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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:31 pm 
Having owned a FZ30, FZ18, FZ28, G1, G2 and GF2 I guess I have seen alot of different Image Quality over the last 7 years or so but like many others I feel I still have a lot to learn and discover when it comes to photography.

However what seems to happen is many people fall into camps that either support one type of camera whether it be P&S, high end P&S, Bridge, CSC or DSLR. Therefore you rarely get or are given an impartial view of what is meant by good IQ.

Personally I find the IQ from a G Series / GF Series is far more detailed and rich in terms of colour and depth compared to a P&S and Bridge camera. I am usually told this is because of the larger sensor and the better dynamic range etc. For this reason I added a GF2 to my G2 thinking this was the only option for a pocketable camera offering good IQ.

However I soon discovered that in fact the GF Series is far from flexible and certainly it cannot be described as pocketable unless you stick with the Pancake lens. Sure I really enjoyed taking images with the Pancake lens for a while but soon got a little frustrated with the lack of zoom.

Of course once you add a zoom like the 14-45mm the whole concept becomes flawed and if you want an even larger zoom well the 45-200mm looks ridiculous attached and makes the camera totally unbalanced.

So my search for a pocketable alternative that offered flexibility but was able to maintain good to excellent IQ began. I looked at the TZ series thinking wow fantastic zoom, hoping the IQ would have improved but alas it appears that is not the case and given the Sensor size isnt that suprising.

So now my attention turned to the LX Series and especially the LX7. Now this is where the whole process gets very interesting. Firstly the lens on the LX7 offers a remarkable f1.4 and even when zoomed in f2.3. Combine this with the excellent optics and a zoom of 4x plus a bit more if needed via digital or reducing MP I am wondering if I have found the perfect answer to my particular problem.

Can anyone advise if the LX Series cameras do match the GF/G series for IQ as I have read many reviews where they say this is the case?

Many thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:48 am 
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As an owner of a Sony RX100 (P&S), Panasonic GH2 (CSC) and Canon T4i (DSLR), I don't think I'm biased toward any particular camp. But I do notice the correlation between increasing sensor size and increasing IQ that you mention. And keep in mind that the RX100's sensor is both physically larger and higher resolution than the LX7, and it also has a Carl Zeiss lens (which granted isn't as bright as the lens on the LX7, especially when zoomed in). All of which is a long way of saying, no, I don't think the LX7's IQ would be as good as the more recent CSCs from Panasonic (GF5, GX1, etc.) when pushed. Although, it may be close under ideal conditions, especially relative to older models like the G2, GF2, etc.

Also, you have read Gordon's LX7 review, right? He compares the LX7 to an RX100 and Canon G1 X (which has a nearly APS-C size sensor).

And finally, you may find the following threads interesting:

Bright lenses for compacts.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 vs Canon PowerShot S100

HTH - Mark


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:48 am 
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Yep, check out my LX7 and RX100 reviews and see what you think... I think the LX7 proves there's still room for a camera with a smaller sensor compared to bigger sensor models. But if you can get a nice fast lens in front of a big sensor, it's unbeatable, and right now that means a system camera, like DSLR or a mirrorless CSC. Have you considered a Micro Four Thirds with a 20mm f1.7 lens?


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 Post subject: Best for indoor?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:13 pm 
Many thanks for the replies.

The reason for considering a small compact is that we have 3 children who annually take part in the School Christmas performance! The School hall isnt that dark but it certainly presents a challenge when using a zoom.

Like any parent it’s nice to have a few pictures / video of the big event. However personally I have been constantly frustrated by the results (last year I tried a Canon SX220hs and the year before that the G2 with 45-200mm). However any long zoom on a compact and to a lesser extent on a CSC seemingly become virtually useless indoors for stills as the shutter speed slows right down and the ISO is ramped up in an effort to cope. Result is alot of noise!

Originally I was very close to purchasing the TZ30 but I then saw the LX7 offering a lens that offered 1.4f and 2.3 when zoomed in it got me thinking could this be the answer? Yes of course I wouldn’t be able to zoom in as close but not far off especially if opting for the Digital zoom on top (or opting for the 5MP option as I understand this will extend the zoom further?) but at least the images would hopefully not be covered in blotches of noise etc!

The more I have researched the LX7 the more it has taken my interest and therefore it is becoming somewhat of a favourite option. My concern for the TZ30 is in this particular scenario the results would not be any different than those from the Canon. I have also read a variety of reviews complaining about the IQ from the TZ30 but your review seemed fairly positive.

So can anyone advise if my thinking is sound or if I should not consider the LX7 for this particular scenario and provide any alternatives or reasoning.

