Under its sober look, the LX15 stands out as one of the best expert compacts with its excellent electronics and optics that are both luminous and precise. Finally the competition for Sony!

  • Wide-angle, very bright optics
  • Mechanical Stabilization of the Sensor
  • Excellent 4K video

An immense task

Panasonic had managed to win, before the release of Sony’s 1-inch sensor as a champion of its kind thanks to the quality of its optics. It is always on this optical control, coupled with the performance of Sony’s 1-inch sensor, that the Osaka brand counts to get back into the race with its LX15.

The LX100 is a very good compact expert. Its Micro 4/3 sensor and its very good optics give it a very good image quality. Only here, the market has given reason to Sony which offers pocket devices, much less bulky. As a result, Panasonic has taken over the pocket format of the RX100 with the LX15, a compact one that says farewell to the viewfinder but which offers two weapons of choice.

The Anti-Bling

Design side, if it cultivates gently its difference, Pana pocket casing does not reinvent the wheel and looks like a remote RX100. Contrary to the “old” LX, we no longer find the ring of change of ration of the image but one is always entitled to a ring of control of the opening scratched with the font of Leica character, recognizable between a thousand.

The case is sleek, a bit to the front – the grip is not pronounced enough and has no slip-resistant material – the lines are sober, clear and simple. A discreet red brush stroke on the video trigger brings the touch of color (with the mention 24-72) of a discreet case to make a Cayman taxman turn pale. The metallic and dense touch is very pleasant and classifies this small compact expert in the range “premium not bling bling”.

Sensor controlled

Yes, the sensor of the RX100 Mark V offers better burst performance – built-in memory structure requires – but with regard to performance in low-light Panasonic like Sony are familiar with this 1-inch 20 Mpix sensor, the same definition for several Years.

The default color rendering of the LX15 is a bit more subtle and warm, more rigorous on this side, which shows that Panasonic is moving in the right direction by interpreting a bit more colors. It’s not Fujifilm yet, but it’s already very good.

We are now waiting for a redesign of the names of the profile of colors, not very evocative: what is the difference between Standard and Natural? A standard rendering is not natural? And the difference between Standard and Landscape? A landscape also is natural, right?

The high sensitivities are well managed by this LX15 which behaves very well up to 1600 ISO, with a very limited loss of details and an always natural chromium. You can push the song up to 3200 ISO, but in RAW preferably. A RAW mode that is useful for developing snapshots and interpreting details as close as possible.

Excellent optical performance

The Summilux logo is pretty, the performance is better. Good news: the LX15 did not disappoint. As you can see on the images and their details reproduced here at 100%, the sharpness of the image is excellent. The level of detail on the plumage of our friend the duck is quite impressive, all the more so when one realizes that the image comes from a compact. Be aware that a mass-market SLR with the kit optics simply cannot reproduce this image sharpness because the entry-level zooms are light-years away from this Panasonic-Leica zoom – and its excellent algorithms Optical correction.

Beautiful 4K videos but too tight

And since we talk about the video, know that under its austere air this LX15 is the best compact in this field: as much by the quality of encoding the 4K – Pana stream is a reference In the same way as Sony – only by the sharpness of the optics or the stability of the sequences.

The small zoom x3 does not allow all the follies and is equipped with the same sensor but a zoom more powerful, but the LX15 nevertheless remains an excellent camcorder of addition, even for Serious shootings. Videographers will obviously regret the absence of headphone jack, analog as digital, but we must remember the consumer DNA of this compact pocket … capable of filming in 4K 100 Mbps!

If the video streams are of excellent quality, the LX15 has a defect to our taste: cropping in the video. From a 24-72 mm, one passes to a 36-108 mm. We gain a bit in telephoto but this does not compensate for the loss in wide-angle. Yet capable of maintaining photo focal lengths in all image ratios using larger sensors – LX7, and more recently in the LX100 – Panasonic could have tried to extend this respect for focal lengths to video. Pity.

Swiss knife

Between 4K 24 / 25p and Full HD at 120 frames per second, the 4K burst that allows you to shoot at 30 frames per second, scan panorama or 22 creative modes, Macro point at 3 cm, the LX15 is, like all Panasonic cameras, a potpourri of features.

The Verdict

The performance of this LX15 is solid, which allowed it to place itself directly as the best experts compacts as of the publication. A competitor of line RX100 of Sony, it, unfortunately, impasse on the electronic viewfinder.

But if you only consider the AF speed and the qualities of the image in photo and video, it is the best value for money of all our top 10 especially thanks to its very bright optics. It allows it to effectively limit the rise in high sensitivities. Pretty, discreet and very balanced, the LX15 is a success, certainly a little too wise.