Join ePHOTOzine, the friendliest photography community.
Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more for free!
Here Panasonic explain it:
"Conventional cameras generally use almost the entire CCD area when recording an image. The DMC-LX5, however, employs a 1/1.63-inch CCD with a total resolution of 11.3-megapixel. Using only about a 10.1-megapixel area of this large CCD makes it possible to give three aspect ratios – 16:9, 3:2, and 4:3 – the same angle of view with lens settings from 24mm to 90mm"
- 10.1-megapixel High-sensitivity CCD (1/1.63-inch)
- 3.8x wide angle optical zoom lens (f/2.0 - 3.3, 24-90mm in 35mm equiv.)
- Optical Image Stabilisation POWER O.I.S. (Off / Auto / Mode1 / Mode2)
- 3.0in screen with 460K dots
- 1cm macro
- 2.5 frames/sec Max. 5 images (Standard mode)
- HD Movie in AVCHD Lite with Creative Movie Mode 1280x720 pixels at 30fps
- Optical zoom available in movie mode
- Intuitive Manual Control and Creative Option Featuring My Colour Mode
- Optional optical viewfinder (OVF) or electronic viewfinder (EVF)
- Film modes and RAW support
The much maligned joystick on the previous model, the LX3, has gone and is replaced with a jog dial – this has two functions – it can be pressed as well as scrolled, allowing you to quickly change options, for example manual focus or switch between altering the shutter speed and aperture in manual mode.
The controls are easy to use, with a large number of functions and options having a dedicated button, such as Focus, Self timer, ISO, Aspect Ratio etc, although the faint markings on some of the buttons may make it difficult to read the text, unless you memorise them with use. This is made easier thanks to the position of the controls and buttons being well laid out, and being easily controlled with your thumb. The options switches surrounding the lens fall easily to hand when using the camera with two hands.
Menus - The quick menu button allows quick access to the most common options, and lets you to set the film mode, flash setting, continuous shooting, metering, AF mode, white-balance, image size, video quality, and screen brightness. For more advanced settings you need to access the full menu, which is made up of seven screens of photo options, four screen of video options and seven further screens of setup options. The setup menu allows you to change the text size to Large or Normal, setting this to Large increases the number of screens to scroll through as less options are displayed on each screen. It's a shame there isn't a small option as well, as this would fit more options onto the screen. The large number of options could make the menus quite daunting to some people, but the large number of external controls means entering the menus is quite a rare occurrence.
Battery Life - The battery life is rated at 400 pictures (according to CIPA Standard testing). I found battery life to be less impressive, managing around 280 shots on a full battery.
Speed - Continuous shooting speed is 2.5fps, for 3 shots on JPEG Fine setting, or 5 shots on JPEG Standard setting, with the flash unavailable, unless you switch to the high speed shooting modes available in the scene mode. These allow high speed shooting, or alternatively high speed shooting with flash, however, the image size is reduced to 3mp. Shot to shot time is very good at 0.8 - 0.9 seconds between shots (AF, flash / review off), and with flash on this is slightly slower at 1.6-1.8 seconds between shots (but still very good). Focusing is very quick, although when the focus is switched to AF/Macro the focusing is a little slower. The camera takes 1.7-1.8 seconds to switch on a take the first photo (slightly better than average). Shutter response seemed excellent at roughly <0.1 seconds. Menus and playback were quick.
Full optical zoom - Buildings
ISO80, 1/320, f/3.3, 19.2mm, (90mm equivalent)
ISO80, 6s, f/6.3, 5.1mm (24mm equivalent)
Dynamic range - The camera's dynamic range is decent, however exposure can occasionally overexpose the sky so some exposure compensation is recommended to avoid losing detail in bright clouds, particularly if shooting JPEG images. Detail is good in shadow areas and a lot of the image can be "rescued" afterwards in programs like Photoshop if images are underexposed.
The camera has a number of modes available from numerous scene modes, to intelligent auto (that also features back light compensation), and a creative dial position called "My Colour Mode" with high dynamic range modes (such as HDR, HDR art, and HDR black and white), all of them should enable increased creativity and dynamic range in photos.
The camera provides impressive levels of detail in photos, and this can be enhanced further by altering the sharpness and contrast settings, altering the "intelligent Resolution" setting (it enhances edges for increased sharpness), or you can even alter the noise reduction settings.
Wide angle shot
ISO80, 1/500, f/4, 5mm (24mm equivalent)
Full telephoto zoom
ISO80, 1/800, f/5, 19mm (90mm equivalent)
The camera provides a very wide 24mm equivalent, and zooms to 90mm equivalent providing a useful zoom range with the emphasis on wide-angle shots. Image quality at any level of zoom is excellent.
Portrait with flash on
ISO160, 1/60, f/2.8, 13mm, Flash on
ISO80, 1/320, f/2.8, 13mm
Under testing I very rarely noticed lens flare, if ever. The lens quality is excellent as you would expect with a Leica branded lens on a premium camera, and distortion was never noticed, or an issue in photos, the image quality from this camera is superb. The Panasonic Lumix LX5 is so good that Leica also sell their own version of the camera, the Lecia D-LUX 5.
