Lumix LX3: Looks right, flies even better.


p1000205In an earlier post I said the Lumix LX3 could turn out to be a near perfect point and shoot (although point and shoot is really a misnomer). This is one of those weird category straddling products that will appeal to the pro and pro-am market as well as casual shooters. It’s small enough that  you’ll always have it with you (I can already see this happening with myself). I added a small case from my bag supplier of choice SFbags so I can clip it to a belt loop or stuff it in my computer bag. 

I have never been able to get images like this from a camera this small. This is partly due to the Leica glass ( 24-60mm Summicron zoom lens) but the ability to capture in Panasonic’s RAW file format is what really makes the pictures sing. Adobe has added support for these files so I can integrate the images into my normal Lightroom work flow and make changes in RAW. 

This  image was shot at ISO 800 using the LX3’s miniscule pop up flash. This is a typical lighting scenario for many point and shoot camera;  low lighting in a restaurant or other gathering place which usually calls for flash. I pushed the LX3 past its comfort zone by shooting at 800 and as a result picked up quite a bit of noise. But what you lose to noise you make up for in a better balance between flash and ambient light. The little flash will have real problems at ISO 80  when it is the only light source. Some other observations: 

*The shutter lag is there but you can minimize it by partly depressing the shutter button so you’re ready to go when the moment is right. Think of it as Viagra for your camera. 

*The battery life is amazing, even with multiple full, flash exposures.

*The LCD screen is easy to read (without reading glasses)

*The controls are  as intuitive as they can be for a camera like this. 

*In black (consider yourself luck if you find one) the LX3 is a little reminiscent of a Leica M body. Maybe it’s the suggestive power of the word Summicron right there on the front or the tight clean design. As the pilots say: if it looks right it’ll fly right. 

I have been through several point and shoot cameras that never worked because the images were not good enough technically. The 10 megapixel RAW files from the LX3 more than clear the bar on technical qualities.

This camera looks like a constant companion.


~ by keithphilpott on January 7, 2009.

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