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Panasonic Lumix DMC LX3 Review

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 dijital kompakt kamera Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 uluslararası bir basın toplantısında büyük bir görkemle tanıtılmıştı. Bu modelde daha yüksek çözünürlük yerine geliştirmelerden yana karar verilmiş olması olumlu olarak algılanmıştı. Kameranın pratik koşullarda kendini kanıtlaması gerekiyordu ve beklentiler de oldukça yüksekti. Panasonic'in kâğıt üzerinde bildirdiği teknik özellikler mükemmel görünüyordu. Ayrıca, Panasonic LUMIX LX3 dijital kamera, kompakt bir fotoğraf makinesinin fotoğraf tutkunlarını cezbetmek için gerek duyduğu parlak LEICA DC-VARIO SUMMICRON f/2.0-f2.8 geniş açılı zum objektif, sağlam ve hoş detaylarla süslü gövde ve çok yönlü ayar seçenekleri gibi tüm özelliklere sahip bir model.

Panasonic Lumix LX3 zum değerleri Pratik koşullarda, kamera beklentileri karşılıyor. Fotoğraf çekmesi güzel, sokaklarda çekim yapması rahat ve dikkat çekmeyen ve kullanıcının cihazla bütünleşebildiği bir kamera. Kameranın optik menzili telefotosuz bir modeli beğenmeyen genel kullanıcılar açısından düşük önemde olabilir. Ama usta fotoğrafseverler bu fotoğraf makinesinin telefoto değerlerine değil tersine 24 mm geniş açı değerine bakacaklar ve bu değeri takdir edeceklerdir. 2.5x zum değerinin tercih edilmiş olması bu seçimin kaliteyi temel aldığını gösteriyor. Objektif menzilinin belirlenen kalitede optimize edilmesi LEICA objektifin optik performansını maksimum seviyeye çıkarmak adına doğru bir karar.

Panasonic LX3 ve Leica objektif Kameranın nereyse hiç distorsiyon ve vinyet etkisi sergilemeyen objektifi görüntülerde merkezden kenarlara kadar devam eden yüksek netlik seviyesiyle mükemmel bir kaliteye sahip. LEICA objektif gözle görülür seviyede renk sapması sergiliyor olsa da bu gerçeği kabul ediyoruz. Panasonic LX3'ün yüksek çözünürlük seviyesi kameranı sunduğu olanaklardan maksimum seviyede yararlanmak için fazlasıyla yeterli oluyor. Piksel kalitesi ile ilgili geliştirmeler LX2 modeli ile kıyaslandığında dahi dikkatleri üzerine çekiyor, ancak bu gelişmeler şimdilik oldukça az sayıda. Gelişmeler yapılmış, bu doğru ve ISO ışık duyarlılığı konusunda ise ISO 400 değerine kadar herhangi bir problem yaşanmıyor. ISO 800 değeri acil durumlarda kullanılabilir. ISO 800 değeri civarında ve üstünde problemler ortaya çıkmaya başlıyor ve görüntü kalitesi gözle görülür şekilde düşmeye başlıyor.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 görüntü kalitesi Kameranın renk sunumu son derece doğru değerler üretiyor ve görüntülerdeki canlı renkler zengin kontrastlar sergiliyor. Objektifin diyafram açıklığı ve optik görüntü sabitleyici kombinasyonu görüntü kalitesinin noise etkisinden zarar görmesini engelleyen düşük ISO değerlerinin kullanımına olanak tanıyor. Buna dinamik alanın geliştirilmiş olmasını da eklerseniz ISO 400 değerine kadar rahatlıkla çekim yapabilirsiniz. Bu konudaki gelişmenin mükemmel olmasa da büyük olduğu bir gerçek.

Panasonic LX3 - Potansiyel sahibi bir dijital fotoğraf makinesi Panasonic, megapiksel yarışına karşıt olanların eleştirileriyle ciddi anlamda uğraştı ve LX3 modeli ile olumlu bir izlenim bırakmayı başardı. Bu izlenimler Panasonic'in bir kez daha kendisi ile diğer üretici firmalar arasında bir farkındalık oluşturmasını sağlıyor. Gerçekleştirilen geliştirmeler gözle görülür veya en azından ölçülebilir seviyedeler. Bu geliştirmeler ortaya kesin anlamda top model bir kamera koymuyor olsa da görebildiğimiz kadarıyla Panasonic'in sürdürülmesi gereken bir şeyi başlattığı açıkça ortada. Lumix LX3 zengin potansiyele sahip güzel bir fotoğraf makinesi; tasarlanan kullanım amaçlarına uygun olarak fotoğraf çekmenizi sağlıyor. Panasonic LX3 her halükarda kesinlikle tavsiye edeceğimiz bir fotoğraf makinesi!

Panasonic LX3 - SDHC hafıza kartları Panasonic LX3 dijital fotoğraf makinesi yaklaşık 50 MB civarında dâhili hafızaya sahip. Kullanıcıya hoş bir jest olan bu hafıza miktarı belki birkaç çekime de yeterli olabilir ancak ciddi anlamda fotoğraf çekmek niyetindeyseniz kesinlikle bir hafıza kartı satın almak zorundasınız. Bu durumda, RAW formatta çekim yapmayı düşünen fotoğrafseverler her bir fotoğraf dosyasının 16 MB ve eğer RAW + JPEG kombinasyonunu tercih edeceklerse de her bir dosyanın yaklaşık 20 MB civarında yer kapladığını hesaba katmalılar. Yüksek kalitede bir JPEG fotoğraf 4 MB yer tutuyor. Açıkçası, Panasonic LUMIX LX3 kamera ile maksimum kaliteyi RAW formatta çekim yaptığınızda alabiliyorsunuz, bu yüzden biz de buna göre hesap yapıyoruz. Bizim tavsiyemiz minimum 4 GB kapasiteli bir SDHC hafıza kartı satın almanız yönünde olacaktır. Kuşkusuz 8 GB veya daha yüksek kapasiteli bir kart çekimlerinizde çok daha esnek davranmanızı sağlayacaktır.

4 GB kapasiteli hafıza kartı ile çekim sayıları 10 Megapiksel - 3648x2736 piksel - RAW - 4:3 - 250 fotoğraf 10 Megapiksel - 3648x2736 piksel - RAW+JPEG - Fine - 4:3 - 204 fotoğraf 10 Megapiksel - 3648x2736 piksel - JPEG - Fine - 4:3 - 770 fotoğraf 10 Megapiksel - 3648x2736 piksel - JPEG - Normal - 4:3 - 1520 fotoğraf 7 Megapiksel - 3072x2304 piksel - JPEG - Fine - 4:3 - 1090 fotoğraf 7 Megapiksel - 3072x2304 piksel - JPEG - Normal - 4:3 - 2150 fotoğraf 5 Megapiksel - 2560x1920 piksel - JPEG - Fine - 4:3 - 1560 fotoğraf 5 Megapiksel - 2560x1920 piksel - JPEG - Normal - 4:3 - 3010 fotoğraf 3 Megapiksel - 2048x1536 piksel - JPEG - Fine - 4:3 - 2410 fotoğraf 3 Megapiksel - 2048x1536 piksel - JPEG - Normal - 4:3 - 4640 fotoğraf 2 Megapiksel - 1600x1200 piksel - JPEG - Fine - 4:3 - 3770 fotoğraf 2 Megapiksel - 1600x1200 piksel - JPEG - Normal - 4:3 - 7090 fotoğraf VGA - 640x480 piksel - JPEG - Fine - 4:3 - 17240 fotoğraf VGA - 640x480 piksel - JPEG - Normal - 4:3 - 24130 fotoğraf

