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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2010
Color Name: White
I am not a professional photographer. I have used LX5 and Canon S95 for a few days and I feel that both camera are awesome. The new LX5 has superior image quality for outdoor photography. For indoor/low light photography Canon S95 deliver superior images than LX5 and I feel that skin tone is more natural in S95.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2010
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
This is a wonderful little camera, ideal for those who want to take a camera everywhere, but cannot, or do not want to lug around an SLR with additional lenses. I replaced my Olympus E-P1 with it, keeping my Olympus SLR for critical work, because, though the build and picture quality of the Olympus micro 4/3 system is superb, I wanted a quality pocketable camera to supplement my E-510.

Much has been made about the difference, or lack of it, between this camera and its Leica branded twin, the D-Lux 5. Having owned the Leica D-lux 4 previously, I would not have hesitated to buy the updated version could I have afforded to do so. The Leica jpeg quality is outstanding out of camera at the default settings and I do not like the Silkypix raw software included with the Panasonic -- and never have. That being said, the Panasonic can be tweaked to produce decent jpegs, especially at lower iso settings, and after buying the LX5 and its LVF 1 eyelevel viewfinder for $550 here at Amazon, I still had $250 of the $800 I would have paid for the Leica to buy the $299 Adobe Lightroom software included with the latter. On my present budget, the choice was obvious.

Still, I do not stand with those who rail against Leica purchasers. The resale value of the Leica is far greater -- a real consideration for those of us who sell used equipment regularly in order to upgrade -- and I sold my 2 year old used D-lux 4 for $500 at a time when its Panasonic cousin was selling used for a pittance. There are good reasons for buying both cameras, depending on one's needs, budget, future buying plans, etc.

About the Panasonic jpegs that are often criticized harshly: My experience indicates that the culprit is too aggressive in camera noise reduction, applied with an algorithm that also then sharpens the mush it creates, producing very ugly results. If one turns the noise reduction to -2, however, as low as it will go, the results, at least to iso 400, can be quite pleasing. Non-customizable in camera noise filtration, remains, and any resulting noise is well under control up to iso 400 (maybe 800, depending on your tolerance for "grain" -- mine is high). 100% side by side comparisons of jpegs made in camera at that setting, with contrast and sharpness at 0 and saturation at -1, gave results that were perfectly acceptable . Others may find settings more to their liking, but I do advise turning in camera noise reduction down if you are going to use the jpegs right from the camera. Setting noise reduction to minus 2, however, does not seem to turn it off, and at higher iso settings it kicks in too aggressively for my liking, and the raw file becomes a necessary option for any use beyond small (8x10 or so) email files. I cannot compare it to the D-lux 5 jpeg engine, but against my D-lux 4 the jpegs in the Panasonic, while they can be made better with tweaking, are simply not as good, nor are they as consistent. The issue is not a deal breaker, but Panasonic does still have problems with its jpegs. Those who can get by with considerable loss of detail in order to make noise vanish may like it better.

The bells and whistles -- program modes, etc. -- are not things I use, so you'll have to go elsewhere to find out about them. The high resolution LCD screen gives very little visual feedback as to how the final result will appear on your computer screen, so set contrast, etc. for your final result, not the in-camera preview. The electronic, eye-level viewfinder does the job and has a nice, though loose, diopter adjustment wheel, but if you are expecting a stunning image preview, you will be disappointed by its relatively low video resolution.

The camera can produce stunning results if you take the time to tweak its settings to your liking, and particularly if you take the time to develop raw files, which are amazing good for a small sensor camera, and the look of which can be personalized to one's own tastes. I always shoot raw plus super fine jpeg and go back to the raw file for anything I am going to print. If one does not want to do that, a lower grade point and shoot like the ZS5 -- or the costlier D-lux 5 -- would be a more sensible investment. But overall, I give this little camera very high marks indeed.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2011
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
Before purchasing this camera I considered the S95 (canon) and the G12 as they were then the only available point and shoots with wide lenses and full manual control. I read a lot of reviews and tested the three cameras at a store and finally decided to get the LX5 because of superior handling over the s95 and compact size compared the G12. In general am happy with the camera, however there are a number of drawbacks that make it less than perfect for my typical usage patterns. Below I expand with some thoughts that drove my decision making process and the reasons behind my 3 stars rating.

