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LX7 - Sharpness and Cleaness ...... Lacking?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Desert_B, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. Desert_B

    Desert_B Mu-43 Regular

    102
    Jul 8, 2013
    Minnesota, U.S.A.
    Purchased an LX7 because my G5 and DSLR both seem too large for an upcoming trip I'm preparing for. When I bring the LX7's images into LR and view them at 100%, I just don't know what to think. I feel like I'm making excuses for a majority of the images, looking for reasons they don't look as sharp and clean as I would expect.

    I can post samples later, but I'm just wondering if anyone has input here. I feel sure that taking the same shot with, say, G5 + 20/1.7, similar settings in RAW at low ISO, would yield MUCH better results.

    The LX7 is my first advanced compact, and so I don't know what performance I should be expecting.

    TIA.
     
  2. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Good but not great is what I thought I got out of my LX3. I quite liked it but the files were not great for pixel peeping compared to my DSLR. It's still a pretty small sensor in there.
     
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  3. Desert_B

    Desert_B Mu-43 Regular

    102
    Jul 8, 2013
    Minnesota, U.S.A.
    Thank you, Mattia.

    The more I think about it, the more I wonder whether other makes/models in this camera genre have similar performance.
     
  4. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I still have my LX2 and the images were never ideal, as Panasonic applied noise reduction no matter what the settings, even when using RAW. I found it extremely frustrating, as you were always stuck with less than satisfactory results. That's why I never upgraded, as I'd heard things didn't change with later models.
     
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  5. Desert_B

    Desert_B Mu-43 Regular

    102
    Jul 8, 2013
    Minnesota, U.S.A.
    This kinda sorta has my stomach in knots, since I had been wanting the LX7 for a long time and really had no intentions of returning it.
     
  6. tosvus

    tosvus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    632
    Jan 4, 2014
    I have to say I had similar feelings about my LX5. The LX100 is a whole different beast however.
     
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  7. MiguelATF

    MiguelATF Mu-43 Veteran

    There are significant differences in the image quality/IQ and overall sharpness of the LX7 when one is shooting at lower (or so-called 'base') ISO's - and higher ones.

    The lowest ISO the LX7 has is 80 - but shooting in conditions (usually well-lit) at ISO 100 often yielded truly superb images for me. Here's one taken in the high desert of eastern Oregon on a cloudless day -

    10437800856_fd46dd7b1f_b.jpg
    Airstream 1
    by La Chachalaca Fotografía, on Flickr

    And another, taken in late summer on my street in the small rural Oregon town where I live, just before a storm -

    14611811389_8e9ecd34cf_b.jpg
    July sky
    by La Chachalaca Fotografía, on Flickr

    In this shot, taken at an art exhibit at the local library, you can see the general sharpness of the lens, almost wide open -

    13439436165_b8f27344c0_b.jpg
    Mannequin #1
    by La Chachalaca Fotografía, on Flickr

    At higher ISO's, the image quality isn't as stellar - but I always found it generally good - or at least, 'good enough'.

    This was taken at ISO 400, almost wide open -

    11024374376_cd2129ef4d_b.jpg
    Pinball Machine (Danger Bridge Out)
    by La Chachalaca Fotografía, on Flickr

    And the ultra-fast lens truly has some nifty low-light capabilities.

    This shot was taken with available light, in a Cathedral in Guadalajara, Mexico, which shows another aspect of the LX7, its versatility as an inconspicuous small 'street' camera in places where a larger or more ostentatious camera might stand out too much -

    13791359625_bc50c4e8c4_b.jpg
    en la Catedral
    by La Chachalaca Fotografía, on Flickr

    As long as we're on the subject of the LX7's virtues, it has a truly brilliant Macro mode - which allows shooting in ridiculously CLOSE close-ups - and getting the kinds of angles and images which, normally, on other cameras, I would need either close-up lenses or a dedicated Macro lens to achieve. I also think that the smaller sensor tended/tends to give some images a slightly grainier - closer to a 'film' look - than bigger-sensored cameras --- which I always appreciated.

