The Panasonic LX5 - One Year On
I still love my little LX5. I know I have been a little down on digital lately. I don’t mean to be, I still love film, and especially love the simple, effective, and often beautiful equipment used with film. I really do hope that some manufacturer (in additional to Leica) will eventially produce a simple, small, high quality digital camera with a big giant sensor. I hope even more that the trend toward really complicated, big, heavy, feature laden zooms gives way to lenses that actually look better. Right now only Leica seems to make such things at idiotically high prices. Not so long ago everyone did.
Back to the subject at hand, I have had the LX5 for more than a year and still that little device amazes me. Exposure system is fantastic, customization is fantastic, handling is pretty good for an itty bitty camera. More importantly the response is actually pretty snappy - my biggest complaint with digicams up until about 2010. Quality is leaps and bounds better than point and shoot digicams of a few years ago and the lens is absolutely amazing for such an inexpensive consumer device.
The LX5 lens has a bit more than a bit of barrel distortion at the very widest setting, at least it’s simple barrel distortion from what I can see. Easily corrected in post if nessesary (rarely) as you get to the mid and tele end of the zoom it is actually very well controlled as evidenced in the attached photos. I have no idea if CA is somehow auto-magically corrected in both JPEG’s and RAW files but there isn’t a hint of it relative to most lenses - even good ones. The optical image stabilization is so effective I swear it’s better than any of the Nikon VR lenses I have ever used. At the end of the day - what’s to complain about for a carry around camera?
I know there are a few worth competitors out there now. I actually have a Canon S95 now through a quirk of fate. No I didn’t buy it for the reasons I listed a while ago. If I have a few minutes this month I’ll try do do a shoot-out for anyone that’s interested at this point given that both of them are like really old now. For some reason the little LX5 still seems like one of the best choices out there - even a year on. Even better at 100 bucks less than it’s introduction.
Here are two snaps I made right before dinner of a female red throated humming bird out on the porch.
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