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Personalizing the Panasonic LX100

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Spring has sprung, and you know what that means! That’s right, it’s time to assess how you shoot with your camera and revisit its options and function buttons to best serve your shooting style and preferences. (Or is this just something I do?)

Since my last blog post, I have continued to shoot with and love the Panasonic Lumix LX100. After using it for a couple months, I have come to understand a bit more how I approach and use the camera—and thus how I might set some of the camera’s options and buttons to best suit me. My usage and settings will surely continue to evolve, but here is a quick rundown of how I have the camera generally set up, as well as a few preferences and options I have configured that have benefited me so far. 

Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara, CA

General Settings

In general, I set the camera as follows:

  • Capture “RAW+Fine” files: RAW files plus large JPGs. Honestly, I’ll often end up deleting the JPGs but they can sometimes serve as an interesting experiment in in-camera processing and influence later post-production.
  • Auto ISO: I’m sure this is a big no-no for some, but for me it has worked well the majority of the time.
  • Auto White Balance.
  • The LX100’s version of Aperture Priority mode—set an aperture on the aperture ring and leave the shutter speed at A (Auto).
  • Metering is set to Multi-Metering. I have yet to deeply explore the other metering modes, and I suspect Spot Metering will be helpful on occasion.
  • Exposure Compensation is zeroed out until I figure out the general ambient light levels.

Beyond those basic settings, when I have needed to make any other adjustments as I shoot, I have most often made those changes via the Quick Menu button. While fairly convenient, despite its name it has not been the quickest way to change settings—sometimes it can require five or more “clicks” (button pushes and dial adjustments) to change a setting. Generally I want to adjust, say, the focus mode a bit faster, so I’ve begun using the Fn1 button for that.

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Focus and the Fn1 Button

When I first began using the LX100, I almost always stayed in 49-Area focus mode, which basically leaves it up to the camera to pick the best place to find focus. It works pretty well, and it’s great when you don’t have a lot of time to try to find focus. But when time allows, I want more control, so I tried using 1-Area focusing, which allows me to be more deliberate in picking an area for the camera to use. I ended up taking it one step further, working with Pinpoint focus mode, which I find allows a lot more control than even 1-Area mode.

Lawn bowling in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA

Lawn bowling in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA

What I’ve found is that sometimes I want the quick responsiveness of the 49-Area focus mode, and other times I want the precision of Pinpoint focus mode. In order to have the ability to switch between these quickly, which I now regularly do, I have assigned the Fn1 button the “AF Mode/MF” setting. It works great.

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The Fn2 and Fn3 Buttons

I have assigned the Fn2 button to control the Shutter Type, which means I determine (to the best of the camera’s ability) whether the camera uses the Mechanical Shutter or the Electronic Shutter. I have read a bit about how the Mechanical Shutter is better for the majority of images, while the Electronic Shutter offers insanely fast shutter speeds. Frankly, I haven’t experimented with this all that much; I leave it in Mechanical Shutter the majority of the time. But it seems to make sense to have the ability to change this close at hand. Something else to explore.

I have left the Fn3 button set to its default “LVF/Monitor Switch” assignment, which lets me control whether I use the viewfinder or the LCD/monitor to capture and review images. Having control over that has been more helpful than I thought it would be. Being able to adjust this quickly means I have full control over when the LCD/monitor will light up with a live view or a just-captured image. This is helpful in situations where you want to shoot without calling more attention to yourself or in low-light situations where a bright LCD/monitor might bother those around you.

