For a compact camera, we were very impressed with the output of the LX5. Its new 10.1 MP sensor delivered distinictive improvements over its predecessor, with an enhanced dynamic range controlling burnt out highlights and more shadow detail being visible.
Bloomsbury Festival 2010, Program mode, f2.8m 1/400s, 24mm setting
Noise was kept to a minimum when shooting at 80-200ISO, with only a small drop in resolution spotted at 400ISO and the camera produced usable images up to 800ISO.
As you might expect, at soon as you scale the heights of 1600ISO and above, ‘smudgy’ noise reduction artefacts become more and more noticeable.
The camera’s auto white balance setting proved to be a pretty good performer too, and only needed the occaisonal nudge on the rare times it got it wrong.
Straight out of the camera, JPEG files were punchy, with natural colours and good levels of saturation and contrast, with 6 colour film types and 3 monochrome types which also work in movie mode, These are Standard, Dynamic, Nature, Smooth, Vibrant, Nostalgic, Standard B&W, Dynamic B&W and Smooth B&W.
There’s also an interesting Multi-Film Mode feature which applies up to three different film modes at once so you could, for example, produce both color and black & white photos simultaneously.
Walking the London Loop, 2010. ISO 80, f4, 1/500s, auto mode.
The LX5 can capture HD movies at 1,280 x 720 pixels, which can be saved in both motion JPEG and the space saving AVCHD Lite formats. Unlike most of its rivals, it’s also possible to zoom when recording movies too.
To be honest, we’re not really big on videos, but the few ones we rattled off looked great – if you want to see them, give us a nag and we’ll post it on to YouTube.
Flash and drive modes
Alrthough it’s a wee little thing with a modest affair affording coverage of 0.8 – 7.2 m (Wide / ISO Auto), 0.3 – 4.4 m (Tele / ISO Auto), the flash comes with some useful optins in the shape of Autoflash, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync/Red-eye Reduction and Flash Synchro; 1st/2nd.
With its limited telephoto range, the LX5 isn’t pitched at sports photographers, but comes with decent enough full-resolution 2.5 frames/sec continuins shooting up to 5 images and a High speed Burst mode offer “approx 6 frames/sec (image priority), approx 10 frames/sec (speed priority).”
The high end compact camera market is particularly competitive, with the likes of Canon, Samsung and Nikon all offering excellent cameras with enough features and manual modes to satisfy even the pickiest enthusiast and perfectionist pro snapper.
Perhaps the two main rivals come from Canon, with the Powershot S95 packing a lot of similar functionality into a bijou package, while the tougher, more pro-orientated PowerShot G12 offering near SLR-like controls at the expensive of a bulkier body.
There’s also competition from Lumix itself, with its new, smaller GF-2 Micro Four Thirds camera offering a more versatile package for a fairly modest extra investment.
Small, fast and most excellent
However, where the Lumix LX5 scores points is in the overall package: it’s small enough to put into a (large) pocket, has enough physical controls to make it speedy to operate, comes with a fast and flexible wide angle zoom and produces very decent pictures, right up to 400ISO.
For us, the blend of the manual controls, 24mm wide angle zoom and rugged, rangefinder-esque looks make the Lumix LX5 the most compelling high end compact camera around – just make sure you shop around and get it a decent price.
It’s currently a very competitive £325 on Amazon.
|Lens||LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON
10 elements in 9 groups
(3 Aspherical Lenses / 5 Aspherical Surfaces)
|POWER O.I.S. (Off / Auto / Mode1 / Mode2)|
Extra Optical: 4.5x (4:3 / 7M), 5.4x (4:3 / 5M), 6.7x (4:3 / under 3M)
(Max. 15.1x combined with Optical Zoom without Extra Optical Zoom)
(Max. 26.8x combined with Extra Optical Zoom)
|f = 5.1 – 19.2 mm (24 – 90 mm in 35 mm equiv.)
