Once upon a time Panasonic was among the champs when it came to “step-up cameras”—the high-quality point and shoots that bridged the gap between $200 cameras and $1000 DSLRs. Yet over the last few years, Sony’s RX100 series cameras have taken the crown thanks to a tiny camera body, excellent image quality, and fancy features like a high-speed lens and the ability to shoot high-quality video. The new Lumix LX10 looks like a welcome return to form for Panasonic—aping the RX100's best features and knocking $300 off the price.
Glancing at the specs, the LX10 looks a lot like the RX100. It’s got a 20 megapixel 1-inch sensor, 4K video capabilities, a gorgeous German-branded lens (Leica vs Sony’s Zeiss) with a 24-72mm equivalent zoom, and the aperture on the thing is a wicked fast f/1.4-2.8, which means the camera should work tremendously better in low light situations.
In fact, the only major differences between Panasonic’s LX10 and Sony’s year old Sony RX100 Mark IV, besides price, is size (the LX10 is a tenth of an inch wider and 20g heavier) and that the LX10 can’t shoot 240 frames per second video, like the RX100 IV. It’s great when you want that slow-motion shot of your dog trying to grab a treat out of mid-air, but personally, I’m cool with losing out on some funky video. The LX10 still shoots 120 fps for at least some slow motion, and it’s also capable of shooting macro-style shots, with a focal distance of just 3cm. Sony’s macro mode can’t shoot nearly as close to subjects.
Yet the best part of the LX10 seems to be the price. It’s going to retail for just $700 when it’s available in November. The year old Sony RX100 retails for $1000. It remains to be seen if the LX10 will pull off photos as gorgeous as the RX100, but for that good a price it might be easy to forgive a minor flaw or two.