Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review
Panasonic's LX series has always been home to the company's most ambitious compacts, offering a range of photographer-friendly features in a small, stylish and solid body festooned with external controls. It's been two years since the launch of the LX2 and the market has changed a lot in that time - the level of features offered even on inexpensive models has grown and the cost of all cameras, particularly DSLRs, has fallen drastically. Both of these trends risk reducing the potential market for premium compacts if their features are available on cheaper compacts, and much better photographic tools (in terms of flexibility of purpose and image quality) are available for only a little more money. So the LX3, more than its predecessors, has to play to its strengths - it needs to offer some of the best compact camera image quality, a good degree of user control and a body that is more convenient and pocketable than DSLRs can be.
And Panasonic seems fully aware of these challenges. When announcing the camera, the company pointed out that more pixels on the same sized sensor does not always result in better image quality and described its approach with the LX3 as: "boldly reversing the industry trend of pushing toward ever-higher pixel counts." It's an admirable position (though one that would be easier to acclaim if the company hadn't, on the same day, released one of the most pixel-dense cameras we've ever seen), and one that seems promising - the benefits of newer sensor and processing technology without those advances being strangled by the downsides of smaller pixels. (And we believe that if you offer more pixels with the hard drive clutter and slower camera operation they bring, then those pixels must be good at the pixel level, otherwise, what benefits do those additional pixels bring?)
- 24mm wide 2.5x optical LEICA DC lens
- F2.0-2.8 maximum aperture range
- MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer)
- Venus Engine IV
- Joystick-operated manual control
- Large 3.0” 460k dot LCD monitor
- Raw and JPEG recording modes
- Up to ISO 3200 sensitivity
- Up to 1280x720 (30 fps) pixel movie capture
- Manual exposure and focus options
- 1/2000th to 60 sec shutter speeds
- Available in black or silver
LX3 vs LX2: main differences
Although the outward appearance hasn't changed that dramatically, the LX2 and LX3 are very different creatures. The the easiest thing to miss about the LX3 is its lens - a part of the specification sheet that is sometimes easy to overlook as a string of numbers. With the LX3 it's really worth spending a moment thinking about it: starting at 24mm equivalent is pretty unusual in a compact camera. Offering an aperture range of F2.0-2.8 is extraordinary. But to combine the two and include Image Stabilization is simply astonishing - this is not an everyday lens and it's something that defines how the camera behaves and what it can be used for.
To put that aperture range in perspective, this means it's one 'stop' faster (brighter) at the wide end and over 1.5 brighter at the long end than the F2.8-4.9 lens fitted to its predecessor. And this means that you can get the same exposure using the same shutter speed but using a lower ISO setting than with the older camera.
Beyond that, there the new, higher-resolution rear screen that conforms to the more traditional 3:2 aspect ratio, rather than its forebear's 16:9 unit.
The other differences are:
- Similar pixel count sensor (10.1 vs 10.0 MP)
- Venus Engine IV (vs Venus Engine III)
- 3:2 aspect ratio 3-inch screen (was 2.8-inch 16:9)
- Flash hot-shoe
- Threaded lens barrel for adding optional conversion lenses or filters
- USB 2.0 Hi Speed interface (at last!)
- More internal memory (50 MB)
- 720p HD movie mode now at 30fps
- Closer minimum focusing distance: 1cm, rather than 5cm
- Faster continuous shooting (2.5fps for 8 frames, cf. 2fps for 5 frames)
- Separate component video out (for HD playback)
- Improved battery life
- Minor control and interface changes
Roll your mouse over the tabs to see the way the difference aspect ratios are taken from the sensor or click on the diagram to download the overlaid versions.
