Why I sold the Panasonic DMC-LX3 (and kept the Fuji F31FD)

Started Nov 21, 2008 | Discussions thread
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pckidz1
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Why I sold the Panasonic DMC-LX3 (and kept the Fuji F31FD)
Nov 21, 2008

When you write a header like this - better get ready for brickbats - especially when you go up against a camera that has received much accolade from pros. Well in my defense: This is not intended to be a slander for LX-3 but a post to all to evaluate their option, before they rush off to buy another icon of breakthrough technology. I am also not a professional tester - may be advanced amateur at most. But I do hope this will help you make an informed choice...if possible, give the camera a spin before you commit.

Reason why I bought LX3
1. Landscapes
2. So I could leave my SLR behind on occasions
3. Replace my Fuji F31FD.
4, Great scores in all test reports

Reason why sold the LX3 (and kept the F31)
1. Landscapes same as F31FD except wide lens
2. Does not replace DSLR for those critical shots
3. Low battery life, poor form factor (bulging lens)
4. I found poor low-light white balance.
5. Poor RAW software (LX3 RAW is CS3 incompatible)

Note:

Try Panasonic RAW software free at http://www.isl.co.jp/SILKYPIX/english/download/

Check low light performance of LX3 at http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image-Quality-Database/Panasonic/Lumix-DMC-LX3 - unfortunately no Fuji F31 there to compare.

Deliberation:

As I pointed out in my earlier post - why I bought the LX3, I did quite a diligence between all point and shoots and narrowed down to G10 and LX3 - latter won. When I brought home the Lx-3 and shot some pictures, I became convinced that the gap with FX31 was small. So I put it test - just for fun - against my venerable and aged F31FD. Surprise surprise! FX31 stood up very well against the LX-3.

How I did the test:

I put both on a mini tripod. Then set Fuji in aperture priority at F/5 and 1/220S and set LX3 at same settings using M mode (for some reason LX3 did not follow the exact settings during the actual shot). Then put both at self timer 2 sec and tripped the shutter at same time. For benefits, I gave LX3 my better Manfrotto Mini pod with 482 Italian head and put FX31 on el cheapo aluminum tripod that came with the 31FD - see photo. Fuji does not have a picture setting - I set the LX3 at standard mode at max resolution (used transform tool on photo shop to match dimensions - no pixel re size). No post processing was applied to either image. Then just to show the actual site details for comparison I shot the cropped frame with Canon 40D in jpeg with 100 MM / F2.8 (one of Canon's best lenses)

What I found:

  • Except for wider angle the LX3 offered no advantage. I also tried the shots again at ISO 80 setting for LX-3 - no noticeable difference in quality.

  • Fuji F31FD had better low light performance and from factor.

  • Sharpness was better in Fuji.

  • Contrast was better in Fuji - on the verge of bit over processing I would say.

  • Panasonic over processes the colors losing some natural dark areas with shadow lightening.

  • low light night shots, LX3 gets beaten hands down by F31, esp on white balance and noise

Here are the pictures - make your own judgment. I did not shoot B&W which is touted strength of LX3. It is a very good camera but there may not be necessity to rush to replace your point and shoot yet...

Whole frame as it looked from my bedroom window on a partial overcast day. I chose this as most cameras return god results in bright sun light. I cropped the images at 100% (shown by yellow borders). Shot settings approx F/5, 1/200 Sec 100 ISO - for details go to my flickr page link at bottom of the post:

=============================================

Reference image from Canon 40D:

Fuji image crop (notice the details in the windows above the tiled roof) 100 ISO F5 200S

Panasonic image crop 100 ISO F5 200S

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Reference Image from Canon 40D - II

Fuji image crop II (notice the details on the side of old fridge)

Panasonic Image crop II (notice the contrast on ground texture)

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Full photo details available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pckidz/

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