Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Obedient to the voice inside

We went today to Linnanmäki amusement park, which the children want to visit each summer. After the rainy spell we had a nice day today, although there were occasionally dark clouds above. We spent over five hours at Linnanmäki, after which the children started to get a bit tired. And me too.

Yesterday I speculated a bit about the Panasonic DMC-LX7, the successor to the LX5. And today there is plenty of material to read: Dpr preview, Imaging Resource preview, ePhotoZine, TechRadar, PocketLint, Cnet, B&H, DP Now, DC HQ (contains some errors), among many.

Some of these sites have got some facts wrong, for example claiming that the aspect ratio switch is a new feature on the LX7 (it is the aperture ring which is new) or that the sensor size is 1/2.3 inch. Apparently some of the writers have been in a hurry.

But the specifications sound good: lens is 24-90 mm, f/1.4-2.3, which is rather huge improvement over the LX5. The closes focusing distance is 1 cm, which is good, same as earlier.

The LX7 is a bit larger and heavier than the LX5 because of the lens, but not by too much. There is now an aperture ring around the lens, which I like very much, and a switch in the back for engaging the built-in ND filter (new feature); this switch is also used for manual focusing. I don't think there is now any room for adding more buttons or switches to the LX7 without it becoming too crowded...

The handgrip has changed, back towards what the LX3 had, and I think this is good, as on my LX5 the rubber part of the handgrip is starting to peel away; nothing like this happened with the LX3.

The other worrisome thing with the LX5 has been the control wheel, which occasionally has failed to respond, apparently a mechanical problem. I do hope the LX7 has improved the control wheel. But otherwise the camera seems to be very familiar, and that is a good thing, as the LX5 is an excellent tool.

And then there is the sensor, 1/1.7 inch MOS, which is a bit smaller than the CCD sensor on the LX5 (though by only a little).

Imaging resource claimed that the new sensor has "about a 1.5 dB improvement in noise levels versus the previous sensor". This is modest, but of course welcome if this shows also in the image quality. The new Venus engine could have a bigger factor in image quality, as well as improving focusing speed and overall handling.

To have one stop bigger aperture, f/1.4 vs. f/2.0, is the defining feature of the LX7 compared to most rivals. And one should not forget f/2.3 at 90 mm, that is a quite fast telephoto lens to have.

Well, I'm not rushing to buy the LX7, but if something would happen to my LX5, I know which camera I would buy next. Even the battery is the same (not so with the LX3).

(Posting title is from the poem Summer in a Small Town by Tony Hoagland.)

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