LX100 – a small wonder, but is it sharp?
Having just bought the LX100 to replace my GX7, I was worried that it won’t hold against the sharpness I came accustomed to, using the 20mm f/1.7 day in day out. I mean, how sharp can a zoom lens be? Especially a revolutionary lens such as this one, designed to be much smaller that what it should have been. There must have been some compromises, right?
I set to ease my fears, for better or worse, and conducted a comparison test between my LX100 and my GX7. Although both cameras have the same sensor, the LX100 doesn’t use the whole sensor area, in order to allow the same field of view at all aspect ratios. I’ll discuss elsewhere whether that trade-off payed off or not.
In order to compare apples and apples, I downsized the GX7 16 megapixel shots to match the LX100’s 12 megapixel resolution. There are crops of the original images as well, below.
The first test was done at f/5.6 (1/40, ISO 400) –
And here are the 100% crops –
GX7 (f/5.6, 100%):
LX100 (f/5.6, 100%):
GX7 with no resize:
I looked at these crops and couldn’t help but smile – my initial feeling that the LX100 wasn’t sharp as the GX7 was assuaged. If it’s as sharp as the 20mm f/1.7, it must be sharper than the kit lens.
I then thought, well – it could be that the lens of the LX100 is sharp when stopped down, so let’s compare the two lenses at the maximum aperture the LX100 has at 40mm, which is f/2.5 – (1/160 sec., ISO 400) –
And the 100% crops:
GX7 (f/2.5, 100%):
LX100 (f/2.5, 100%):
and the GX7 with no resize:
The surprising conclusion is, therefore, that the LX100’s lens is as sharp, if not even a bit sharper than the Lumix 20mm f/1.7. I can extrapolate that it’s also sharper than the Lumix 14-42mm kit lens, not to mention that it has the clear benefit of much larger max apertures, giving it a two stops advantage over the 14-42mm all the way.
I’ll keep on putting the LX100 through its paces, and will publish my full review when I’m done. For now, it’s a positive mark on the LX100’s checklist. Yay!
But what’s the price?
Of course, one must not ignore the prices of these two cameras, while the LX100 is still quite steady, just under its initial price of $899 (currently $870 at amazon), the price of the GX7 body has seen multiple drops over the past month or so, landing at a cool $497 body only and $597 for the basic kit.
If we compare the LX100’s price graph to that of the GX7 body, this is what we get:
The GX7 kit with the 20mm f/1.7 lens, which was used in this test is closer to the LX100’s price at $829 (amazon).
The bottom line is that while the GX7 is currently much cheaper, you’d have to struggle to find a lens that would match the capabilities of the LX100, not to mention you’d wind up with a much larger package all in all. The clear advantage of the GX7 is that you’d be able to build a set with any multiple lenses that fit your specific needs.
I made my choice, but what would be yours? Share your thoughts in the comments bellow.
Here’s my short analysis and comparison of the LX100, GX7 and LX7:
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Or it you’re still thinking of taking advantage of the GX7’s low prices –
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20mm f/1.7 kit: Amazon | Adorama