Monday, July 26, 2010

Panasonic LX-5 - The New Super Compact?

A few weeks ago, there was a leak from the US Panasonic website detailing all the specs and features of the much-anticipated LX-3 replacement.  Last week, Panasonic announced the new premium compact Panasonic DMC-LX5 boasting a few improvements over the outgoing LX-3.

A lot of specs and details are readily available on-line, but as a former LX-3 user and a current D-Lux 4 owner, I'd like to highlight a few notable changes for those looking to upgrade:

  • The LX-5 sensor appears to be the same size as the LX-3 but Panasonic claims improvement on sensitivity, saturation (as if they needed more saturation), and dynamic range
  • The joystick has been replaced with a clickable wheel, similar to its GF-1.
  • LX-5 zoom is now up to 90mm/f3.3, up from LX-3's 60mm/f2.8, with matching aperture over the shared focal length
  • "Presets" focal length (Step Zoom) at 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 70mm, and 90mm is a nice touch for a compact camera
  • Ability to add either EVF (Electronic Viewfinder - shared with GF-1) or optical viewfinder
  • Revised external casing with improved grip
  • The rear LCD claims to have backlight LED which improves the viewing but size and resolution remain the same as the one on LX-3
  • AVCHD movie recording and the ability to manually set shutter speed and aperture
  • Panasonic claims a faster start-up speed, and a faster AF over the previous model

So far I have not seen any 'production samples' of the LX-5 posted anywhere.  The samples shown on are 'pre-production' and are all shot at ISO80.  One of the most desirable improvement, for me, is the noise in higher ISO.  Not much has been mentioned about the higher ISO performance, so it remains to be seen from the actual production samples how it performs.  The camera has an attractive MSRP at $499.95.  It remains to be seen a) how long does the Thai Panasonic take to import, and b) how much they are going to mark it up.  



  1. A glimpse of high ISO results have been circulated.

  2. Thanks. I'd just visited pbase to see the originals. Visually, it looks better than LX3 above ISO400 but let's wait and see a proper test later.

  3. I see you are a former LX3 user and current D-Lux4 owner. Does that mean you like the Leica better?
    There seems to be a lot of varying opinions whether the Leica uses different firmware and if it, in fact, produces better pictures.
    Would appreciate your opinion.

  4. Matt,

    Apologies for replying so late. Yes, I used to have the LX3. I did a quick head-to-head comparison and I found no significant optically. Yes the color renders slightly different due to the profiles and setting of each camera. It's just a matter of preference, I believe. I have the D-Lux 4 Ti mainly because I fell victim to the beautiful grey finish! If I had to buy another compact, I'd probably go for the LX5. The one thing Leica gives you is the better resale value, at the expense of higher initial cost.