1) Compact: I wanted something I could carry in a pocket during long walking tours or long hikes when a DSLR would be too bulky and heavy, or conspicuous. At the same time something not too small because I find small cameras to be uncomfortable and often awkward to handle. The G12 dropped out of the race at this stage as it is too large. The S95, on the other hand was too small. In this regard the Lumix LX5 was perfect being small enough but still comfortable to use... unless you plan to use filters. In which case you need the relatively large adapter that turns this camera into the size of a small 4/3 system without the advantages.

2) Manual control: I wanted full manual control and in this regard the camera is also great (as the S95 and G12). Everything is easy to control with little or no interaction with the menus. Aperture and shutter speed are right there at your fingertips and other functions such as white balance, flash control, and exposure compensation can be accessed from quick menu really easy. You can customize one of the buttons to access a function directly, which in my case I use for exposure bracketing. As with all point and shoot cameras, manual focus is a pain to use but the autofocus has been reliable for me. In general, I am very happy with the controls and my only complain is the scroll wheel is a little bit to stiff for my taste.

3) Versatility: I like the ability to use filters on a point and shoot every now and then and I am pleased I can do that with this camera. The adapter tube is long to allow for the lens to fully extend, so you loose some compactness factor. Attaching the tube is not hard but I found is not something I want to do on the spot because it takes a few tries to align the threads of the adapter tube to the camera to screw it into position. More than once it took me a few minutes to get the threads true. With this said, the tube takes standard filters and you don't need to buy the -expensive- panasonic ones.

4) Wide angle and low light: This was a key selling point because I missed the ability of shooting wide angle photos as my previous PS had a 38mm equivalent focal length at the wide end. I also wanted the ability of shooting in low light conditions without flash or without a tripod. In this end the results are a mixed bag and the 3 stars rating comes mainly from this section. The 24mm equivalent lens is great... however, it introduces a lot of distortion and after the initial enthusiasm I find myself falling back to shooting wide at 28mm or so. Now, there are two prices to pay for the 24mm wide lens which am not too happy with, especially compared with the 28mm of the S95. First is the reduced zoom reach: both the S95 and LX5 have a 3.8x range, but the S95 starts 28mm and goes to 105mm whereas the LX5 starts at 24 and ends at 90mm. The difference is actually noticeable and now that I don't use 24mm that much, it is annoying. The other problem is that this lens has 2.0 aperture at 24mm, but it goes up quickly as you zoom in. The S95 has 2.0 at 28mm, which again, now that I don't use 24 that much makes this camera less than ideal for me. In retrospect, I think I probably would have been better served by the S95 lens, although the ergonomics of S95 (too small) was a key factor why I did not purchase it.

5) As other reviewers pointed out, the jpegs out of the camera are not pleasant. Colors are dull and noise reduction is not to my taste. I've been shooting in "dynamic" mode, which produces more vibrant colors but still not happy with the jpeg quality. The solution is to shoot raw and do some post-processing but this is not what I bought this camera for... When I do casual shooting I rarely have to time/interest to go and do some serious post-processing.

6) The low light ability of the camera is good, but anything above ISO 400 is unusable (really bad)... and 400 is pushing it, since you have to shoot raw and then do judicious noise reduction according to your needs and shooting conditions. On the other hand, I can do hand-held shooting in moderately low light situations where I would not even try with other point and shoots.

7) This camera is not for close up photography and the limited zoom makes it pretty useless for macro. Minimum focusing distance is less than a couple of cm at 24mm but it goes up very quickly as you increase the focal length. At 24mm there is a lot of distortion (can be corrected with photoshop) which makes the camera even less suitable for this kind of photography.

8) Noise: I don't know if it is my copy, but especially in JPEG mode, dark areas show a lot of noise even at low iso when looking at pixel level. I do use serious cropping every now and then and this has become a problem. Related to this, the resolution at pretty much every focal length is not all that good, even compared with lesser point and shoot cameras. Again, I don't know if this is a problem with my particular camera, but when looked at high magnification, edges are way to soft (even in raw). I am not comparing to a DSLR... even an old canon sx100 is sharper (apples to apples, the canon has no raw mode so I don't know what goes into the jpeg processing there).

So...

