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09-05-2010, 09:09 AM   #1
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Anyone here has the Panasonic Lumix Lx3

Anyone here has the Panasonic Lumix Lx3 ?
Ive been thinking of getting one since there are some occasions where you dont wanna be carrying a dslr with you.
Got a few questions:
If base on the 1.5 crop factor like the Pentax whats the focal length of the LX3?
At its price point is it the best point and shoot right now?
Does it enable you to select focus just like a dslr?
any comments on the Lx3s handling, IQ, Noise, etc?

09-05-2010, 10:48 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by rustynail925 Quote
Anyone here has the Panasonic Lumix Lx3 ?
I have two Pentax compact cameras: the LX3 and an FZ35. You can read about my reasons for buying them and my experience using them, here:

Traveling light: The post-mortem William Porter Photography


QuoteQuote:
Ive been thinking of getting one since there are some occasions where you dont wanna be carrying a dslr with you.
Right. I have a camera with me just about everywhere I go. That camera is now, more often than not, an LX3.


QuoteQuote:
Got a few questions:
If base on the 1.5 crop factor like the Pentax whats the focal length of the LX3?
Sorry, I'm not sure I understand the question. If you are asking, does the LX3 have the same sized sensor (and thus the same crop-factor) as the Pentax DSLRs, the answer is an emphatic NO. The LX3 is a compact camera with a much smaller sensor. I can never remember the precise crop factor. Let's see. Wide-open—which is where I keep it 90% of the time—the camera's aperture is reported by Lightroom 3 to be 5.1mm. And that is supposedly equivalent to 24mm on a full-frame camera. So the crop factor = 24/5.1 = roughly 4.7x. As I said the sensor is MUCH smaller than the sensors in any DSLR.


QuoteQuote:
At its price point is it the best point and shoot right now?
Forgive me, but I'm not sure the question is meaningful. "Best point and shoot"? For what purpose? Underwater shooting? No, because the LX3 isn't waterproof. Shooting wildlife? No, because the LX3's zoom only goes to 60mm effective (= the Pentax 40mm APS-C lens in angle of view). Most compact pocket camera? Not really, because the LX3 has a lens that sticks out in front all the time. Best for low-light shooting? Definitely not, as the LX3 struggles when it goes much over ISO 400.

Still, the LX3 is a great compact camera, for what it does best. Best description of it: It's a great lens (Leica) attached to a very small, and very capable body. The body gives you just about the same degree of control you'd have over a Pentax DSLR, including being able to shoot raw, have full manual control over just about everything. And in addition, it shoots really good movies, has a bunch of special effects built in, and more. The body is very attractive. The controls are intelligently laid out. And if the light is good, the pictures are awesome.

I think an LX5 has been announced and should be out soon. Some minor improvements including a slightly longer zoom range. Samsung and Canon also have cameras designed to appeal to the same class of users as the LX3—serious enthusiasts. I looked at everything and picked the LX3 and I'm happy with the choice.

QuoteQuote:
Does it enable you to select focus just like a dslr?
Absolutely, but be aware: manual focusing on just about any fixed-lens camera involves moving a slider, rather than turning the lens barrel, and this makes it a bit more awkward. Plus, you're watching the focus on an electronic display screen rather than through an optical viewfinder. It's doable and I suppose if I did more of it I'd get better. But most of the time I'm using autofocus.

QuoteQuote:
any comments on the Lx3s handling, IQ, Noise, etc?
Handling, in my opinion, is generally terrific, for what the camera is. Image quality is better. Under optimal conditions, it can take photos technically as good as those I take with my K20D and a good lens, or very nearly so. The problem is, if the lighting conditions are even slightly less than optimal, the LX3 will be impacted more than a DSLR. Noise, as I said, is a problem. Many experienced LX3 users that I talked to say they set the camera so it won't exceed ISO 200. I've set it to ISO 400 max, although I have exceeded that occasionally.

One thing to note that's really special: At 24mm-e (i.e. wide open) the LX3 has a max aperture of f/2.0, which is really impressive for a point and shoot camera and also gives you a 1-2 stop advantage over most other point and shoots. This helps keep the ISO down.

Three other nifty things to mention about the LX3. These may not be unique, but they are things I value about the LX3.

First, you can switch aspect ratios while shooting. The camera is designed so it doesn't just crop the photos, rather, gets the max pixels into all four aspect ratios: 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1.

Second, there's a macro focusing mode for very close focusing.

Third, the iA (intelligent auto) shooting mode does a fantastic shot with difficult exposures. Unfortunately you can't shoot in raw in iA, apparently because of what the camera does to boost shadows and control blown highlights. But I've actually started to shoot jpeg only when using the LX3. Controlling the shutter and aperture is a bit awkward, so I tend now, with the LX3, to put it into P or iA and worry mainly about exposure compensation and composure.

Final point. The LX3 hasn't turned out to be quite as capable as I hoped it would be. I'm not disappointed. I think my original expectations were a unrealistic. If you accept that it's a compact camera with a teeny sensor, and that it can't really compete with a DSLR, then you may be very happy with it. It's certainly the best compact camera I've used.

