Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review
Timing & Performance
The LX3 is neither the fastest nor the slowest camera we've recently encountered. 10 megapixels' worth of data is not a massive amount, by contemporary standards, and the LX3 generally gets on with taking photos, rather than getting in your way. That said, you will get used to seeing its 'writing to card' icon flashing and become familiar with its eggtimer 'please wait' screen, so it's not totally unobtrusive.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3648 x 2736 Fine JPEG image (approx. 3,800 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 4.0 GB Lexar Professional 133X SDHC card.
|Power: Off to Record||2.9 *1|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||2.2|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||2.4|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens extended||2.7|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens already retracted||1.3|
|Record Review||Image displayed||~0.9|
|Mode: Record to Play||1.3|
|Mode: Play to Record||Lens already extended||1.0|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (16x)||~2.0 *2|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||0.7|
|Play: Thumbnail view||3 x 4 thumbnails||~1.0|
|Play: Thumbnail view||5 x 5 thumbnails||3.1|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||24 to 60 mm (2.5 x)||2.1|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle, High Speed AF mode||~0.4|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle, Normal Multi-AF mode||~0.6|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto, High Speed AF mode||~0.6|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto, Normal Multi-AF mode||~0.6|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view Mega IOS off or Mode 1||~0.19|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view Mega IOS Mode 2||~0.3|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle||~0.9|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~2.9|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||1.7|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (anti red-eye off)||2.7|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (anti red-eye on)||3.0|
|*1||Power up time is around 2.0 seconds, but it takes 2.9 seconds from switching on to being able to take the first shot.|
|*2||To magnify to 16x you have to press the button 4 times - this is about as fast as you can do it.|
Lag Timing Definitions
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)
Many digital camera users prime the AF and AE systems on their camera by half-pressing the shutter release. This is the amount of time between a half-press of the shutter release and the camera indicating an auto focus & auto exposure lock on the LCD monitor / viewfinder (ready to shoot).
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (assuming you have already primed the camera with a half-press) to the image being taken.
(Take shot, AF/AE primed)
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (without performing a half-press of the shutter release beforehand) to the image being taken. This is more representative of the use of the camera in a spur of the moment 'point and shoot' situation.
(Take shot, AF/AE not primed)
The tables below show the results of our continuous shooting test, indicating the actual frame rate along with maximum number of frames and how long you would have to wait after taking the maximum number of frames before you could take another shot. Media used for these tests was a 8.0 GB Sandisk Extreme III SDHC card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/125 sec during these tests.
Continuous drive mode
In burst mode the LX3 shows a brief review image for each frame taken, but the live preview does not work between frames. There are two continuous drive modes; Normal and No Limit (∞).
Frames in a burst *1
|10MP / 9.5MP / 9.0MP JPEG Fine||Continuous||2.5 fps||4||~2.5s pause*2|
|10MP / 9.5MP / 9.0MP JPEG Fine||Continuous ∞||1.9 fps||limited by card capacity||n/a|
|*1||In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).|
|*2||This is the average delay (which varies from around 1.3 to 2.2 seconds) and includes refocusing before the next burst.|
The LX3 is faster than its predecessor though still not the quickest compact on the market. 2.5 fps isn't terrible though the four-frame buffer limit will make the unlimited 1.9 fps more useful for the majority of situations, we reckon. The buffer clears very quickly, and much of the delay between bursts is due to the fact that you cannot just hold down the shutter and wait - you have to take your finger off the shutter and press it again. This means waiting for the camera to refocus.
File Write / Display and Sizes
Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed and stopped when the activity indicator went out. This means the timings also include the camera's processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task". The media used for these tests was a 8.0 GB Sandisk Extreme III SD card.
Time to store
File size *1
Images on a *2
|10MP (4:3) Raw||~3.0||~1.0||12,050 KB *3||82|
|3648 x 2736 (4:3) JPEG Fine||~1.8||~1.0||4,750 KB||203|
|3776 x 2520 (3:2) JPEG Fine||~1.8||~1.0||4,600 KB||213|
|3968 x 2232 (16:9) JPEG Fine||~1.8||~1.0||4,350 KB||228|
|*1||All file sizes are an average of three files. As is the case with JPEG it's difficult to predict the size of an image because it will vary a fair amount depending on the content of the image (detail and noise).|
|*2||RAW files are different sizes, depending on the aspect ratio|
The time to display is very consistent, so you don't notice the camera slowing down, even when shooting RAW files. However, the time taken to write the file to the card does increase, denoted by a 'card writing' icon flashing on the screen. It rarely gets in the way of you taking another shot, however.
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