Take two weeks off work. Leave the deteriorating weather of London behind and catch the fireworks in Hong Kong for Mid-Autumn Festival, sample the Spring sunshine of Melbourne, Australia and swing by Tokyo on the way home to check how the centuries-old temples sit alongside the neon bustle of Japan’s capital. Sounds great – I’ll pack my camera and let’s go!
Therein lies the challenge. My name is Geoff and I am a photogeekaholic.I love technology. I love photography. I am fortunate enough to have the financial means to indulge this habit. My weapon of choice is a Canon 7D digital SLR and I have an array of lenses for almost every occasion, offering me focal lengths from 10mm for ultra-wide angle shots right up to 500mm for close-up sporting action and shooting my other passion, Formula One.
Unfortunately, all this gear comes at a price. I’m not talking about the cost of the camera itself, the lenses, filters, flashgun, bags or even the three-figure specialist insurance cost each year to protection my collection should the worst happen.
The hidden price I am referring to is weight.
When I travel, I like to cover my bases. I have a specialist photography backpack and I pack a variety of lenses. Catering to all possibilities I typically pack four lenses on a trip: an every-day walkaround lens, then something wide, something long and something fast. Then there are the filters, lens cleaning gear, a spare battery, charger, card reader… the list goes on. All in, my backpack weighs a hefty 5.5kg (12lb) and quite frankly I’m a little sick of lugging it all around with me.
What alternative did I have? For this trip, I decided to set myself a challenge with that very question: could I give up the thousands of pounds of digital SLR gear and replace it with a single compact camera and still take the photos I wanted?
Clearly my aging Canon IXUS was not up to the task. For this I needed something special. Something lightweight that fits in my pocket yet retains the full creative control of a digital SLR and matching as many high-performance features as possible.
Enter the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7, the flagship of the company’s compact camera range. Costing around £400, the Lumix LX7 is not only two or three times the price most of us have paid for a typical point-and-shoot camera, it is also on the doorstep of entry-level digital SLRs like the Canon 600D and Nikon D3200 (both around £450).
As it happens, the LX7 is far from your typical point-and-shoot camera. 10.1 Megapixels and 3.8x optical zoom might not excite anyone, and most cameras can shoot 1080p video these days. Big deal. Up to ISO 6400 / 12800 (extended mode) promises good low-light performance, and a 920k dot 3in TFT screen…I’m listening. Burst mode? How do you fancy 11 frames per second?
The real party piece is the 24-90mm Leica lens, capable of an incredible f/1.4 aperture, giving the LX7 the equal fastest glass of any compact camera on the market. To put that into perspective, many professional dSLR lenses are “only” f/2.8 and a typical compact camera like the popular Lumix DMC-TZ25 is f/3.3 to f/5.9. The prospect of two full stops brighter than a Canon L-series lens is certainly one to savour.
How do these two cameras compare in their physical specification?Leave a comment on this article