My long-time readers will remember this post where I tear apart the DMX-LX5. I bought it as a pocket camera to replace the Canon S95 that I fell in love with in San Francisco and used on multiple Euro-trips before going Micro 4/3s.
I ordered the Panasonic LX10 last week and it arrives today. Then I thought, “didn’t I already have a Panasonic camera?” I pulled up this review and thought to myself that I likely made another mistake but my needs have changed drastically. Let’s look at how the LX5 sucked for my needs (not overall)
- The lens does not fully retract like the Canon S90/95/110
- The interface is slow and cumbersome (expected on a pocket camera)
- Dial-mode is too sensitive and I have to verify the mode before I shoot as it tended to change while in my pocket
- Lens Cap is annoying to have to keep track of (another issue of a camera w/o a fully retractable lens)
- Photo quality was just good-enough and not enough to offset the larger size over the S95
- AF Assist Beam is on at all times. In a dark bar at night, it blinds people in the face warning them I’m about to take a photo. It takes away the street-photography advantage
- 1080P only (fine in 2011) but only shoots in AVCHD format (not MPEG)
- Same price as the S95 ($399) which was smaller, easier menus, yet the photos on the Canon were obviously not as great
What did I buy? I grabbed the new Panasonic LX10 that was released about 4 months ago. It’s chief rival in the 1” sensor 4K video set is the Sony RX100 V. Both are small, have stereo audio, record in 4K, have flip-up screens but the Sony is $300 more expensive.
While I vowed to never use Sony products (don’t own any at all), I was very close to buying the RX100. It’s clearly the superior camera. On paper, the RX100 and LX10 were evenly matched but the Sony’s sensor is just better. For video, the Sony has richer and more accurate colors, better auto-focus and image stabilization that kicks ass compared to the Panasonic.
Unfortunately, my budget did not allow for the Sony. It was simply out of my price range.
I should back up though. Why do I need a pocket camera? Here’s my current camera lineup and keeping in mind I shoot a ton of video now compared to 5 years ago.
- Canon 5D Mark III
- GoPro Hero 4
- iPhone 7 (w/ image stabilization)
- TomTom Bandit
- FaceTime HD camera on my iMac & iPhone
- iPad Pro 9.7”
- ThinkWare F750 Dashcam
Those are all of the devices I can shoot video and they each fill different needs. Unfortunately, I don’t find the iPad or iPhone cameras to be very good. I’m comparing this to the capabilities of the 5D which is unwieldy hand-held and lacks auto-focus. I put the 5D on my Manfrotto tripod and focus on the subject then record a fixed object (usually me doing something to my car). When I Vlog, I use the iPhone. It’s always on me and in my pocket and while I don’t like the focal length (holding it really far from my face and I still have an issue getting two subjects in view), you can’t beat convenience and the 5D IS always on me in my backpack. I have it next to me right now at work. The auto-focus and size are the two killers for me.
I’m about to take my motorcycle road trip from Florida to New Hampshire and I did the reverse trip in November and took Heather’s Canon S120 with me and while the photo quality wasn’t great, the Canon 5D stayed in my backpack the entire drive. It’s simply not feasible to unpack the Canon, take off my motorcycle gloves and position it for a video shot. It would have added hours to my trip. Therefore, I used her S120 a lot! It stayed in my tank-bag, I’d pull off the road, whip out the camera and get a photo or video clip and i’d be back on the road. It was a revelation and over the Winter, I took a lot more video always with my iPhone as again, the 5D was in my backpack broken down (no lens attached). I do use my Canon 5D every single day but sometimes, I didn’t want to get it out for a video or photo.
This is why I needed a new pocket camera but Heather’s camera has a very low image quality (barely above what the iPhone 7 is capable of) and only shoots 1080P and my YouTube channel is 95% 4K content with a mix of 1080P content from my 5D or Dashcam. I think 4K is the future and I’m invested in that resolution from a staying power standpoint. In 15 years, 1080P videos will look like we see VHS resolution from the 90s.
Yet, I have some serious concerns. The RX100 V and LX-10 are the two cameras you compare when buying a pocket 4K Vlogging setup yet the Panasonic was the only one in my price range but I have a pretty rocky relationship with the Lumix line (in the LX-5).
I will have to see if the Panasonic’s design short-comings and noticeable video quality (color, image stabilization, slower auto focus than Sony’s) mean this camera ticks only some of my boxes. If their UI is still crap, the AF Assist beam still comes on and the shaky video is simply too much, I will have to return it but with the Sony at $900, I won’t be replacing it with anything else and will just go back to shooting with the iPhone
Quite the dilemma. :P
The LX-10 versus 5 are worlds apart – Compare here and it does record in MPEG now and obviously has far better image quality along with a flip-up screen for Vlogging along with a shorter focal length (better than iPhone). I think on -paper it’s going to be great. Stay tuned for my thoughts on it after a few weeks of use. I’ll be taking it on my motorcycle trip and we’ll see if I want to end up keeping it.