Friday, August 5, 2011

Further observations about the Panasonic LX5 (compared to the LX3)

On Monday I posted some notes about the Panasonic LX5, mainly regarding its usability compared to the LX3. Since then I have taken about 2000 photographs with the camera, and have some futher notes, some positive, some negative.

The overall usability of the LX5 is excellent, slightly improved from the LX3. My only slight observation concerns the control wheel, which I'm still getting used to. The control stick offered more functions, and was often very useful.

On the other hand, I think I'll cope fine with the wheel, as long as I learn all the details. For example, when using manual focus, the stick was easy to use with precision. With the LX5 it is better to use (instead of the wheel) the left and right buttons to finetune manual focusing, and this isn't so easy.

On the LX3 the mode dial on top of the camera often moved by itself. Even though the dial is a bit firmer on the LX5, it does the same when you keep the camera in a pocket. Well, no surprise (or improvement) there. On the other hand, the battery compartment door seems to hold well, and there hasn't been once that it has opened by itself.

As I mentioned, I bought another battery, which wasn't a Panasonic original but a copy, half the price. The online shop told in advance that the battery charge monitor wouldn't work with the LX5, and it doesn't. What was a negative surprise was the random shutdowns of the camera, in the middle of operation, when I used the copy battery. So, with the LX5 one should use the Panasonic batteries even though they are expensive.

On the other hand, the Panasonic battery performs really, really well, better than with the LX3, at least when taking photographs the way I do: switch on, take one or a few photographs in quick succession, switch off. I'm shooting jpegs, and plenty of these photographs were b&w, which probably helped here, as there is less pixels to push. Also, I have enabled some energy-saving features, such as no preview and LCD off in 15 seconds.

With the first charge I got almost 1000 photographs, and this included plenty of tweaking of the settings, looking at a lot of previews on the LCD, and deleting some hundred or so photographs from the memory card. (An unnecessary precaution as I was worried of running out of space.)

AWB seems to work well on the LX5, at least as well as with the LX3. Today I took some photographs in a shop where there were normal shoplights, light through windows, and special "plant" (or "flower") lamps, all at the same time. In this setting AWB did run into problems, and no wonder.

Sadly, there is one bug on the LX5 which was on the LX3 but disappeared with some of the later firmware updates. Namely, macro focusing stops working when switching between custom settings repeatedly. I used two settings (C1 and C2-1) for shooting the same subject; the only difference in the modes was that the other was using "nostalgic" and the other "dynamic b&w" film mode. When switching from one mode to another, with the focus switch in the macro position, at some point macro focus was no longer working; the LX5 operated in the normal focus mode despite the switch setting. The only way to restore macro focusing is to switch the camera off and back on again.

Another problem, familiar from the LX3, is that the LCD display is hard to see in direct sunlight. But this applies to all such displays. Otherwise, the display is as good as on the LX3; maybe the colors show up a little different.

Finally, one last observation. I used the LX3 in a silent mode, all sounds switched off, and got used to the quiet and pleasing sound of the LX3 shutter. On the LX5 the shutter sound is quiet also, but a little bit different; more "urgent" might be the best term; maybe there was a little bit more bass in the LX3 sound. This difference is minor, but it is a little bit distracting for now.

PS. Flickr got recently the 6,000,000,000th upload, and that photograph was taken with the Panasonic LX3.


Carl said...

Man, you're fast. I've had my G3 for a week now and have only made 716 captures...

Juha Haataja said...

@Carl: Everyone has their own style of taking photographs. I take a lot and scratch a lot, so there comes the large number.

Also, vacation time increases the possibilities for photograhpy. Tomorrow, back to work.