Overall this is good point and shoot camera with full manual control, a wide lens (perhaps to wide!) that is very fast at its widest. I have not tried the movie modes or the intelligent auto modes too much, but the in the few instances when used them the results were good. The camera is comfortable to handle (more than the S95 in my opinion) and the controls are intuitive. The ability to shoot at moderately low light or handheld in a wider range of situations afforded by the 2.0 lens is great and I love it. The image quality is not what I expected thought and that bothers me. I must add however, that at standard magnifications this is not a problem but becomes apparent as you look closely. Most problematic is the unattractive, washed out jpegs produced in the standard mode, which do not become much better in "dynamic" mode. Shooting raw and some postprocessing takes care of that, but requires work on your part.

Do I recommend the camera? I think this is still the camera that best suits my needs (full manual control in a compact body with low light abilities). I like the low light abilities and the wide angle but the IQ still has me scratching my head. I have not tried the Olympus XZ-1, but I would pick this camera again were the s95 and G12 the other contenders.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2010
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
This camera is nice..I will not write a detailed review but just few thoughts a bout this camera:
I owned canon S90,Sony DSC-HX5v and had DMC-ZS7...This camera takes pictures that absolutely more beautiful than the rest.
In good light all good cameras will (mostly) take nice pictures,but the challange is in low light and here were you compare this one to S90.The S90 pictures with flash are crappy and I did not take a single picture that turned out to be nice.This one definitly takes much more beautiful pics.
You can adjust minimal shuttter speed and maximum ISO.This is important if you are taking pics for kids as they keep moving...This is very important for parents.This one takes fantastic pictures indoor with shutter speed of 1/125 and Max ISO 400..You can not do that with most other brands.You can do that with the ZS5 or 7 but still the LX5 pics are more bright.
Colors are beautiful and there are so many modes for colors(If I can call them so)...Propably that is a reason why some people are not 100% satisfied with the pic quality...An example if you choose VIVD mode for indoor pictures...Most pictures will come out dark so you will not like them...And the camera will remember the color mode and it's easily to foreget to adjust it at the beginning...Keep that in mind.
The IQ of this camera is great..You can trust it in the iA mode much more than the ZS7.
You can store 4 custom settings and the camera will remember them...Makes you life easier.Which other brand will do that?
Lens cap is not good but not horrible and you will adapt to it quickly.
Size is not big,and you will find handling it much easier and more comfortable than the S90.
Accessories are rare and expensive:That's true but ho will need any because the screen of this camera is very crisp so you will not need a viewfinder and the battery takes more than 400 pics on a single charge...Keep in mind that out of the box the LCD is in the power saving mode that's why it's dark but you can adjust that and it will be bright and crisp.
Menu system is very easy and there is an Fn button that you can assign to the more common function that you use.
If you are after video;keep in mind this is a P&S and if this is your main concern,go for the DSC-HX5v that takes fantastic video but bad pics.
Has (my color) mode..Just try it and you will feel the beauty of this camera's pics.
Price wise,it's expensive but:if canon is selling the S90 for 350-399 this one price should be 700-800 with respect to the features it gives you.
It comes with SILKYPIX software to deal with the RAW images..I think the price of this software is around 150.It's a good one and comes with it for free.
So:
1.If you are a parent for young kids...This is the camera you have been looking for and that's the reason I love it.
2.Please before saying that canon is better,try it first and you will realize that this one easily win.
3.If you get images you are not satisfied with then make sure you are using the right settings.
4.I have been always a Sony's cameras fan,but this camera made me realize how much I was mistaken.
5.For some the S90 is a great camera but for me the LX5 is much much better especially when using the flash.
6.The flash recycles quicker and stronger compared to the rest including the ZS7.Also this is important for kids shots in low light.

Update 9/11:
I was planning to get the white one at the beginning,but I got the black one since it was released first.Then when the white one came out I exchanged it.So I have the chance to try both.This has nothing to do do with performance but just obsevation when you compare the two colors:
a.You feel that the white one is bigger.I know they are identical in size but really you feel that because of the color effect.A disadvantage.
b.The white one is in fact 3 colors:Body is white,Lens cap and grip are silver, (shoulder strap ,lens cap string and hot shoe cover) surprisingly are black...These colors don't fit together.But the black one has every thing in black...Which gives consistency in color.
c.When you look at the white one you (feel) it's made of plastic...Again because of the color effect.But the black one you feel it's strudy and well made.
d.I think all original accessories,like a view finder, are black color.So if you will buy any (especially a case since you will need one),they will match the black camera more.
So,the white one is not ugly but the black one in my opinion is more more beautiful.
Hoping this will help to decide which color you will pick.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2010
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
Tthe LX5 is an improved LX3. Panasonic took feedback from users and updated the beloved LX3. This is my first (after hearing so much about the Lumix) and I love it.