The LX3 does away with its predecessor's unusual 16:9 aspect ratio sensor, instead using a more conventional 3:2 sensor but then using only a crop from it, depending on aspect ratio. The key thing is that the LX3 even uses a crop from the sensor at 4:3 ratio, rather than using the entire sensor. Although this may seem perverse, the result is that the lens offers the same diagonal angle of view regardless of selected aspect ratio, making it much easier to get a feel for the behaviour of the lens. It also means you make the most of the sensor's area, getting similar pixel counts in all modes.
|The image on the left shows the result of shooting the same scene at the same zoom setting using the LX3's different aspect ratios. Unlike any other camera we can think of, all three shots end up with the same angle of view.|
|List price (EU)|| UK £399.99
|Sensor|| 1/1.63" sensor
11.3 million total pixels CCD
10.1 million effective pixels
Primary Color Filter
|Image stabilization|| Lens-shift
MEGA O.I.S. (Auto/Mode1/ Mode2)
4:3 Aspect Ratio:
|Movie mode|| QuickTime Motion JPEG
4:3 Aspect Ratio: 640 x 480 pixels 30 fps or
320 x 240 pixels 30 fps/10 fps
16:9 Aspect Ratio: 848 x 480 pixels 30 fps
HD（16:9 Aspect Ratio）: 1280x720 pixels 24fps"
|Output formats|| JPEG ( Exif 2.21 standard)
|Image processor||Venus Engine IV|
|Lens|| 2.5x zoom
f=5.1-12.8mm (35mm Equiv.: 24-60mm)
F2.0 - F2.8
LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON
8 elements in 6 groups
4 Aspherical Lenses / 4 Aspherical surfaces)
Manual Focus (Joystick)
One Shot AF
AF Area Select
|AF assist lamp||Yes|
|Shooting modes|| Intelligent AUTO
S(Shutter Priority) mode
|Scene modes|| Portrait
|Metering|| Intelligent Multiple
|AE Bracketing|| +/- 0.3/0.5 EV
P: 1-1/2000sec (Selectable minimum shutter speed)
|Aperture values|| Wide: F2.0 - F8.0 Tele: F2.8 - F8|
White Set 1
White Set 2
White Balance Adjustment
|Burst speed|| 2.5 frames/sec Max. 8 images (Standard), Max 4 images (Fine), Max 3images (RAW)
High-speed Burst Mode: approx. 6 frames/sec (recorded in 3M for 4:3, 2.5M for 3:2, 2M for 16:9)
|Self-timer||10 sec. / 2 sec.|
3.0", 3:2 Polycrystalline TFT LCD Display
Field of View : approx. 100%
AUTO Power LCD mode
Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction
Flash Synchro 1st / 2nd
Flash output Adjustment (1/3EV step, -2 - +2 EV)
|FLash coverage||0.8 - 8.3m (Wide/Macro/ISO Auto), 0.3 - 5.9m (Tele/ISO Auto)|
SD Memory Card
SDHC Memory Card
MultiMediaCard (Still image only)
Internal Memory (approx. 50 MB)
Li-ion Battery Pack (3.7V, 1150mAh)
Battery life: 380 pictures (CIPA standard)
AC Adaptor (Input: 110-240V AC) (Optional)
|Dimensions||108.7 x 59.5 x 27.1 mm|
|Weight (with battery)||Approx. 265 g|
|Fairy garden by Jill Hancock|
|Avro Vulcan Heavy Bomber by cjf2|
from Seven types of aircraft - heavy bombers
The Kodak-branded 'Kashminer' Bitcoin mining scheme announced at CES has apparently collapsed, with Eastman Kodak distancing itself from the company behind it.
The software uses computational imaging techniques to boost detail and dynamic range in your images, and reduce noise levels.
As part of a promotional giveaway, Fujifilm Korea has released kimchi-flavored instant noodles wrapped in branding inspired by Fujifilm Provia 100 color reversal film.
The Leica Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 ASPH is a fast, high-quality and decidedly heavyweight short telephoto prime lens, designed for use with Leica's digital M-series rangefinders. We've been grappling with it for a little while - take a look at our sample images.
70-200mm F4 zoom lenses may not get as much attention as their faster F2.8 siblings, but for many photographers these lenses hit the perfect sweet spot of price, performance, and weight. This week, we shoot the new Tamron 70-210mm F4 alongside the equivalent Canon and Nikon models to see how they stack up.
