Panasonic LX5 vs new Canon S95 I'd like opinions on which users of both. Cost is not an issue. Samples seem to show better still results with LX5. I have always been a Canon "fan" and have enjoyed many models over the years. Yet these glowing Panasonic LX5 reviews tempt me away from the S95. Using a Canon DSLR but just want something I can throw in a backpack if I am not doing "serious" shooting. Thanks in advance and I've read the LX5 vs S90 posts above.
I just wrote a review on this very subject. Hopefully it will be approved shortly. Either way, here's what I said on why I chose the Panasonic over the Canon:
Buying this camera involved the really hard choice between this camera and the also (apparently) excellent Canon S95. Both are 10MP compact cameras but the Canon is even smaller and lighter weight, so it begs the question, "Why buy this instead of the Canon?"
I often use my compact camera as a video solution too. While I have a nice dedicated digital camcorder (the Canon Vixia HF100), when I only want to carry around one camera and take lots of good quality stills as well as video, I need a camera that does both well. This camera has two things in particular that put its video suitability for me ahead of the Canon.
First is that it has a dedicated video button; mash the button, start taking video. No need to put the dial into some special mode before you can start shooting video. That makes it even more likely that you will take videos and you will capture the right moments when you do. Second is that it allows the use of zoom while recording video. The inability to zoom into something or out from something to capture the bigger picture is a crazy limitation that many compacts like the S95 and my older Lumix LZ10 have. Often it's to keep lens noise off of the audio on the recording but really, shouldn't that be my decision whether I'm willing to live with that or not. In the end, Panasonic seems to have settled on the compromise of just making the zoom be slower during video so you don't end up with lens noise.
Having just had the pleasure of using this camera for a five day vacation in New York City I can say that I am super pleased with the results. Low light results were fantastic for such a small camera. I basically left the flash off for the entire trip and got plenty of shots in restaurants, bars, stores, and even Radio City Music Hall that would have been a grainy mess with my old Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ10 or I could have gotten OK with my Canon Rebel XT but I would have been lugging around something that was five times the bulk and twice (or more) the weight. This slipped nicely into the pocket of my coat and got me great shot after great shot. As some people wiser than me have said, the best camera of all is the camera you actually have with you.
Note how fast the lens is even at the top end of it's range: 3.3. That's as fast at the top end of its range as the kit lens that came with my Rebel XT is at the bottom of its zoom range and faster than the one on the Canon S95 at the top end of its range as well. That additional light helps make for better pictures.
Note: There are some caveats you should know. First is that there are some tools like Google's Picasa that do not support as of Dec 2011 the RAW image format of the LX5. Adobe Lightroom 3 had no problem with them though. Likewise the AVCHD Lite format it uses for recording video is not yet supported by all tools either. While I've been able to play all of the video with ease using VLC, I think if I needed to edit the video I'd have to first convert it to a different format before iMovie would be able to work with it. Also worth noting is that it is not a great pocket camera if your idea of a pocket is your jeans pocket. Because the lens is outside the body of the camera, it is bulkier than a tiny compact like the S95. However it is plenty small enough to fit easily in a jacket pocket, a purse, or just carry in your hand without ever being annoying.
I bought the LX5 after a month or two of research over the internet. I was not able to test the cameras prior, so (right or wrong) I made my final assessment based on reviews and comments over the various sites across the internet.
My other choices were the Canon 95 and Samsung EX1. While the EX1 received kudos for excellent pictures and camera build, it lacked HD video and I believe some complained about inconsistencies in the quality of the photos (I don't recall the details). However, it is larger than the LX5 and Canon and I believed then, as I still do now, that the LX5 was at the upper limit of 'pocketness'.
The Canon, I'm sure, is a fine camera. But I chose the LX5 over it for the following reasons: 1] I think the LX5 is a beautiful camera. I love the Leica camera design. It's a joy to use and and look at. 2] The LX5 does fit in my pocket (thought sometimes tight). It fits perfectly in my hands. The Canon S95 is smaller, and more pocketable -- a real plus -- but have also read it is not as ergonomic to hold and use. That, of course , is personal preference. Admittedly, I wish the LX was a bit smaller, but it is easy to hold and use the controls. It feels good. 3] Every time I saw an LX5 photo on the internet it looked beautiful. I have to say, even my photos look better than ever before. I have had other pocket cameras and this by far takes the best photos I have ever taken. I have a Nikon D70 and it does take nice photos, and theoretically sharper photos due to its larger sensor size, but I love the photos that come out of the LX5 and they come out extremely sharp. I like the Raw capability so I can get the maximum out of the photo in post-processing. 4] It has incredible image stabilization. I don't know if it's better than others (although I have read so), but I am so tired of photos that look good on the LCD but are later blurry on viewing. 5] I like the in-camera control selections and they are, at least for me, more intuitive and easier (and therefor faster to use) than the Canon control selections. 6] It has HD video that appears to be very nice, with zoom that the Canon does not. 7] The battery seems to have a long life between charges. I have read that the Canon is shorter.
