Panasonic LX15 vs Pentax 645Z
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 (called Panasonic LX10 in some regions) and the Pentax 645Z are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2016 and April 2014. The LX15 is a fixed lens compact, while the 645Z is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an one-inch (LX15) and a medium format (645Z) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 51.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 and the Pentax 645Z? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic LX15 and the Pentax 645Z is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The LX15 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the 645Z is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax 645Z is considerably larger (187 percent) than the Panasonic LX15. It is noteworthy in this context that the 645Z is splash and dust-proof, while the LX15 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX15 has a lens built in, whereas the 645Z is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
Concerning battery life, the LX15 gets 260 shots out of its DMW-BLH7 battery, while the 645Z can take 650 images on a single charge of its D-LI90 power pack. The power pack in the LX15 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Panasonic LX15||106 mm||60 mm||42 mm||310 g||260||n||Sep 2016||699|
|2.||Pentax 645Z||156 mm||117 mm||123 mm||1550 g||650||Y||Apr 2014||8,499|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|4.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|6.||Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|7.||Fujifilm X70||113 mm||64 mm||44 mm||340 g||330||n||Jan 2016||799|
|8.||Hasselblad X1D||150 mm||98 mm||71 mm||725 g||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995|
|9.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|10.||Panasonic TZ200||111 mm||65 mm||45 mm||340 g||370||n||Feb 2018||799|
|11.||Panasonic TZ90||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449|
|12.||Panasonic FZ2000||138 mm||102 mm||135 mm||915 g||350||n||Sep 2016||1,199|
|13.||Panasonic GX80||122 mm||71 mm||44 mm||426 g||290||n||Apr 2016||799|
|14.||Panasonic TZ100||111 mm||65 mm||44 mm||312 g||300||n||Jan 2016||699|
|15.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|16.||Pentax 645D||156 mm||117 mm||119 mm||1480 g||800||Y||Mar 2010||9,995|
|17.||Sony RX100 V||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The LX15 was launched at a lower price than the 645Z, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic LX15 features an one-inch sensor and the Pentax 645Z a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the 645Z is 1139 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 0.79. The sensor in the LX15 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the 645Z offers a 4:3 aspect. The LX15 has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.
With 51.1MP, the 645Z offers a higher resolution than the LX15 (20MP), but the 645Z nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.30μm versus 2.41μm for the LX15) due to its larger sensor. However, the LX15 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 5 months) than the 645Z, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the 645Z has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax 645Z implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 645Z for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 41.3 x 31 inches or 104.9 x 78.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 33 x 24.8 inches or 83.9 x 62.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 27.5 x 20.6 inches or 69.9 x 52.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic LX15 are 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm for good quality, 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 80-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax 645Z are ISO 100 to ISO 204800 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Pentax 645Z||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/60i||26.0||14.7||4505||101|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|6.||Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102|
|9.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|13.||Panasonic GX80||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.9||12.6||662||71|
|16.||Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82|
|17.||Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the LX15 provides a higher video resolution than the 645Z. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 645Z has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the LX15 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic LX15 and Pentax 645Z in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|6.||Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The LX15 has one, while the 645Z does not. While the built-in flash of the LX15 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The LX15 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the 645Z does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the LX15 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Panasonic LX15 and the Pentax 645Z both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the LX15 and the 645Z write their files to SDXC cards. The 645Z features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the LX15 only has one slot. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 and Pentax 645Z and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX100 V||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the LX15 offers wifi support, while the 645Z does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax 645Z (unlike the LX15) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the LX15 and the 645Z are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The 645Z replaced the earlier Pentax 645D, while the LX15 followed on from the Panasonic LX7. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic and Pentax websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic LX15 or the Pentax 645Z – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the 645Z requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (106x60mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the 645Z).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 5 months of technical progress since the 645Z launch.
Advantages of the Pentax 645Z:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (51.1 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 57%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 versus 260) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in April 2014).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 645Z emerges as the winner of the match-up (18 : 16 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic LX15 and the Pentax 645Z place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the LX15 or the 645Z. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Panasonic LX15||..||+ +||81/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||699|
|2.||Pentax 645Z||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||8,499|
|3.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|4.||Canon 5DS||..||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|6.||Canon G5 X||5/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|7.||Fujifilm X70||4.5/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||799|
|8.||Hasselblad X1D||..||o||81/100||..||4/5||Jun 2016||8,995|
|9.||Leica SL||4/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|10.||Panasonic TZ200||..||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||799|
|11.||Panasonic TZ90||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449|
|12.||Panasonic FZ2000||..||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2016||1,199|
|13.||Panasonic GX80||4.5/5||+ +||82/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2016||799|
|14.||Panasonic TZ100||4.5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699|
|15.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|16.||Pentax 645D||5/5||..||..||..||..||Mar 2010||9,995|
|17.||Sony RX100 V||4.5/5||+ +||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Panasonic LX15 vs Pentax 645Z
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Panasonic LX15||Pentax 645Z|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-72mm f/1.4-2.8||Pentax 645 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2016||April 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 8,499|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic LX15||Pentax 645Z|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||43.8 x 32.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||1436.64 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||54.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||51.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||8256 x 6192 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||5.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||3.56 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 204,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||Venus||PRIME III|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||101|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||26.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||4505|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic LX15||Pentax 645Z|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic LX15||Pentax 645Z|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic LX15||Pentax 645Z|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Panasonic LX15||Pentax 645Z|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||260 shots per charge||650 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
106 x 60 x 42 mm
(4.2 x 2.4 x 1.7 in)
156 x 117 x 123 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 4.8 in)
|Camera Weight||310 g (10.9 oz)||1550 g (54.7 oz)|
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