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10-03-2009, 02:06 AM   #1
emr
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Panasonic DMC-LX3 vs. DMC-GF1?

I have found (as I did years and years ago with my film SLR) that a DSLR is usually a bit big and heavy to lug around. So usually I end up either having no camera or a P&S with me. The picture quality of my P&S isn't unfortunately quite as good as I'd like it to be and it also doesn't have IS/SR and lacks in sensitivity.

So what I've been lately looking at is these two Panasonics (and Olympus E-P1 but let's now concentrate on Panasonic). They both seem to have their ins and outs. LX3 is a bit smaller (actually the difference looks bigger in pictures than the specs suggest IMO, picture below), cheaper and also has IS. GF1 on the other hand has a bigger sensor and probably better IQ and it also has the choice of lenses. I could probably also use my DA ltds on the GF1, but then again the adapter has a price and I'm not so keen on manual focus.

Has anyone had the chance to compare these two and what is your impression? I'd be inclined to go GF1, but then again it IS bigger and portability is an issue here. So it's not so easy to choose. Of course GF1 isn't available here yet, but I could get an LX3 in my hands in fifteen minutes.

Any input?




Last edited by emr; 10-03-2009 at 02:36 PM.
10-03-2009, 02:14 AM   #2
and
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I have, or should I said had an Lx3 since I sold it cheap to my gf when her camera broke. The lx3 is very nice and especially if you had an external flash and bounce it indoors the output is very good and the 24mm f2 wide angle is great and with IS allows you to keep the ISO reasonable so you get great output even after sundown. A big advantage of the gf1 is the larger sensor and the capability to do shallow dof, altho the dof is not as shallow as apsc. but feks the 20mm f1.7 pancake lens should be very nice. but using the kit zoom at 45mm f5.8 the dof will be large again. now there are rumors of fuji doing a m43 camera too, that could be interesting
10-03-2009, 06:54 AM   #3
emr
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Hmm.. Perhaps I really need to consider the Olympus too. After all, it has in-body IS. The nearby store seems to just have dropped the kit prices to 700€ (zoom) and 800€ (pancake).
10-03-2009, 02:23 PM   #4
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I own a DLux4 (same as LX3), owned an E-P1 (sold it), and my g/f shoots a G1 (same sensor as GF-1). Realize that the LX3 is still a "P&S" - it is a small sensor camera, albeit one of the best made. There is no hiding place from physics, and sensor size makes a difference, along with glass. The good thing about the LX3 is the Leica lens that is very fast for a p&s (24-60 f2-2.8).

I believe in a 3-tier system for shooting. A FF dSLR for "serious" shots, a good p&s that I can take anywhere, and then the elusive "middle system" which has about the size of a p&s so I'll take it with me but has a larger sensor for better hi iso iq (I shoot a lot of low/available light) and fast glass. Right now there are a couple of contenders for that.

Sigma DP-1/DP-2. Kind of a quirky camera with Foveon sensor and fixed 28/4 (slow) or 40/2.8 (better) lens. People complain about poor handling and performance, but the Foveon gives some amazing images at low iso. In the end, I want something a bit snappier and don't want to be stuck to Sigma software for processing.

Oly E-P1. I bought one of these and it was close to what I was looking for. I actually liked the hi iso (1600) images, as the noise gave a nice grit. The 14-42 compact kit zoom is actually quite sharp, but the 17/2.8 is less impressive. In the end I wanted something that had a little quicker AF and a slightly different form factor. Or maybe I just wanted to switch cameras. The pluses are in-body IS - a BIG plus imho. Don't discount this fact. With my 5D2 I really miss it when I've got a non-IS lens mounted.

GF-1. I have come close to buying this, as it would allow me to borrow my g/f's glass and supplement her collection by buying the 20/1.7 and forthcoming Leica 45/2.8 IS macro (that will be sweet). But the more user reports I'm seeing, the less I'm getting sold on this. The 20/1.7, while fast, has no IS. I shoot a LOT of slow shutter stuff, and without IS I'll lose a lot of shots. I already see that with the 5D2/50/1.4 combo. The Leica 45/2.8 will have IS, but I'd like to have something wider than that for street. So I'm still pondering this.

Leica X1. This is what my heart is wanting, and it clicks off a lot of my boxes. Brilliant UI, Leica glass, IS, APS-C sensor (and hopefully good 3200 performance. Downsides are the price (though you only live once) and having to live with 35mm. But, there is something to be said for just shooting one focal length for awhile and I've been interested in doing that experiment.

Pentax Kx or K7 w/40/2.8 and/or 21/3.2. This combo would be a lot smaller than my Canon setup, but it still is bigger and more obtrusive than the GF-1/X1 form factor. Another thing I'm still pondering.