Marin County Civic Center, San Rafael, CA

Marin County Civic Center, San Rafael, CA

Marin County Civic Center, San Rafael, CA

Marin County Civic Center, San Rafael, CA

Zoom Resume

The LX100 has a zoom lens that offers the equivalent of a 24–70mm lens. This is great, but a default setting that drove me crazy had the camera resetting the focal length of the zoom back to its widest setting, 24mm, every time the camera was powered off or went to sleep. This was a bit frustrating. Sometimes when I’m shooting, I like to shoot at a consistent focal length, such as 24mm or 35mm or 50mm. To have to adjust the zoom every time I wake the camera up is a pain. Digging into the menus, I found the Zoom Resume option and turned it On. Problem solved. Now I can adjust to 50mm, and when the camera powers back up or wakes up, it goes right back to 50mm. Seems like a small thing, but it’s been very helpful. It allows me to pretend I have three different prime lenses that I can use with the camera. :)

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Control Ring

The final adjustment I have made to the camera so far is to set the Control Ring to adjust the ISO (when not manually focusing). Given that the camera does not have a dedicated ISO button (the ISO button on the Control Dial doesn’t work when using that dial as a way to determine the focus area, as I do). This Control Ring performs double duty—when in Manual Focus, it is used to find focus. But when I’m in an autofocus mode, this Control Ring serves as handy access to a quick change of the ISO. While I generally have been leaving the ISO set to Auto ISO, when I am shooting in light that is not fluctuating wildly I sometimes want to set it to a specific ISO; this allows me to do that easily. With this setting, it feels like all three parts of the exposure triangle—ISO, aperture, and shutter speed—are now physically and easily at my fingertips.

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I know I’m not done “customizing” the camera yet, but this has been a good start, and I am liking the camera more and more. Next steps for me are to further explore metering modes, as well as take a look at Panasonic’s Image App to see if there are any ways to incorporate it into shooting with the LX100. I have downloaded the app and set it up to work with the LX100 (it’s quite easy), but shooting with it hasn’t yet resulted in any photos worth sharing. Perhaps another blog post is on the way….

What about you? If you have an LX100—or any other camera—in what ways have you set up your camera that has really benefited the way you shoot?

By Associate Publisher, Ted Waitt

24 Responses to Personalizing the Panasonic LX100

  1. nick - Reply

    March 24, 2015 at 4:23 am

    ISO is a smart choice for the control ring!

  2. Debbiewm - Reply

    July 25, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Excellent setup advice. I also like to shoot waterfalls and creeks where I run into contrast problems. So I have set fn 2 to HDR on-off. 😃I also shoot a lot in manual focus mode. This is so easy to access on this camera that I use it mostly like my Leica set with auto exposure, manual f stop and shutter speed. I also find the color cast rather cool. So on standard filter, I have set the AWB 3 stops to the left. This looks like Agfa color film which I like. The point it that you can set this little camera up to shoot just the way you like.

  3. Kurt Schwarz - Reply

    April 26, 2016 at 2:51 am

    Great piece of advice. My question: If shooting RAW does Exposure Compensation influence the RAW file or not?

    Krgds Kurt

    • Ted Waitt - Reply

      April 26, 2016 at 11:06 am

      Hi Kurt,

      Thanks for your comment. Exposure Compensation certainly does influence the raw file—giving the image file more or less light based on your Exposure Compensation choice. Thanks, and happy shooting!

      Ted

  4. Rich - Reply

    May 18, 2016 at 5:42 am

    This has been really helpful, just wanted to say thanks!

  5. K L - Reply

    July 15, 2016 at 1:24 am

    This was really interesting and helpful. However, I don’t see any of the menu items in my setup options that you show.

    For example, under the custom section (the wrench C), I only have:
    * Silent Mode
    * Guideline
    * Remaining disp

    I don’t see any options for setting the custom fn buttons or control ring, zoom resume, q.menu, i.Resolution etc etc.

    Reading your article made me wonder whether I had actually bought a DMC-LX100. I checked the bottom of the camera, and, sure enough, yes, yes I did.

    Why would my camera software not show *any* of the advanced options I see in this article?

    Thanks.

    • Ted Waitt - Reply

      July 15, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Hello there. I’m glad you found the article helpful.

