If you’re thinking about buying Sony’s sublime RX100 III compact camera, Panasonic has just made that decision a lot more difficult. The new Lumix DMC-LX100 is leaps and bounds ahead of its LX7 predecessor and the most sophisticated compact the Japanese company has ever built. For starters, Panasonic has trumped the RX100’s 1-inch sensor by equipping the new model with a Micro Four Thirds, 12.8-megapixel MOS chip, the same size used on its big-boy interchangeable-lens models. It’s also got a fast Leica 24-75mm (35mm equivalent) f/1.7-2.8 lens, a wide-screen, 2,764K dot LVF (live viewfinder) and 4K video capture. Some of those specs put it on par with the company’s flagship GH4, and well ahead of all its other interchangeable MFT models.
It also borrowed the GH4’s autofocus, boosting it over the LX7 to 0.14 seconds with an 11fps burst speed. Other features include WiFi, NFC capability for easier smartphone pairing, in-camera RAW to JPEG conversion and an (included) external flash. Despite all that, the metal-bodied compact is only a hair bigger than the last model. Panasonic claims that the new 4K video mode can also be used to capture 8-megapixel stills at up to 30fps. It added that the much larger sensor combined with the relatively low 12.8-megapizel count will give the LX100 not only better depth of field, but superior low-light capability too. It now has a 25,600 max ISO instead of 12,800.
The Lumix DMC-LX100 is slated to arrive at the end of October, but Panasonic has yet to reveal the all-important price. For comparison’s sake, though, the RX100 Mark III runs $800 and Panasonic’s own LZ1000 superzoom (with a 1-inch sensor) is $900. The higher-res LVF, 4K and other specs also trump Panasonic’s latest ILC, the GM5, showing that the compact market is from from dead — instead, it’s just heading upmarket.