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Customer Review

65 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big improvement over LX3 but, $100-$150 more than the TL500? "A Comparison REVIEW!", September 11, 2010
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 10.1 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD - White (Camera)
I used to own the LX3 and I am very impressed that this LX5 REALLY is a DIFFERENT camera. I sold my LX3 long ago, as in my case skin tones without a ton of fuss on the LX3 drove me crazy. Always had too much magenta (WEIRD purple)..even using raw I never could get accurate skin tones for the most part.

The LX5 seems to have much more accurate color..skin tones overall look near perfect now..dynamic range REALLY is improved and EXCELLENT for a small camera, Highlight clipping or lack of, is REALLY good on the LX5 for such a small sensor (vs a dslr micro 4/3/nex etc.
Battery life so far seems really great..another real improvement over the LX3.

A couple of cons are..indoors in low light..you still get too much noise for a $499 camera? Actually the LX5 is the best I have seen in a small camera noise wise...well actually maybe the S90 was a little cleaner. I think we have to face facts..you are NOT going to be in the same ball park as a micro 4/3 or the Sony NEX which is a full sized sensor..it's scientifically impossible..or so it seems.
"But" noise levels are very VERY GOOD on the LX5, just no where near what a dslr or NEX5, GF1 can output etc. I took a star off cause THEY advertise these small cameras like they are going to act like a DSLR indoors...it's simply NOT going to happen!

OVERALL though this LX5 is near amazing in what it can do..GREAT lens...I see little or no Chromatic aberration(Purple Fringing) and the lens seems to be very sharp corner to corner.

Now back to the title of my review. I also recently bought the Samsung TL500...and not too long ago owned the Canon S90 I can't comment on the S95.

The TL500's screen ABSOLUTELY looks WAY better, brighter, and more ACCURATE than the LX5's screen..especially indoors. Believe me I had both cameras side by side!

The fact that the TL500'S screen can be moved in any position just magnifies it's superiority. I didn't really believe the specs that the TL500'S 1.8 aperture would REALLY make things brighter using a lower ISO but it's true..I took at least 20 side by side pics...the TL500 lens definitely brings in more light at SAME iso. ALL that being said..I like the LX5 more as it seems much more refined...there is much more control..I love that you can choose isos like 320, 500, 640, etc. So the LX5 seems to be the slightly better camera if you want the MOST control..ala coming from a real DSLR.

The TL500 is pretty close, but has an overall ODD thing that SOME things..be it face detection for example may then block out 4-5 other features that are now greyed out, Besides being limited..you never know WHICH TL500 feature is going to knock out 2-3 other features you MAY want to access.

Well the point of all the TL500 features (in an LX5 review) are IF you can live with the fact that some features turn off when you turn other features ON, OVERALL to my eyes..the OVERALL output of these cameras are EXTREMELY similar. The LX5's pics look a bit sharper, better dynamic range, and highlights and shadow are superior..Slightly. But the TL500 can stand pretty much toe to toe with the LX5. TL500 is built like a TANK, LX5 is also very well built too..JUST not tank like. The "TL500 is currently $150 less"! hence my 4 stars here again.. The reason I sold my Canon S90 is I looked pink-ish in 90% of the photos..plus it had really limited dynamic range..and even with messing with exposure compensation way too many of my pictures had blown highlights...and too much purple fringing.

The LX5 to my eyes is nearly in a different league than the S90 hence I did not even consider the S95 as the S90 really turned me off (Just my opinion and the way I SAW the output).

If I had to choose ONE camera, the LX5 is the overall balanced BEST output winner here. That being said I plan to keep my TL500 and give it to my wife so I can still use it. :) It has an IT factor..it's DIFFERENT, you will fall in love with it's oled screen and it's construction. But when you are done PLAYING...and want the overall BEST pictures, I have to say the LX5 is the best pocket-able camera out there today (In my opinion)..by a small margin. As I wrote in my TL500 review, if you REALLY want small.the CANON S90 and even more with the S95, are TRULY pocket able and great cameras too, but blown highlights,Pink-ish skin tones, somewhat limited dynamic range will drive you crazy. The LX5 and TL500 with lens cap are just a bit larger..but I feel worth the extra inch and ounce or two.. Let me say though, These are just my opinions, and what my eyes have told me, perhaps YOU may see things a bit differently. No mater what I can't see anyone unhappy with the LX5, Just wish it were $100 less then it would be the true knock out king, dollar for dollar!
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Showing 1-10 of 28 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 12, 2010 7:57:33 AM PDT
J. Page says:
Thanks for the great review. I had pretty much decided on getting the Panasonic LX5 when it was pointed out to me that the TL500 was a very similar camera for $100 less. I think the minor nits you mention on the TL500 would probably drive me nuts and $100 is not all that much cashola to be putting up with little things that aren't quite ironed out. Also I believe the LX5 has better resolution and of course a slightly better range at the telephoto end.

