Casual Street Shooting in Kuching, Borneo with Lumix LX10

Back in December I made a quick trip home to Kuching, Borneo to visit dear mum and spend some time catching up with friends and relatives. There was no agenda in mind, but I did bring along the Panasonic Lumix LX10 which I borrowed from a friend. I found myself some free time and decided to do a POV style street shooting video, showing you how I composed my shots and what happened around and in front of me before I clicked the shutter button. I also took this opportunity to share my thoughts on theLumix LX10 and overall opinion on whether 1-inch image sensor compact camera is still relevant today. You can find the POV video here (click). 

I have done a review for the LX10 before on Ming Thein's website, so I will not repeat myself here. It is a capable compact camera with larger than most smartphone's image sensor size and equipped with versatile 24-72mm F1.4-2.8 zoom lens. I enjoyed using the LX10 shooting on the street, capturing some portraits and environmental shots of my hometown Kuching. The weather was not great, it actually rained at the end of the session, so I had to cut the video short. At the end of the day, I did get some good shots that I was happy with, and it was not for work, and I did not have anything to accomplish in this session. A truly portable and lightweight one camera to do it all setup like the LX10 was more than sufficient to get the tasks done. 

I guess the big question is - where does 1 inch image sensor compact cameras sit in the world dominated by full frame cameras? We are also no lacking options when it comes to compact sized cameras. Panasonic's own Lumix GM1 or GM5 are actually smaller in dimensions than LX10, yet they feature larger sized Micro Four Thirds image sensor. Also, we have the amazing LX100, similar concept to the LX10 but with larger sized sensor as well. Ricoh has been pushing out cult-following GR series compacts with even larger APS-C sized sensors, and even the Sony, Canon and Nikon's latest mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras offerings are not that big to begin with today. We all know Micro Four Thirds or larger sized sensors will offer advantages in dynamic range and high ISO shooting. 

Then we have the smartphones, Xiaomi and Sharp have both released flagship smartphones with cameras having 1-inch sized image sensors. Admittedly these smartphones have fixed focal length setup to minimize size, but still, smartphones are catching up and very soon we will have more and more common 1-inch sensor setup for smartphone photography which will diminish the relevance of having a 1 inch dedicated compact camera. I guess, the smartphone thing won't happen too soon, and I doubt the smartphone manufacturers can squeeze in zoom lenses for the 1-inch sensor in such a slim body. Therefore, if you want a camera with full functions the compacts like LX10, or Sony's RX100 series are still in demand for today. I am not going to go into advantages of having a dedicated camera for photography, we shall save that topic for another day. 

As for me, after using the LX10, while I did have fun shooting with it, unfortunately the 1-inch sensor did not satisfy my imaging needs. I know technicalities should not be an issue, but I would like to draw a line somewhere, and I think Micro Four Thirds is the smallest sized image sensor I am willing to "compromise" when it comes to size and performance ratio. Anything smaller than Micro Four Thirds is just not sufficient for now - dynamic range and high ISO just suffer, and you can immediately tell the difference when the lighting conditions change. Going ISO800 and above, the images start to fall apart on the 1-inch sensor compacts. 

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