I got the LX5 because I am traveling extensively and wanted something versatile, a camera that could be completely automatic, or totally manual, compact, flash, good zoom (90 mm), and fast shutter speed. For me the $500 was pricy to my student-ish budget, but it was really worth it. I'm squeezing every last option out of this little Lumix! Panasonic's official LX5 page does a great job of laying down the specs. The battery life is great on this camera, but if you want to buy extra batteries, they are about $80.

This little camera is fun, fast, and the Leica lens makes really sharp, clear pictures. There are many, many options so creativity is not limited either. The design is sleek, and it takes better than average photographs. One reviewer suggested not getting the LX5 if you just want a camera to take party pics but I could not disagree more! Not only does it take fantastic, artistic party pics but it's a great conversation piece. Just don't loose it at the party....this camera is a people pleaser. Take it out to the city, museum, or country and see what you can really do with it! A pic of Times Square in NY was the stuff of posters, I've never gotten a landscape to look so interesting...or capture the essence of a bored dog waiting for me to continue walking. In short, it's the kind of camera that inspires expanded creativity. I keep coming back to wide-angle lens on the Pin-hole setting. It makes such a great moody pic.

The one complaint I have is the size of the body--I have small hands and still, it feels small for me and there is not much of a curve to wrap your palm around. Find the Lumix protective case with shoulder strap for it (I got mine online for $20) and this solves the prob and also protects your little friend for many amazing pics to come.

Also, some reviews have complained about how to attach the lens cap--there is a small hole in the side edge. Loop it through, then loop the attached lens cover to one of the metal strap loops. Voila, solved!

Happy Shooting!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2010
Color Name: Black
Please do not confuse the subject line, as I can not even consider myself a "serious amateur", but rather I am seriously an amateur. At least up until I purchased the LX5. Prior to that I wasn't even in the market for a camera. it all started last month when I was over at a friends house and he had all his pictures scrolling in the background on his massive flatscreen TV connected to his Apple TV. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen because it was just beautiful picture after beautiful picture. When I asked him if these were real photo's or professional stock photo's, he just cooly pulled out his LX3 and I was blown away because I wasn't expecting him to tell me he actually took the pictures himself and and if he did, then for sure he would at least be pulling out a big 'ol SLR. Like so many others on this review page, he explained that since he got his LX3, his SLR has been gathering dust (trust me I had no idea what an SLR was at the time, but I was just nodding my head pretending to know the acronyms, dumbfounded by the pictures in the background). So the camera obviously had me at "hello" and I was immediately ready to go out and impulsively buy the LX3 that minute, but my bud wisely told me to wait a week or so and get the LX5 since it had a better zoom which was his only complaint with the LX3... and the rest is history.

Since that time I can't stop experimenting and snapping away with my new LX5 and the myriad of picture taking options. I've been reading mad amounts of forums, talking to people who know photography and learning a ton in a very short amount of time. It was super overwhelming at first because the camera has a bajillion and 1 options, but it wasn't long before I was really feeling the power at my fingertips and I was truly taking amazing shots for myself. Most of the happy people reviewing this fantastic product are camera buffs looking for an alternative to their SLR's. But I'm a person who has been converted overnight into a photography fan because of this product and actually can start to consider myself a "Serious Amateur" thanks to this wonderful camera which just begs to be experimented with and rewards you instantly with pictures that sometimes makes even my SLR-owning sister jealous. I don't know if I'll ever be able to use a normal P&S again and I can totally see why people go and drop the big bucks for SLR's and related photography equipment so it definitely serves as the perfect stepping stone should I decide to move on past serious amateur status. So sorry this review contains absolutely no technical specs (because if it did I would just be making it up anyway), just a testimony to what really matters at the end of the day. A heck of a lot of fun and freakin incredible photo's that make you proud that you shot em!

