The Panasonic LX100 II is a compact-body, fixed-lens camera with the large sensor and fast-shooting ability of a high-end mirrorless system. We love it for producing the best image quality and fastest shooting speed from our current roundup of compact cameras. It captures 4K video at 30 frames per second and uses a stylish set of manual controls for a classic film camera-style. It has a very unique set of benefits and limitations, so read on and watch our videos below to learn everything that underwater photography enthusiasts need to know about the Panasonic LX100 II. Panasonic,LX100,II,2,ll,mk,m,mark,Underwater,Camera,Review,photo,video

Panasonic LX100 II Underwater Camera Review

The Panasonic LX100 II is a compact-body, fixed-lens camera with the large sensor and fast-shooting ability of a high-end mirrorless camera. We love it for producing the best image quality and fastest shooting speed from our current roundup of compact cameras. It captures 4K video at 30 frames per second and uses a stylish set of manual controls for a classic retro camera-style. It has a very unique set of benefits and limitations, so read on and watch our videos below to learn everything that underwater photography enthusiasts need to know about the Panasonic LX100 II. WATCH THIS VIDEO:×This video shares all of our test results and our secret camera settings for the Panasonic LX100 IITopic Time Codes00:46 - Mirrorless Sensor, Compact Body02:57 - Wide Angle & Macro Photo05:08 - Rapid-Fire Shooting07:32 - Manual Exposure Dials & Custom Controls09:55 - Video Settings & Color11:19 - Who Is It For?A MIRRORLESS SENSOR IN A COMPACT BODY The outstanding image quality that the Panasonic LX100 II produces is thanks to the Four Thirds sensor within. This is the largest sensor in the current roundup of compact cameras and is significantly larger than the 1-inch sensors found in other palm-sized compact cameras such as the Panasonic LX10, Sony RX100 VI , and Canon G7 X II . The resulting photos are packed with sharp resolution and great dynamic range detail. Thanks to the Four Thirds sensor, the Panasonic LX100 II produces the best image quality and high dynamic range from any compact-body camera in our current roundup. 1/250 | ISO 200 | ƒ8 The Four Thirds sensor inside the Panasonic LX100 II is the same size as the sensor in the Panasonic GH5 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 II. This defining trait makes it fair to compare these three cameras on an even-par image-quality wise, making the Panasonic LX100 II more aligned with the Mirrorless class of camera than Compact. Larger sensors gather more light and dynamic range detail. When selecting a camera based on image quality, choose the largest sensor possible.COMPACT 24-75MM FIXED ZOOM LENS The 24-75mm fixed zoom lens is the most compact camera-like defining feature of the Panasonic LX100 II. A fixed lens is the largest factor to consider when it comes to optical versatility, as a fixed lens will rely on externally-mounted conversion lenses. An interchangeable-lens camera body can utilize dedicated wide angle and macro optics for more versatility, so this is one of the largest compromises to consider when shooting the Panasonic LX100 II. The positive aspect of this optical tradeoff is the overall smaller size of the system and optics. The smaller size means that you can wedge the camera, housing, and lens into tighter spaces that a big SLR housing or 8-inch dome port just wouldn’t fit in to. The compact body, housing, and optics of the Panasonic LX100 II allowed us to get into a tight space and shoot this grouper under a ledge where a larger camera system could not have fit. 1/200 | ISO 200 | ƒ8STUNNING UNDERWATER WIDE ANGLE PHOTO The Panasonic LX100 II does wide angle photo extremely well. The image quality is the best currently being produced by a compact-body camera. Wide angle corner detail is sharp at f/8 and the Four Thirds sensor provides fantastic dynamic range detail. The wide angle lens used for this review was the AOI UWL-09 PRO . This lens converts the field of view to 130º underwater and ensures maximum image quality and detail is captured. The Panasonic LX100 II must be zoomed in to about 29-30mm to avoid vignetting with a wide angle lens, sacrificing some of the field of view of the accessory lens. A shorter, wide-angle specific port must also be used to get the accessory lens as close as possible to the front of the fixed camera lens. Wide angle image quality is sharp and packs great dynamic range detail. When paired with the AOI UWL-09 PRO , the Panasonic LX100 II is a very capable wide-angle photo camera. 1/250 | ISO 200 | ƒ8SUPER SHARP MACRO, BUT NOT THE TIGHTEST Macro photo results looked great thanks to the sharp image quality. Without an accessory lens equipped, the 24-75mm zoom lens is capable of shooting decent fish portraits and medium-to-small subjects, but the Panasonic LX100 II does not shoot the tightest macro or possess the best macro working distance when compared to other current cameras. When zoomed to 75mm, the native lens captures great fish portraits. 1/250 | ISO 200 | ƒ16 For true macro shooting, a diopter or macro accessory lens must be equipped. This accessory is what moves the focus distance in closer, allowing the camera to shoot much smaller subjects in sharp focus. The zoom limit of the fixed lens is the limiting factor in this equation, and the fact is that there are more extreme options available from other cameras if pursuing the most macro-centric results. The Sony RX100 VI packs a 200mm zoom lens and the Panasonic GH5 can use the Olympus 60mm Lens to achieve tighter macro shots, so one may want to consider those cameras if macro shooting is a primary goal. The electronic shutter of the Panasonic LX100 II can be synchronized with a flash up to shutter speeds of 1/4000 second, providing a huge benefit for macro shooting. Shutter speeds this fast far exceed traditional mechanical shutter sync speeds and allow the shooter to knock out as much ambient light as possible. By relying solely on the strobe for exposure, one can achieve a clean, dark background - a signature trait of the best macro images. This blenny is a good example of not only the sharp macro image quality but also the working limit of shooting the smallest subjects and the dark background achieved by higher-than-normal shutter speed. 1/1000 | ISO 200 | ƒ16CUSTOM ASSIGNABLE BACK-BUTTON AUTOFOCUS The Panasonic LX100 II does not only compare to mirrorless cameras in the image quality arena. The shooting experience also feels much closer to a mirrorless than a compact thanks to the custom assignable back-button autofocus and rapid-fire shooting ability. While most compact cameras do not allow for separation of the autofocus function and shutter button actuation, the Panasonic LX100 II does. This enables the user to custom assign the autofocus function to the AF/AE Lock button on the camera, resulting in an overall faster-shooting speed because the camera does not have to hunt for focus on every half-press of the shutter button. This is a key setting for the fastest shooting speed possible and capturing split-second action, as it allows the camera to fire as fast as the flash can recycle. By taking advantage of the back-button autofocus custom setting, the Panasonic LX100 II is able to fire much faster, resulting in more frames per sequence, further increasing the odds of perfectly capturing a split-second action moment. 