Will
09-05-2010, 11:16 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Sorry, I'm not sure I understand the question. If you are asking, does the LX3 have the same sized sensor (and thus the same crop-factor) as the Pentax DSLRs, the answer is an emphatic NO. The LX3 is a compact camera with a much smaller sensor. I can never remember the precise crop factor. Let's see. Wide-open—which is where I keep it 90% of the time—the camera's aperture is reported by Lightroom 3 to be 5.1mm. And that is supposedly equivalent to 24mm on a full-frame camera. So the crop factor = 24/5.1 = roughly 4.7x. As I said the sensor is MUCH smaller than the sensors in any DSLR.

Will
Sorry for the misunderstanding
What i meant was the FOV if we base it on our Pentax DSLR..
The LX3's widest which is 24mm on a full frame, is it like a 16mm FOV on a Pentax dslr?
09-05-2010, 11:33 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by rustynail925 Quote
Sorry for the misunderstanding
What i meant was the FOV if we base it on our Pentax DSLR..
The LX3's widest which is 24mm on a full frame, is it like a 16mm FOV on a Pentax dslr?
Well, that is basically the same thing as the question I thought you were asking.

The LX3's widest angle is 24mm-e (a shorthand often used to indicate that you're referring to full-frame/35mm film sensor size). A Pentax DSLR using a 16mm lens = 24mm-e.

So the answer to your revised question is, yes.

Know also that there is a wide-angle add-on for the LX3, which takes you to (if I recall correctly) 16-18mm-e (about 11-12mm on a Pentax DSLR). I bought it and tried it but decided it was more trouble than it was worth, so I returned it.

The thing to remember is that, it's not all about angle of view. Sensor size matters, a lot. I think the nearly ideal use for the LX3 is taking landscape photos in good light. For photos of people, a micro four-thirds camera would be better than the LX3 (or any compact camera) and a proper DSLR would be better than a micro four-thirds camera. For the average person who is also fairly serious about photography, a micro four-thirds camera might be a really good compromise for family photos. The LX3 is a big compromise.

Will

09-05-2010, 11:35 AM   #5
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Will, Thank you very much for that helpful feedback regarding the Lx3.
ive scan and read some on your site.. Ill read it again tomorrow
Im planning to use it mostly for landscapes, daylight.
Does it compare well with the K20Ds IQ @ low iso.
09-05-2010, 11:41 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Well, that is basically the same thing as the question I thought you were asking.

The LX3's widest angle is 24mm-e (a shorthand often used to indicate that you're referring to full-frame/35mm film sensor size). A Pentax DSLR using a 16mm lens = 24mm-e.

So the answer to your revised question is, yes.

Know also that there is a wide-angle add-on for the LX3, which takes you to (if I recall correctly) 16-18mm-e (about 11-12mm on a Pentax DSLR). I bought it and tried it but decided it was more trouble than it was worth, so I returned it.


Will
so its a 16-40mm on a Pentax DSLR... Ive just sold my DA16-45 and the LX3 comes to mind to replace it..
Does the wide-angle add-on compromise the IQ?
09-05-2010, 06:04 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rustynail925 Quote
Im planning to use it mostly for landscapes, daylight.
Does it compare well with the K20Ds IQ @ low iso.

Yes, I think so. The Leica lens is really quite good. If the light's good, at ISO 80 (the base on the LX3) or 100, the levels of detail, clarity, sharpness are excellent and would be hard to distinguish from the results I can get with my K20D and one of my better lenses. Perhaps if you pixel-peel, you can see a difference. But as I say on my blog, I was pleased with the vacation photos I took with the LX3.

Will
09-05-2010, 06:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by rustynail925 Quote
so its a 16-40mm on a Pentax DSLR... Ive just sold my DA16-45 and the LX3 comes to mind to replace it.
Yes, I think that's right. I used to own the 16-45 f/4 myself and I had the same thought about the LX3.


QuoteQuote:
Does the wide-angle add-on compromise the IQ?
Well, I suppose that it must. It's a conversion lens—an add-on and therefore there are several more layers of glass for the light to go through. I think you do lose a stop or something like that. The test pictures I took with the conversion lens on were rather good, though. I sent the lens back not because the image quality was unacceptable but because I just didn't think the extra few degrees in the angle of view was worth the trouble of (a) screwing the conversion lens adapter tube on, then (b) screwing on the lens, and of course (c) having to carry the conversion lens around when I didn't want to use it. I did take a number of panorama shots while on vacation this summer. I just used my tripod, moved the camera, and stitched the shots together later on the computer.

Will

09-05-2010, 06:56 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Yes, I think so. The Leica lens is really quite good. If the light's good, at ISO 80 (the base on the LX3) or 100, the levels of detail, clarity, sharpness are excellent and would be hard to distinguish from the results I can get with my K20D and one of my better lenses. Perhaps if you pixel-peel, you can see a difference. But as I say on my blog, I was pleased with the vacation photos I took with the LX3.

Will
Ive seen a 100% crop of the lx3 @80 iso and it looks like a 325 iso on my K200D.
However i dont have really tested the LX3 vs my Pentax dslr..
Can you post a test shot comparison between the K20D and the lx3?
Does the new LX5 has improved sharpness or it has the same IQ as the LX3?
09-08-2010, 07:03 PM   #10
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When I had my Pentax K10d I bought the LX3 as well and compared both. Hardly could tell the difference between both shooting RAW. Dynamic range and resolution was very similar.
The K10d had the DA 16-45mm @ 16mm f/5.6 and LX3 at 24mm (equivalent) at f/5.6.

The LX3 is an amazing little camera and I still keep it. From what I've seen the new LX5 lack the per pixel sharpness of the LX3.
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