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Panasonic Lumix LX5 Review

Updated on March 9, 2012

The best camera is the one at hand

How many times to we see a great shot and wish we had our camera with us?

I purposely bought a micro four thirds camera (Lumix DMC-G2) knowing that I'd most likely have it by my side more often then a full sized mirror DSLR.

The G2 with a "pancake" lens like the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH is very compact although its not exactly pocket able. And it looks enough like a professional camera that in certain situations people notice when you have it around your neck.

So for pure stealth ability and for even more portability, I looked for a camera that I could keep attached to my hip. I'm also considering that my wife might use the camera on our various outings. An every day, every hour point and shoot that would also have the quality needed for stock photography. I zeroed in on the Panasonic Lumix LX5.

The LX5 is a point and shoot designed professionals and serious enthusiasts. Is a 10 megapixel camera with a fast 2.0 Leica lens.

The key here is the quality of the lens over more megapixels. I've seen a lot of low price point cameras (in the $100 range) that boost more megapixels but they fall short in the lens department.

Here the LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens minimizes distortion for stunning, true-to-life images with outstanding resolution and detail. The 24mm wide angle offers extraordinarily large viewing space and the optical zoom extends to 3.8x (90mm) making the LX5 even more versatile.

The F2.0 lens is about twice as bright as the F2.8 lens. The LX5 has a small pop up flash unit but with a lens this fast you will rarely have to use it.

One area for this camera seems to excel over my G2 is in macro. There is a macro AF setting on the lens that allows one to get really close to subjects.

The 4/3 format lens currently on the market are very expensive. So basically at the price point of the mid $300s, I could have bought half of another lens for my G2 or this camera. So adding the macro capabilities of this camera to my equipment inventory is a nice bonus.

How portable is the LX5? Its not as small as a lot of point and shoots because the lens sticks out a bit. In fact I had a hard time finding a small case for it and ended up ordering a case made just for the LX5, but it can fit into a coat vest pocket or into your purse.

Plus its not as intimidating as a full sized camera. Some places frown on professionals but welcome tourists. With this camera you can look less threatening and capture some great shots of people more at ease.

One reason I leaned towards the LX5 over something similar from Canon (Canon PowerShot S95 or Canon PowerShot G12) or Nikon is that I'm already familiar with Lumix cameras so the learning curve is faster as menus and controls. The control layout and menus are similar to what is found on my G2. You'll want to learn how to get the most out of your camera because when shooting for stock your going to have to override the cameras controls to minimize noise.

Other reviews of this camera indicate the camera seems to have been optimized for an ISO of 200. If you let the camera pick an ISO automatically you might end up with a high ISO and noisy shoots. Something to look out for on any camera.

The LX5 allows one to shoot RAW which is a good thing because many reviews have panned its internal JPG conversion software. To the the best out of this camera you should expect to be shooting in RAW and processing in Photoshop or Lightroom. Offerings from Cannon, reviewers say, give the photographer more ready to use files.

For me the only real draw back of the LX5 is the lack of a viewfinder. There is a nice 3 inch LCD screen on the back of the camera which is fine in indoors but in full sun its hard to see. You can buy a "live" view finder for $145 that plugs into the hot shoe or a optical view finder.

The LX5 is the upgraded version of the very popular LX3 so if you are on a budget (who isn't) you might want to consider picking up the older model if you can find one used or in stock anywhere. The LX5 has an upgraded sensor hat improved sensitivity by 31% and saturation by 38%. So keep that in mind.

I am an exclusive stock photographer with Dreamstime. So for stock photography I would recommend this camera as a second camera for the DSLR pro (keep one in the glove box) or as a high quality camera for someone starting out in stock (if you are willing to do post processing in Lightroom 3 or Photoshop which you should be doing anyway).

Note: If you read a lot of reviews about the LX5 like I have, you'll find a lot of whining about the lens cap. You do have to remove the lens cap every time you want to use the camera even if you just want to look at photographs you've already taken. People complain about losing the lens cap BUT the LX5 comes with a lens cap leash. I don't know if Panasonic added this feature recently or if the other reviews lost it somehow. Myself, I had to go through the trash to find mine because I accidently tossed it out.

Great Macro on the LX5!