1/200 | ISO 200 | ƒ81/64 MANUAL FLASH POWER FOR BLAZING FAST RECYCLE TIME The Panasonic LX100 II allows the user to change the flash settings from TTL to Manual through the appropriate option in the main menu of the camera. By changing to manual flash power and assigning a power output of 1/64, the camera is forced to only fire the flash at the minimum power output for each shot. This is still more than enough power to fire an optically-slaved strobe while also guaranteeing the fastest recycle time possible. Capturing as many shots in as little time as possible is critical for capturing split-second action. By enabling the 1/64 manual flash power output on the Panasonic LX100 II the highest rate of fire is guaranteed. 1/200 | ISO 200 | ƒ8 The inclusion of manual flash power gives the Panasonic LX100 II a distinct shooting speed advantage over comparable compact cameras like the Panasonic LX10 and Sony RX100 VI , both of which are limited to TTL-only flash output. Because of this fact, these cameras cannot even come close to the maximum shooting speed of the Panasonic LX100 II. OLD-SCHOOL MANUAL EXPOSURE CONTROLS A somewhat unique aspect of the Panasonic LX100 II is the retro-inspired manual exposure control set. Aperture, shutter speed, and exposure compensation are all controlled by dedicated dials. These encourage shooting in full Manual mode (which Backscatter recommends for the best image results) but they can also be set to automatic values for Priority and Program Auto shooting modes. The biggest quirk of the Panasonic LX100 II is related to the shutter speed dial. While the aperture and exposure compensation dials offer ‘clicks’ for every ⅓ stop value, the shutter speed dial only ‘clicks’ at every full stop value. Once a shutter speed value is assigned by the top dial, the rear dial and LCD screen can be used to fine-tune the shutter speed value, allowing for up to two-thirds of a stop to be selected in between the full stop values present on the top dial. The catch here is that you cannot exceed the next full stop value without turning the dial, making the Panasonic LX100 II the only camera in our current lineup that requires activation of more than one control to completely dial in the shutter speed - a major inconvenience when reacting to a quickly changing scene. Besides this shutter speed quirk, all other controls and settings are very easy to access and utilize underwater. CUSTOMIZED TO YOUR SHOOTING STYLE There is a high level of customization available on the Panasonic LX100 II. It is very easy to quickly tailor the camera to your preferred shooting preferences and assign the 5 custom function buttons to features of your choosing. The front control ring is also assignable to a number of custom functions, such as zoom or even ISO control, acting as a “fourth dial” to further assist in complete manual exposure operation. Five assignable function buttons provide a high level of customization and help make the Panasonic LX100 II operate more like a mirrorless camera than a compact. The Quick Menu is accessible via Fn2 by default and offers access to the most popular on-the-fly settings. The Main Menu is where everything else can be found, and is very user-friendly and easy to navigate, allowing a user to completely self-orient and become familiar with even the most advanced settings and options with ease. UNDERWATER VIDEO COLOR & WHITE BALANCE EXECUTION The Panasonic LX100 II makes it easy to shoot video, as one only needs to hit the Record button and the camera will start rolling video up to 4K 30p right away. There are no separate modes for photo or video, so on-the-fly switching is easy. A lack of dedicated modes means that the shooter must pay attention to critical settings like shutter speed and white balance, which are likely to be vastly different values between shooting photo or video. Underwater ambient light custom white balance testing at the 40-foot depth range produced results that were just a little bit too heavy on the green, yellow, turquoise, and cyan side of things to be considered perfect in-camera color at depth. Fortunately, a one-click white balance correction in post restored the color back to an acceptable and near-perfect result. Executing a white balance is simple and only requires 3 button presses, making it one of the easiest to execute among most current cameras. There are 4 custom white balance banks for storing multiple color temperatures for shooting at different depths. Overall, the white balance produced by the Panasonic LX10 looked better at 40 feet and beyond, If searching for the best in-camera underwater ambient light white balance color, Backscatter recommends the Panasonic LX10 over the Panasonic LX100 II. WHO IS THE LX100 II FOR? The Panasonic LX100 II is the Backscatter pick for ultimate compact-body wide angle still photo camera. The image quality of the larger sensor, rapid-fire shooting style, back button autofocus, and manual flash power give the Panasonic LX100 II the shooting horsepower of a camera twice its body size. It’s the best compromise between a mirrorless and a compact camera, with the caveat being felt most in the fixed lens and working limitations of accessory wide angle and macro lenses, and the limitations of exclusive port choices that prevent wide-to-macro changes on the same dive. Its macro capabilities are good but nothing really exceptional, and tighter macro can be achieved from other comparable cameras if that is the user’s main goal. The biggest turnoff is the two-dial shutter speed adjustment, but that doesn’t overshadow the otherwise outstanding control placement and customization options. While it is a welcome addition to the compact 4K 30p video family, the ambient light color results didn’t look quite as good at depth as the smaller-sensor LX10. A quick fix in post brought the video color back to acceptable, but that’s one more step to factor in for post-dive video editing. ProsBest image quality from a compact-body camera (4/3 sensor)SLR-like rapid-fire shooting style is much faster than other compactsBest compromise between mirrorless and compact camerasGreat control options and extensive customization4k 30p video from a compact-bodyConsShutter speed requires two controls for fine-tuningFixed 24-75mm lens offers less optical versatility than an interchangeable lensPort swap required for dedicated wide angle or macro optics; cannot do both on the same diveLimited macro range prevents true super macro shotsCustom white balance color at 40 feet depth requires color correction in postWhy buy direct from Backscatter?Free lifetime tech support with every purchase. We will beat any advertised price. Free shipping to USA and Canada and low-cost international shipping. Panasonic LX100 II Compact Camera $999.99BUY NOWNauticam NA-LX100II Housing $1,501.00BUY NOW