The only downside is the included software bundle. But then again, in general the software that comes bundles with all of these camera and other electronic hardware products tend to be of the just-good-enough variety. Upon playing with the RAW editing software, I did notice one particular strange case where the included SilkyPix software could not process the RAW file as well as the JPG that was generated by the camera. Even when I made no changes and then developed the RAW file as is, the pic didn't look as creamy smooth as the original JPG and no edits I made would improve the picture compared to the original jpg. I found that to be extremely strange and because of that I continue to shoot with both RAW & JPG on just to make sure, otherwise I was tempted to shoot in exclusively RAW because with batch processing /developoing it wouldn't be that big of a deal but definitely not going to do that if the camera is generating better jpg's than the software does with the RAW files... If anybody has any comments or suggestions on this, would love to hear it. PLEASE SHARE! In the meantime, I might try out some of the other RAW processing software suggested on this review page like Lightroom 3 and see if that makes a difference.

Finally I also took quite a bit of sample video footage just to play around with the various formats of AVCHD Lite vs Motion JPEG. I discovered that when I shoot in AVCHD-Lite format, I can edit the footage directly with an editing software called Cyberlink PowerDirector. Beware that it's the only reasonably priced (e.g. under $100) video editing software that seems to be able to handle the AVCHD-Lite format right now. Other softwares, like Pinnacle Studio do not currently read the AVCHD Lite format and you will be required to first convert to MPEG-2 or something similar. This would seem like it would be fine because normal DVD's are ultimately recorded in the MPEG-2 format, but there's always by definition quality degradation with every conversion and I did try it for myself and saw that the quality degradation was quite noticeable vs editing directly in AVCHD-Lite format and only converting to HQ DVD format during the final rendering/burning stage (comparison was done using the same vido editing software). When I finally did burn my first sample DVD, the outcome was deliciously crystal clear video output (played on my Philips DVD player and upscaled to 1080i), which rivaled the clarity of the Blu-Ray disk playing at the Flatscreen TV store. Seriously, I'm not kidding, my little 5 min video looked like it was a HD Blu-ray disk. I also tested burnning a AVCHD format disk which can be done on a normal DVD media and playing it on a blu-ray player (standard player will not play AVCHD disks) and the results were similar to the normal HQ Standard DVD (upscaled). Later I plan to test burning to an actual blu-ray disk (but those disks cost a bundle), but I seriously doubt it will look any more High-Def than what I already saw with the normal DVD after upscaling. I did however find the quality of the procedure of using the AVCHD-Lite format directly to be significantly noticeably better than shooting in the Motion JPG format, although you may still want to shoot in this format to save space or if you do not have PowerDirector or similar video-editing software that can handle the AVCHD-Lite. Motion JPG works good enough. REITERATE that at this stage most other software packages can NOT handle the AVCHD-Lite format for whatever reason so remember that before you go out and shoot a ton without a plan on how to edit it later.

Bottom Line: Thanks to the LX5 I am happily looking forward to justifying my new self-proclaimed "serious amateur" status! I have a trip coming up for both the Taj Mahal as well as the Great Wall and I'm embarrassed to say that I'm more excited about the pics that I'll end up taking vs actually seeing the great wonders with my bare eyes.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2011
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
Originally, I was in the market to get a Canon S95. But after doing a bit of research, I found out that the Lumix DMC-LX5 was on par, if not a little better than the S95. After taking many still pictures and videos (and processing them), I can honestly say that Panasonic has made a winner with this camera.

Still Images
The photos I've taken in bright light all look crisp and vibrant which isn't a surprise. In low light, the LX5 also perfoms well - especially considering it's not an SLR. I take a lot of indoor pictures with the flash off. And the results are pretty good at reproducing the exact scene I took - despite the lack of perfect bright light. Still, if you get into a situation where you need the manual controls, this camera has that covered.

Videos
Videos look great because it records in 720p HD AVCHD format by default. The HD quality is excellent, with smooth focusing, and crisp images. (Other point and shoot cameras often have shifty focusing where the focus jumps depending on what is in the frame at the time.) What's more, in video mode, you have access to almost all the manual controls you have in still image mode - most other cameras in this price range are not as flexible.

