TESTING the Lumix LX100 II left me with somewhat mixed feelings. On the one hand, it reminded me of just how great the LX100 design is; the chunky body feels really good in your hand, and the analog dials encourage you to take more creative control over your photography. This is aided by the fast zoom lens, which provides greater scope for selective focus and background blur than those on its main rivals, the Sony RX100 V and Canon G1 X Mark III. In combination with the effective image stabilisation, it also allows handheld shooting in very low light. The unique multi-aspect-ratio sensor adds further to the appeal.
However, I was also perpetually reminded of the design’s failings. As a habitual viewfinder user, I find the field-sequential EVF rather less pleasant to use than those on its direct competitors, and the view becomes decidedly small when shooting 4:3 ratio images. Just as importantly, whenever a low- or high-angle shooting opportunity presented itself, the fixed screen hindered my efforts to take advantage. It’s really disappointing not to have an articulated screen on a camera this large.
On a more positive note, the various updates certainly add to a better shooting experience compared to the original LX100. The extra resolution is very welcome, while the touchscreen and extra customisation options improve the usability no end. Finally, the addition of Bluetooth brings connectivity right up to date. So while there’s not necessarily one killer feature to justify the substantial premium that the II commands over the original, the cumulative updates mean that it makes a decent case for itself.
As a result, the LX100 II should still appeal strongly to enthusiast photographers looking for a small camera that isn’t merely a point and shoot. It’s just a shame Panasonic didn’t try that little bit harder to make it the standout leader in its class.