9 Megapiksel - 3648x2432 piksel - RAW - 3:2 - 360 fotoğraf 9 Megapiksel - 3648x2432 piksel - RAW+JPEG Fine - 3:2 - 272 fotoğraf 9 Megapiksel - 3648x2432 piksel - JPEG - Fine - 3:2 - 870 fotoğraf 9 Megapiksel - 3648x2432 piksel - JPEG - Normal - 3:2 - 1720 fotoğraf 6 Megapiksel - 3072x2048 piksel - JPEG - Fine - 4:3 - 1230 fotoğraf 6 Megapiksel - 3072x2048 piksel - JPEG - Normal - 4:3 - 2410 fotoğraf 4.5 Megapiksel - 2560x1712 piksel - JPEG - Fine - 4:3 - 1740 fotoğraf 4.5 Megapiksel - 2560x1712 piksel - JPEG - Normal - 4:3 - 3350 fotoğraf 2.5 Megapiksel - 2048x1360 piksel - JPEG - Fine - 4:3 - 2680 fotoğraf 2.5 Megapiksel - 2048x1360 piksel - JPEG - Normal - 4:3 - 5020 fotoğraf

7.5 Megapiksel - 3648x2056 piksel - RAW - 16:9 - 380 fotoğraf 7.5 Megapiksel - 3648x2056 piksel - RAW+JPEG Fine - 16:9 - 268 fotoğraf 7.5 Megapiksel - 3648x2056 piksel - JPEG - Fine - 16:9 - 1030 fotoğraf 7.5 Megapiksel - 3648x2056 piksel - JPEG - Normal - 16:9 - 2010 fotoğraf 5.5 Megapiksel - 3072x1728 piksel - JPEG - Fine - 16:9 - 1450 fotoğraf 5.5 Megapiksel - 3072x1728 piksel - JPEG - Normal - 16:9 - 2800 fotoğraf 3.5 Megapiksel - 2560x1440 piksel - JPEG - Fine - 16:9 - 2040 fotoğraf 3.5 Megapiksel - 2560x1440 piksel - JPEG - Normal - 16:9 - 3890 fotoğraf 2 Megapiksel - 1920x1080 piksel - JPEG - Fine - 16:9 - 3540 fotoğraf 2 Megapiksel - 1920x1080 piksel - JPEG - Normal - 16:9 - 6700 fotoğraf

Video Çözünürlük VGA - 30 kare/sn - 4:3 - 44 dk 20 sn Video Çözünürlük VGA - 10 kare/sn - 4:3 - 2 saat 11 dk Video Çözünürlük QVGA - 30 kare/sn - 4:3 - 2 saat 11 dk Video Çözünürlük QVGA - 1- kare/sn - 4:3 - 6 saat 22 dk Video Çözünürlük 16:9H - 30 kare/sn - 16:9 - 16 dk 40 sn Video Çözünürlük 16:9H - 15 kare/sn - 16:9 - 33 dk 20 sn Video Çözünürlük 16:9L - 30 kare/sn - 16:9 - 38 dk Video Çözünürlük 16:9L - 10 kare/sn - 16:9 - 1 saat 53 dk

www.letsgodigital.org

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Digital Camera (Silver) DMC-LX3S B&H

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B&H # PADMCLX3S MFR # DMC-LX3S

  • 10.1 Megapixel Digital
  • 2.5x Optical Zoom
  • 3.0" LCD Display
  • 24mm Wide-Angle Leica Lens
  • Enhanced CCD Technology
  • MEGA O.I.S. Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Intelligent Auto Technology
  • High Sensitivity (ISO 3200)
  • High Speed Response
  • Manual Operation
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Panasonic DMC-LX3 overview

By combining a high-quality lens and sensor ready for a variety of shooting conditions with a wide-range of accessories and manual controls, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Digital Camera is ideal for professional photographers and serious amateurs looking for a compact digital camera that allows for a full range of creative photography capabilities.

The camera incorporates a wide angle f/2.0 aperture Leica DC Vario-Summicron lens with 2.5x wide-angle optical zoom (equivalent to 24mm - 60mm on a 35mm film camera) and the MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer) system. The camera also incorporates an enhanced 1/1.63-inch CCD that is capable of capturing 10.1-Megapixels and has been designed to provide more space for each pixel to minimize image noise and optimize image quality and dynamic range. The CCD is also capable of reproducing images in three aspect ratios (4:3, 3:2 or 16:9), and the Multi Aspect mode allows the camera to take an image in all three aspect ratios simultaneously. It also boasts the Venus Engine IV high performance image processing LSI to dramatically reduce image noise (even using the high sensitivity setting of ISO 3200 at full resolution), and provide fast shooting performance with an incredibly fast shutter lag, and burst shooting capability.

The DMC-LX3 is further distinguished from other cameras by its full manual capability and extensive features that are easily accessible through the cameras joystick controller. These features include a Film mode that allows users to emulate the effects of different film types, a multiple-exposure feature for creating artistic photos by overlaying up to three consecutive images, and easy-to-use Manual modes that give the user greater shot-making flexibility and control. In addition the camera can also capture video clips in standard VGA, and HD video formats.

The camera's large 3.0-inch LCD is outstanding for both shooting and viewing. With a 3:2 aspect ratio and high 460,000-dot resolution, the LCD panel provides bright, easy-to-see images over a wider viewing angle. Furthermore, the Intelligent LCD function, assures comfortable viewing in virtually all conditions by automatically adjusting the backlighting of LCD as the ambient light level changes. The camera also provides an impressive slideshow feature where users can select the images, choose for a series of creative transitions and even add music to the presentation - all within the camera. And the camera has HD output capability (Requires an optional HD component cable) to view your images, slideshows and video clips in beautiful HD quality.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Digital Camera (Silver)

  • CGA-S005A Lithium-ion Battery
  • Battery Charger (110-240v AC)
  • Battery Case
  • USB Cable
  • A/V Cable
  • Lens Cap with Strap
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Software CD-ROM (PHOTOfunSTUDIO viewer, ArcSoft MediaImpression, ArcSoft Panorama Maker, SilkyPix Developer Studio 3.0SE, QuickTime, USB Driver)
  • Operating Instructions
  • 1-Year Parts and Labor U.S.A. Limited Warranty
  • Panasonic DMC-LX3 specs

    Pixels Actual: 11.3 MegapixelEffective: 10.1 Megapixel
    Sensor 1/1.63" Primary Color Filter
    File Formats Still Images: JPEG, RAWMovies: MJPEG
    Max Resolution 10 MP: 3648 x 2736
    Aspect Ratio 3:2, 4:3, 16:9
    Image Stabilization Optical
    Lens Leica DC Vario-Summicron, 8 elements in 6 groups4 AsphericalEFL: 5.1-12.8mm (35 mm equivalent: 24-60mm)Aperture: f/2.0 (W) - 2.8 (T) to f/8
    Zoom Optical: 2.5xDigital: 4x
    Focus Range Normal: 1.64' (49.99 cm) to InfinityWide Macro: 0.39" (0.99 cm) to InfinityTele Macro: 11.81" (30.00 cm) to Infinity
    ISO Sensitivity Auto, 80-1600 (High Sensitivity Mode: Auto, 1600-6400)
    Shutter 8 - 1/2000 Seconds 15 - 60 Seconds in Starry Sky Mode
    Exposure Metering Center-weighted, Multi, Spot
    Exposure Modes Modes: Aperture Priority, Manual, Program, Program Shift, Shutter PriorityCompensation: -2 EV to +2 EV (in 1/3 EV Steps)
    White Balance Modes Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Halogen, Manual, Flash