(25 – 95 mm in 35 mm equiv. in movie recording)
|Normal: Wide / Tele 50 cm (1.64 feet) – infinity
Macro / Intelligent Auto / Wide 1 cm (0.3 feet) – infinity / Tele 30 cm (0.98 feet) – infinity
|Focus Range Display||Yes|
|AF Metering||Face / AF Tracking / Multi (23-area) / 1-area (flexible / scalable)|
|Conversion Lens Compatibility||Yes|
|1/1.63″, 11.3 Mega Total Pixels CCD, Primary Color Filter|
|Focus||Normal / Macro, Quick AF On / Off (On in Intelligent Auto), Continuous AF On / Off, AF / MF Switchable, Manual Focus (Jog dial), One Shot AF, AF Area Select, AF Tracking|
|Focus Icon Select||Yes (in Face Recognition only)|
(Standard Output Sensitivity)
|Auto / i.ISO / 80 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400* / 12800* (* by pixel mixed readout)
High Sensitivity (1600 – 12800)
|Max. Auto ISO Setting||Yes|
|White Balance||Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Flash / Halogen / Color Temperature / White Set1 / White Set2
(Selectable at Portrait, Soft Skin, Self Portrait, Panorama Assist, Sports, Baby, Pet, High Sensitivity, Hi-Speed Burst)
White Balance Adjustment (2-axis adjustable, ±9 steps each, Blue / Amber and Magenta / Green bias)
|Exposure||Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual , Program Shift (Program AE Mode)|
|1/3 EV step, -3 – +3 EV|
|Yes (only in Intelligent Auto Mode)|
|±1/3 EV – 3 EV step, 3 frames|
|Intelligent Multiple / Center Weighted / Spot|
|Mode Switch||[Playback] Button|
|One-touch Movie Button||Yes|
|Recording Mode (Mode Dial)||Intelligent Auto, P (Program) Mode, A (Aperture Priority) Mode, S (Shutter Priority) Mode, M (Manual) Mode, Creative Movie Mode, My Color Mode, Scene Mode, Custom1, Custom2|
|Still Image Scene Mode||Portrait, Soft Skin, Self Portrait, Scenery, Panorama Assist, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Food, Party, Candle Light, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, High-speed Burst (Image Priority / Speed Priority), Flash Burst, Starry Sky, Fireworks, Beach, Snow, Aerial Photo|
|Movie Scene Mode||Portrait, Soft Skin, Self Portrait, Scenery, Low Light, Food, Party, Candle Light, Sunset, Beach, Snow, Aerial, High Sensitivity
(Activated by selecting Still Image Scene Mode then pressing movie button. Still Image Scene Modes without corresponding Movie Scene Mode is recorded in Normal Mode)
|Still: 60 – 1/4,000 sec
Movie Mode: 1/30 – 1/20,000 sec (1/8 – 1/20,000 sec on MF operation on Creative Movie Mode)
Starry Sky Mode: 15, 30, 60 sec
|Aperture||F2.0 – 3.3 / Multistage Iris Diaphragm (F2.0 – 8 (W) / F3.3 – 8 (T))
(F2.0 – 11 (W) / F3.3 – 18 (T) in movie recording)
|2 sec / 10 sec|
|Auto Review||1 sec / 2 sec / Hold / OFF|
|Color Mode||Film Mode (Standard / Dynamic / Nature / Smooth / Vibrant / Nostalgic / Standard B&W / Dynamic B&W / Smooth B&W / My Film 1, 2 / Multi Film)
My Color Mode (Expressive / Retro / Pure / Elegant / Monochrome / High Dynamic / Dynamic Art / Dynamic B&W / Silhouette / Film Grain / Custom)
Happy (only in iA Mode)
|Picture Adjustment||Contrast: ± 2 steps
Sharpness: ± 2 steps
Noise Reduction: ± 2 steps
(can be adjusted in Film Mode)
|Still Image: JPEG (DCF / Exif 2.3)
Image with Audio: JPEG (DCF / Exif 2.3) + QuickTime
Motion Picture: AVCHD Lite / QuickTime Motion JPEG
|AVCHD Lite Recording||NTSC / PAL (Depends on region)|
|Aspect Ratio||4:3 / 3:2 / 16:9 / 1:1|
|Fine / Standard / RAW+ Fine / RAW+ Standard / RAW|
|Motion Picture Recording||
Max. recording time depends on memory card capacity.