I may swap out the DLux4 for the new Canon S90 simply because the S90 looks to have excellent hi iso and is more pocketable.

10-03-2009, 02:34 PM   #5
emr
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Thanks. As my main goal is portability, I'll probably end up buying an LX3. Never held a Sigma in my own hands, but they do sound a bit slow and clumsy. And while E-P1 and GF1 have much more capabilities than an LX3, they lack in portability. I'm thinking now there may not really be an alternative to the LX3 ATM. Stuff like G series Canons are significantly bigger and when the Sigmas are out, I don't know of a P&S with the same IQ as this Panasonic.

EDIT: Hadn't really considered S series Canons. Are they really on the same level? I need to take a look.
10-04-2009, 12:19 PM   #6
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The canon S series actually looks quite good. My personal preference coming from a similar place (I need a smaller setup for some adventurous international travel) goes to the m4/3; image quality is paramount to me, and I've seen IQ just as good out of the current m4/3 cameras as pretty much anything else (with a couple exceptions) under $2000. So, I intend to get an E-P1 with the kit zoom (for versatility) and the 20mm (which will be on the camera most of the time). IS, good lenses, high IQ, shallow dof potential, portability, all i really want.

But if I were looking for a p+s to cram in any pocket of any of my pants (the E-P1 plus 20mm is pretty pocketable to me, though) that S90 is VERY appealing. Nice UI, Canon makes the only p+s's I really like. But more importantly... the CHDK firmware hack! This lets you do amazing things with a p+s, including some things that you just flat-out CAN'T do with an SLR. As well as just increasing it's usability overall.
10-06-2009, 03:53 PM   #7
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Yes, the S90 looks very interesting. The G10 offers external flash and a (tiny) viewfinder, but other than that the S90 looks to have it beat -- smaller, faster lens, same sensor, RAW shooting...
10-06-2009, 09:46 PM   #8
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Have you looked at the Ricoh GX200?

The only thing I don't like about it is the slow lens (F/2.5 - 4.4). Also, I wish its sensor had less pixels (6 - 8 MP is all I need and want).

It's not perfect, but I don't think any camera is.

I seriously considered a G10 (I still have a G5 and like it), but I ended up with a GX200.

The S90 looks interesting. But I've decided not to buy any camera that can't take an external flash unit.

10-09-2009, 01:49 PM   #9
emr
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I've pretty much made up my mind now. As portability is a major factor, even the smallish(?) GF1 is out. So it basically leaves just S90 and LX3. The IQ seems brilliant on both judged by samples on forums. When my nearby shop has both of them, I'll need to go and give them a try. LX3 should be now about 50-60 euros cheaper and somehow gives me a mental image of a higher quality product. But that could be just because S90 comes from a long line of P&Ss (S10?-S90) and doesn't look so different from the brand's lower spec'ed models. On the other hand, CHDK is one aspect to consider (expecting the camera to be supported) although I'd probably begin to shoot with an unmodified FW. So now just some waiting, which might not be so long after all as the company's HQ just got a supply of G11s.
10-09-2009, 02:20 PM   #10
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The problem I have with "quality" compact digital cameras: there's no hole to put my eye to.
11-06-2009, 01:09 AM   #11
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SOrry to be late here...
Got an LX3 3 weeks away. I love it: size is just as it could be (not bigger) and images, considering the come from a compact are very nice IMO.

Very happy.
11-06-2009, 07:27 AM   #12
emr
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QuoteOriginally posted by thibs Quote
Got an LX3 3 weeks away. I love it: size is just as it could be (not bigger) and images, considering the come from a compact are very nice IMO.
Well, I (the OP) was eventually seriously considering between it and the S90, ended up getting the latter. They both seem very good P&S cameras, on quite the same level IMHO. What was the main deciding factor was size and form, as portability was among the main goals for me. While there isn't really a big difference in size, that and the flatter shape of an S90 make it more easily "pocketable". Feels OK so far, but I haven't really had the time to use it that much.
11-07-2009, 06:23 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
Well, I (the OP) was eventually seriously considering between it and the S90, ended up getting the latter. They both seem very good P&S cameras, on quite the same level IMHO. What was the main deciding factor was size and form, as portability was among the main goals for me. While there isn't really a big difference in size, that and the flatter shape of an S90 make it more easily "pocketable". Feels OK so far, but I haven't really had the time to use it that much.
Do post some of your shots here.. Thanks!
11-10-2009, 08:02 AM   #14
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Look for a Fuji F30 or F31fd. Great little cameras.

I've found out that I use my p&s mainly for indoor social shots, and the high iso of the cameras is great.
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