    White Balance Adjustment (+/- 10 steps, except for auto set)

    Buffer/Continuous Shooting Up to 2.5 fps at 10 MP for up to 8 FramesUp to 2.5 fps at 10 MP for up to 4 FramesUp to 2.5 fps at 10 MP for up to 3 Frames
    Self-Timer 2 Seconds
    Interval Recording No
    Remote Control Not Specified by Manufacturer
    Flash Modes AutoAuto/Red-eye ReductionExposure CompensationFlash OnOffRed-eye ReductionSecond-curtain SyncSlow SyncSlow Sync/Red-eye Reduction
    Maximum Effective Flash Range Wide: 2.62 - 27.23' (0.8 - 8.3 m)Telephoto: 0.98 - 19.36' (0.3 - 5.9 m)
    External Flash Connection Hot Shoe
    Built-In Memory 50 MB
    Memory Card Type SDSDHC
    Video Recording Yes, NTSC
    Video Clip Length Up to 210 Minutes
    Audio Recording With Video)
    Viewfinder Type None
    Screen 3.0" LCD (460,000 pixels)
    Connectivity DC InputDC Input
    Battery Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, 3.7 VDC, 1150 mAh
    AC Power Adapter AC Adapter (Input: 110-240V AC) (Optional)
    Dimensions (W x H x D) 4.3 x 2.3 x 1.1" / 109.2 x 58.4 x 27.9 mm
    Weight .5 lb / 226.8 g (Camera only)

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    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Digital Camera Review

    xPanasonic stated that their main aim is to release a camera that can offer what all other manufacturers offer, but with something extra. Could the LX3 be the most feature rich camera available to date?

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3: Specification

    • Resolution: 10.1Mp
    • Sensor size: 1/1.63in
    • Sensor type: CCD
    • Zoom: 2.5x optical
    • Sensitivity: ISO80-3200 (max ISO6400 in High ISO mode)
    • Storage: Internal 50Mb, SD, SDHC, MMC
    • Focus mode: Auto, macro, quick AF, continuous, manual, one shot, selective, tracking
    • Focus range: 50cm - infinity
    • Macro: 1cm
    • Metering mode: Multi, centre-weighted, spot
    • Exposure compensation: /- 2EV, 1/3 EV step
    • Shutter Speed: 60sec - 1/2000sec (manual mode)
    • Flash: Built-in, hotshoe for external flash
    • Monitor: 3in TFT LCD, 100% coverage
    • Power: Li-Ion battery
    • Size: 108.7x59.5x27.1
    • Weight: 290g

    Enquiries online suggest prices starting from £299 for a 10Mp CCD, 2.5x optical zoom, film simulations and Leica lens. The Canon Powershot G9 is an older model at £291 with 12Mp CCD, 6x optical zoom and most other program features that the Panasonic has.

    The Ricoh GRD II digital compact at £362 also offers 10Mp CCD, no zoom, magnesium alloy body and slightly larger sensor size.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3: Modes and features The brand new Lumix from Panasonic looks every bit the prosumer that it's designed to be. It has a vintage air about it thanks to the large lens barrel on the square body which houses a rather disappointingly small lens that only has a maximum zoom of 2.5x. However, some areas of the design bring the camera back up to date such as the small area of mock leather on the grip.

    The lens barrel has two switches on it. One is for the image aspect and you can choose between the standard 3:2, widescreen 16:9 or 4:3 which is the standard that has been bought into by Panasonic along with Olympus, Leica and Sigma. The other is for switching through AF, MF and macro which are the three most frequently used focusing modes.

    The flash is a pop-up type on the top plate with the mechanical activation switch sat just behind it. The rest of the top plate comprises of a hotshoe for external flash, a simple mode dial, the shutter release with the zoom ring wrapped around it. There's also a focus button for adjusting the focus area to anywhere within the frame and finally the tiny power switch.

    The 3in widescreen LCD overpowers the back so all the buttons are scrunched into an inch of space on the right. It also means that the buttons are quite small which some people will have difficulty with. Surprisingly, the buttons are quite well spaced apart meaning you won't have trouble pressing the wrong one by mistake.

    The buttons on the back have many different functions. The most interesting one is the Q-menu button and is a quick access to your most used features. In this area, you can choose between the film types and there are some pretty neat ones in there such as nature, nostalgic, dynamic and two customisable options.

    You can also change the metering, white balance, focusing, sensitivity, resolution and, oddly enough, the screen brightness. The white balance also has a manual override feature which you can access by pressing the display button while hovered over the AWB feature in the Q-menu. You can then use the joystick to adjust individual colours to get the correct balance for your shot.

    Features that Panasonic are especially proud of include two new modes called pinhole and film grain mode to give an effect similar to what would be found using a pinhole camera or a high sensitivity film. They've also included an image levelling function that will scan the image taken, checking the horizon to see if it's level. If not, the camera will automatically adjust it to be level and crop the image for you. This is a neat trick similar to the horizon adjust in Lightroom and they both share the same problem of cropping pixels.

    Despite its apparent high classification, the LX3 has Panasonic's iA feature to make photographing easier. Simply put it's a rebranded auto mode with the exception that you also have to set the OIS (optical image stabiliser), Intelligent ISO control, Intelligent Scene Selector, face detection and Intelligent Exposure to make sure that all you have to do is compose and press the button. This seems a long way to go to make sure you don't have to do anything. Setting the camera to iA mode and having all the other stuff defaulting would've been a lot easier and more obvious.

    The main menu has even more advanced features. Going into the first option which is film mode and I expect to see a doppleganger of the Q-menu but in this menu it allows you to change the contrast, sharpness, saturation and noise reduction. After my initial surprise, scrolling through the rest of the menu shows that it is a clone of the Q-menu.

    The navigation pad around the menu can work through the menus although you'll find yourself absent-mindedly using the joystick. Luckily, that doesn't mean the arrow keys are defunct as they also double up as the self timer, bracketing, flash functions and a custom function button. This latter mentioned button is so you can set your most used feature to it from a list found in the main menu.

    The display button at the bottom of the camera scrolls through your preferences of having information on screen or not and rule of thirds grid.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3: Build and handling Panasonic have always been proud of their collaboration with Leica and rightly so. For the consumer, this allegiance means you get an excellent quality lens in the form of the DC Vario-Summicron aspherical with a bright aperture of f/2. The zoom is quite poor at only 2.5x, but I'm guessing that the people who would maybe use this the most will either not use it or actually be willing to walk to get closer to the subject.

    The LCD screen needs another mention as it has 460,000 dots which equates to around 153,333 pixels. This is the highest resolution that I know of on a compact camera screen.

    As you'd expect on a camera of this status, the build quality is good. The buttons are solid and I think because of this I had trouble with the joystick. Initial attempts at pressing the centre to open the Q-menu failed because it decided to move in all other directions. This could be down to the firmness of it or because it's quite small. When you're not going through the Q-menus, the joystick will adjust the shutter speed and aperture when in manual modes.