    This was taken in 'Macro' mode -

    10356391084_71877e31a9_b.jpg
    Mushrooms
    by La Chachalaca Fotografía, on Flickr

    This is a low-light selfie, taken almost wide open, showing that in spite of the small sensor, even at a wide angle, the lens is capable of some slight background bokeh -

    9822071053_4291ea49d6_b.jpg
    Self-portrait (color)
    by La Chachalaca Fotografía, on Flickr

    I had mine for years and years and for quite some time, found it to be an almost ideal semi-pocketable high-quality travel camera. I've now replaced it with an equally small Canon EOS-M which does some things better than the LX7, and others not quite as well. But at the same time, I must say that I've taken some of what I think are the best photographs I've ever taken with my former LX7 - so overall, if you can live with its 'deficiencies', it's not only an excellent portable travel camera - but a fine photographic image-maker in its own right.

    And no, it's not a perfect camera. But it does a lot of things very well.

    Hope this helps :)
     
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  8. Desert_B

    Desert_B Mu-43 Regular

    102
    Jul 8, 2013
    Minnesota, U.S.A.
  9. spdavies

    spdavies Mu-43 Top Veteran

    969
    Apr 9, 2013
    Hawaii
    Stephen
    I agree with Miguel - it doesn't make sense to take a small sensor camera and pixel peep compare it to the IQ of a m4/3 camera -
    just like the nonsensical ongoing battle of m4/3 vs FF.
    When you go to a smaller format, you are going to have benefits and trade-offs.

    I have an LX5, which is in a beautiful little "leather" case.
    It is my always with me, go anywhere, don't sweat bullets about losing it / having it stolen,
    friends & family snapshot and even in a pinch "art" shot camera.
    It is nicely built, has great controls, looks good.
    And takes very nice pictures.

    I also have top end m4/3 gear.
    I would never try to get the LX5 to do what the m4/3 stuff can do.
    Different beasts for different purposes.
    But I do love the little LX5.

    Tip - get the screw-on auto-open lens cap -
    makes the camera a lot more fun and convenient to use.

    And if you can't do without the superior IQ all the time -
    spring for the LX100.
    But it's a bigger camera.
     
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  10. Desert_B

    Desert_B Mu-43 Regular

    102
    Jul 8, 2013
    Minnesota, U.S.A.
    Great perspective, spdavies. Thank you.

    With the wonderful variety of camera genres available, it can really make a person's head spin, trying to get perspective on what to expect and what the trade-offs are.

    In my everyday life, I am the go-to person for people asking camera and photography advice (though I don't always feel up to the task!). It's really, really nice to come here and benefit from others' knowledge.
     
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  11. spdavies

    spdavies Mu-43 Top Veteran

    969
    Apr 9, 2013
    Hawaii
    Stephen
    Here's the little guy, decked out . . .
    EM102761a_SPDWeb.jpg

    EM102762a_SPDWeb.jpg
    (excuse the quality - quick snaps in bad light)

    Maybe it's the look of the leather case,
    but on several occasions people have asked me if it's a Leica!
    (Obviously not well-informed or closely observant people . . .) :tongue:
     
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  12. Desert_B

    Desert_B Mu-43 Regular

    102
    Jul 8, 2013
    Minnesota, U.S.A.
    IQ of LF1 vs LX7?
     
  13. teddoman

    teddoman Mu-43 Regular

    191
    Mar 22, 2013
    nyc
    I did a lot of my learning on the LX7. The lens is very sharp, and with CDAF, you will get very sharp photos. It's a small sensor compact, so shoot at base ISO as much as possible (find ways to stabilize to go lower on the shutter speed). A little pocket tripod is a good idea for travel. You can get more bang if you shell out more bucks, like the LX100, but at the LX7 price point, you get a whole lot in a small package.
     