A max. of approx. 2 GB of continuous motion picture can be recorded in Motion JPEG. In AVCHD Lite, recording may be continued until the card is full.
|Continuous Recordable Time
|AVCHD Lite with picture quality set to [SH]: Approx. 140 min
Motion JPEG with picture quality set to [HD]: Approx. 140 min
|Actual Recordable Time
|AVCHD Lite with picture quality set to [SH]: Approx. 70 min
Motion JPEG with picture quality set to [HD]: Approx. 70 min
|Continuous Shooting Mode||Full-resolution Image, 2.5 frames / sec
Max. 5 images (Standard Mode), Max. 3 images (Fine Mode)
High speed Burst Mode: Approx. 10 frames / sec (Speed Priority), Approx. 6 frames / sec (Image Priority)
Approx. 15 – 100 shots.
* Maximum is 100 shots.
· The number of consecutive shots is limited by the shooting conditions, card type, and card condition.
· The number of consecutive shots may increase immediately after the card is formatted.
|Flash Burst Continuous Shooting Mode||Max. 5 images (Standard Mode)|
|iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode||Face Recognition||Photo|
|Optical Image Stabilizer||Photo & Movie|
|Intelligent ISO Control||Photo|
|Face Detection||Photo & Movie|
|Intelligent Scene Selector||Photo (Portrait, Scenery, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Sunset, Macro) & Movie (Portrait, Scenery, Low Light, Macro)|
|Intelligent Exposure||Photo & Movie|
|Intelligent Resolution Technology||Photo & Movie|
|Zoom Resume /
Optical Zoom in Motion Picture
|Composition Guide Line||Yes (3 patterns)|
|Built-in-memory||Approx. 40 MB|
|Scene Mode Help Screen||Yes|
|Travel Date /
Title Edit /
|Built-in-flash||Auto, Auto / Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync. / Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
Flash Synchro: 1st / 2nd
0.8 – 7.2 m (Wide / ISO Auto), 0.3 – 4.4 m (Tele / ISO Auto)
|Viewfinder||(Optional OVF / EVF)|
|LCD||7.5 cm (3.0″) TFT Screen LCD Display (460,000 dots), AR Coating
Field of View: Approx. 100%, Wide-viewing Angle
Auto Power LCD Mode, Power LCD Mode
High CRI (Color Rendering Index) LED Backlight
|Normal Playback, Slideshow, Mode Playback, Category Playback, Favorites Playback|
|12, 30 thumbnails /
|Playback Motion Picture||Yes (AVCHD Lite / Motion JPEG)|
|Slideshow Mode||All / Still Images Only / Motion Picture Only / Category / Favorites
BGM Effect (Natural / Slow / Swing / Urban / Off)
|Delete Image||Single / Multi / All / All except Favorites|
|DPOF Print Setting /
|Face Recognition Edit||Yes|
|English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Russian, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), Netherlandic, Thai, Korean, Turkish, Portuguese, Arabic, Persian, Japanese, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Greek
* Check the website of the Panasonic sales company in your country or region for details on the OSD languages on the products that are available in your market.
|HDMI Output||Video: Auto / 1080i / 720p / 480p (576p for PAL)
|Movie Rec Guide||Yes|
|Wind-cut in Motion Picture||Yes|
|Built-in Memory, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card|
|Interface||AV Output (NTSC/PAL, NTSC)*, HDMI (mini HDMI), USB2.0 High Speed
* Check the website of the Panasonic sales company in your country or region for details on the AV Output on the products that are available in your market.
|PictBridge Support||Single / Multi / All / Favorites / DPOF|
|Power||ID-Security Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 1,250 mAh) (Included)
AC Adaptor (Input: 110 – 240V AC) (Optional)
|Release Time Lag (Approx.)||0.007 sec|
|Shutter Interval (Approx.)||0.5 sec (minimum) *Not including the time for AF.|
|400 images (CIPA Standard**)|
|Included Software||PHOTOfunSTUDIO 5.0 HD Edition, SILKYPIX® Developer Studio 3.1 SE, QuickTime, Adobe Reader|
(W x H x D)
|109.7 x 65.5 x 43.0 mm / excluding protrusions: 25.5 mm
(4.32 x 2.58 x 1.69 inch / excluding protrusions: 1.00 inch)
|271g (0.61 lb) with Battery and SD Memory Card
233 g (0.51 lb) without Battery and SD Memory Card
|Battery Charger, Battery Pack, AV Cable, USB Connection Cable, Shoulder Strap, CD-ROM, Lens Ring Front, Hot Shoe Cover, Lens Cap, Lens Cap String
* Check the website of the Panasonic sales company in your country or region for details on the standard accessories on the products that are available in your market.