    I feel a little scrunched on the right side because what grip is available is only small meaning I instinctively grip tighter.

    The battery door and locking mechanism is the only thing I don't really like about the build of the Panasonic LX3. It's flimsier than I'd expect and it doesn't spring open when it's unlocked.

    Regardless of all these many features that the camera has, it's easy to navigate and everything is quite user friendly. I don't like that when I'm deleting images, I can't scroll through the menu. I can only move up or down if there's a space to move into. That being said, the Q-menu does have this function which is a little odd.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3: Performance Start up time is around two to two and a half seconds unless you're recording to internal memory then you have a two second message letting you know.

    In the burst test, the Panasonic can take four JPEG's in standard continuous mode before the buffer is full and it has to download. I managed to get the four images in 1.5 seconds which is similar to Panasonic's claim of 2.5fps in this mode. The main let down of this setting is that it takes up to five seconds to download the images before it's ready to shoot again.

    The infinity continuous shooting managed 19 images in ten seconds which is just under 2fps. A slower result, but constant and you get more images taken in ten seconds.

    In the shutter lag test, the camera gave a constant response of 0.04 seconds which is around half the time of a normal compact. Even without the clock to time it, you can feel the quicker response in the picture taking.

    The portrait image was taken in aperture-priority and the exposure is balanced with good skin tones. Sadly, the flash doesn't have compensation and has bleached out any warmth. The skin tone looks a little pale now but on the plus side, there's nice catchlights and only a faint shadow.

    Decent exposure with nice skin tones. the camera has coped with the strong light rather well. The flash has lost warmth to the image, filled in shadows nicely and added catchlights.

    All the colours in the colour chart have been reproduced nicely with priority given to blue, green and red. Yellow also seems to have a nice boost to it and looks vibrant. The skin tone is a nice colour, as are the earthy colours and the mono tones.

    Blue is boosted as usual but the warmer tones have also been given an increase. A nice skin tone result as well. The camera has selected a low ISO to keep the image smooth but at the expense of depth of field.

    I took the landscape test shot in landscape mode to see how the camera coped with the dull day. EXIF data shows that the camera has set the sensitivity to ISO80 and selected an aperture of f/2.2. This has given the camera a tiny focal plane and the image shows most of the scene slightly out of focus with the plane being just infront of the bars.

    The only place I can look for fringing in this image is on the leaves that backdrop against the sky where it's definitely noticable.

    Standard film is the default setting.

    Pressing the Q-menu button will take you to a selection of quick options to adjust your images and one of these is the film simulations. I created a set of textured items such as bark and slate then set a light to one side with a snoot to create large shadows.

    One of the film options is dynamic and I thought this would mean that it works in a similar way to Nikon's D-Lighting giving a wider dynamic range, but unfortunately not. Instead it increases saturation and contrast meaning the shadows are darker with less detail.

    Dynamic film doesn't increase dynamic range as the name would suggest but instead increases contrast and saturation. Natural film decreases saturation giving a paler effect which might make interesting effects on portraits.

    A number of other film styles are available including standard and natural. There are also mono versions available and custom film settings.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3: Focusing and metering The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 offers six focusing modes or seven if you include manual focusing.

    Three of them are found on the lens barrel for quick access while the others can be found in the Q-menu when in programmable modes such as program, shutter & aperture priority or manual. In the Q-menu, you can choose between AF area, spot, face detection, tracking or multi. While you're in this menu, you'll see a message saying AF area display. Pressing display in this menu will allow you to change the AF area box from a manoeuvrable box to a wider AF area that can be selected similar to Canon's AF points.

    In macro, the camera can focus as close as 1.5cm which is ample to see every vein in my bloodshot eyes.

    Macro capability is 1cm and although this is a welcome distance, beware of losing light from getting too close to the subject. If you like to use manual focus (why wouldn't you), a box will appear in the centre of the frame with a magnified version of your subject and you can use the joystick to focus with.

    The Panasonic also offers multi, centre-weighted and spot metering which should cover most eventualities regardless of your preferred genre. Multi mode segments the frame into 256 separate areas and takes the best exposure from what they all say. Centre-weighted will take a general reading across the whole area but can get confused with bright areas such as lights or windows if you're inside. Spot metering will only get a reading from approximately 2% of the centre of the screen. It ignores everything else and can give some pretty cool exposures.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3: Noise test As with all cameras these days, the Panasonic has it's own dedicated processor to make sure that colours are nice, there's good detail, pictures are taken and transferred onto the card quickly and you use less power to do it all. Panasonic say the Venus Engine IV does that and more. To create low noise results in high noise images, the Venus Engine will separate chromatic noise from luminance noise and low-frequency noise from high frequency noise. The processor will then apply noise reduction techniques to each setting. Of course the larger 1/1.63in sensor will also help matters especially as Panasonic have purposefully kept the resolution low which in turn keeps the pixels further away from each other to reduce noise from heat.

    The proof will be in the results of the noise test and ISO80 looks nice a smooth with good detail in the petals. At full magnification, there's slight speckling on the grey card but this could simply be in camera sharpening because of the JPEG format.

    Noise begins to rear its ugly head at ISO400, but it's manageable and it's not until ISO800 that it starts to decay the image. Detail in the petals has started to deteriorate and by ISO1600 it's hardly noticeable. I think Panasonic should've really left it there, but they've decided to stick an ISO3200 in and it's hardly worth looking at. Pruple and green blobs engulf the black and grey cards while the flower disappears into a smudgy nothing.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3: VerdictThe Panasonic probably has the most creative controls I've seen on a prosumer type to date. It's absolutely loaded with stuff from the film simulations to the aspect ratios and pinhole mode.

    They've done what they said and taken features of other cameras to put on the LX3. The result is a rich, diverse camera with a good build quality and excellent support from a superior lens manufacturer.

    I think they could've put a slightly bigger zoom on it simply because it's expected these days. It's not really a downside but it could put people off in favour of other models with a 3x or 4x optical zoom.

    Noise needs to be addressed as I don't think the processor is coping well enough. Either that or take a leaf out of Sigma's book: Put a larger sensor in there and cap it when noise is becoming an issue.

    It's a great camera with a nice design and good build quality. One of my first digital compacts was a Panasonic and a lots changed in terms of layout and ease of use which shows a constantly evolving mind-set.

    If you're looking for a back up and you could only see the G9, give this camera a try before you get your money out.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3: Plus pointsMany featuresGreat vintage designGood lensExcellent macroNice colour rendition

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3: Minus pointsJoystick isn't very responsiveFlimsy battery doorNoise could be better

    FEATURESHANDLINGPERFORMANCEOVERALL

    Because of the feature-set, design and build quality, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 receives a highly recommended award.

     

    The Panasonic Lumix LX3 costs around £339 and is available from Warehouse Express here:

    Panasonic Lumix LX3

     

     

    www.ephotozine.com

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3: Digital Photography Review

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    Panasonic DMC-LX3 10.1MP Digital Camera with 24mm Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black)

    $449.00

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    299 3 240
    I own it I want it I had it

    Third generation of Panasonic's compact enthusiast model is a true thoroughbred offering a fast zoom with a real wideangle, a superb screen and excellent image quality, including high ISO performance puts most competitors to shame. The LX3 is positively understated compared to some of its competitors, which loudly proclaim the 'bigger is better' rather than 'less is more', and it's a far, far better camera for it. It's small enough to carry anywhere, fast and subtle enough for street photography and good enough to produce a decent 8x10 without the need to use raw. Of course it's not perfect; the controls are pretty fiddly (as it's so small) and there's no telephoto to speak of, but if the feature set matches your needs there's little to match it.