      The menus are “contextual” based on how your camera is set up to shoot. My hunch is that you are in a shooting mode such as iA (intelligent Auto). When I placed my camera in iA mode (pressing the iA button between the shutter speed dial and the exposure compensation dial on top of the camera), my custom menu choices were limited to exactly the same three options that you specify. When I exit iA mode (pressing the button again), the options I discuss in the blog post all become available.

      So give that a try!

      • K L - Reply

        July 31, 2016 at 8:22 pm

        That’s exactly what was happening. Thank you for your assistance. I appreciate you taking the time to reply very much.

  6. don - Reply

    July 21, 2016 at 5:47 am

    hi, I am just wondering how you can activate the panorama sweeping mode. that is currently greyed-out when I press the button drive mode. I changed some settings like Fine JPEG and AFS focus, but I couldn’t still activate it. appreciate your help on this and the tips above are awesome.

    • Ted Waitt - Reply

      July 25, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      Hi Don. Glad you like the tips. This one stumped me for a little while! But I think I figured it out. Two things: 1. You cannot be in intelligent Auto (iA) mode, and 2. You must be shooting JPG-only; you cannot be shooting RAW. Once I switched out of these modes, I was able to activate the panorama shooting mode.

      The LX100 is a great little camera, but one thing that has been confusing on occasion—and sometimes quite frustrating—is that many features change their availability, and some buttons change their functions, depending on the selections you’ve made (such as shooting modes, file types, etc.). Of course, many cameras do this these days, but this one seems a little more chameleon-like than other cameras I have. Still, it’s a good one when you get past some of these perplexing situations. Happy shooting!

    • Dex - Reply

      August 18, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      One thing I did Don was setup C1 custom mode setting for quick access to P, jpeg & panorama. This coupled with custom mode assigned to a fcn button makes getting to this feature much easier.

    • Dex - Reply

      August 18, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      One thing I did Don was setup C2 custom setting for quick access to P, jpeg & panorama. I followed similar action for 4K photo with C3. This coupled with custom mode assigned to a fcn button makes getting to this feature much easier.

  7. Deirdre - Reply

    July 31, 2016 at 7:33 am

    I just found your blog post on this great camera. I was renting it and I noticed that whenever I turned it off, and turned it on again, it defaulted back to jpeg and I was shooting without even noticing. Finally I had to remember to set it back to RAW each and every time. I was shooting in Manual mode so I don’t know why it did this.
    Thanks!

  8. George Kalogeris - Reply

    August 11, 2016 at 7:08 am

    hello,
    I also use LX100 as you described.
    I am looking for a software to reproduce the in-camera settings and filters, so I can start manipulating my RAWs from that point.
    LR is a pain for me, because it discards all my curves/settings/filters

    • Ted Waitt - Reply

      August 12, 2016 at 8:46 am

      Hello George,

      Unfortunately I do not have a positive solution for you! To the best of my knowledge, Lightroom does not at this time provide Camera Profiles for the LX100 (the way that it does for, say, the Fuji X100T). It can certainly be a pain starting from scratch with the RAW file and trying to recreate the looks of the in-camera settings and filters.

      I also don’t know of any other software that can recreate those in-camera settings.

      Ted

  9. Patricia - Reply

    August 15, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    How to get back to Photo Style –
    Can not seem to activate it please- Self taught ugh

    • Ted Waitt - Reply

      August 17, 2016 at 10:50 am

      Hi Patricia,

      It’s hard for me to know exactly what the problem is here. But you should be able to access the Photo Styles by pressing MENU, then Rec (camera icon), then Photo Styles. This gives you access to change your Photo Styles to options like Standard, Vivid, Monochrome, etc. Side note: It may be helpful to know that if you’re applying picture effects (via the Filter button on the top of the camera), the Photo Style is automatically set to Standard.

