The Panasonic Lumix DMC LX5 is an advanced digital camera. It is aimed at someone who is looking for a lot of controls for fine tuning their photographs in a compact body size. Big attractions include manual exposure controls, manual focusing and a large f/2 maximum aperture. The Lumix DMC LX5 has 10 megapixels and a 3.8x optical zoom lens.
When looking at the combination of picture quality and size I think this camera is truly outstanding.
Panasonic have produced a feature rich digital camera with an extra touch of quality. Picture quality sits up there with the best compact digital cameras and other features such as the quality of the LCD screen add a touch of extra class.
Other brands inevitably offer stiff competition in this category. I cannot detect great differences in picture quality between this camera and its main rivals, but this camera is so good in so many areas it is very hard to beat. I am quite taken by the design, build quality and handling. You also have flexibility for expanding this camera including being able to add an optical viewfinder.
Options abound for fine tuning. For example not only can you select various film modes (standard, dynamic, nature, smooth, vibrant, nostalgic, standard black and white, dynamic black and white and smooth black and white), but you can also fine tune settings for contrast, sharpness, saturation and noise reduction for each one. On top of that you can set up your own film types.
The 3.8x optical zoom lens has a focal length of 24 - 90mm. Zoom can be increased to a maximum of 6.7x when you decrease the number of megapixels you are shooting at from the maximum 10 to less than 3 megapixels. At 5 megapixels 5.4x zoom is available.
As mentioned above the maximum aperture is f/2. This is a big help in lowlight conditions and allows you to shoot handheld for longer as light falls.
Manual exposure controls include aperture priority and shutter priority giving you plenty of scope for determining how your final picture will look. Manual focusing is available too.
The LCD screen is 3 inches in size and is made up of 460,000 pixels. I found the quality of the screen to be excellent.
If you are interested in close up photography then the 1cm macro mode means the Lumix DMC LX5 should give you plenty of scope.
You can also adjust the intensity of the flash unit.
I found it easy to change white balance settings. This includes being able to fine tune colour temperature to give you exactly the warmth or otherwise you are looking for in your photo.
Bracketing options include standard exposure bracketing as well as aspect ratio bracketing.
The Lumix DMC LX5 is able to shoot High Definition movies with a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
My first test shot shows exactly what this camera is capable of. Compared to other cameras I tested at the same time the Lumix DMC LX5 stands out on its own. There are three areas for me that show off the quality on offer. First is the overall sharpness of the shot. Next the colours look great. They have a far more natural look to them than most other cameras manage. Next up is the ability to show detail in the darker and lighter areas of the shot.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
Digital cameras with wide angle lenses tend to find this shot a true challenge. Full marks to the Lumix DMC LX5 for produced a shot with only minimal fall off of sharpness towards the far edges of the shot.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
Having reviewed over 500 compact digital cameras it can be hard for me to get excited by a new camera. The quality on offer here though is something I rarely see. This type of camera is obviously at the high end of the market and you expect quality to match, but this shot has a level of sharpness that is truly eye catching.
Four shots into my tests and this camera is still capable of surprising me with the quality on offer. Every brick in this shot is pin sharp.
As with my other shots I like the colours in this shot. They add a level of warmth to a portrait shot that I like to see. Focusing from closer in is no problem at all.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
What I like about this photo is the colours remain true despite the burst of light. The light from the flash unit is subtle and therefore does not wash colour from the shot. The lighting is also evenly spread across the photo.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
This shot underlines what the Lumix DMC LX5 can do when the light is not perfect. Noise levels are more or less non existent and the amount of detail the camera manages to pack in is top drawer.
I always think that a good quality macro shot tells us a lot about the overall quality of the lens. In this instance quality is spot on. There is a clarity to the shot that once again sets a very high standard.
To be honest most of the time I don't see that much difference in colours from camera to camera. The Lumix DMC LX5 offers something different. The colours are more understated. To my eye this gives the photos it takes a much more natural look and takes away a degree of harshness that you can see with other cameras.
Not surprisingly with a large maximum aperture noise levels are kept to a minimum. Even when you move up through ISO levels this camera continues to beat expectations.
Picture Quality Summary
When it comes to picture quality this camera is very hard to beat. Quality was exceptional in every single one of my tests. This says a lot about the quality of the lens and the mechanics behind it.
Panasonic DMC LX5 Rating 91/100
This camera is one of the very best I have ever reviewed. Picture quality is excellent and I love the small size of the camera. It is packed with advanced features and I found it was able to handle a variety of different shooting conditions without a problem.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC LX5 Review
Canon Powershot G12 Rating 90/100
The Canon Powershot G12 is an excellent choice for anyone who is looking for a high quality digital camera. The sharpness and clarity of the photos it takes is hard to beat. I was also bowled over by the build quality.
Read Review: Canon Powershot G12 Review
Canon Powershot S100 Rating 88/100
The Canon Powershot S100 is an excellent digital camera. If you are looking for a camera to carry everywhere you go with plenty of features then this could be the camera for you. It is hard to find fault and the Powershot S100 compares very well with digital cameras with a similar set of features and body size.
Read Review: Canon Powershot S100 Review
Review Date: October 2010
If you are looking for the very best picture quality a compact digital camera can deliver then you will be hard pressed to find better than the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX5. It fully merits an outstanding rating. Over to you!
Ease of Use:
Value for Money:
109.7 x 65.5 x 43mm
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:
The addition of a selection wheel or jog dial in the top right hand side corner on the back of the Lumix DMC LX5 speeds up changing key settings. There is just another room to press a thumb into the back of the camera beneath the selection wheel.
The inclusion of a control dial makes changing the camera mode easy. Zoom is controlled through a ring around the shutter button. To the right of this sits a button to control shooting a movie. If you prefer to use a viewfinder than an LCD screen, sliding out the hot shoe cover reveals a connector socket for the viewfinder.
To select focusing options there is a slider on the lens unit. A further slider changes the aspect ratio. This is all well thought through by Panasonic.
As well as more standard buttons on the back of the camera there is one for auto focus / auto exposure lock. Further buttons give access to key functions and a quick menu. The quick menu gives you fast access to key settings.
A minor quibble is that it is difficult to read the text associated with the buttons on the back of the camera. It should not take long to memorise them though. In order to change the flash mode you need to dip into the menu system rather than having a quick access button on the back of the camera.
All in all most key settings are easy to access.