I will get one of these and hopefully it will hold me over until I can get something like a GF1 for the same price and in a similar sized package.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2010 9:07:47 AM PDT
Radio Man says:
Hi Jason, Thanks for the compliment. Well this morning I did even more side by side comparisons with the TL500. Pretty much same deal, had my wife take my pics in rather low light. Both cams, same distance, same isos, same focal length etc. SAME results as my review.

The TL500 is yielding a brighter picture at same ISO. Of course you can just up the Exposure compensation a notch or 2 on the LX5 and probably get about the same overall brightness..but I was comparing apples to apples. One surprise at least in my kitchen, with light coming thru my kitchen window hitting only one side of my face was The TL500 had quite a bit less dark shadow on my face not lit by window light than the LX5 did. In other words...not that this is scientific..the TL500 in my test shots seems to actually have slightly better dynamic range than the LX5 re: Shadows. That being said without a doubt OUTSIDE my shots with the LX5 look better than the TL500 which blows highlights way too much..but not as bad as the S90 used to. LX5 does a GREAT job with overall iq balance!

I am noticing without a doubt the LX5 has an overall more sharp look pic after pic..and seems to get much less blurry pics when shutter drops below 1/10 where the TL500 tends to blur more. In low light that's important..cause what's the sense of a brighter picture if many or most come out blurry. Also I had mentioned about the TL500 has some features that cancel out others. I tested face recognition..in that it DOES turn off capability to use RAW. That's really dumb!!..so more and more like you say the extra $100 or so in the long run is probably worth it for the REFINED LX5. But like a dog who can't choose which toy to play with :) I can't seem to part with my TL500 despite the fact the LX5 seems to be giving me slightly better pictures in all light with all things considered. Best of luck with your choice!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2010 10:00:18 AM PDT
J. Page says:
Ya, if I'm shooting around the house it would be with my Canon 40D and 35mm F 2.0 prime lens or my 17-55mm F2.8. I am tiring though of taking the big Canon every time I want to shoot a few pictures and I'm away from the house and that's why I'm looking at a new, more capable compact. Another option is to pony up for the GF1 but I think that the benefits don't outweigh the negatives at this time.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2010 10:46:47 AM PDT
Radio Man says:
Jason, Hate to tell you I also owned the GF1. You must think by now either I am making up stories or I am the amateur version of consumer reports ha. It's true..I have had almost every NEW-ISH camera that has come out the last few years..in this semi pocket able category.

It's almost like I am a camera addict and HAVE to get the latest and greatest. ( I admit a good photographer can get good pics out of an old Minolta probably..but I am a gadget junkie as well AND a pretty good photographer...I think?

My wife has just about had it with my camera hobby so I may be keeping the LX5 a long while. To the point though..I miss my GF1.. I have nothing negative to say about it and NEARLY re bought it. It's not THAT much bigger really than an LX5 with the 20mm pancake YET it IS still just a bit large and NOT really so easy to take everywhere so easy as a smaller point and shoot.

Well that's the point I guess the GF1 is barely pocket able..if at all..so it's why I gave it up. Also I admit I don't have the steadiest of hands..though the pancake lens was super bright and SHARP..most of my low light pics were blurry cause it has no camera or lens stabilization. Also..dumb as this may sound, a place where a lot of low light indoor pics may happen may be in a restaurant. You can bet most waiters are not pro photographers..so almost 100% of my GF1 pics taken by such people WITHOUT the flash were blurry.

Anyway I sold it mostly cause it was just a tad too large..and had no image stabilization with pancake lens. I also own (here we go again :)) The Sony Alpha NEX5 which I am definitely keeping. Well ok.sorry don't mean to be doing another review..anyway THAT took the place of my GF1 for semi pocket-able but it's GREAT at even 1600 iso in most cases.and the 18-55 zoom IS stabilized.

