New Lumix DMC-LX5 Compact Digital Camera Due This Month From Panasonic

by Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen on August 6, 2010

The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 released this month will sell for around $500. I’ve used both the LX2 and LX3, so I’m looking forward to getting my hands on this beauty.

UPDATE 7/18/2011:
The Panasonic Lumix LX5 is NOW AVAILABLE for about $399!

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First things first: what happened to the LX4? I guess Panasonic thinks the new camera is so good that it warrants skipping a generation.

Like all the previous Lumix compacts, the LX5 is a good-looking camera that will actually fit in a pocket. It captures still images in raw, jpeg or raw+jpeg and it records HD-resolution movies with sound.

Key Features Comparison: LX5 vs. LX3


Lumix LX5 Lumix LX3
Maximum Aperture f/2.0 – f/3.3 f/2.0 – f/2.8
Minimum Aperture f/8 f/8
Zoom (35mm equiv.) 24-90mm (3.8x) 24-60mm (2.5x)
Shutter Speed
60 sec to 1/4000 60 sec to 1/2000
Effective Resolution 10.1 megapixels 10.1 megapixels
Flash
pop-up or hot shoe pop-up or hot shoe
Optical viewfinder optional hot-shoe mount optional hot-shoe mount
LCD size/resolution 3″ / 460,000 dot 3″ / 460,000 dot

LX5 Improvements

Panasonic says it has made a lot of behind-the-scenes improvements that don’t show up in the specs, such as:

  • Expanded dynamic range with increased sensitivity and saturation.
  • Newly developed Venus Engine FHD image processor provides higher speed and performance. Triple CPUs in this imaging engine dramatically speed up processing while achieving exceptional noise reduction performance.
  • Video hi-def recording using the AVCHD Lite format which allows almost doubling the recording time in HD quality compared with the conventional Motion JPEG format. In Creative Movie mode, shutter speed and aperture can be set manually.
  • Redesigned body with a thicker grip making it easier to hold. It’s a little bit larger and a little bit heavier than the the LX3. Plus, the LX5 will be available in black or white body colors.
  • New turn-and-push jog dial replaces the small joystick control used on the LX3.
  • Optional Live View Finder which helps when shooting under strong daylight.
  • Square 1:1 format setting selectable by the aspect ratio switch on the side of the lens barrel. On the LX3, it was available only by menu and only after updating to the LX3′s latest firmware version.
  • Intelligent LCD redesigned using High CRI (Color Rendering Index) backlighting LED improves color reproduction and visibility in bright sunlight.
  • Improved battery life.
  • Optional Conversion Lens Adaptor (DMW-LA6) allows use of 52mm filters or wide-angle .75x adapter (DMW-LAW52) which gives you 18mm at the wide end.

Resources

Want to get your hands on the LX5 ASAP? Pre-order it from Amazon.com right now with one of these links: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Black or Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 White.

Panasonic has more information about the LX5 on their website here.

Read my review of the LX3 here: The Lightweight Photographer: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Real World Review.

Final Thoughts

Even with its extended zoom range, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 is still a wide-angle photographer’s camera. The 90mm long end isn’t going to excite too many tele shooters. But that’s fine with me: 24-90mm is a good working range for a travel photographer.

I’ll be interested to see if the Lumix LX5, with it’s new processing engine,  will offer better image quality than the LX3 it’s about to replace. The LX3′s biggest failings were in the amount of noise in high ISO images (over 400) and unacceptable purple-fringing in high-contrast lighting situations.

The LX5, like the LX3, does not include an optical viewfinder. However, Panasonic does offer two optional, shoe-mount viewfinders which work with the LX5. The DMW-VF1 is purely optical with a 24mm field-of-view and the DMW-LVF1 is electronic and shows everything that’s on the LCD.

The Panasonic LX5 gives us another contender in the expanding range of pro-ready, raw-shooting compact cameras. Is it a winner? Time will tell, so stay tuned.

Panasonic Lumix LX5 from B&H Photo Video Panasonic Lumix LX5 from B&H Photo Video
Panasonic Lumix LX5 Black
Available from:
Panasonic Lumix LX5 White
Available from:
Panasonic Lumix LX5 at Amazon.com Panasonic Lumix LX5 at Amazon.com
Lumix LX-5 from Adorama Lumix LX-5 from Adorama

Click the logos above to check current prices.

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{ 4 comments }

1 Navid September 14, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Mr. Alan Haynes
I appreciate your review, though I am afraid
the new Lumix-lx5 is BIGGER and HEAVIER
than the old LX3.

2 Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen September 15, 2010 at 7:48 am

Hi Navid,

When I wrote this article, I relied on specifications that were either incorrect or have since been changed. The LX5 is indeed larger than the LX3. Thanks for pointing that out. I’ve corrected the article.

Cheers,

Alan

3 jack September 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Alan, the new processing engine over-processes the jpeg’s giving smeary results. They blew it. The LX3 is already almost too big to be a pocket camera, again, they blew it. Panasonic apparently listened to the wrong advice. It’s easier to take out noise and CA in post process than it is to sharpen smeary images. The square format change was dumb also, imo. Got to crop it no matter what…?? 4:5 would have been the obvious choice. I would submit that more people use 8x10prints than say 8×8 or 4×4, or whatever.The zoom was a good idea. They had the opportunity to fine tune a great product, and instead the wheel came up square, so to speak.

4 Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen September 9, 2011 at 10:49 am

Hello Jack,

I agree that the Panasonic Lumix LX series (LX-1 through LX-5) is a bit of a compromise. But they are capable of professional results.

I always shoot raw, so the JPEG processing is not an issue. I like that it fits in the pocket of my cargo pants or jacket. But I’ve resigned myself to carrying a non-pocketable camera most of the time.

I just ordered the new Olympus PEN E-P3. My E-P1 is an excellent camera and I expect the E-P3 to improve on that.

- Alan

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