I Still Like My LX5

I still like my Panasonic LX5. This is strange, usually my initial excitement wears off with all of my digital cameras and I come to realize that they are not that much better than my old digital cameras. In fact I usually realize that I really like my film cameras better. Here is a brief summary of why I still like it. Will probably buy a Fuji X10 soon for a couple of reasons. Namely the viewfinder and the manual zoom combo off/on switch. I don't really expect the images to chage much but we'll see. I just want the hype to die down a little so it will come down to normal P&S prices.

  • The lens is really good. The Leica branding on it may be a marketing thing but the lens itself is no joke. Sharp, great contrast, unbelievable flare control sans hood. Very useful zoom range of 24mm to 90mm 35e. Oh and it's fast at f 2.0.
  • Small enough that I actually take it with me everywhere.
  • Nice looking JPEGs. I use the JPEG 90% of the time. Useful RAW files. I shoot RAW+JPEG all the time even though I only occasionally use a RAW from the LX5.
  • Even being an old digital camera, the focus is quick in most situations. In fact this is the first digital P&S that I ever found acceptable in terms of speed. I don't need FPS - I just want it to take the image when I say so… and then the next image. Panasonic knows what they are doing with the contrast detect thing.
  • Though I don't use it much, the focus tracking is amazing. A special most that keeps track of the targeted subject within the frame. Almost magical. Surprised the crap out of me as I had written it off as useless without even trying it when I first got the camera.
  • Let's not forget the optical image stabilization. Absolutely amazing. Better than my Nikons. I can shoot down to 1/4sec wide-ish. Easy.

Some random samples from recent snapshots. Just happened to have the LX5 with me - not any real projects or anything. The reason for these is not the image - it's the circumstances. Checkout the EXIF if you want to. Incredible.

ISO 400 1/20s f 2.0

ISO 400 1/15s f 2.0

ISO 400 1/13s f 2.0

I just snapped these while helping another photographer with medium format digital on a shoot for a commercial job. Crazy I only used one hand. So - what could be better? There are a couple of things that are minor but overall a great little device and still worlds better than a cell phone camera.

  • Don't like power zooms. Too slow and too fiddly even with the preset stop positions like the LX5 has. Hence my interest in the Fuji.
  • The little on camera flash sucks (actually all on camera flash sucks) and tends to over expose making things look all digital bad.
  • While I like the fact that you can put a viewfinder on it the one that is available makes me sea sick and has poor resolution. Really bad.
  • Bigger sensor. Not just for the noise, as that doesn't bother me that much. I just want my images to look like they have some differentiation in depth of field at normal distances.


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