Guess I'm done buying cameras for a while. In any case if I were doing another review? I DO find the best camera as they say, is the one you have with you. So, The LX5 is an overall GREAT WELL rounded choice... my opinion. Thank G-D for EBAY or I'd be broke having bought so many cameras! :)

Posted on Sep 25, 2010 7:39:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 25, 2010 7:42:25 PM PDT
Gary M. says:
I was ready to order the TL500/EX1 based on its many excellent features that you and others point out. However I shoot only in RAW and some reviews indicate that the camera has a significant lag in RAW. If I were shooting in JPEG I wouldn't hesitate to order it, especially at the current low price of about $350. Do you do any shooting in RAW, and if so what are your experiences? I would hate to spend the additional money for the LX5 if I don't have to.
Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2010 7:02:07 AM PDT
Radio Man says:
G. Yes it's true..not sure why the TL500 is slow to write to the card even for jpegs. I shoot raw/ plus jpeg (same time)...if I had to guess maybe it takes about 2 seconds to process each pic? But if you can live with that..there are a ton of other GREAT things about the TL500.

I recently bought the Panasonic LX5 and though I DO like it a lot..the TL500 is MILES brighter indoors..has WAY better auto white balance if you care. The LX5 seems to have slightly better optical stabilization than the TL500..

Actually you REALLY REALLY can use lower iso indoors with the TL500 compared to the LX5 and I owned an S90 the TL500 gets brighter pics than that too at same iso.

The TL500 for me has more accurate color OVERALL, especially on skin tones than my LX5. But the LX5's pictures are overall more sharp/less prone to highlight clipping..The LX5 suffers THOUGH from bad Moire pattern effect at times probably due to a weak anti aliasing filter. It's so bad I posted some pics on a Panasonic forum..so if you take a lot of pics of people wearing jeans..and or you will see a lot of Moire pattern trouble on roof tops with the LX5 "NOT" with the TL500.

SOOOOO there is no perfect camera in this segment!

I am keeping both..but sorry back to your question..yes the TL500 is very slow compared to most cameras shooting raw..but it's not THAT bad unless you really need to shoot pics rapidly in succession.

Samsung seems the type of company that is very firmware update oriented. I would hope/think they may be able to address the slow write to card issue but who knows. Anyway..best of luck with your choice.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2010 8:12:08 AM PDT
Gary M. says:
Thank you Mr. Man.
Your review and comments are extremely helpful. I also have a Canon 7D (great camera) so I might buy the TL500 and shoot in JPEG and use the 7D for my raw shooting. I love the swivel screen on the TL500. But I'm still on the fence.
Thanks again.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2010 1:47:40 PM PDT
Radio Man says:
Hey G, All my best. I hate to return stuff..but if the raw write to card REALLY annoys you? I suppose you could return it...Not sure where you were gonna get it. I think? Amazon has no restocking fee..don't quote me. I don't advocate buying/returning..but maybe in your case since you are on the fence it may be an option. Also though I guess it's subjective, I keep writing about some "it" factor with the TL500.

What I mean is SOMETHING about the camera...makes you WANT to use it..."It's the first camera I have been unable to part with" in along long time. Yes the swivel screen is awesome and more than just a toy. I was on vacation in Colorado recently with my wife. I was placing the TL500 on various THINGS, any flat surface to take our pics together on timer. I had forgotten my tripod on the trip. :(

In any case the fact that I could see our picture (how we were being framed)from FRONT cause the screen swiveled, was very useful..and I got some great shots instead of just guessing.

Again if you take a lot of pics of PEOPLE, you will be thrilled with the accurate skin tones in all but the weirdest light.

The TL500 IS a bit quirky...in that some functions disappear as you use certain settings. YET as a whole..it's simply a beautiful camera..that takes awesome pictures. The LX5 IS more customizable..but the TL500 is somehow special.. you will LOVE it's build quality it oozes quality!

Also it's battery life is REALLY good. Good luck in your choice.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2010 7:07:00 PM PDT
Gary M. says:
I just might go with the TL500 after all. Along with the great build etc. I like the idea of saving $150. I have one more question though. Is there a time delay from the time you press the shutter button until the shutter is released. I remember this being a problem with some of my earlier digital cameras. I'd see a great shot, click the shutter, but by the time it fired the great shot was gone.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2010 7:34:38 PM PDT
Radio Man says:
G, I am not aware of any shutter lag..once it has focused. Seems about the same as the LX5 and any other camera..I just tried it to make sure. However re: your original question..time to write a raw file..yeah...it is rather slow..maybe 2-3 seconds, I don't know..it doesn't bother me, but it is a factor if shot to shot speed is a must.

Otherwise..as a whole...the camera is pretty great. Build quality is best I ever saw/felt in a camera. I don't know that the LX5 is worth an extra $150...MAYBE $50 more, due to it's refinement. But once you put the cameras away..and JUST look at the pictures..to me..it's sort of a tie..best I can tell you in my opinion owning both cameras.
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