19 Nov My New Lumix LX100 (and why I’m no longer a DSLR guy)
I’ve been leaning towards dumping my Nikon D7000 for a while now. I have to carry a minimum of 3 lenses with me everywhere I go (which is a pain), and my gear ends up being 1 of my 2 carry on items every time I travel. I am not a professional, I do not make a lot of money with my photography, and frankly, I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I knew something needed to change.
So I decided to do some research. There had to be something that I could carry in my pocket (or at least a jacket pocket), with enough “umph” to make me feel like I wasn’t missing much. After much digging and nights of reading, I settled on the Lumix LX100.
Why the LX100?
It’s small (way smaller than I expected after reading reviews) and it does about 90% of everything I could ever want from my DSLR (along with some tricks my old D7k could not). First off, it has a fast lens; 24-75mm f/1.7-2.8. That lens alone on the Nikon platform would cost more than the LX100. Second, it shoots raw. Third, it has manual controls. Fourth, it has a viewfinder (actually it’s an electric viewfinder, but the lag is nearly non-existent compared to the other cameras I’ve tested). Fifth, it amazingly gets better low light performance than my D7000 did (with any of the lenses I owned). Finally, I wanted spot focus (which many compacts now have, but it’s been a while since I’ve owned one). This does spot focus fantastically, and even shows a zoom square on the screen allowing you to ensure you’ve focused properly before taking the shot.
What can it do that my D7000 couldn’t?
It shoots 4K video beautifully. It has wifi built-in, which means I can send photos to my iPhone 6 or control the camera from my iPhone (or Android device). That means photos can be posted on the fly to Facebook and Instagram before I get them back to my laptop for raw processing (yay!). It also has an instant full auto button, which means my wife can grab the camera and use it anytime. It has a switch with 4 different aspect ratios: 3:2, 16:9, 1:1, and 4:3 (standard). This is cool because I can shoot square (instagram) without having to crop, I can shoot video in 16:9 using a hardware switch, and I can play with the other ratios as well… And the lens and sensor are optimized to get the best picture out of each ratio (not just cropping the original ratio).
What did I have to give up?
interchangeable lenses. This was a small sacrifice (because I can still use my feet to compose most of the shots I want), but it’s worth mentioning because of the awesome wide lens that I had for the D7000. I used the Sigma 11-16 f/2.8, and it shot some amazing landscapes. I also gave up on the go flash. The LX100 doesn’t have a flash built in, and while it has a hot-shoe (and comes with a flash), having to carry extra gear negates my original motive for downsizing in the first place. I leave my flash gun at home with my studio lighting, and rely on the fast lens and low light performance to get my shot now. And so far, I’m not disappointed. I had to give up a wired shutter remote as well as a wireless RF shutter remote, as neither option exists for the LX100. This is ok though, because for those starry night shots (and anything else requiring remote shooting) I can now use my iPhone. Finally, I gave up looking pro. Ha ha, seriously though, carrying a DLSR around commands respect. People just assume you have skills, and that you’re a serious photographer. Now, unless you’re in the know, you’ll just assume I’m using the same cheap little point and shoots as everyone else. I actually see this as a benefit, though. Fewer people will stop me and ask me questions. I can carry this little camera to more places without security/police harassing me. I no longer wonder what lens I “need” to get the shot I can’t get with what I have. I just carry my camera, and shoot when something catches my eye. It’s quite liberating.
Am I happy with the switch?
In the end I couldn’t justify owning both. I’m not rich, and this stuff is expensive. Luckily, I was able to sell all of my old gear for quite a bit more than the cost of my new LX100, so financially it was a fine move. The question is am I happy with it? It’s only been 2 weeks, but so far I can definitely say that I am. Photography is no longer an ordeal. I just grab the camera and go. And with a wrist strap instead of a big neck or shoulder strap, the camera feels like a natural extension of me. I am continually amazed by the performance of this lens, and after learning the menus (which can feel a bit clunky compared to a DSLR) I can confidently set up my shot or make a change quickly and efficiently. I especially like that when I raise the camera to my eye, it automatically switches from the live view screen to the viewfinder.
Maybe one day DSLRs will come with a technology that “forces” me to switch back. But I wouldn’t count on it. Unless you are making money with your photography, or fancy yourself a pro, compacts are primed to capture the market. The LX100 has cast the first stone.
Did you buy the LX100? What do you think of it? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below to share!