RX100 V’s LX5 and LX7 – Part 1

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Death Valley dunes - RX100
Death Valley dunes – RX100

It’s funny how the same questions keep coming up in photography and this is one of them. Which is the better camera the RX100 or the LX5/LX7? I see people arguing on forums, it comes up as a search term in the traffic stats for this sight and I even receive emails asking this. I thought therefore it would be good to post a blog on the subject as I can understand people’s confusion.

At the outset I should say that I have owned all three of these cameras and currently still own the RX100 and LX7. Initially I had purchased the LX5 some 3 years back and was delighted by its performance. My only niggle was that I wanted more megapixels. When the RX100 came out I purchased that also and in time found I was using my LX5 less and less, so I sold it. Just before Christmas this year I found myself buying an LX7 as I was missing the LX5 and finding weak spots in the RX100 performance (but more on that shortly).

The first important point is to realise that you can’t expect to compare cameras based on specification alone. If it were that simple we would all be buying the same cameras (providing we could afford them). Buying a camera is a personal thing so you need to understand what is motivating you to make a purchase and what your expectations are. Most people overlook this point and as a result waste money, often being disappointed in the results.

What follows is my comparison using the points that are important to me. What’s important to you may be considerably different.

Wide angle lens – Ideally I want a 24mm equivalent lens at the wide angle. Both the LX5 and LX7 have this but the RX100 is 28mm. It may not sound like much but it is if you shoot landscapes. For me though this isn’t a deal breaker, but it is important and something I find frustraiting when using the RX100.

Long lens capability – Ideally I want 150mm at the long end of the lens or more. The LX5 and LX7 have a long end of 90mm and the RX100 of 110mm (I think). In practice there is little difference and neither gives me what I want here in order to be truly versatile. Again though, this isn’t a deal breaker.

Lens quality – I want a lens that is sharp from corner to corner and displays little chromatic aberration. Detail should be well resolved and appear nice and crisp in the final image. If I chose to resize the image I want to have confidence the image will look good. Both the LX5 and LX7 have great lenses and produce corner to corner sharpness. I would say if pressed that the LX5 lens on the camera I sold was better than the LX7 I now have, but it’s marginal. The RX100 lens is great in the centre but the corners are soft at the wide end and it drives me mad. Also, under some conditions the corners of images from the RX100 can also take on a red tint. These “features” may not worry you but I find them very irritating.

Image quality – This means the ability to shoot RAW (which all three cameras do) but I find the Panasonic RAW files easier to work with than the Sony files. This may just be my personal feeling.

To be continued…

4 thoughts on “RX100 V’s LX5 and LX7 – Part 1

    www.christopherfidoephotography.co.nz said:
    February 17, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    Love my RX100 II, even better with the optional view finder!

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      February 18, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      I haven’t seen the optional viewfinder. I must look it up. What a great camera though.

    Trish Sebastian said:
    March 1, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Hi. I have an LX-5. Do you have any recommendations for a brand macro lens and filters? I’m in the US and haven’t found a decent one. I’m also not a technical photographer but I like to travel and have decent photos. Thank you. Your pictures are gorgeous. I can’t believe they are taken with an LX series. You are extremely talented.

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      March 1, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Thank you. I’m very pleased you like my work.
      You don’t actually need a macro lens or filter to get some excellent results with the LX5. There is a macro focus switch on the side of the camera lens (the setting has a flower next to it). When you use this setting you can achieve a focus distance of down to 1cm from the subject. The trick to using it is to keep your lens using a wide angle and move the camera in very close. If you try to zoom in the macro focus stops working. From memory I think you can’t zoom in beyond the 35mm setting. Use a wider angle than this and you shold be fine. If you find you want to use a longer focal length then you will need an additional close up lense to attach to the front of the cameras lens. Raynox do a range of these which use a snap on adapter and are well respected. I can’t really advise much more than that I’m afraid. Hope this helps.

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