I’m a diehard iPhonographer. I love the simplicity of always having a camera with me, of carrying one less item, of editing photos with a finger, of sharing the photos instantaneously. It’s just an amazing camera of convenience that has really opened my mind to play more, take more photos and share more photos.
As I shoot more, I find that I want more. I want higher quality photos that better capture what I’m seeing and what I want to convey in the image. I know that means breaking down and using a camera that’s a camera, not a high quality phone camera. I also know that means carrying one more item in my bag (possibly more…ugh) or worse, needing a separate bag for camera gear. If the camera takes great photos (significantly better than my iPhone), is small and is easy to use, then I could possibly be persuaded to break down and take the plunge. I’ve tried some contenders in the past and posted about my experience with the Olympus OMD here – Italy With the OM-D. It was a great camera that took some pretty awesome photos, but it had its drawbacks, mostly that it was larger than what I was looking for.
So, my quest for *the* camera continues (cue WoW music). I’ve now gotten my hands on the Lumix LX7 and have been using it for about a month now. Fortunately, my new day job has me traveling quite a bit and I’ve had the chance to test out the camera in a variety of places and tossed it in a variety of handbags.
In my OMD post, I laid out my requirements for the perfect camera for me: Must be small and light, easy to use, photos look great out of camera and as an added bonus, should be easy to share photos directly from the camera. So let’s see how the LX7 did.
Small and light
It’s definitely small and light compared to G’s pro cameras and smaller than the OMD. Sure, it’s quite a bit bulkier than my iPhone, but it might be pushing it at this point to expect a camera that’s as small as the iPhone to deliver the quality I’m hoping to get from a camera. In addition to being small and light, it’s really good looking. I really like the white camera I’ve been using. It’s definitely a conversation starter and when I pulled it out at a work event, my lady coworkers all wanted to get their hands on it, just because of the way it looks.
Easy to use
Yes and no. It’s easy to go iAuto or use the little palette icon to choose fun filters. That makes this camera fun to use and I made some pretty fun images easily taking advantage of those features. I also experimented with video a little, but without having a tripod, my videos came out a little less than stellar, but I can see the potential if I did have a tripod.
What I’m not a huge fan of is how many freakin’ options there are and the labyrinth of menus to scroll through. G just flips through them no problem and selects what he wants with ease, but that comes from his experience and knowledge of cameras. He flips through and says, “See how EASY it is?” I really want to see how easy it is, but I don’t. It’s not easy to sort through piles of menus. It’s easy if you’re used to complicated pro cameras, but if you’re used to your iPhone, it’s anything but easy.
You know what’s easy? Having a touch screen where you use your finger to find what you want. If I could change one thing on this camera, it would be to have a touch screen with easy to understand menus and options and the ability to do some editing right there on the camera using my finger.
Photos look great out of camera
Yes, I’d say so. Unless I got really crazy with the exposure in some of the art filters, the photos generally game out looking really nice. I had a lot of fun with those art filters and I found that they were easy and fun to use. I got a giggle with the “baby 1″, “baby 2″ and “pet” modes. I don’t really know what they do, but if I can find amusement from an art filter name, the camera gets an extra point. These filters gave me a little more razzle dazzle and were fun to experiment with. Am I creating fine art? Hardly, it’s just all in good fun and the filters let me do that quickly and easily.
I did have issues with the camera focusing on the background sometimes, which is always frustrating to me when I’m taking a photo of a person. If the camera is supposed to be smart and find the face, why does it often think the city in the background is actually the focal point of my photo, not my friend? This shot would have been so awesome if only it had focused on my friend, not the Seattle skyline behind him.
The camera itself doesn’t have this capability, but I used an Eye-Fi card to accomplish nearly instantaneous sharing with ease. I just connected my iPhone to the wifi card and within seconds, I was sharing my photos on Instagram. I guess I can’t give the camera the credit for the sharing, but I did appreciate that my IG photos looked a little more snappy than usual. I could definitely see a difference.
So, will this be the camera to oust the iPhone? Probably not. It’s definitely a looker and is small and light. I liked the art filters quite a bit and found myself using them more than any other feature. I did find the options and menus to be more than what I needed and/or wanted at this point in my life and would have been happy just to have the iAuto, art filters AND a touch screen with easy to understand (for me) menus. I guess what I’m looking for is an iPhone camera on steroids, with a bigger, better lens and a real zoom. Something in between the iPhone and a camera like this one, maybe a really nice point and shoot.
This camera is definitely one for those with a more extensive knowledge of cameras, who really understand how to maximize all the manual options, but want a smaller, cool looking camera to carry around, maybe a serious enthusiast or a pro wanting a fun small camera. I could see myself getting into this if I knew more about the technical side of photography and as I shoot more, I’m sure I’ll understand more and appreciate this camera more.
In the meanwhile, I still have my camera of convenience by my side as I continue my quest…