    Body type Ultracompact
    Max resolution 3648 x 2736
    Effective pixels 10 megapixels
    Sensor size 1/1.63" (8.07 x 5.56 mm)
    Sensor type CCD
    ISO Auto, Hi Auto (1600-6400), 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
    Focal length (equiv.) 24–60 mm
    Max aperture F2–2.8
    Articulated LCD No
    Screen size 3″
    Screen dots 460,000
    Max shutter speed 1/2000 sec
    Storage types SD/MMC/SDHC card, Internal
    USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
    Weight (inc. batteries) 265 g (0.58 lb / 9.35 oz)
    Dimensions 109 x 60 x 27 mm (4.29 x 2.36 x 1.06″)
    GPS None

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    www.dpreview.com

    Panasonic LX3 vs Panasonic LX5 Detailed Comparison

    Panasonic LX3 features a 24-60 mm F2.0-2.8 2.5× zoom lens whereas Panasonic LX5 features a 24-90 mm F2.0-3.3 3.8× zoom lens.

    Both cameras have a wide angle coverage of 24mm and have the same max aperture of f2.00 at this focal length. On the tele end, Panasonic LX5 has 30mm longer telezoom reach than the Panasonic LX3. However, with a max aperture of f2.80, Panasonic LX3 is faster at widest end.

    Wide Coverage

    Compact Cameras

    Max Aperture at Tele

    Compact Cameras

    Fastest - Ricoh GR Digital IV

    Max Aperture at Wide

    Compact Cameras

    What types of Photography are Panasonic LX3 and Panasonic LX5 Good for?

    In this section, we rank and compare Panasonic LX3 and Panasonic LX5 for five different photography types in order to make your decision process easier in case you are specifically interested in one or more of these areas.

    Panasonic LX3 for Portrait Photography
    Panasonic LX5 for Portrait Photography
    Image Stabilization RAW shooting capability External Flash Shoe Manual Focus Mode Manual Exposure Mode Small 1/1.63" (8.07 x 5.56 mm) sensor Very Low Resolution Sensor: 10.0MP No Built-in Viewfinder Not so good Ergonomics&Handling Read the details Image Stabilization RAW shooting capability External Flash Shoe Manual Focus Mode Manual Exposure Mode Optional External Viewfinder Small 1/1.63" (8.07 x 5.56 mm) sensor Very Low Resolution Sensor: 10.0MP Not so good Ergonomics&Handling Read the details
    Panasonic LX3 for Street Photography
    Panasonic LX5 for Street Photography
    Image Stabilization RAW shooting capability Manual Focus Mode Small Body Live-view Fast Lens at Wide: f2.0024 mm - Good Wide Angle Coverage Small 1/1.63" (8.07 x 5.56 mm) sensor No Built-in Viewfinder Read the details Image Stabilization RAW shooting capability Manual Focus Mode Small Body Live-view Fast Lens at Wide: f2.0024 mm - Good Wide Angle Coverage Optional External Viewfinder Small 1/1.63" (8.07 x 5.56 mm) sensor Read the details
    Panasonic LX3 for Sports Photography
    Panasonic LX5 for Sports Photography
    Image Stabilization RAW shooting capability External Flash Shoe Manual Focus Mode Manual Exposure Mode Average Max shutter speed: 1/2000s No Built-in Viewfinder Not so good Ergonomics&Handling Slow Continuous Shooting: 3.0fps Environmental Sealings Focus Points60 mm Tele Lens Read the details Image Stabilization RAW shooting capability External Flash Shoe Manual Focus Mode Manual Exposure Mode Fast Max shutter speed: 1/4000s 23 Focus Points Optional External Viewfinder Not so good Ergonomics&Handling Slow Continuous Shooting: 3.0fps Environmental Sealings90 mm Tele Lens Read the details
    Panasonic LX3 for Daily Photography
    Panasonic LX5 for Daily Photography
    RAW shooting capability Compact Body 265g Small 1/1.63" (8.07 x 5.56 mm) sensor 3X Optical Zoom Read the details RAW shooting capability Compact Body 271g 4X Optical Zoom Small 1/1.63" (8.07 x 5.56 mm) sensor Body Thickness 43mm Read the details
    Panasonic LX3 for Landscape Photography
    Panasonic LX5 for Landscape Photography
    RAW shooting capability Manual Focus Mode Manual Exposure Mode24 mm - Good Wide Angle Coverage Small 1/1.63" (8.07 x 5.56 mm) sensor Very Low Resolution Sensor: 10.0MP No Environmental Sealings Read the details Manual Focus Mode Manual Exposure Mode24 mm - Good Wide Angle Coverage Small 1/1.63" (8.07 x 5.56 mm) sensor Very Low Resolution Sensor: 10.0MP No Environmental Sealings Read the details

    Panasonic LX3 vs Panasonic LX5: OUR DECISION

    You may have already made your decision about which camera suits better for your needs and your budget so far but in case you wonder how we rated Panasonic LX3 and Panasonic LX5, below you can find their scores in five different aspects. Our Decision Algorithm dynamically scores cameras using 63 different specs, current price and DxO Mark scores (where possible) in order to make a more objective and consistent comparison.

    Here is a summary of how Panasonic LX3 and Panasonic LX5 scores compare:

    Panasonic LX3 Ranked #101 out of 468 in Compact camerasRanked #499 out of 1131 in all Cameras Panasonic LX5 Ranked #52 out of 468 in Compact camerasRanked #395 out of 1131 in all Cameras

    Panasonic LX5 is the overall winner of this comparison. It has a higher Overall Score and beats Panasonic LX3 in all criterias except one: Portability.If small size and light body is a big priority for you, choose Panasonic LX3. Otherwise, Panasonic LX5 is the better camera overall.

    Panasonic LX5 vs Panasonic LX3 Specs Table

    Detailed comparison of specifications General Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Sensor Autofocus Lens Screen Viewfinder Photography Features Video Features Connectivity Physical Other Features DxO Sensor Scores
    Brand Panasonic Panasonic
    Announced 2008-11-04 2011-12-15
    Body Type Compact Compact
    Price $449.00 $499.95
    Type CCD CCD
    Size 1/1.63" 1/1.63"
    Dimensions 8.07 x 5.56 mm 8.07 x 5.56 mm
    Area 44.87mm2 44.87mm2
    Megapixels 10 megapixels 10 megapixels
    Max Resolution 3648 x 2736 3648 x 2736
    Max Native Light sensitivity 6,400 ISO 12,800 ISO
    Min Native Light sensitivity 80 ISO 80 ISO
    RAW Support
    AF Touch
    AF Continuous
    AF Single
    AF Tracking
    AF Selective
    AF Center
    AF Multi Area
    AF Live View
    AF Face Detection
    AF Contrast Detection
    AF Phase Detection
    Number of Focus Points n/a 23
    Manual Focus
    Lens Mount fixed lens fixed lens
    Lens Focal Range 24-60 mm (2.5×) 24-90 mm (3.8×)
    Max Aperture F2.0-2.8 F2.0-3.3
    Macro Focus Range 1cm 1cm
    Type Fixed type Fixed type
    Size 3″ 3″
    Resolution 460k dots 460k dots
    Touch Screen
    Viewfinder None Electronic (optional)
    Max Shutter Speed 1/2000s 1/4000s
    Shutter Priority
    Aperture Priority
    Manual Exposure Mode
    Custom White Balance
    Image Stabilization Optical Optical
    Built-in Flash
    Flash Range 8.30 m 7.20 m
    External Flash
    Continuous Shooting 3.0 fps 3.0 fps
    Multi-Segment
    Average
    Spot
    Partial
    AF-Area
    Center Weighted
    AE Bracketing
    WB Bracketing
    Max Video Resolution 1280 x 720 1280 x 720
    Video Formats n/a AVCHD Lite
    Microphone Port
    Headphone Port
    Wireless Connectivity None None
    HDMI
    Environmental Sealing
    Weight 265g 271g
    Dimensions 109 x 60 x 27mm 110 x 65 x 43mm
    Battery Life n/a n/a
    Timelapse Recording
    GPS None None
    DxO Overall Score 39 41
    DxO Color Depth 19.6 19.6
    DxO Dynamic Range 10.8 10.8
    DxO Low Light ISO 94 132
    Report a correction Report a correction

