I just picked up a Panasonic Lumix DMC LX3, after having used its previous incarnation (Lumix DMC-LX2) for about a year for our family snapshots and as a general grab-and-go camera. There is plenty of information about the Panasonic LX3 on the web already, so I won’t get into a detailed review. Instead I’ll simply offer my positive recommendation and some sample images. Here is a particularly accurate review.
If you don’t want to read any more, the sample images are here. (Update: the raw files are now removed, they’ve been there for a few weeks and I don’t want them eating up storage space on my server.)
Here are a few more, not available in high res but you can get an idea of how I use this camera and what images I think are “keepable” out of it. These are straight out of the camera, no postprocessing.
As I expected based on my experience with the LX2, for a point and shoot camera (P&S) the Panasonic Lumix LX3 is, in my opinion, a pretty darn good camera. I really like its small size, wide angle lens (24mm equivalent), 16:9, 4:3 and 3:2 aspect ratios, and good exposure and flash capabilities. At the wide end, the LX3’s Leica 24mm-equivalent lens is great for landscape images as well as any “forced perspective” image in which the foreground subject takes on a larger-than-life importance in relation to the rest of the image. For me this is a big plus, since I shoot the LX3 as wide as possible 95% of the time, and 24mm is noticably wider than the 28mm or 35mm focal lengths offered in most other P&S cameras. (The LX2 had a 28mm equivalent lens). As far as exposure goes, I generally leave the camera in its “P” mode (program exposure) and just dial the exposure compensation up or down. Occasionally, if I am shooting a landscape with the camera on a tripod, I will use aperature-priority mode with the aperature set at f/8. Once in a while I will shoot deliberately blurred images, for which case aperature priority mode is again useful (f/8, ISO 100). When shooting flash-lit images, one can dial the exposure compensation on the flash up and down independently of the compensation used for the available light exposure. And like most P&S cameras these days, the LX3 has a video feature which allows us to get some grab videos on our vacations.
A note on RAW. Like the LX2 before it, the LX3 can produce a RAW file in addition to JPG. However, my experience with the RAW converter provided with the LX3 — Silkypix — has not been pleasant. Frankly, I couldn’t stand it. The interface seemed awkward and slow, and I found it difficult to batch process a group of images that all required slight variations of RAW adjustment from one another.
Note: as of March 2009, Lightroom supports LX3 raw files, so I use that when I feel the need to shoot RAW with the Lumix LX3.
I’ve posted a selection of sample images taken with the Panasonic Lumix LX3 over the past few days. I may revise this group of sample images in the coming weeks if I have a chance to shoot more. The JPGs shown are all straight out of the camera, the only adjustment being that they have been resized and sharpened for display as a web gallery by Expression Media. They all used auto-white-balance, some form of auto exposure (P or A). Most were shot with ISO 100 although some were shot at ISO 200. I’ve linked the full res JPG and, where available, the RAW file as well so you can see what detail or lack thereof is found in the original. However, if you get into pixel-peeping, consider that you are probably getting too critical and may be loosing sight of how P&S cameras such as the LX3 fit into the quiver of a photographer. I consider my LX3 to be the camera to use when I would otherwise not have a camera. I do not expect anywhere near the same degree of sharpness, color fidelity and shadow detail that I get from my dSLRs! In my opinion this camera, when properly used including careful technique and exposure control, produces images that are acceptable for press, web, and small to medium-size print use.
Some of the images I shot with my LX2 are now in the stock files of myself and at least one agency, and I expect selected future images from the LX3 will be as well.
Update: the raw files are now removed, they’ve been there for a few weeks and I don’t want them eating up storage space on my server.