Sunday, August 7, 2011

Panasonic LX5 - final pluses and minuses, compared to LX3

Here are some final observations about the Panasonic LX5. (See here also.) I'm once again making a comparison with the LX3, as it is the camera I know best.

What is good (in order of goodness, compared to the LX3):

  • Lens: I really like the 90 mm reach of the lens. Also, I like the way this lens renders subjects not in focus. (The Leica look!)
  • Battery endurance: In my use so far the battery fares significantly better than on the LX3. But see also the bad side of this.
  • Battery door compartment: It stays closed when you close it. A nuisance eliminated.
  • Aspect ratio switch: Now you can select 1:1 directly. Good!
  • Focusing speed: There is a feeling that the LX5 achieves focus faster than the LX3. Of course, this will be improved further given how far the micro 4/3 cameras have already gone, but for my purposes the focusing speed is good enough already. I'm not taking photographs of action sports or flying birds.
  • Handgrip: The camera feels lighter in the hand.
  • Image quality: I think there is a very slight improvement in the image quality, but nothing major. It is also a matter of taste.

What is bad (in order of badness, mostly compared to the LX3):

  • Chipped battery: Panasonic is keeping the price of the battery up by making it hard for copy-makers to offer batteries. Here in Finland the battery prices range between 50 and 70 euro, and that is a lot. For the LX3 I bought non-Panasonic batteries, which worked perfectly, costing less than 10 euro including shipping.
  • Top mode dial: It still turns by mistake; same as on the LX3.
  • Software bug: There is a problem in macro mode switch being disabled when switching repeatedly between custom modes. This bug was originally present also in LX3 but a firmware update fixed it.
  • Control wheel: I think the control stick was a better solution. But one can live with control wheel also.
  • Shut down speed: The LX5 is a bit slower in shutting down than the LX3. Nothing major, but things add up little by little...

So, there you have it. Of course, a lot is still to be explored, such as how well the camera fares in winter time, when it is dark and one has to strain to get photographs at all.


Andreas said...

Just wanted to say that #4 and especially #1 are spectacular :)

Markus Spring said...

Yes, agree with Andreas on #4: The soft colors and the smooth blur are, well, not spectacular, just outstanding! I had a look on the larger sizes at flickr and this image is more than convincing.

Re. the LX3/5 comparison: for me it's a bit astonishing that the difference is not really biiig, taking the 90mm longest focal length not into account. Well, a positive explanation is that already the 3 was a mature tool. But I could have imagined that the sensor development has made greater progress in the last 3 years - in the DSLR sector at least it seems to have.

Juha Haataja said...

@Andreas: I like them too... For #1 the longer 90 mm equiv. reach of the LX5 was good, as the dragonfly was deep in the pond.

@Markus: I think sensor developments are often rather overrated; it is the total package which matters.

Markus Spring said...

For the overall photographic experience you are certainly right - and here the LXs definitely shine - but especially the low light capacity when retaining highest resolution has grown amazingly in the DSLR sector. Not that I would really need 24 MPix however...

Juha Haataja said...

@Markus: And also the mirrorless are developing rapidly. A colleague has been very impressed with the Sony NEX cameras, using one for concert photography in low-light conditions. There is still room for improvement, though.

Anonymous said...

"Ladybug" is beautiful!
Great composition, my friend!

I liked the LX3's colors better :( Could be the light... contrast?



Juha Haataja said...

@Art: Thanks!

There is a different feeling to the colors on the LX5 - but it is a subtle thing. Maybe less warm - but it is also less warm out there, so I don't know. So far, I like what I get from the LX5. However, at some point I might do a bit of tweaking of the settings.