The Panasonic LX5 Leica Lens

Okay so I have had this camera for a couple of days and given a few initial thoughts. One of the things that I have not commented on is image quality apart from saying that RAW is actually worthwhile with the LX5. I am still not prepared to discuss image quality in any depth as I have not used the camera under a variety of conditions and have done no controlled evaluations as of yet. Gimme a break I have three brand new cameras to play with at the moment.

The one thing that I have to mention is that the Leica lens on the LX5 is no joke. I am going to test the crap out of it to figure out it's flaws but as far as lenses go, the LX5 rocks. The first few images that I shot and evaluated casually were fantastic. Well at least the first impression was fantastic, I expected that and subconsciously chalked it up to what looks like a pretty good JPEG engine doing a lot of post processing/sharpening/etc.

I was wrong, not about the JPEG engine being any good but about the impression of image quality being mostly due to a highly tuned JPEG process. The fact is that those first impressions seem almost entirely due to the fantastic lens that happens to be attached to the front of the LX5. Here is a casual shot that was hand held and shot using full auto. I choose the focus point to be the bottom foliage of the flower.

Let's look a little closer, namely at all the pixels. Something we will never see in a print. Here is a crop with NO sharpening, post processing, nothing. Make sure you click on it and use the icon in the light box to see the whole thing.

Is the lens pretty good? I would say so. Almost wide open, great flare performance, no decreeable CA, no horrendous distortion at 24mm. Remember the crop is from the edge of the frame. Great contrast, great color rendition, nice tonal separation/gradation.

As I said this lens is definitely not a joke.

RB

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