Hands On Review

Panasonic LX5 Noise Problems? Try resetting the settings

How to reset the LX5's settings:

  • Put the camera in (M)anual mode ("M" on the Mode Dial on top of the camera)
  • Press the MENU/SET button
  • Press the DOWN arrow key (the one labelled "Fn") until the Wrench icon is highlighted.
  • With the "SETUP" MENU will be highlighted., press your Right Arrow key (labelled "ISO") in order to enter the SETUP Menu.
  • Scroll to the word "RESET".
  • Press the RIGHT ARROW (labelled "ISO") button, and it will ask you if you want to "RESET REC. SETTINGS?" Use your UP ARROW button (labelled "FOCUS") to highlight the "YES" choice. Press the center MENU/SET button. You've just reset your LX5 to the intended factory defaults. .


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      3 years ago

      .What is in the box package?o DMC-S3 diaigtl camera o Panasonic NCA-YN101G 3.6V rechargeable lithium ion battery pack (NCA-YN101G) o Battery charger (DE-A91B) o USB cable to connect the camera to your computer o Hand strap o Software CD with Panasonic PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.0 and Super LoiLoScope 30-day trial (both software only run on Windows XP/Vista/7, no Mac version) o 27-page Basic Owner's Manual (and 26-page Spanish version in the same booklet). A separate 81-page Owner's Manual for advanced features is included as a PDF file on the included CD-ROM disc. The printed Basic Owner's Manual is great as a quick-start guide, but you should also read the Owner's Manual for advanced features that is included on the CD.The software installation CD gives you the option to install a URL link shortcut that merely accesses a Web site using your browser. From that Web site, you can either download a 30-day trial version or purchase the Super LoiLoScope software. Super LoiLoScope is third-party software that offers a bundle of video editing functions for creating videos, adding text, images, music, and special effects to videos, burning DVDs of your videos, etc. This was the only part of the camera package that I did not try out since I already use other software to edit my videos with.Although I am a serious amateur photographer with 3 Canon dSLR cameras and 7 nice Canon lenses, I can appreciate the amount of features that are packed into this very affordable camera. The S3 comes in five color options: black, white, purple, red, and violet. This camera is aimed at value-for-money simplicity, specifically designed to be easy to use by beginning photographers. While the photos that you take using this camera will not always be perfect, they tend to be quite idiot-proof, which makes this camera an excellent choice for a first-time photographer or as a camera for a teenager. Someone who is college-age or older may potentially become very interested in diaigtl photography and then outgrow this camera and want something better. But for a teenager, or for someone looking for a good basic and very affordable point-and-shoot camera, this is a pretty good choice.Some of the DMC-S3 s noteworthy features are described and rated below.***** Excellent 5-fuzzies feature ratings:***** There is an excellent set of features packaged in a very easy-to-use camera. The ergonomics of the controls and the on-screen menus are excellent and seem to be aimed at first-time diaigtl photography novices.***** 720P (1280 720) at 30fps HD video recording in a $120 camera is currently quite rare! If you look at all of the competing point-and-shoot cameras in this price range (or even out to $150), nearly all of the video capabilities of cameras by Nikon, Canon, Olympus, and other only go up to 640 480 at 30fps. It is not until you get closer to the $200 camera pricing that 720P is currently being offered for most camera brands (Amazon currently sells a Kodak 14MP with 720P or a Sony 16MP with 720P, both for $160) and then at the $200 price point, Panasonic offers 1080P HD video in its . So it is currently very rare to get 720P video capability in a camera of this price range.***** The Mega O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) Shake Detection works very well. This is a good thing since this camera is so slim in style and slippery in feel that your hands may move the camera during the focusing process more than cameras whose bodies are molded with more edges to grip onto. On the right side of the top of the camera, where the shutter button is, that top right corner has a grooved indentation where your right index finger rests. I really wished that this camera also had a similar grooved indentation on the top left corner of the body so that my left index finger could get a better grip on the camera when holding it steady for either photos or video. The camera is housed in a plastic casing that can give it a toy-like feel, but its construction feels fairly precise, so I expect its exterior to have good long-term durability *** AS LONG AS THE CAMERA IS NOT DROPPED ONTO HARD FLOORING OR SIDEWALKS ***. The slim camera body with all of its rounded corners makes it more slippery to hold (like a bar of soap) than most point-and-shoot cameras, so make sure that you use the included hand strap when carrying and holding this camera.***** The camera offers four flexible Recording Modes', three Recording

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Didn't know the forum rules allowed such braniillt posts.


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