Gear: LX100 At Discount, But I'll Wait For An LX200 (Assuming There Will Be A New Version)

When the LX100 first came out (September, 2014) I was quite excited.  All those retro dials in a smallish format.  Plus it had a mFT sensor which was pretty big for the small size of the camera and the small size of the fixed 24-75 mm-equivalent F1.7 to F2.8 (i.e. fast!) zoom. Albeit the sensor was cropped to about 12mp, but this was fine with me as it accommodated the mult-aspect ratio feature we’d come to know and love with the LX series.

Screenshot from Panasonic website

I guess what caused me to put a purchase on hold was the price tag of $899US… and to be honest, I was concerned with some of the reports that seemed to indicate some lens softness. I have to admit that lens sharpness is a “thing” with me.  Intellectually, I know it is overrated and that there are so many more important elements that go into making a good photo.  When it comes down to it, I think almost all modern lenses are “sharp enough” and fully “sufficient”, even slow kit lenses. Nevertheless, lens sharpness is always a hurdle for me.

At any rate, because of these concerns, by the end of 2014 I removed the LX100 from my radar screen.

But then a couple of weeks ago, I had another chance to reconsider.  Not only was the LX100 on sale at a trusted seller, Amazon, but they had plenty of them in stock and “more coming”, priced to sell fast at $560 with free shipping.  This was 30% below the retail price of $799 and 40% off the initial retail price of $899! Unfortunately for anyone reading this now who might be interested in buying at that price, this deal has come and gone and the current selling price at Amazon (on April 1, 2017) is $699. 

This was the $560 deal (now gone):

Screenshot from Amazon a few weeks ago.

Currently priced on Amazon at $699:

Screenshot from dpreview.com

However, I was unable to hit the buy button, even at $560.  It seems that a lot has changed in my mind with regard to an appropriate feature set.  Obviously, the camera still works as well as it did when introduced in 2014, when it received an 85% “gold award” from dpreview.com.  But my wish list for features and requirements seems to have expanded over the last 2 1/2 years.  That’s not a good or bad thing, it is just what is.

In passing up on this sale, I also considered that perhaps the heavily discounted price was a sign that a new model (LX200?) is coming.  I am hoping that the LX100 was successful enough that it warrants an upgrade. 

What would really kindle my interest in the next version of the LX100 (if there is one coming along) is one or more of the following “improvements”, listed here in order of my interest:

(1) A bigger EVF, preferably OLED so I can see through it with polarized glasses.  The bigger EVF can be accomplished in appearance without increasing the physical size by changing the EVF to a 4:3 aspect ratio instead of the current 16:9. I understand that the GH series has an OLED viewfinder with 4:3 aspect panel.

(2) Tilting display with touch screen capabilities.

(3) A new lens, equally fast, perhaps longer (24-90?, 24-105?) and sharper than the current one.

(3) Better image stabilizing. Gordon Laing was disappointed to find in his review on cameralabs.com that the stabilization system only provided a 2-ish stop advantage where he’d expected more like 3-4 stops.

(4) ND filter built in.

(6) A 20mp sensor ...which would need to be cropped to about 15mp to accommodate the multi-aspect ratio feature.

(5) Ability use a self-timer and bracketing at the same time.  I think currently, like other cameras I’ve owned from Panasonic and Olympus, the self-timer and bracketing are in the same drive mode so that you can choose only one or the other. (The work-around is to use a remote shutter release.)

(6) All the photo stacking and photo bracketing features that are now included on the upper end Panasonic’s.  I think the LX100 may have photo bracketing, but not photo stacking.  There were hopes for a firmware upgrade to accomplish this, but as far as I can tell that never happened.

(7) Blue Tooth for easy fast transfer to my cell phone for sharing. (I don’t have any cameras with this, so not exactly sure how advantageous this is… but it seems to be the direction upscale cameras are heading)

I guess that's a healthy list of "improvements".  I'm looking forward to seeing what Panasonic comes up with next.

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