    cameradecision.com

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 - | Cameralabs

    The Lumix DMC-LX3 is Panasonic’s flagship compact for enthusiasts. Announced in July 2008, two years after its predecessor, the new LX3 features 10.1 Megapixel resolution, full manual control, HD movie recording, a flash hotshoe, RAW recording and a 2.5x optical zoom with optical stabilisation, a bright focal ratio and an unusually wide angle lens.

    The new Lumix LX3 may physically resemble its predecessor from the outside and indeed shares most of the same controls, but under the hood, almost everything is different. The total pixel count may remain essentially the same, but it’s out with the old 16:9 widescreen sensor and in with a newly designed CCD with a more conventional 4:3 aspect ratio, but which maintains its angle of view at multiple aspect ratios – see our Features page for a full explanation. Crucially, Panasonic claims this new sensor is 19% more sensitive than the LX2, which should hopefully address concerns over noise on this earlier model.

    Support this site by price checking below

    The earlier LX2 already sported a wide angle lens with coverage equivalent to 28mm, but the new LX3 trumps this – and most compacts – with impressively wide 24mm coverage. Panasonic has also designed the lens to have a bright focal ratio of f2.0-2.8, which is at least a stop brighter than most other compacts, allowing it to typically gather double the light, which in turn means quicker exposures or less reliance on higher sensitivities. Like all Panasonic compacts, the LX3’s lens also features Optical Image Stabilisation to help combat camera-shake. So while the LX3’s new lens has a shorter range than its 4x predecessor, many will prefer the wider coverage and brighter aperture here.

    The LX3’s screen is now larger and more detailed at 3in with 460k pixels, but the shape is now 3:2 to the LX2’s 16:9. Unlike its predecessor though, clever use of the sensor area allows the LX3 to maintain its angle of view at any of its three aspect ratios, so there’s no coverage compromise whether shooting 4:3, 3:3 or 16:9, and only a small drop in resolution at the wider aspects.

    Like its predecessor, the Lumix LX3 features an impressive array of manual controls, giving you complete control over the aperture, shutter and focus. There’s also still the facility to record in the RAW format, and recognising many potential customers were won over by some aspects of the Canon G9, Panasonic has additionally equipped the LX3 with a flash hotshoe and an optional clip-on viewfinder.

    Completing the package are a number of technologies from Panasonic’s latest Lumix compacts – so the LX3 enjoys HD movie recording in the 720p format, optional component video output to HDTVs, and Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto mode which has an uncanny ability of figuring out what kind of photo you’re trying to take.

     

    Overall it’s a compelling specification for enthusiasts or anyone wanting a compact to complement a DSLR, but of course the big question is how it all works in practice. Does the LX3 really give you full control over your creative desires and crucially is the image quality a step-up from the disappointing output of the earlier LX2? Find out in our full review where we’ll examine the LX3’s new features, test its performance in practice and see how the image quality measures-up to key rivals including the popular Canon PowerShot G9. And as always, for a demonstration of its key features, check out our Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 video tour.

    Testing notes: we tested a final production Lumix LX3 running firmware version 1.0. Unless otherwise stated, the LX3 was set to Program mode with Auto White Balance and its Standard Film mode. Optical Image Stabilisation was enabled for all handheld images and disabled for tripod-based tests.

    www.cameralabs.com

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review - PhotographyBLOGPhotography Blog

    Review Date: August 12th 2008Author: Mark Goldstein

    Leave a comment about this Review

    Introduction

    The Lumix DMC-LX3 is the third compact digital camera from Panasonic to offer a 16:9 ratio image, following on from the original LX1 model that was released back in 2005 and the LX2 in 2006. The Panasonic LX3 additionally offers more conventional 3:2 and 4:3 ratio images via a switch on the lens barrel. Other improvements on the Panasonic DMC-LX3 include a brand new 10 megapixel, 1/1.63-inch CCD sensor, Venus Engine IV image processor, 3.0-inch LCD screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio and 460K dot resolution, and extended ISO range (80-3200). The Panasonic LX3 also has a wealth of options that will appeal to the more serious photographer. It features a 2.5x, 24-60mm wide-angle lens with a bright maximum aperture of F/2.0 at the 24mm setting, optical image stabilizer, full range of manual exposure controls, compact all-metal body, 2.5fps continuous shooting and support for both JPEG and RAW image formats. Panasonic have certainly made some bold claims about the LX3, stating that it offers "the highest image quality in compact camera history". And with a hefty price-tag of 399 / $499.95, you'd expect the LX3 to be near the mark. So does the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 significantly improve on the popular LX2 model, and is it the right compact digicam for you? Carry on reading the World's first online review to find out...

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    Ease of Use

    The Panasonic DMC-LX3 is a handsome yet understated camera, available in a choice of shiny silver or more serious black. It's a fairly compact camera, although it is wide (over 10cms) and more importantly quite deep too. The specification claims that the LX3 is 27.1mm deep, but this doesn't take the lens into account. The true depth is actually 45mm, which means that whilst the LX3 is still pocketable, it's a tighter squeeze than the official figures suggest, and therefore more at home in a small camera bag than in a pocket. The LX3 is extremely well-built, with a high quality all-metal body and controls.

    The overall design is dominated by the lens on the front and the large 3 inch LCD screen on the rear. The built-in flash is particularly neat. It pops up out of the top of the body when you open it, and then is stored safely away by pushing it back down. Panasonic have also added a flash hotshoe, which as you'd expect accepts either an optional flashgun, or more unusually the External Optical Viewfinder (more on this later). Another neat feature is the joystick, which allows you to set apertures and shutter speeds, control manual focusing and access the Quick Menu. It's an innovative idea that speeds up using the camera, which Panasonic now feature on a number of other models. Slight negatives in terms of build quality include the cover for the battery compartment and SD card slot, which feels a little insubstantial and is locked using a cheap plastic switch, and the tripod socket is positioned in the bottom-left corner of the camera, which doesn't make it very stable on a tripod.

