Lumix LX3 to the Lumix LX5 – two big disappointments

Lumix LX3 to the Lumix LX5 - two big disappointments

We’ve been using – and loving the Panasonic LX3 for two years and were stoked when its successor, the Lumix LX5 was announced.

Although its recommended retail price bordered on insane – a massive, dSLR-buying £499 – with a bit of shopping around we saw it for a deeply tempting £353 online.

Convincing ourselves

We justified the upgrade on the grounds that the upgraded zoom (now offering a far more versatile 24mm-90mm range) would prove invaluable, and seeing as we already had a Lumix GF-1, being able to slot in its electronic viewfinder would make this wonderful little camera even better.

The new LX5 arrived a few minutes ago, and although our first impressions are as positive as when we first saw the LX3 – we love the solid build, the old school looks and hands-on controls – we’ve already hit two major disappointments.

Lumix LX3 to the Lumix LX5 - two big disappointments

They’ve changed the ruddy battery

The first is that they’ve slightly changed the battery size, so that our old LX3 battery (and various spare third party batteries) no longer fit.

What we loved about the LX3 was that it used the exact same battery as the Ricoh GRD/Ricoh GX100 and GX200 compacts – so we could easily swap them over on trips away, and only have to take the one charger.

Lumix LX3 to the Lumix LX5 - two big disappointments

What’s frustrating is that the difference between the batteries can be measured in millimetres, and although the new battery has four contacts instead of three (and a slightly increased capacity: 1150mAH/3.7V to 1250mAH/3.6V), surely Panasonic could have allowed backwards compatibility?

Lumix LX3 to the Lumix LX5 - two big disappointments

Lens thread aaargh!

The second thing is even more frustrating: they’ve changed the lens thread size, so that the Ricoh LC1  ‘exploding’ lens cap (see above) no longer fits, so we’ll now be forced to take the lens cap on and off all the time.

It’s hard to emphasise the difference the Ricoh lens cap made, but it certainly meant we were sometimes able to capture pictures we might have missed if we were fumbling around with a lens cap – particularly if we were wearing gloves.

Lumix LX3 to the Lumix LX5 - two big disappointments

The Ricoh lens cap also meant we didn’t have to entertain the annoying notion of having the thing dangling around on a piece of string all the time, or inevitably see it roll off down a drain somewhere else equally irretrievable.

What’s happened is that the LX5 has a slightly wider thread, so there’s no way to fit the Ricoh lens cap on.

Bodge it up

We imagine it would take a fair bit of bodging to get it it work at all, but we’re up to the challenge, so we’ll order another lens cap off eBay and tell you how we get on – and if you get any bright ideas in the meantime, mail them our way!

Lumix LX3 to the Lumix LX5 - two big disappointments

But what about the camera?

Our moans and grumbles aside, our first impressions of the LX5 are excellent – it feels great in the hand, the extra zoom looks to be a real boost and we’re confident it’ll quickly become our new favourite digital compact.

Of course, if you’ve never owned a Lumix LX3 before none of the above will be applicable.

We’ll be working on a full review of the camera in the coming week or so – stay tuned!

Buy the Lumix LX5 on Amazon.

NOTE: Our Lumix LX5 review has been posted!

**UPDATE 8th October

We’ve managed to get a new lens cap that works with the LX5 – read the full review here.

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14 Comments on “Lumix LX3 to the Lumix LX5 – two big disappointments”

  1. I think LC3’s lens cap was (is) its only major drawback: a “pocketable” camera which forces you to manually re-cap its lens before you can actually pocket it is … NOT a pocketable camera !! It’s beautiful lens is bound to be damaged the first time you are in a hurry ….
    In designing LC3’s successor, Panasonic should have started by addressing this problem, rather than making it worse in order to prevent its client from resorting to Ricoh ….
    Same applies to batteries: with the PRETEXT of safety they are now “branding” their own batteries (sold at cut-troath prices) so that their cameras won’t accept other brands … Quite a pity: Panasonic engineers’ obvious talent should stay focused on designing excellent cameras, rather then on squeezing their clients’ pockets by resorting to such mean tricks …

  2. Why is it disappointing that an entirely new camera comes with an entirely new (and better) battery? That’s just illogical stupidity on your behalf.

  3. It’s disappointing because loyal customers now have to shell out for another set of chargers and back up batteries.

    Other manufacturers like Ricoh have managed to keep the same battery dimensions through several model iterations of their high end compacts (Ricoh GRD -> GX100 -> GX200), so I’m struggling to see why Panasonic couldn’t have made their improved battery compatible too.

  4. companies should have Consumer Champions..whose job is to check the fan clubs on the net and simply capitalise on the love and minimise the annoyances…it is so simple – give the people what they want and you will make more money..duh!

    Instead they have a faux online presence that doesn’t listen..

    that lenscap is classic big company lunacy…everyone with any sense who bought an lx3 has used the ricoh lenscap – it’s a no brainer

  5. The Ricoh exploding lens cap will fit if you carefully shave off some of the interal plastic using a sharp blade. It took me about 15 minutes but it now fits perfectly and very snug. I only had to shave off two of the three tabs. The larger lens on the LX5 means there is no danger of vingneting. Panasonic really should borrow the design.

    Batteries change I suppose. It doesn’t bother me much except now I can’t buy a spare battery because no one has stock. The LX3 custom leather case I use to have doesn’t quite fit so I will have to wait for that as well.

    Great upgrade to 90mm equivilent. I gave my LX3 to one of my kids and have missed it every day since.

  6. No – Dabs is not the lowest price. If you search you will find it for less – Dabs postage pumps up the price. I wouldn’t buy one while the prices are hiked up above the list price. Do these thieves who are selling at extortionate prices (on eBay, NOT DABS of course) think we are all mugs? I mean a ‘new’ one (ie bought and resold on eBay) just went for £341!!!!!!!! Hysteria!!!!!
    Must have at any price!! What plonkers are out there?

  7. About the battery… accessories make a HUGE impact to a companies bottom line, this is the only reason they changed it. This makes you source your batteries from them, which of course cost you more, but still only cost them the same as the last battery… or less (its the business model, keep the price the same, but offer a few more features, and lower the cost to produce it)….
    I wish I bought the Ricoh GRDIII but seems I’m also marginally happy with my S95. It passed the fit in my pocket test (the LX3/5 did not… bummer).

  8. I share you pain (lol). When my LX-3 was destroyed, I went immediately to the LX-5. Love it. Discovered you can get the auto lens cap, via Amazon, from: JJC ALC-5 (Auto Lens Cap for Panasonic DMC-LX5 & Leica D-LUX5). Hong Kong. $12.00 & free shipping. Same place I got my cap for the LX-3. However I now have 4 or 5 LX-3 batteries rattling around my drawer. Also instead of dropping $120 U.S. on an external special view finder, located a very close match at a local camera swap meet for $10. Works great.

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