Most of you know that I have never owned a point and shoot digicam. The big reason was not image quality but that was an obstacle as well. The big reason was handling and responsiveness. I checked out the G9 Canon and the S90 and… and… I really thought the LX3 that was released about two years ago but alas the handling and responsiveness feel short of me ever wanting to use it.
I really wish that wan't so because the camera was just the right size for me and the image quality was everything that I wanted for a point and shoot. If you look closely at the changes for the LX5 as compared to the LX3 you can see that in reality they are very focused on handling and responsiveness. The controls and interface are for the most part lifted strait off the GF1. In fact there are even a couple of improvements. All of the techno-speak of improvements to dynamic range and high-ISO, etc are just icing on the cake for me. If I can actually enjoy using the camera while shooting that is what will make me a believer. I sure do hope it turns out well - you will hear it first.
I have no delusions when comparing it to pro DSLR's, thats stupid. If it handles well, doesn't stop me from making a couple of images real fast and looks great at ISO 100 and 200. I am happy. Even 400 is gravy. If it is at all acceptable above that - that is heaven.
As an aside one of the best places you can look to figure out if a camera is going to meet your needs for image quality is Flickr. Forget the bogus tests and evaluations and comparisons that deal with image quality. They are narrow and flavored entirely by the writers perspective and agenda. Even mine. I am interested more in real world use and that's probably what I will focus on when discussing this camera.
The reason I bring up Flickr is that a lot of reports on a cameras image quality is that the photos are terrible and don't represent what I would actually shoot in the real world. On Flickr you can find a million images exactly like what you want to shoot in scenes you want to shoot them in. I know this is obvious - the secret is the EXIF data. When you run across someone that doesn't do a lot of post processing it is fairly obvious - not only from the images but the EXIF as well. The EXIF also reveals the hard cold facts as to the parameters set in the camera under the conditions you can see with results you can see.
I always go through this exercise when deciding on a camera. I did the same thing for the LX3 - in fact that is when I decided to investigate one hands on last year. I still have a few of the image sets that caused me to want that camera to work for me. Heck the LX5 is brand new so there isn't a whole lot to evaluate yet but from my perspective it could stay exactly the same image quality wise and I would be fine. If it's better that's great. Check this out and carefully look at the EXIF - no this camera isn't a super high ISO monster but look what it can do if you can live within the parameters where it does operate well.