    The DMC-LX3 has an unusual wide-angle, 2.5x zoom lens, which provides a focal length equivalent to 24-60mm on a 35mm camera. The 24mm wide-angle lens makes this one of the more versatile compacts in terms of focal range, especially as it is coupled with Panasonic's Mega O.I.S system, which helps to ensure that the majority of photos taken in good light are sharp. If you're used to a standard 3x zoom lens which usually starts at around 35mm wide, then you will find that the lens on the DMC-LX3 provides an entirely new angle of view that can only increase your creativity. Take it from me, you won't want to go back to a "standard" zoom after using the 24mm lens on the LX3.

    Things are a lot more limited at the telephoto end, though, with the 60mm setting providing an angle of view that's very similar to our normal vision (50mm is usually quoted as the equivalent setting). Therefore you'll have to physically move closer to your subject to capture head and shoulder portraits, with more extreme close-ups obviously out of the question. Some people will view the LX3's 2.5x lens as a backwards step from the previous LX2, which offered a 4x zoom covering a more versatile 28-112mm focal length, and it's certainly an important factor if you're considering the LX3.

    On a more positive note, the maximum aperture at wide-angle is a very bright f/2.0, increasing to a still very respectable f/2.8 at full telephoto. This is a step-up from the f/2.8 lens on the LX2, and much, much better than the lenses on most compact cameras. The new f/2.0 lens is about twice as bright as the previous f/2.8 lens, which means that the LX3 can be used to shoot at higher shutter speeds or in lower-light conditions, and still achieve comparable results. It also helps to blur the background more and concentrate the focus on the main subject of the photograph.

    The DMC-LX3 joins the handful of Panasonic compacts to offer advanced controls over exposure, with full manual, aperture and shutter priority modes on offer, which will appeal to the more experienced photographer looking for a pocket alternative to their DSLR. The icing on the cake is support for the RAW format, which makes the LX3 a real contender in this respect. You can choose to shoot in RAW only, or RAW plus one of the two JPEG modes, giving you the best of both worlds. Shutter speeds range from 60-1/2000 seconds, and apertures from F2.0 - F8.

    The Lumix DMC-LX3 is one of the most complex Panasonic compacts in terms of the number of external controls that it has, with nearly 20 in total. Found on the top of the camera are the small on/off switch, Focus button which lets you quickly select the number of auto focus points in the frame, responsive push/pull zoom lever and the large, tactile shutter button. There's also a traditional dial on the top of the camera that lets you select the different exposure modes; Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual. This dial is a typical feature of SLR cameras, and enables you to quickly change between the various modes. The various Scene modes, Intelligent Auto and the Movie mode are also accessed via this dial. Additionally there are to custom modes, C1 and C2, which allow you to configure your favourite settings and quickly access them.

    Front Rear

    On the bottom of the camera is the metal tripod socket and battery / SD card compartment, and on the right side are three connection ports, including the new Component Out socket for connecting the LX3 to a HD television or monitor. Unfortunately, Panasonic have decided to cut costs and not include a component cable as standard in the box, which means that you'll have to purchase one separately to take advantage of this camera's HD connectivity. The most unfamiliar controls are found on the lens barrel. The Focus switch lets you choose between normal auto-focusing, macro and manual focusing. The latter option works quite well, although it is a slow process. The centre of the LCD screen shows a magnified view, with a vertical distance scale on the right. You use the joystick to select a certain distance to achieve sharp focus.

    The other control on the lens barrel is the all-important Aspect Ratio switch, which allows you to select the type of image that you want to record. 16:9 is the same as wide-angle televisions and produces a very effective panoramic effect. If you're a fan of cameras like the Hassleblad xPan series, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3's 16:9 mode is quite similar and will definitely appeal to you. Note that when compared to the previous LX2, Panasonic have changed the way that the LX3 handles aspect ratios. 16:9 images are now recorded at 9 megapixels, 3:2 images at 9.5 megapixels and 4:3 images at the full 10 megapixels. Also, the switch to a 3:2 aspect ratio LCD screen from the 16:9 screen on the LX2 means that the camera blacks out the top and the bottom of the screen to represent the 16:9 and 4:3 views, a similar system to the original LX1 model. The ability to switch between different viewpoints makes the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 a very adaptable and creative tool, especially if you have an interest in panoramic images. The new Multi-aspect bracketing mode makes this even easier, allowing you to shoot an image in all 3 aspect ratios simultaneously.

    The rear of the LX3 has changed slightly when compared to the LX2. There's a new Camera / Play switch, which enables you to quickly and easily switch from shooting to playback. This system does have one drawback though, in that you have to keep switching between the shooting or playback modes, rather than just pressing a button to review your images whilst in a shooting mode, as on most other digital cameras. The AF/AE Lock button has been moved down next to the Quick Menu joystick and underneath the thumb grip area, a more logical position than before. Pressing the joystick accesses the Quick menu system, which provides quick access to most of the principal controls, including ISO speed, image size, image quality and white balance (there are up to 9 settings in total, depending upon the current shooting mode). You can still access all of these options from the main menu system too.

    Optical image stabilisation, which could previously be turned on and off via an external button, is now only accessible through the DMC-LX3's menu system. This isn't really a problem in practice, as I left it turned on for 99% of the time without negatively affecting the battery life. Otherwise the LX3 is very similar to the LX2, with a traditional D-Pad with 5 buttons, and Display and Burst Shooting buttons underneath. Pressing left, up, right and down on the D-Pad buttons selects self-timer, exposure compensation, flash and function options respectively. The Function button can be configured to activate one of seven key settings - I chose ISO speed. In shooting mode, the Display button alternates between showing no information, gridlines and the main camera settings.

    The main menu system on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 is straight-forward to use and is accessed by pressing the Menu/Set button in the middle of the navigation D-Pad. There are two main menus, Record and Setup. Most of the camera's main options, such as white balance, image quality, auto-focus mode and ISO speed, are accessed here, so the Record menu has 22 options spread over 4 screens, and the Setup menu has 26 options over 5 screens. As mentioned previously, the addition of the Q.Menu button on the rear of the camera speeds up access to some of the more commonly used options. Due to the large LCD screen and restricting the number of on-screen choices to five, the various options and icons are clear and legible.

    The large 3 inch LCD screen is the only way of framing your shots, so if you have to have an optical viewfinder, look elsewhere now (although you can buy the optional External Optical Viewfinder which slots into the flash hotshoe), but I found that the new 460K pixel, high-resolution screen coped admirably with the majority of lighting conditions. This screen is a great improvement on the TZ3's, even being nice to use in low-light. The Auto Power LCD function automatically detects the current lighting conditions and boosts the LCD backlighting by up to 40% when shooting outdoors in bright sunshine, helping to keep the screen visible. The various icons used to represent the camera settings are clear and legible. If you have never used a digital camera before, or you're upgrading from a more basic model, reading the easy-to-follow manual before you start is a good idea. Thankfully Panasonic have chosen to supply it in printed format, rather than as a PDF on a CD, so you can also carry it with you.

    Top Pop-up Flash

    In a throwback to the days before digital took over the world, the LX3 offers a Film Mode with 6 colour types and 3 types of monochrome to choose from. This applies to both JPEG and RAW files, so you can effectively shoot a black and white RAW file, for example, out of the camera if you wish (although I'm not sure why you'd want to...). As you select a different Film Mode, the effects can clearly be seen on the LCD screen. In addition, you can change the contrast, sharpness, noise reduction and saturation levels for each one, and even create 2 custom modes of your own. The Multi Film option takes up to three consecutive images using different Film Mode settings (this doesn't work in RAW mode though). The Intelligent Exposure mode automatically adjusts the contrast and exposure of the scene to compensate for big differences between the main subject and background, with Low, Standard and High settings on offer, whilst Multiple Exposure lets you combine 2 or 3 separate images for creative effect.

