing the composition when I couldn’t see the display panel.

    TW

    • Hi Tom,
      Lumix makes an external digital viewfinder. It sits in the hot shoe. My dad uses the viewfinder with his LX7. I’ve experimented with it, but not bought one, yet. I usually carry the LX7 in my coat pocket and I feel the viewfinder makes the camera awkward and is likely to get lost. Also, I felt that the view finder slowed the LX7s reaction time every so slightly.
      For the most part I just just the display at the back of the camera and cope in bright light.
      Does that help?
      Brian Solomon

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