Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 compact camera occupies a narrow niche of advanced compacts, aimed at experienced photographers

Premium compact, and at the same time the most expensive and “professional”, t. e. A camera with non-replaceable optics by Panasonic, aimed at the skillful photographers, raises a number of reasonable doubts and questions. If the LX5 is so cool, why does it have such a small zoom?? Where is the high resolution sensor or speed capabilities at the level of reporter’s cameras? At last, how is LX5 better than “system” cameras, in production of which Panasonic is quite skilled and the price of which, high at the beginning, is equal to the price of this premium-compact now? The answers to these questions, while not entirely obvious, are.

Photo equipment

10.1 MP 24-90 mm 3.8 x 3″ $670

LX5 occupies a very narrow niche of advanced compacts, aimed at demanding, experienced photographers who for various reasons are not inclined to buy a regular compact, SLR or “system” cameras.

The difference from DSLR and even mirror-less systems here is quite obvious – more comfortable largely due to the smaller optics mass-size characteristics LX5.

Its sturdy metal body is 25 mm thick and weighs about 270 g. For the first or main camera is irrelevant, because the shooting quality known to be higher in “system” cameras is guaranteed to outweigh the size.

But for an additional or “everyday” camera the difference even in centimeters and tens of grams becomes important: if you count on always carrying a camera with you for casual shots, you will not want to notice it not only in your bag, but also in a pocket of your jacket or pants.

The difference from “regular” compacts, especially the advanced compacts with large zooms and high resolution, may not seem so obvious at first glance, but it’s easy to learn by comparison. It’s shooting quality.

Physics, unfortunately, is inexorable, and every extra millimeter in the focal length range worsens the optical quality of the lens and its resolution, and every extra million cells on the sensor reduces the aperture ratio and, consequently, the dynamic range, the details of the pictures.

The result is not quite a fair, but reasonable division. Newcomers who believe in the magic of numbers and that a high zoom ratio is an exceptional condition for good photographs are offered a variety of ultrazooms and 16-megapixel sensors.

Photographers who value quality and convenience, and realize that a fixed focus setting would normally be sufficient for good results – as long as the camera is reliable and the optics are of good quality – come to appreciate the value of the LX5.

As for the price, there is not much to choose from. The camera is objectively good quality and expensive. Its closest competitors cost about the same. The LX5, on the other hand, outperforms them in many respects and, like all of the LX series, remains one of the best compacts of its time.

Trying to justify all the advantages of the LX5 in the format of a short review is pointless, so let’s mention the main points. The camera is equipped with a fast Leica DC Vario-Summicron zoom lens with a focal range of 24-90 mm and minimum aperture values of f/2 on the short and f/3 on the long end.

Although the lens is non-replaceable, its performance is at least twice that of a standard system camera. Decent optical properties, minimum distortion and undesirable artifacts provided by quality elements and three aspherical lenses with five aspherical surfaces in the scheme.

The optics, of course, are also equipped with the efficient proprietary Power O stabilization system. I. S. The camera’s sensor, though much smaller than even four-thirds standard sensors, is quite large by compact standards: 1/1.6 inches. This has an effective resolution of 10 million. The smaller pixels mean a lower cell density, i.e. larger photosensitive areas and higher sensitivity.

The improved, according to the engineers, CCD-matrix promises a wider tonal range and an overall very high quality of shooting. Light sensitivity is adjustable from 80 to 3200 ISO and up to 12,800 ISO in the extended ISO range .

A 3-inch 460k-dot screen is used for viewing and evaluating the results. The LX5 can also be fitted with an external viewfinder if you wish – the camera is compatible with Lumix mirrorless accessories.

It’s quite obvious that the device has a full set of manual control modes and in general a wide range of manual settings. At the same time the menu, controls and interface are fully oriented for maximum comfort of an experienced amateur photographer.

The only thing in what the supercompact really concedes not only older “system” colleagues, but already some purely amateur compact cameras – speed possibilities. In burst mode, the LX5 records only 2.5 full-length frames per second, and video is limited to 1280×720 pixels in AVCHD Lite format. But then again, good photographs do not depend at all on the speed at which the data is read from the sensor..

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