Compact Creativity Comes to Berlin
Classic style meets the latest technology in a city famed for its texture and contrast
We gave the LUMIX LX100 to photographer Bernie DeChant and cinematographer, Benjamin Todd to put it through its paces in one of the most photographic cities in Europe.
Based in New York, Bernie started his career as a graphic designer, art directing award-winning projects for Adobe.com and Apple’s first online store. A trip to Brazil led to him taking up fine art and commercial photography full time. Bernie has exhibited his work in galleries and museums such as the Museu Oscar Niemeyer in Curitiba, Brazil and the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno in Valencia, Spain.
DeChant on Berlin
A vibrant multicultural city, full of canals, public spaces and an eclectic mix of classic and modern architecture, Berlin is a photographer’s playground. Its distinct neighbourhoods are spread out over a vast area, but as one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities, I found a bike and my LX100 were the perfect combination to explore them all.
Fantastic Blend of Analogue & Digital
One of the biggest things I've missed on digital cameras are analogue controls for aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation – all the controls that made cameras so much fun to use. The LX100 brings them back and places them right where they belong.
The small lens is a marvel: it covers an equivalent 24-75 mm range, with a maximum aperture of F1.7 at the wide end and F2.8 on the tele. It's like having a great wide, normal and portrait lens all in one.
With those bright maximum apertures, it lets you shoot in low-light situations without a flash, as well as provide a narrower depth of field when you want to isolate your subjects from the background. Best of all, it collapses into a small pancake-size unit with the camera switched off.
Plenty of Creative Tools
The LX100 performs well in helping me get my shots with lightning fast auto-focus tools and an amazingly crisp viewfinder. I also found there were plenty of creative tools such as 4K video, to help capture quick decisive moments.
After studying cinematography, Benjamin worked on news and current affairs programs. He then travelled the world making documentary films, where he learnt to quickly shoot and edit a tightly structured story – as well as the value of a versatile lightweight camera. Benjamin has gone on to work as a cinematographer on music videos, dramas and commercials.
Todd on Berlin
With its dramatic history and new and old buildings in close proximity, Berlin offers lots of visual drama. You often find stone reflected in glass and lots of different textures. It's that level of detail and contrast that makes Berlin so perfect for filming in 4K. The format really captures the sculptural stonework of the Brandenburg Gate, or the woven steel of the Reichstag. The light in Berlin also has a very interesting quality: there is a lot of space so you can get quite long shadows. Usually extreme light and dark within the same image is a challenge for a digital camera, but the LX100, with its wide exposure latitude, handles the contrast well without any loss of detail.
I found the inclusion of 4K video support on the LX100 really exciting – the footage it captures has an incredible level of detail. Coupled with a true Micro Four Thirds sensor and an F1.7-2.8 Leica lens, and you have a camera that can deliver cinematic shallow focus shots. There are also plenty of recording options such as 60p Full HD for capturing beautiful slow motion footage.
The LX100 feels substantial without being heavy. It feels good to hold and the understated design harks back to the days of classic analogue photography. And, it's not for effect: the LX100 has a lot of manual controls such as aperture ring, shutter dial and exposure compensation, so the process of photography is creative and rewarding.
I love the constant preview option for manual photography. You get a true picture of the exposure as you’re framing your shot. The LVF is also incredibly useful for practical filming – it’s sharp and large for a camera this size. It feels like it’s the same size as the GH4, and because it’s big, it makes manual focusing a breeze.
The LX100 offers you true creative control by combining the flexibility of manual controls with the latest image sensor and lens technology.
• 4/3" High Sensitivity MOS Sensor
• F1.7-2.8, 24-75 mm Leica DC Vario-Summilux lens
• Manual Control
• 4K Video
• High Definition LVF
• MF Assist, Pinpoint auto-focus, Manual focus peaking