Many thanks and I much appreciate your views


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:59 pm 
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Quote:
if opting for the Digital zoom on top (or opting for the 5MP option as I understand this will extend the zoom further?) but at least the images would hopefully not be covered in blotches of noise etc!


General rule: digital zoom/crop mode usually increases the relative noise, so given that noise is a concern in this situation, I would strongly discourage their use.

Quote:
The reason for considering a small compact is that we have 3 children who annually take part in the School Christmas performance! The School hall isnt that dark but it certainly presents a challenge when using a zoom.


While I understand the issue with using a slow (zoom) lens in these conditions, I'm not clear on what the issue is with size. Personally, if I were to shoot a school play or similar event, I'd be perfectly happy using my GH2 + Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens. Granted, since the Oly lens costs roughly twice as much as an LX7, it may be outside your budget, but that's a different discussion.

My 2¢ - Mark


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:36 am 
Thanks for the reply.

Ok maybe I should make this a little clearer. I have a G2 which is great in good light IMHO and I have a 14-45mm and 45-200mm lens to go with it.

I have until recently also had a GF2 which as explained before is great when using it with the pancake 14mm 2.5 but isnt so great when you need a bit of zoom and of course once you add the 14-45mm the lens is not only slow indoors but of course you are losing any pocketable aspect.

Therefore ideally we would like a pocketable backup to the G2 that offers almost as good IQ in most cases and can cope well indoors as described in the scenario in the earlier post. Of course the zoom is only 3.8 but I know this can be extended somewhat further by reducing the settings to 5MP which will probably provide enough zoom whilst still providing a good image. At least better than that from a longer zoom P&S like the Canon mentioned earlier and the TZ30?

Of course the LX7 would not just be used for this particular event and seems to provide a good all round experience but my main question is if you feel my thinking is sound as far as using the LX7 for the use mentioned above of the school performance.

If not please advise alternatives.

Even though our budget would not stretch to a 75mm 1.8 I am not sure I would want to spend all that money on a lens of that type anyway and we would prefer a pocketable backup that can perform in a variety of situations and provide good IQ.

Of course good IQ can mean different things to different people depending on experiences of cameras. The best IQ that I have experienced so far is from the G2 and GF2 so thats my marker as it were.

Any advice much appreciated


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:21 am 
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neilm16 wrote:
the [LX7's] zoom is only 3.8 but I know this can be extended somewhat further by reducing the settings to 5MP which will probably provide enough zoom whilst still providing a good image. At least better than that from a longer zoom P&S like the Canon mentioned earlier and the TZ30?


Again, anytime you use digital zoom/crop mode, there will be an IQ drop. Maybe it will help to think of it this way: you already agree that smaller sensors generally have poorer IQ than larger sensors; since crop modes work by use a smaller area of the sensor, they usually suffer from poorer IQ as well, just like using a physically smaller sensor would. The crop mode is just limiting the sensor size electronically instead of physically.

As to how this would compare to the TZ30 (or any other camera), first make sure that you are doing an apples to apples comparison. e.g. at 5MP the LX7 is still limited to a 35mm equiv. focal length of ~130mm, whereas the TZ30 goes all the way to 480mm (35mm equiv.). Further, you need to compare the LX7's 5MP image to a 14MP TZ30 image that has been downscaled to 5MP. In such a comparison, I don't think the LX7's image would be better than an image captured on a TZ30 at a similar focal length and then downscaled to a matching resolution.


Quote:
Of course the LX7 would not just be used for this particular event and seems to provide a good all round experience but my main question is if you feel my thinking is sound as far as using the LX7 for the use mentioned above of the school performance.

If not please advise alternatives.

... we would prefer a pocketable backup that can perform in a variety of situations and provide good IQ.


The problem you're going to run into is discussed in the two threads I linked to previously. i.e. with current technology, physics makes it impossible to have a pocketable, bright telephoto lens with an image circle that covers a "large" (1" or larger) sensor.

As I said in the other thread, I completely understand the desire to have a pocketable backup to a larger system camera--this is the exact reason I bought an RX100--but unfortunately, the situation you specify above (basically, low light action at a distance) is the one situation where no pocketable camera can do well.

Given that, and also now taking your budget into consideration, the best alternative I can think of is adding an Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens to your G2. No, it's not pocketable (because, again, no bright, telephoto, large sensor/camera lens can be), but it is:

1) roughly the same price (maybe even a little cheaper).
2) the same 90mm (35mm equiv.) Field of View as the LX7 zoomed all the way in, with a similar (actually slightly faster) aperture at that focal length. (f1.8 vs f2.3)
3) similar (actually slightly higher) 12MP resolution, so you can still crop down to 5MP in post if you need/want to.
4) using the G2's much larger 4/3 sensor, instead of the LX7's 1/1.7" sensor.

My 2¢ - Mark


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