Related Posts

OM System 90mm Macro Lens Underwater Review

The OM System 90mm Macro Lens provides an all new, greater focal length to use on micro four thirds sensor and lens mount cameras than was previously available. What does this mean for underwater phot...

Read More

Nauticam EMWL Underwater Lens Review

The Nauticam EMWL (Extended Macro Wide Lens) is a wet-mounted accessory lens for capturing macro-sized subjects with a wide angle perspective. It features interchangeable objective optics for differen...

Read More

Best Underwater Compact Strobe - Backscatter Mini Flash 2

The Backscatter Mini Flash MF-2 is a major upgrade to the MF-1, with tons of new features and performance upgrades, including Olympus TTL, remote strobe control, high-speed sync, test mode, emergency ...

Read More

Canon R5 vs Canon R5C Underwater Review - The best underwater video camera?

Canon underwater shooters are spoiled for choice at the moment between two great full-frame mirrorless cameras with the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R5C. While these cameras appear similar in both name ...

Read More

Sony a7 IV Underwater Camera Review

The Sony a7 IV boasts an all-new sensor and other significant performance upgrades from the previous Sony a7 III camera. The “middle” child of the a7 series, the base model has often been looked over....

Read More

OM System OM-1 Underwater Camera Review

The OM System OM-1 camera is the latest top-of-the-line flagship Micro 4/3 camera from OM Systems, formerly Olympus. We took the new OM System OM-1 mirrorless camera underwater to the Digital Shootout...

Read More