Hall of Famer
Panasonic announced the LX7, a follow up to the well-regarded LX5.
Key changes from the LX5:
- New, slightly smaller (1/1.7" vs 1/1.63") 10MP MOS sensor
- New 24-90mm equivalent f/1.4-2.3 lens (fastest in class)
- Integrated 3-stop ND filter
- Dedicated aperture dial around the lens
According to the DPReview preview, the LX7 seems overall faster and more responsive in use when compared to the LX5. Sample images from the same preview look very good to me. It seems that they succeeded in producing a very fast zoom that performs quite well.
Despite all of this, I think the LX7 is going to struggle against a 1" sensor field heralded by the Sony RX100. The LX7 will not offer any substantial shallow DOF possibilities over the RX100. The Sony will allow more shallow DOF at wide angle, the Panasonic slightly more shallow DOF at full tele. Based on specs alone, the Sony will have about a stop better low light performance at wide angle while the LX7 will have a very modest advantage at tele. The most important difference, though, may be size (comparisons via CameraSize.com):
It would seem from this comparison that using a faster lens to compensate for a smaller sensor gets you a bigger camera. The Canon G1X (slightly greater than 4/3" sensor) is significantly larger than the RX100, though, so it isn't that straightforward. Time will tell how the image quality, especially lens performance, differs amongst these cameras.
My impression at the announcement, however, is that the LX7 likely represents the final generation of less-than-2/3" sensor, high-end, modest-zoom cameras. I'm sure it is a superb tool, but on screen I find the RX100 more compelling, and I'm already looking forward to the Panasonic L1X with 1" sensor in 2013.
Comprehensive coverage of the LX7 can be found at 1001 Noisy Cameras.