I think one can buy any of these cameras and be happy. But I love my new Lumix LX5.
I must add that the one thing I don't like about the LX5 is its lens cap. I am used to lens caps on my Nikon SLR but on a pocket camera it is somewhat of a nuisance. I live with it because it is such a great camera -- the most enjoyable I have ever owned.
I recently purchased the Canon S95 here on Amazon. The picture is excellent in all modes and settings that I have used so far. The S95 is compact, sleek and slim, and it fits into my skinny jeans pocket with ease. A few cons that I'm willing to live with because of the quality of the pictres: the pop up flash is right where your finger would be to hold the camera, the battery life is not good(get a spare for sure), slow flash recycle time(shows busy for too long after each flash), and the lack of a wrriten manual.
As far as the Panasonic LX5 goes, I've never tried it but the pictures here on Amazon look great. I chose the Canon simply because I was familiar the menu options.
Update I did order the Panasonic LX5 to compare to the Canon S95. With my limited photography skills I got better pictures with the S95 and returned the Panasonic.
In my opinion, none of the onboard flashes, are much good. but since I have my LX5, I have used the flash only a few times, the camera is so good in low light, you get better pics with natural light...if you must have a flash, you might look at a external. they are making some pretty nice ones that are small.
LX5 has a hot shoe, S95 does not. LX5 has a nice grip, S95 does not. LX5 has optical zoom for video, S95 does not. LX5 feels tough and well-built (all metal construction inc doors), S95 feels hollow and plasticky, cheap. LX5 has fast and clear Leica Vario Summicron glass, S95 i'm not sure. LX5 build quality follows Leica QC standards and feels like a professional-grade camera, I'm not sure whose BQ/QC standards Canon follows.
Oh and BTW the jpgs produced by the LX5 may need some w/b tweaking, but are otherwise perfectly fine.
Got my LX5 after a lot of research for a compact camera that can take good pictures and video. My finalists were S95 and LX5. I have always used Canon and really like them. I had used EOS, a couple of G series (G2, G5). Never used Panasonic camera before. S95 is a great point and shoot camera that is really small. I could not find LX5 in any of the local stores. So scoured the internet and read the comparisons and reviews. From what I read it seemed like LX5 would be pretty big and not very portable. Anyway, ordered it from Amazon and got it in a day. When opened I was pleasantly surprised by the small size. It is bigger than S95 but definitely very portable and it can fit in my pockets (as I don't wear super-tight skinny jeans). I am still getting used to the different controls. LX5 is not as intuitive as S95, so for anyone who wants just a simple point and shoot I don't recommend it. But for anyone who is interested in more serious photography it is a keeper. For full automatic mode S95 beats LX5 hands down with high quality JPEG pictures. But for more advanced photography I find LX5 ahead of the competition in its category. LX5 takes excellent video in HD with full manual control and zooming. Amazing for such a small device. Pictures come out fantastic in RAW. The supplied SilkyPix software is pretty good to process the RAW files and create some really awesome pics. Low light performance is great. I still have many many more things to explore on this little camera. So far I really like it and don't mind my switch from Canon. As I mentioned earlier video is one of my criteria and the S95 does not stand a chance compared to LX5. This post is based on my own hands on usage of S95 and LX5.
Update: 6/11/11 Bought the kindle book for LX5 and read more than half so far exploring the LX5 features along the way. So far I am delighted with the capability of the camera and the quality of the pictures with various effects. Any serious photo enthusiast will love this camera. Have spent several hours reading DPReview and other forums. I am amazed to see the sort of pictures people (some professional photographers) have taken with LX5. Remember LX5 is no DSLR, but for a compact camera it packs a lot options.
I shoot most images in raw/jpg. if it is a "snapshot" I find that the JPGs are fine. I use them and post them all the time. If I am going to do something in Photoshop, I always use RAW. but that would go for any camera that I have or use. Raw is I think 15 bit color in the Lumix, JPGS in most cameras are at best 7? bit color. makes for a real difference in editing....really depends on the finished product....any serious Photog, will use RAW, for any thing that really matters, and for the quick and easy stuff. JPG is fine...that said. the JPGs that I get seem to me to be sharp, and with not a lot of artifacting. color is true( good wb) I have no problem with the jpgs, other than I prefer to process anything important my self...A note...I have been a Pro/semipro for 40 years. My opinion comes from that experience. you should do your own research on thes subjects, there are a million opinions on the web. just do a Yahoo search.