Just over a week ago I was invited to see a new camera...a compact. I rarely get enthused about compacts, but this one was different.
I'm talking about the new Panasonic Lumix LX3 that we announced yesterday. As members of the press we are often given previews of embargoed products. SLRs are usually exciting and we cannot wait to break the news and get our hands on them, yet compacts, launched in their hundreds, tend to be "me too" cameras offering the same features as the last one with a few more bells and whistles.
The LX3 really knocked me for six. It's tiny yet is crammed with features. I was trialling it on a boat. I pointed at a view of a hill top. There was a white castle in amongst the dark foliage. The camera has a spot meter but the metering zone can be moved all over the screen so I could set it to a zone and know it would sort the exposure. And it did, admirably. I shot directly into the sun on a backlit juggler. Hardly any flare and a brilliant photo in such difficult light. I shot in bright contrast and used iA Intelligent Auto and it created incredibly well exposed shots.
Best of all you can have all the sophisticated automation, but there's aperture priority, exposure compensation etc so a real photographer can use it too. It also has a decent wide-angle zoom lens, but the only let down is the short tele end.
What's frustrating is I can't show the results at anything other than VGA as we signed to say we would not use the pro production pics. Pre Production usually means the shots may be flawed, while the manufacturer get the bits all correctly fine tuned. If I was Panasonic I wouldn't be worried. I have some outstandingly sharp shots!
Bottom line is I want one! And I haven't felt like that about a compact for many years! I'm now eager to get my hands on a review product so we can show you what it's capable of. And again...this urge doesn't happen often with a compact!