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  14. spdavies

    spdavies Mu-43 Top Veteran

    969
    Apr 9, 2013
    Hawaii
    Stephen
    I haven't used an LF1 but from reviews I gather:

    Same size sensor but LF1 has 12mp, LX7 10mp (LX7 individual pixels are larger, maybe less noisy).
    LF1 is physically smaller, with fewer external controls.
    LF1 has built-in VF, but quality not so hot; LX7 VF is optional add-on, but much better quality.
    LF1 has longer zoom, but not sharp at telephoto end; LX7 lens generally sharper.

    Again, if IQ is your goal, the LX100 is the goalpost (just a bit pricey . . . :eek: ).
     
  15. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I think Stephen is right on with his comparo. The decision comes down to just how much better the IQ is on the LX7 vs the LF1. To me they are both in the "acceptable for what they are" category. The LX7 is closer to the top end of the category, the LF1 a step or two back. But I don't think the difference is significant. Nowhere near the same as jumping up to an m4/3 body with prime, for example.

    I'd choose the LX7 if better low light performance was critical, and the LF1 if zoom mattered more, or I wanted a VF and was trying to save $.
     
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  16. Desert_B

    Desert_B Mu-43 Regular

    102
    Jul 8, 2013
    Minnesota, U.S.A.
    I've certainly learned a few things through my brief use of the LX7 -- and, just as importantly, the input you all have given here in this thread. I see now that some of my expectations were out of line for what this camera is. Mainly at play is my lack of experience with this breed of camera (very capable lens but a small-ish sensor). I feel quite a bit happier with wide-angle shots where a subject is near to the lens. When zoomed in on a distant subject, meh, I'm not so sure. Could be user error, especially since I've done a little testing but not much.

    I'm not a hater of the LX7 by any means. Just muddling through and trying to figure out what exactly my goals are for purchasing this type of camera. I need a small camera for my upcoming trip, but since I sell my photography (local scenery), in the back of my mind I find myself wondering what happens if I just happen to come upon a winning scene when I have camera X with me. If I have the LX7, will it do a good enough job capturing the scene where I could later feel comfortable selling the photo...... with my G5 + prime lens, and DSLR, I don't run into many issues in that regard unless I just did a poor job or didn't have luck on my side.
     
  17. spdavies

    spdavies Mu-43 Top Veteran

    969
    Apr 9, 2013
    Hawaii
    Stephen
    A nice inexpensive solution would be to get the classic Panasonic GF1 with a small prime or compact zoom lens -
    great controls, higher quality, still small (though not as small as LX7) and very inexpensive.
    (I just happen to have one for sale. :biggrin:)
     
  18. Desert_B

    Desert_B Mu-43 Regular

    102
    Jul 8, 2013
    Minnesota, U.S.A.
    Which compact zoom lens would you recommend?
     
  19. spdavies

    spdavies Mu-43 Top Veteran

    969
    Apr 9, 2013
    Hawaii
    Stephen
    Any of the 14-42s would work.
    They vary in price with the smallest being the most costly - of course.
    The Oly 14-42R (I think) is fairly small and inexpensive and widely available.
    It also has wide-angle, macro and tele adapters available for it, which are all small and lightweight and expand its capabilities.
    The Panny 14-42 X Vario is quite small and more expensive.
    The Panny 12-35 (I think) is the smallest and most costly.
    When I think about it, the cost of the lens pushes the GF1 combo up to the same area as the LX7, etc.
    So the advantage is just in IQ, really.
    You would be getting IQ much closer to your G5, for example, for about half the price of the LX100 or less.
    The GF1 layout is very similar to the LX7 - it's like a big brother.
    I suggested it mostly in jest because I'm selling one - didn't mean to confuse your decision making.

    I still think the perfect solution to your need / desire is the LX100 - compact, fast sharp zoom, excellent IQ, etc.
    It's just expensive . . .