Controls
Manual controls is one this camera's strengths. Aperture, exposure, ISO, flash, aspect ratio, auto focus, manual focus, scene setting, macro settings, and everything inbetween can be adjusted manually with this camera. Want to keep it on auto focus? No problem - it does that very well too. Most of my own pictures are taken with autofocus on. But sometimes I like to take over and have the aperture set manually (aperture priority), in which case the camera auto-adjusts everything else. When I like to get artistic, I set the camera to full manual and adjust everything myself.

Photo and Video processing and conversion
One thing most people don't talk about is processing the photos and the videos from this camera on your computer. I use a Windows 7 64bit PC that lacks an SD card reader. Fortunately, I could connect the camera directly to my PC via the included USB cable. Then by using the PhotoFunStudio software provided by Panasonic (on CD-ROM) I transferred all the photos and videos I took to my PC's hard drive. By default, the LX5 saves its videos in AVCHD format which is not supported by many video players. But, you can convert these videos to MPEG2 in the provided software easily (which is then supported by many players). The MPEG2 videos look just as sharp and vibrant as the AVCHD videos they originated from. Alternatively, you can also set the camera to shoot in Motion Jpeg format (Quicktime compatible), which is immediately useable by Youtube.

SD Card
I chose to use a 16gb PNY Class 10 SDHC SD card. It writes very fast and getting the videos off the card is quick as well. I have no complaints about this SD card. In video mode the 16gb of memory gives me approximately 2hours of video on default settings. (This can be adjusted to extend the time at the cost of video quality.)

GRIPES:
No camera is perfect, and the LX5 isn't either. Compared to the Canon S95 (which shares the same price point and similiar features), it isn't nearly as portable. The huge Leica lense sticks out of the body just enough to keep it from being easily-pocketed in a pair of jeans. The LX5 uses a traditional lense cap which I will probably loose one day when I get careless. And although that 3inch LCD screen is beautiful, it still is hard to see in direct sunlight. I wish Panasonic included a viewfinder with this camera. Sure, I can get an attachment, but for $400, I expect it to come with the camera.

CONCLUSION:
If you're in the market for a great point-and-shoot camera that has all the manual controls you can use; and it does video really well - check out the LX5 it's one of the best.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2011
Color Name: Black
Santa brought me my first camera, a Kodak Brownie, when I was 10 years old. That gift was a turning point. It introduced me to a form of personal expression that seduced, amazed and inspired me like no other. In fact, I loved photography so much I set out to make it a life-long career, and darn near did. Then something happened early on, when I was forced for a time to earn my living as a wedding photographer: I was driven so crazy by bridezillas and their caffeine-addicted mothers that I threw down my camera at the altar and vowed never again to take another picture. Then digital cameras came along about the same time I became a mom to the most photogenic Norwegian Forest cat that ever set paws on this planet, and the photo bug bit me again -- hard. I owned a few digitals, and thought I had one that I could live with forever -- a Canon Powershot S1 IS. I'm not going to badmouth it because it's a sweet camera. But for whatever reason, I never felt at home with it. It was bulky, heavier than I wanted it to be, and I could never figure out the menu to get it to do what I wanted in a seamless fashion. So about a year ago I decided to research my DREAM camera to replace it.

I was determined not to be impulsive this time. So after determining what features I was looking for, and which bells and whistles I could live without, I methodically read reviews here on Amazon. Because most of my photos were scenics, and people and pet portraits, I knew I didn't really need a mega telephoto lens. What was important? Crisp, delicious images; an easy to understand menu, small size, light weight, good battery life, the ability to take great low light pictures, and a full range of options from point and shoot to manual, with some great creativity programming.

I researched small cameras for nearly a year, and finally narrowed it down to the Canon S95 and the Panasonic Lumix LX-5. The final deciding factor, the one thing that led me to choose the LX-5 over the Canon, was how much other owners of the camera absolutely LOVED the camera. When I read their reviews I felt that same sense of excitement, enthusiasm, and love that I experienced when I held that little Kodak Brownie in my hand for the first time, way back when.

I'm not going to repeat all the technical jargon that others have written in their reviews: the facts are there in other reviews for you to read. But if you're like me, and you have several options to consider, and the technical stuff is pretty equal, it boils down to an emotional decision. I wanted to fall in love. So I chose the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 10.1 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD (Black). I've had my new camera for several weeks now, and let me tell you: This little baby does not disappoint! She is lovely to hold and behold.

