Panasonic Lumix LX5 compact review (part 3) – verdict and specs

Panasonic Lumix LX5 compact, full review and specs

Image quality

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.

Photos of the Bloomsbury Festival 2010 at Russell Square Gardens, central London, 23rd October, 2010

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.

Panasonic Lumix LX5 compact, full review and specs

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, Section 9 Hatton Cross to Kingston Bridge via Hounslow and Bushey Park, west London, England, 3rd October, 2010

Walking the London Loop, 2010. ISO 80, f4, 1/500s, auto mode.

Video

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).”

Panasonic Lumix LX5 compact, full review and specs

The verdict

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.

Specs galore:

DMC-LX5
Lens LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON

10 elements in 9 groups

(3 Aspherical Lenses / 5 Aspherical Surfaces)

Optical
Image Stabilizer
POWER O.I.S. (Off / Auto / Mode1 / Mode2)
Zoom Optical: 3.8x

Extra Optical: 4.5x (4:3 / 7M), 5.4x (4:3 / 5M), 6.7x (4:3 / under 3M)

Intelligent: 5.0x

Digital: 4x

(Max. 15.1x combined with Optical Zoom without Extra Optical Zoom)

(Max. 26.8x combined with Extra Optical Zoom)

Step Zoom Yes
Focal
Length
f = 5.1 – 19.2 mm (24 – 90 mm in 35 mm equiv.)

(25 – 95 mm in 35 mm equiv. in movie recording)

Focusing
Area
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)
AF
Assist Lamp
Yes
Conversion Lens Compatibility Yes
Camera
Effective Pixels
10.1 Megapixels
Image
Sensor
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)
ISO Sensitivity

(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)
Exposure
Compensation
1/3 EV step, -3 – +3 EV
Backlight
Compensation
Yes (only in Intelligent Auto Mode)
Multi Exposure Yes
Multi Aspect Yes
Auto
(AE) Bracketing
±1/3 EV – 3 EV step, 3 frames
Light
Metering
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)

Shutter
Speed
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)

Self
Timer
2 sec / 10 sec
Auto Review 1 sec / 2 sec / Hold / OFF
Quick Menu Yes
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)
* Film Mode and My Color Mode are working for movie recording, too.

Picture Adjustment Contrast: ± 2 steps

Sharpness: ± 2 steps
Saturation: ± 2 steps

Noise Reduction: ± 2 steps

(can be adjusted in Film Mode)

Recording File
Format
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
Recording
Image Size
Still Image
4:3
Aspect Ratio:
3,648 x 2,736 pixels (10M),

3,072 x 2,304 pixels (7M EZ)

2,560 x 1,920 pixels (5M EZ)

2,048 x 1,536 pixels (3M EZ)

1,600 x 1,200 pixels (2M EZ)

640 x 480 pixels (0.3M EZ)

3:2
Aspect Ratio:
3,776 x 2,520 pixels (9.5M)

3,168 x 2,112 pixels (6.5M EZ)

2,656 x 1,768 pixels (4.5M EZ)

2,112 x 1,408 pixels (3M EZ)
2,048 x 1,360 pixels (2.5M EZ)

640 x 424 pixels (0.3M EZ)

16:9
Aspect Ratio:
3,968 x 2,232 pixels (9M)

3,328 x 1,872 pixels (6M EZ)
2,784 x 1,568 pixels (4.5M EZ)

2,208 x 1,248 pixels (2.5M EZ)

1,920 x 1,080 pixels (2M EZ)

640 x 360 pixels (0.2M EZ)

1:1 Aspect Ratio: 2,736 x 2,736 pixels (7.5M)

2,304 x 2,304 pixels (5.5M EZ)

1,920 x 1,920 pixels (3.5M EZ)

1,536 x 1,536 pixels (2.5M EZ)

480 x 480 pixels (0.2M EZ)

Image
Quality
Fine / Standard / RAW+ Fine / RAW+ Standard / RAW
Motion Picture Recording
4:3 Aspect Ratio: VGA: 640 x 480 pixels, 30 fps (Motion JPEG)

QVGA: 320 x 240 pixels, 30 fps (Motion JPEG)

16:9 Aspect Ratio: WVGA: 848 x 480 pixels, 30 fps (Motion JPEG)

HD Movie: 1,280 x 720 pixels,

AVCHD Lite (SH: 17 Mbps / H: 13 Mbps /

L: 9 Mbps):

[NTSC Model] 60p *CCD output is 30p.

[PAL Model] 50p *CCD output is 25p.

Motion JPEG: 30 fps

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

(Motion Pictures)*

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

(Motion Pictures)*

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)
(recorded in 3M for 4:3, 2.5M for 3:2, 2M for 16:9, 2.5M for 1:1)

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
AF Tracking Photo
Digital

Red-eye Correction

(Red-eye Removal)

Photo
Intelligent Resolution Technology Photo & Movie
Zoom Resume /

Optical Zoom in Motion Picture

Yes /

Yes

Real-time Histogram Yes
Composition Guide Line Yes (3 patterns)
Built-in-memory Approx. 40 MB
Scene Mode Help Screen Yes
Orientation Detector Yes
Travel Date /

World Time

Yes /

Yes

Copy /

Title Edit /

Text Stamp

Yes /

Yes /

Yes

Cut Animation Yes
Video Divide Yes
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)

External Flash Yes
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

Playback
Mode
Normal Playback, Slideshow, Mode Playback, Category Playback, Favorites Playback
Thumbnails /

Zoomed Playback

12, 30 thumbnails /

Max. 16x

Calendar Display Yes
Set Favorites Yes
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)

Show Histogram Yes
Show Highlights Yes
Delete Image Single / Multi / All / All except Favorites
DPOF Print Setting /

Set Protection

Yes /

Yes

Resize /

Cropping /

Leveling

Yes /

Yes /

Yes

Face Recognition Edit Yes
OSD
Language
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.

VIERA Link Yes
HDMI Output Video: Auto / 1080i / 720p / 480p (576p for PAL)

Audio: Mono

Movie Rec Guide Yes
Wind-cut in Motion Picture Yes
Recording
Media
Built-in Memory, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card
Microphone Yes (Mono)
Speaker Yes
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.
Battery
Life (Approx.)
400 images (CIPA Standard**)
Included Software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 5.0 HD Edition, SILKYPIX® Developer Studio 3.1 SE, QuickTime, Adobe Reader
Dimensions
(Approx.)

(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)

Weight
(Approx.)
271g (0.61 lb) with Battery and SD Memory Card

233 g (0.51 lb) without Battery and SD Memory Card

Standard
Accessories
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.

Back to Part Two of the review