Compared to... Panasonic DMC-LX2

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 and its predecessor, the Lumix DMC-LX2. With many current cameras offering ISO 3200 (and above) modes, ISO 800 can be seen as a moderate ISO setting though it's often the point at which most compact cameras' image quality starts to dramatically deteriorate.

Studio scene comparison (LX3 @ ISO 800, LX2 @ ISO 800)

  • Panasonic DMC-LX3: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.66 EV compensation
  • Panasonic DMC-LX2: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 100, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.66 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Panasonic DMC-LX3
Panasonic DMC-LX2
ISO 800, 1/125 sec, F3.2
ISO 800, 1/80 sec, F4.9
4,176 KB JPEG
3,489 KB JPEG

This is where you should be able to see an improvement if Panasonic's claims of keeping pixel density down and increasing the size of the photodiode at each photosite are to be believed. And the improvement is dramatic (This appears to be what you get for two-year's development if some of the benefits aren't being undermined by increasing pixel count).

The level of detail being captured by the LX3 is undoubtedly greater (though the different use of the sensors mean the LX2 is only capturing 7.5 million pixels at this 4:3 aspect ratio, compared to the LX3's 10), as is the level of detail being retained after noise reduction. While it's not exactly DSLR standard and is quite a step down from the LX3's ISO 80 result, it's still a very good ISO 800 performance for a compact camera.