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So I've been using the Lumix lx7 in the past and was quite happy with it. I don't have a dedicated digital camera right now but I was recently thinking to get one again mainly for shooting fashion.

Back then I did often use the lx7 as a DSLR replacement when I didn't have an actual DSLR with me. I picked this specific one because it has a dial for pretty much any function, every setting can be set manually and most importantly because of the unusally fast lens for a compact camera as whenever I am doing more "artsy" shots they are mostly in low light conditions and handheld.

So I was looking around and as far as I can see the only newer compact camera that can compete with its fast lens is the lx15. I looked at a direct comparison here and it seems like the biggest difference is just the image sensor being a few years newer, having a higher resolution and being bigger. I know that's quita a quality difference. I just wonder if it really matters that much. The lx7 seems to be on par with the lx15 if not better in a few categories (for example the lens). So does not having an annoying lens cap, wireless functionality and the newer image sensor justify the more than double price it costs right now? Is future proofing a big factor here?

Can someone maybe put this into perspective for me? Maybe I'm just not good at imagining what those numbers really mean when it comes to the sensor.

I also gladly take recommendations for different cameras with a competitive lens and functionality.

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The sensor in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 is 2.74X larger in area than the sensor in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7. That is a considerable advantage.

If two sensors use the exact same technology, a sensor with 2.8X the area of the other would have an almost two-stop advantage in terms of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR or S/N ratio). By comparison, full frame sensors are approximately 1.5X larger than APS-C sensors and enjoy a roughly one-stop difference when they both use the same technology.

The pixels of the LX15 are slightly larger than the pixels of the LX7. This means that over an area 2.74X as large, the LX15 has 20 MP compared to the LX7 with 10 MP. While megapixels aren't the be-all end-all that some folks make them out to be, more megapixels allow larger display sizes before an image starts to look pixelated.

The 24-72mm (35mm equivalent ) f/1.4-2.8 lens of the LX15 compares fairly well to the 24-90mm (35mm equivalent) f/1.4-2.3 lens of the LX7. It doesn't zoom out quite as far, and it is a tad slower at 72mm (35mm equivalent) than the older camera is at 90mm (35mm equivalent), but only by about two-thirds of a stop.

Combine the differences between the sensor sizes and maximum aperture sizes of the two cameras and the newer LX15 has a 35mm equivalent aperture¹ of f/3.8-7.6 compared to the LX7 with a 35mm equivalent aperture¹ of f/6.4-10.6. This means that you can expect roughly a four-thirds-stop performance advantage at 24mm (35mm equivalent) and a roughly one-stop advantage at 72mm (35mm equivalent) with the LX15 over the LX7.

In other words, in terms of low light performance, the LX15 compares to the LX7 about like a FF camera would compare to an APS-C camera. That's a significant difference in low light.

That's also before one considers the possible effect of the four year difference in technology between the LX7 released in 2012 and the LX15 released in 2016. That may or may not be a large factor, as improvement in sensor technology has begun to plateau a bit. In general, comparable models between, say, 2008 and 2012 would be expected to show more improvement than comparable models between 2012 and 2016. But every case is different.

As to the price disparity, the cheapest FF cameras are at least twice as much as the cheapest APS-C cameras. The Canon EOS 6D Mark II lists for $1,800 but currently sells for about $1,300 with a $500 instant rebate in the U.S. The Canon EOS 77D lists for $750 and sells for about $700. (The 77D is fairly comparable in features and controls to the 6D Mark II. They both were introduced in 2017, they both have similar 45-point AF systems, etc. One can get Rebel/xx0D models cheaper, but they don't have the same level of controls and other features.)

Is future proofing a big factor here?

There's no such thing as future proofing, especially when it comes to cameras. By the time one model hits the market, the replacement for that model is already being anticipated by many gearheads obsessed with cameras instead of with photography.

¹ Equivalent aperture (in 135 film terms) is calculated by multiplying lens aperture with crop factor (a.k.a. focal length multiplier).

  • You again 😁 thanks that makes things better to grasp but sadly doesn't really help me with my decision. I am on a tight budget this is why I am struggling. If I wasn't I would just get the lx 15 and be done. But Right now I find used lx 15 for around 400€ while I find used lx 7 for around 150. That's a significant difference and I just wonder. Is the quality THAT MUCH better? Most pictures will be viewed online anyways this is why i wonder. So what I'm asking for is rather an opinion. Is the lx 15 this much better in quality that it justifies the price difference? – Jeffrey Jan 14 at 13:00
  • @Jeffrey Only you know how much the 250 euro difference is worth to you. Only you know how much the difference between the image quality of the LX15 compared to the LX7 is worth to you. For me, neither would really be worth it as I would rather take along a larger, heavier, more expensive camera that I already own and get even better image quality that either of these cameras can give you. If I had $460 right now to spend on camera gear, I'd buy a couple of Godox V860IIC flashes with a spare Li-Ion battery and an X-Pro trigger. But you are not me, and I am not you. – Michael C Jan 14 at 13:15

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