Customer Review

76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Compact Camera, November 13, 2010
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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 - Black (OLD MODEL) (Camera)
I'm mainly an SLR shooter (Nikon D70, D200, D300), and I've been looking for a long time for an acceptable compact camera to have with me everywhere -- while walking, biking, on business trips, or even side trips on vacation when I don't want to lug around my SLR. With the emerging choices in micro 4/3 and the latest crop of "enthusiast" compact cameras, I figured it was time to make a decision. I have no regrets about choosing the LX5.

The two things that really stand out on the LX5 are the lens and the overall handling speed.

The lens is the real deal at 24-90 35mm equivalent and f/2-f/3.3. You won't find a better lens on a compact camera. I'm mainly shooting landscapes and static subjects, so the range is perfect. The optical stabilization works very well, and the fast aperture of the lens helps tremendously in low-light situations.

The overall handling speed stands out particularly against some of its compact camera competition. I was a little worried at first when I was doing tests and shooting RAW to internal memory, which is quite slow, but once I added a class 10 SDHC card, that concern vanished. Everything responds quickly -- switches and dials, the menu, and (of course) actually taking pictures. The Q Menu is a very fast and easy way to change settings. I always shoot RAW because I think the difference is worth it, and this camera can handle it.

Although I got the optional viewfinder, it's mediocre and the ergonomics of holding a tiny camera up to my face aren't as much like using an SLR as I thought they would be, so I might get rid of the viewfinder. Finding a spare battery for sale was also tough, but I did eventually find one in stock on Amazon.

Here's my assessment of the LX5 against other cameras I was evaluating at the same time:

Canon S95 - while the S95 is definitely smaller and a bit more portable than the LX5, I preferred the more serious feel of the LX5, particularly its grip. The much-discussed click wheel on the S95 I found to be overrated. Compared to an SLR rig, a small belt bag for the LX5 is portable enough. Viewing pictures taken by the S95, the lens didn't seem as good as that on the LX5 - more chromatic abberation (purple fringing) and soft corners.

Nikon P7000 - as a Nikon shooter, I really wanted to like the P7000. Ergonomically its functions are similar to an SLR, and it would have been compatible with accessories such as my Nikon flashes. On the other hand, how often am I really going to want a big flash on a tiny camera? The killer for me with the P7000 was the overall speed. It's sluggish. It responds slowly to various controls and has a well-known problem writing RAW files. These are things that would drive me nuts after an extended period of time. It also has a slower lens.

Canon G12 - I was only going to go with a larger camera if I got the P7000, so I never really considered the G12 seriously.

Samsung TL500 - might be the closest competitor to the LX5 in capabilities, but it was hard to find one to try, and I really had no use for the articulating screen.

Panasonic GF1 - would have been my first choice micro 4/3, if I went with micro 4/3. I didn't because zoom lenses are still big, even the Olympus collapsible kit zoom, and I definitely wanted a zoom lens. With a pancake prime the GF1 is almost as small as the LX5, and would have better image quality, but a single focal length is not compatible (for me) with a general-purpose camera.

Olympus PEN - just like the GF1, the lenses are too big.

Sony NEX - again, big lenses.

Nikon D3100 - I never seriously considered any of the smaller true SLRs. Even with the smallest lenses, they're a lot bigger than the LX5.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 14, 2010 11:31:48 AM PST
HolyCow says:
I just got this camera(LX5) with the reasons similar to yours. I really tempted to get Nex5 though with the big sensor. I would like to ask you what a small belt bag or small bag do you recommend?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2010 11:51:42 AM PST
I'm using a Lowepro Ridge 30. It's basically the smallest bag I could find that could reasonably fit the camera. The extra battery can fit in the front pocket, but it's a tight squeeze.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2010 12:07:30 PM PST
HolyCow says:
i was going to get Lowepro Rezo 50 Camera Bag, but Ridge 30 seems to be a bit bigger. Thanks. You bought an extra battery?! wow, thought 400 shots per charge is good enough for a day of shooting xD
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