Blackmagic recently worked with Apple to develop Blackmagic eGPU, an external GPU that brings "desktop-class graphics performance" to the new MacBook Pro laptops with Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Lightroom alternative Luminar has received numerous updates across both its Mac and Windows versions, primarily improvements to existing features, as well as support for additional cameras from Fujifilm, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Canon, and Pentax.
Sony has quietly updated its RX100 V, bringing a couple of the goodies from the RX100 VI travel zoom. The updated RX100 VA gains a new processor and various firmware tweaks but misses out on the VI's other hardware improvements.
Apple has updated its MacBook Pro series of notebooks with 15in and 13in models that are claimed to be better for intense image and video editing. The company says the new models are the most advanced ever, and that they feature 8th generation Intel Core processors for faster performance.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Adobe will announce a full-fledged Photoshop version for the iPad at its annual conference in October.
The last day to place an order for Apple photo prints and related products is September 30th.
Manfrotto has launched its new Noreg camera bag series with the Backpack-30 and Messenger-30 models. Both bags are designed for premium mirrorless camera systems, each featuring internal camera units that can be removed and used independently of the larger bags.
Industrial designer Thomas Müller has created a concept device that attempts to democratize film development using an all-in-one device that sits on your countertop.
Mastin Labs has released its latest set of presets titled 'Kodak Everyday.' The pack includes film emulation presets for iconic Kodak films, including Ektar, Gold and Tri-X.
Canon has released firmware update 1.0.4 for the EOS 6D Mark II, adding important bug fixes for "rare instances" of issues with the touch panel and operation buttons.
In an email to DPReview, Nikon Inc. has confirmed ''The Nikon 1 series cameras, lenses and accessories are no longer in production'.
Nikon's new Coolpix P1000 boasts an extraordinary zoom range and a suite of powerful stills and video features in a (relatively) compact body. We're taking a detailed look at this powerful compact's key features.
PhotoMirage, a new Windows application from software company Corel, transforms images into "mirages" by adding movement to elements like water or clouds. Unlike a cinemagraph, it does not require video footage – instead animating a single static image.
Tamron's version 2.0 firmware update for its 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD claims to have addressed reported issues with autofocus during video shooting.
Lens maker Moment is leaning into the software sector, launching a newly-revamped smartphone camera app targeted at enthusiast photographers.
A groups of researchers from NVIDIA, MIT, and Aalto University have developed an AI capable of removing noise and grain from images with incredible accuracy.
If the 24-2000mm equiv. zoom range on Nikon's Coolpix P900 just wasn't enough then you'll be excited about today's announcement of the Coolpix P1000. This camera has a once unthinkable 24-3000mm equivalent F2.8-F8 lens, though it's anything but light and will set you back $999.
Hong Kong flash system manufacturer Cactus has released new firmware for its V6 II Transceiver that will allow it to wirelessly communicate TTL information between a Canon or Cactus flash and a Canon camera. The X-TTL update makes it possible to trigger Canon flashes and retain full TTL control with that flash either on or off camera.
Want to create pro quality lighting for your videos, but don't have thousands of dollars to spend on expensive video lights? In this video, our friends over at ShareGrid demonstrate how to professionally light a model with some work lights, a bit of poster board and even a shower curtain.
Phase One has launched its new Latitude processing presets series, the latest addition to the company's Capture One Style Packs product launched last year. Both Latitude style packs contain eight presets, each with original, bright, and dark variations, for a total of 24 styles per pack.
Godox has announced the impending launch of its upcoming AD400Pro, a 400WS monolight with wireless shooting capabilities and a battery life of 390 full-powered flashes.
The instant camera market is heating up, and with four formats and 15+ cameras to choose from, we felt it was high time to examine them all and pick our favorite.
There's an old axiom in filmmaking which states that an audience will forgive a poor quality picture, but not poor quality sound. This week, Chris and Jordan bring in an audio pro to demonstrate why a cheap microphone positioned correctly will outperform an expensive model placed incorrectly.
With enough reach to land itself in 'travel zoom' territory, the Sony RX100 VI is well suited for a wide range of shooting situations. We've made a significant update to our initial sample gallery with plenty of samples from the past few weeks.