From the minute I took it out of the box and held it for the first time, I could feel my heart swell. I did not buy it from Amazon because it was a lot of money for me, and I wanted to choose a vendor that I had past experience with that I didn't see listed among the options. However, I'm a huge Amazon fan, and I buy a lot of stuff here--including some of the additional gear I've gotten for my camera. I'm going to make some recommendations, because once you buy the camera you are gonna want to "dress her up." And there's a lot of fun stuff to do that with that is much more than just eye candy.

The first thing I did was order a book. I knew the manufacturer's manual would be inadequate, and it is.) So I was grateful I went with my gut, and that some thoughtful individual had written a great bookPhotographer's Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX5: Getting the Most from Panasonic's Advanced Digital Camera I bought BOTH the Kindle version and the softcover version of Alexander S. White's book. It is invaluable, a MUST READ, in order to get comfortable with this beautiful camera right from the get go. It's worth every penny!

The Lumix LX-5 allows for the use of filters, and these inexpensive additions can add some real zing to your pictures. Most everyone, including me, agrees that if you can only afford one filter to start with, make it a Panasonic DMW-LPL52 52mm Polarizer Filter. And with that you'll need a conversion lens adapter, Panasonic DMW-LA6 Conversion Lens Adapter. This filter reduces reflections on water and glass, and with it you can pop the clouds right out of the sky for the most dramatic images imaginable.

Once I had the camera and took it outside for the first time, I was disappointed that the brilliant LED screen that was so appreciated indoors was useless in bright sunshine. I had read about the live viewfinder, Panasonic DMW-LVF1 External Live Viewfinder for Panasonic GF1 Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Cameraand many of the camera's owners said it was overpriced. It is, but if you are a person like me who takes a lot of outdoor pictures in bright sun, you are going to want this viewfinder. It is fantastic, easy to use, and absolutely essential. Someone wrote in a review that it fit too loosely...it doesn't. It's a very snug fit. And it's extremely well made.

I also ordered Vivitar VIV-VT-67 67-Inch Monopodand the Professional Mini Ball Head Camera Mount. I could not believe what a fantastic bargain these two items are, and the exceptional quality. Haven't gotten the mini-ball head yet, it's due tomorrow, but the monopod is very sturdy and well-made. At under $10 for the monopod and $12 and change for the mini-ball head on Amazon, you can't go wrong.

The last thing I ordered was a wrist strap from Gordy's, [...] Gordy hand-makes them, in a variety of styles and configurations, all in leather.

Next week, I'm headed to Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina for vacation...and a honeymoon with my new camera. I'll be taking lots of pics and will post some here for you to look at when I get back. I've taken a number of pictures already, and I'm thrilled with the Panasonic Lumix LX-5. It makes me feel like a kid again. I want to thank all of you who have posted such thorough reviews here. They helped me make one of the best decisions of my life.

If you are someone sitting on the fence trying to decide between this camera and another, I highly recommend the Panasonic.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2011
Color Name: Black
I have owned every model in this series. I read with interest the Imaging Resource and DPReview assessments of this new model. What finally convinced me to upgrade to the LX5 from the LX3 was comparing photos that I made of the same subject shot at ISO 400 on the two cameras. At high magnification the dark areas on the LX3 image were blotchy while on the LX5 they were much cleaner. Since then I have found that photos shot at ISO 800 on the LX5 appear as good to me as photos shot at ISO 400 on the LX3. I do a lot of documentary photography in low light which I incorporate into video documentaries and also print large blow ups for exhibit . I need to travel light and not intimidate people with large cameras. This one stop advantage in a small camera is important to me. Also, I work close to people so I don't need a lot of zoom, but the LX series super wide lens is very useful to me. I've heard that the LX5 has less barrel distortion than the LX3 (which has considerable), but I haven't tried to confirm this yet

There is only one thing that frustrates me about the new model. Focusing with the Manual Focus Assist was fairly swift and painless with the LX3's mini joystick toggle. With the LX5's thumb dial it is both slow and cumbersome, although the dial serves well for other functions like adjusting aperture. It is too stiff for focusing (the opposite of the Canon S90s function dial which is so loose that you are forever changing settings without meaning to).