      Good luck!
      Ted

  10. Regis - Reply

    September 7, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Ted,

    I appreciate you info here and good answers to questions. I have an LX100 as well and a fundamental problem I think. I go through the painstaking effort to configure the camera to my likings and then after power cycle things are not persistent. Is this normal behavior of the cam or is this something I have not setup correctly

    • Ted Waitt - Reply

      September 7, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Regis,

      I realize I am reaching the end of my knowledge of this camera! I have not had this experience before. I imagine that what “sticks” and what doesn’t probably depends on which feature we’re talking about. To the best of my recollection, though, all of my customized shooting and playback settings have stayed with the camera after turning the camera off and on again.

      I’m sorry I can’t be of any more help to you! If you figure this out, please reply here and let us know what the issue was.

      Thanks,
      Ted

  11. Ewing - Reply

    September 19, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Really enjoyed your excellent write up, and all the good questions, tips, and comments. Thank you all.

  12. Keith Townsend - Reply

    November 6, 2016 at 6:33 am

    This is possibly the dumbest question ever. What is the purpose of the ‘P’ setting on this camera? Shooting with the P selected and everything else on auto, the quality of the images is dismal! Zoom into an image and it looks like it has been painted; resolution is really poor. The quality is set to large & fine. Shoot the same image in iA and the resolution is excellent. Thanks for any suggestions and what a great site this is. Thanks

    • Ted Waitt - Reply

      November 7, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      Hi Keith. Thanks for your comment! Not a dumb question! Here is my understanding of how P [Program] mode works. (And if I’m not mistaken, the LX100 does not have an actual, physical P setting on the camera, but you enter P mode by placing your shutter speed and aperture settings both on A [Auto].)

      P [Program] mode has the LX100 selecting your aperture and shutter speed for you to achieve what it thinks is the best possible exposure. I believe that it makes no other adjustments—not to white balance, ISO, etc. So it simply and only makes the best decision it can based on those two adjustable settings. Sometimes this can result in good images, but it is also pretty limited by the other parameters to which the camera is set. I think this mode is offered to shooters simply because it’s expected by them.

      iA [intelligent Auto] mode, on the other hand, is like P mode on steroids. It’s a much better auto mode. It lets the LX100 exploit many additional features to optimize your image. Like P mode, iA also has the LX100 selecting the aperture and shutter speed, but iA mode also takes advantage of these features: scene detection, backlight compensation, face/eye detection, auto white balance, and ISO. So it has more tools in its arsenal to offer up a good result to you.

      I, too, have had better results when shooting in iA mode than in P mode.

      I hope that helps.

      Thanks!
      Ted

  13. Keith Townsend - Reply

    November 8, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks very much for the response Ted, very helpful. With my LX100 there is a button on the top that switches between iA & P modes. Herein lies part of the problem. It’s very easy to accidentally press the switch when taking the camera out of the ever-ready case and unless I check every time, there goes a great potential shot into the bin! A related mystery is that certain menu items are only visible in P mode, so there must be some design in having it, but it escapes me as to what it’s for! If I use the camera on full manual, then it’s fine too, but on P with everything on auto, it’s rubbish. It not only drains most of the colour out of the image, but also gives a really dreadful resolution – even with close subjects. I perhaps should contact Panasonic in case there is something wrong with the camera; it is only about 2.5 months old. Thanks for your comments.
    Keith

  14. Keith Townsend - Reply

    November 9, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Ok, hopefully this may help someone else. I spoke with a very helpful lady this morning at Panasonic UK and it was easily resolved. You were absolutely right Ted; the LX100 in P mode only selects aperture and speed in the automatic setting, WB and ISO are down to the user. I checked and my ISO setting was 25,600! Amazing that it captured anything much at all so a further proof of what an amazing camera this is. I re-set to 200 and BINGO – perfect shots in P. Really happy as it was driving me nuts that I couldn’t figure it out myself. How I set it at that stupid level is another mystery for another day, but glad all is good now. Thanks again for the great response and a really useful site here.
    Keith

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