04 Panasonic Lumix DMCLX10 aThe thing that appealed to me about Panasonic’s Lumix DMCLX10 was its size. For something that slips in your top pocket or bag it packs heaps of features and considerable ability. There’s excellent picture quality from a large sensor and a Leica lens that zooms from 24 mm, or highly usable wide-angle, to short telephoto 72 mm.

Given it’s priced a dollar short of a thousand bucks I figured there would be much here for advanced photographers to play with, all in a camera sized like a phone although admittedly much heavier. And there would be if it only did what it was told.

For example there’s a manual aperture ring running from f1.4 to f11 and yet the automatic aperture functions override this – setting the ring to f1.4 doesn’t mean you’re at f1.4, it simply means you’re at the widest aperture setting the camera figures is best in this mode. And try persuading it to go to its maximum ISO ability for low light shots.

And a tip: Use the wrist strap. The gloss finish makes it slippery with sweaty fingers. Another tip: if you shoot lots of pictures to later pick what worked best you’ll need a second battery.

04 Panasonic Lumix DMCLX10 cThere’s another manual ring that can be set for various functions, including zooming, but the electronic plus/minus zoom control around the shutter release is faster and better. You can zoom beyond 72 mm but this ventures into digital territory so picture quality drops off.

The LX10 has clear, straightforward menus and the touch screen makes their navigation quick. That screen is top-hinged to flip up and over the body for selfies. There’s also a flash which, depending on your steadiness of hand and ability to judge angles can be bounced off the ceiling.

The camera has 4K abilities for making movies and for taking bursts from which you can select the best shot – great for shooting kids at sport. And there’s post-shot focus and focus stacking where, with some mucking around, you can get one thing or everything perfectly sharp.

In the end I stopped trying to be creative with this one and left it in auto mode and it did a great job almost every time. It’s more a camera for ambitious point-and-shooters than experienced experimenters. The latter group should bite the price bullet and get a micro four-thirds and a few lenses.

Published May 2018.

 

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