The menu control configuration and the quick menu on the LX5 are improvements that speed up other adjustments. It also seems that the image stabilization is improved. And I like the instant video record access.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
After several weeks of research and having read hundreds of reviews for this and other cameras with similar capabilities I will cut to the chase and say I don't have a single regret in purchasing this camera. In fact, this is hands down my most favorite *thing* to own in many years....

First off, if you are a true novice like me, may I suggest ordering Photographer's Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX5: Getting the Most from Panasonic's Advanced Digital Camera - the PDF version is less than ten bucks - worth every penny.

Other accessories I ordered: these are things I think are needed or *very* nice to have straight out of the box -
Transcend 16 GB SDHC Class 10 Flash Memory Card TS16GSDHC10E
GGS Optical Glass DSLR LCD Screen Protector for Panasonic Lumix DMC LX5 / LX3 and Leica D-LUX4
Olympus Adjustable Wrist Strap for all Olympus compact cameras (Black)
Case Logic Medium Camera and Flash Camcorder Case

now, my review -

Why I chose *this* camera:

About twenty years ago I took a photography class in college and learned the basics of using an SLR; for a couple of years thereafter I took some pretty nice pictures but as I started a family I found it was easier to use cheap point and shoot cameras to keep up with the kids. It shows in the albums over the years when this changeover occurred.... a "cheapening" of the images. Now that the pace of my life has slowed down considerably, I have the time to relearn the techniques that produced better photos but I still think sometimes the ease and speed of a point and shoot is still a good backup plan to ensure that you don't miss the moment entirely.

While scouring reviews for this and other options, one thing struck me as unusual about this particular camera; while there are lots of cameras with lots of five star reviews regarding technically spectacular features, the LX5 most often inspires the word LOVE. Not only does it have the features that serve both newbies and professional photographers alike, more often than not *both* will state that they LOVE this camera. It's one thing to be "satisfied", another to be "impressed", but "love" speaks to a whole other level of appreciation.

Why I *love* this camera:

I think I have a good eye; I figure with the many features of this camera if I *do* have talent, this camera will help bring it out. I like that while I am learning I can rely on the IA mode to take great shots for me. Since many of the professionals reviewing this camera have laid down their DSLRs in favor of this model I think there's little chance that my new skills will outgrow the many manual features and functions.

What has impressed me the most so far:

I have yet to have the flash go off indoors in situations that would normally create "brown-outs" for my old camera, meaning everything would have this subtle sepia tone if I didn't use a flash or appear washed out when using the flash. The low light capability is EXCELLENT with the LX5! Also, the test shots I've done have picked up some amazingly fine detail; apparently my house is much dustier than I thought :)

What I am most looking forward to:

I would like to fully explore the video capabilities of this camera. So far I think that's going to be the biggest challenge because not only do I have so much to learn with what I want to accomplish with photos, but I am using a Mac laptop with an older operating system (Leopard) which apparently SilkyPix does NOT want to play nice with. We'll just have to see....

I'll update this review as I learn more about the camera but oh-so-enjoying the honeymoon stage!

_________________________

Update 01/26/12: While trying to learn to shoot video on the LX5 I had been using a EyeFi wireless memory card to transfer the files to my Macbook Air. Handbrake could reformat the files for me but it was a hassle and took *forever*. So I switched to a regular SanDisk card and did a little more research.

Reading further into the A. White book about this camera, I followed the author's instructions to set the video options to JPEG and was surprised to find that the video loaded onto my MBA into iPhoto in MOV format without a hitch! Instantly! Woohoo!!!

Here are the steps -

turn the camera on
set the mode dial to Intelligent Auto
set the slide switch to AF for autofocus
press the Menu/Set button to enter the menu system
press the left cursor button followed by the down button to activate the Motion Picture menu
press the right button to go to the list of menu options
highlight Rec Mode and press the right button
choices appear of AVCHD Lite and Motion JPEG
highlight Motion JPEG and press the Menu/Set button to select it
go back to the menu screen and highlight the next option down, Rec Quality, and select HD
press the Menu/Set button to exit the menu system

to record, press the red button on top of the camera, to the right of the shutter button.

files recorded in this format should automatically load to iPhoto.

Edited to add: The camera does come with a fine, string-like tether to attach the lens cap to the body of the camera. It can be easy to miss as mine was taped to one of the paper manual bags and it is quite thin.

I hope this helps! :)
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