Just under four years ago, Panasonic announced a premium compact camera with a Four Thirds sensor and physical manual controls. The LX100 went on to be praised by industry pundits and highly regarded by the enthusiast photographers it was aimed at. But it's starting to show its age, and earlier this year rumors began to bubble that a successor was in the wind. Now the LX100 mark II has been officially revealed, with an improved sensor, touchscreen panel and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Lumix LX100 II features a 21.77 megapixel multi-aspect 4/3 MOS sensor that's reported to result in 17 effective megapixel images in 4:3 aspect, which Panasonic says is over 1.6x larger than the effective area of a 1-inch sensor. A switch to the top allows users to quickly jump between 1:1, 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios, though the camera is capable of snapping stills in all aspects simultaneously with a single shutter press.
The sensor works with Panasonic's Venus Engine image processor for a combination that's claimed to rival DSLR image quality, with an ISO maximum of 25,600 and up to 11 frames per second burst shooting. The company's Depth-From-Defocus technology – which "calculates the distance to the subject by evaluating two images with different sharpness levels, while consulting the data of optical characteristics of the current lens in a moment" – also makes an appearance to automatically bring subjects into focus in about 0.1 seconds.
Panasonic has treated the camera's 4K video capabilities to some upgrades too, including Post Focus (which allows a user to alter the focus after the video has been recorded) and Focus Stacking (for post capture depth of field adjustment).
The premium compact features Wi-Fi, and gains Bluetooth 4.2, for remote operation and image sharing. The 2.76 million dot Live View Finder looks to have jumped straight over from the first generation LX100, but the 3-inch panel around back is now touch-enabled and has received a resolution bump to 1.24 million dots.
The glass out front looks the same too, shaping up as a 24-75 mm equivalent F1.7-2.8 Leica DC Vario-Summilux lens. And macro photographers will doubtless appreciate being able to get as close as (1.2 in) to the subject before pressing the shutter release.
The Lumix LX100 II will go on sale in October for US$999.
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