ISO and Noise Performance
Panasonic Lumix LX5 ISO speed test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
|ISO80, 1/5, f/3.3, 19mm|
|ISO100, 1/6, f/3.3||ISO200, 1/13, f/3.3||ISO400, 1/25, f/3.3||ISO800, 1/40, f/3.3|
|ISO1600, 1/80, f/3.3||ISO3200, 1/200, f/3.3||ISO6400, 1/320 (3MP)||ISO12800, 1/500 (3MP)|
ISO80 - ISO200 results are very good with low noise, good detail, and good colour. ISO400 results are still impressive however, you do notice a slight reduction in image quality when viewing images at 100%. At ISO800 noise starts to remove detail from colour and edges as well as the rest of the image, and is particularly noticeable in dark colours. At ISO1600, due to more aggressive noise reduction, noise is less noticeable than at ISO800. ISO3200 shows excessive noise, and blue hot pixels, and is best avoided. ISO6400 and ISO12800 are only available with an image resolution of 3mp and are best used for use resized on websites.
Auto white balance performance is excellent, producing very similar colours to the manual white balance mode. The results on auto white balance under incandescent and fluorescent lighting are slightly cool (blue) looking, and the manual white balance provide a more neutral result. The incandescent preset produces the warmest colours with a yellow cast.
Macro - showing background blur
ISO200, 1/60, f/2, 5mm
Macro - clock at closest distance
ISO320, 1/60, f/2, 5mm
Macro performance - Under testing the lens show quite strong barrel distortion when using the 1cm macro mode to it's full potential. This is to be expected, and this was not an issue in other photos taken at a more normal focus distance.
|Nikon Coolpix P300||Canon Powershot S95||Panasonic Lumix LX5|
|ISO160, 1/1600, f/2.8, 5mm||ISO80, 1/250, f/4, 6mm||ISO80, 1/400, f/3.5, 5mm|
Colours and contrast are the strongest on the Nikon Coolpix P300 and gave the warmest colours, however detail is best on the Panasonic Lumix LX5, closely followed by the Canon Powershot S95.
The camera records at 1280 x 720, at 30fps with optical zoom available. It records with optical image stabilisation, and there is an abundance of options are available when filming: contrast, sharpness, saturation, noise reduction, manual or automatic exposure, ISO, white balance, stabilisation, wind cut, to name just a few of the options. The camera records mono sound while a lot of competitors feature stereo sound.
Value for Money
Competitors include the larger Canon Powershot G12 (with swivel screen), Nikon Coolpix P7000, Samsung EX1 (with swivel screen), and Olympus XZ-1, or possibly the more compact Canon Powershot S95 and Nikon Coolpix P300. Of these, the Olympus XZ-1 has the brightest lens, starting at f/1.8 to f/2.5 at full zoom, followed by the f/1.8 on the Samsung EX1 and Nikon Coolpix P300. The Panasonic Lumix LX5 sits near the top end of the scale for price, however it is one of the more compact cameras, and the most compact with a flash hot shoe.
|The Panasonic Lumix LX5 is a serious compact with excellent image quality and is a brilliant choice for the serious photographer.|
Panasonic Lumix LX5 Pros
Excellent image quality
Excellent macro mode
Lots of options / controls
Wide angle 24mm lens
Aspect ratio options / sensor
Quick performance, especially shot to shot, focus, and shutter response
Panasonic Lumix LX5 Cons
Seperate lens cap
Quite bulky, protruding lens, can be difficult to find cases
The Panasonic Lumix LX5 won our "Editor's Choice" award in our recent comparison test of the Nikon Coolpix P300 vs Panasonic Lumix LX5 vs Canon Powershot S95.
|Lens||3.8x Optical zoom, f/2.0-3.3, 24-90mm equivalent|
|Sensor size||1/1.63-type / 11.3 Total Megapixels|
|Max. Image size||10M 3648 x 2736|
|Monitor||3.0in TFT LCD monitor, 460000 pixels|
|Shutter speed||60 - 1/4000 sec|
|Focusing system||Contrast Detect AF|
|Focusing modes||Normal / Macro Quick AF On/Off (On in Intelligent Auto), Continuous AF On/Off / AF/MF Switchable, Manual Focus(Jog Dial), One Shot AF, AF Area Select, AF Tracking|
|File types||Still Image: JPEG(DCF/Exif2.3) / Image with Audio: JPEG (DCF / Exif2.3) + QuickTime / Motion picture: AVCHD Lite, QuickTime Motion JPEG, RAW|
|ISO sensitivity||ISO / 80 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400* / 12800* (* 3mp)|
|Metering system||Intelligent Multiple / Center Weighted / Spot|
|Metering modes||Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual, Program Shift(Program AE mode)|
|Exposure compensation||1/3 EV step, +/-3 EV, Auto Exposure Bracketing: +/- 1/3 EV ~3EV step, 3 frames|
|Image stabilisation||Yes, Optical, Photo & Movie|
|Movie mode||720p, Optical zoom available, upto 29 minutes, 59 seconds.|
|Media type||Built-in Memory (approx. 40mb), SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card|
|Interface||AV Output (NTSC/PAL, NTSC), mini HDMI, USB2.0 High speed|
|Power||ID-Security Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 1250mAh) (Included) / AC Adaptor (Input: 110-240V AC) (Optional)|
|Box Contents||Camera, Battery Charger, Battery Pack, AV Cable, AC Cable, / USB Cable, Shoulder Strap, CD-ROM, / Lens Ring Front, Hot Shoe Cover, Lens cap, Lens cap string|
|Size||109.7 x 65.5 x 43.0 mm|
|Weight||Approx. 271g with Battery and SD Memory Card|
The Panasonic Lumix LX5 is available for £366 from Warehouse Express: Warehouse Express