    First introduced on the DMC-FX55 camera, the DMC-LX3 features an enhanced version of Intelligent Auto Mode. Panasonic have tried to make things as easy as possible for the complete beginner by providing this shooting mode, which allows you to point and shoot the camera without having to worry about choosing the right mode or settings. Intelligent Auto Mode automatically determines a number of key criteria when taking a picture, including selecting the most appropriate scene mode (from 5 commonly used presets) and ISO speed, and turning face detection (up to 15 faces), image stabilization and quick auto-focus on. The Intelligent Auto Mode now includes Intelligent Exposure, which increases exposure only in the under-exposed areas of the image, and Digital Red-eye, which automatically detects and removes red-eye. Intelligent Exposure can also be turned on in the Normal Picture mode (but strangely not Digital Red-eye).

    In practice the Intelligent Auto Mode system works very well, with the camera seamlessly choosing the most appropriate combination of settings for the current situation. The 5 available scene modes are Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Night Portrait and Night Scenery, so obviously not all situations are covered by Intelligent Auto Mode, but it does work for the majority of the time. It makes it possible for the less experienced photographer to easily take well-exposed, sharp pictures of people, scenery and close-ups by simply pointing and shooting the camera. Also catering for the beginner are a total of 23 scene modes, including new Pin Hole and Film Grain modes that add unique, film-camera-like effects to your images (quirky rather than useful).

    The HD video capability of the DMC-LX3 is one of the major new features of this model. The HD movie mode records 720p video at 1280x720 pixels at 24 fps. Selecting this mode is a little more awkward than it should be, as you have to first select the 16:9 aspect ratio on the lens barrel and then the HD picture mode. Movies are saved in the Quicktime .MOV format, which is fine for the smaller sizes, but less so for the HD video - our 17 second sample movie is a whopping 55Mb, and you'll only be able to fit around 10 minutes of HD footage on a 2Gb SD card. Panasonic would have been better advised to employ a more efficient video codec. On a more positive note, sound is recorded during capture (although as with most digicams it's on the muffled side). Back to the minus points though, as you can't use the zoom lens during recording, although this does avoid the continuous auto-focusing problem that afflicted the DMC-TZ5's movies. I also didn't notice any of the thin white vertical lines that appeared during both shooting and video-playback in the TZ5's movies.

    As with all current Panasonic models, the LX3 has an anti-shake system, dubbed Mega O.I.S. Turn it on via the Record Menu and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 automatically compensates for camera shake, which is a slight blurring of the image that typically occurs at slow shutter speeds when the camera is hand held. There are three different modes, Mode 1 is on all the time including image composition, Mode 2 is only on when you press the shutter button, and there's also an Auto mode. In practice I found that it does make a noticeable difference, as shown in the examples on the Image Quality page. You don't notice that the camera is actually doing anything different when anti-shake is turned on, just that you can use slower shutter speeds than normal and still take sharp photos. Thankfully leaving the anti-shake system on didn't negatively affect the battery-life, with the camera managing just over 350 shots using the supplied rechargeable Li-ion battery (50 shots more than the LX2).

    Panasonic also provide a High Sensitivity mode to help combat the effects of camera shake. When this scene mode is selected, the camera automatically raises the ISO speed from 1600 up to a maximum of 6400 and therefore allows for a faster shutter speed. This mode allows you to handhold the DMC-LX3 without using the flash and get more natural results, whilst at the same time freezing subject movement more successfully. There are some obvious drawbacks with this special scene mode, principally a significant reduction in resolution to a maximum of 3 megapixels in the 4:3 aspect ratio, and the Quality is also set the the lowest level. The user guide states that "you can take pictures suitable for 4x6 inch printing" using the High Sensitivity mode. You also need to select the right scene mode and therefore have some idea about when it is applicable to your subject.

    Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

    The Intelligent ISO mode is the third way in which the DMC-LX3 attempts to avoid subject blur in low-light conditions. The camera automatically sets the appropriate shutter speed AND ISO speed for the subject that you are taking pictures of. So if you're taking shots of a child indoors, the DMC-LX3 automatically raises the ISO and in turn the shutter speed to avoid blurring the child's movement. If the subject is still, then the camera chooses a lower sensitivity and slower shutter speed. It's a clever idea that works well in practice, with the camera generally choosing an appropriate combination of shutter and ISO speed. You can also limit the maximum ISO speed that the camera can choose, which I'd strongly advise, as the fastest available setting of ISO 1600 produces very noisy images - ISO 800 is a better choice.

    The Extra Zoom feature from earlier Lumix models has been retained, which basically works by digitally increasing the zoom from 2.5x up to a maximum of 4.5x by only using the central part of the image. To achieve that increase, though, a smaller image size has to be selected by the user. Choosing the 3 megapixel mode means that you can zoom up to 4.5x, whilst 5 megapixel provides a 3.6x zoom, and 7 megapixel is 3x (all in the 4:3 aspect ratio). Fairly useful if you don't mind the decrease in resolution, but you do have to set the camera to the right picture size before the extra zoom function works, and it only works when shooting JPEGs. It would have been a much better system if the camera intelligently increased the zoom and then decreased the size of the image. When activated, EZ is displayed next to the horizontal zooming scale.

    Panasonic have obviously noticed the success that Ricoh have been enjoying with their high-end, system compact cameras, because at the same time as announcing the LX3, they also unveiled a number of optional accessories (Panasonic UK sadly didn't send any for us to review). There's a Wide Conversion Lens, which widens the view even further from 24mm to 18mm, and the External Optical Viewfinder, which slots into the flash hotshoe and is useful if you prefer to hold the LX3 up to your eye for image composition. There's also a compact external flashgun with a guide number of 22, although obviously you can't use the flashgun and the optical viewfinder at the same time. Finally, ND. MC, and Polarizing filters (which in turn require an optional lens adaptor) can also be purchased, which leaves a Wide Conversion Lens as the only notable absentee (I'd expect to see one made available sooner rather than later). Panasonic are obviously hoping that buyers will turn an initial 399 / $500 purchase into something greater by gradually adding to their LX3 "system".

    The start-up time from turning the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 on to being ready to take a photo is fairly quick at around 1.5 seconds. Zooming from the widest focal length to the longest is a lot slower though at over 3 seconds (I'm not sure why zooming just 2.5x takes so long). Focusing is quick in good light and the camera achieves focus most of the time indoors or in low-light situations, helped by the focus-assist lamp. The camera doesn't have any problems locking onto the subject in low-light situations. The visibility and refresh rate of the 3 inch LCD screen are very good, and the pixel count of 460,000 is excellent, with virtually no visible grain. It takes about 1 second to store a JPEG image, allowing you to keep shooting as they are being recorded onto the memory card - there is a barely perceptible LCD blackout between each image. Storing a single RAW image takes around 5 seconds, but thankfully it doesn't lock up the camera in any way - you can use the menu system or shoot another image while the first file is being written to memory. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 has a pretty standard Burst mode which enables you to take 2.5 frames per second for up to 4 images at the highest JPEG image quality or 3 RAW images (there is a much faster 6fps high-speed mode, but the resolution drop to just 3 megapixels). Overall the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 is about average in terms of operational speed.

    Once you have captured a photo, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 has a good range of options when it comes to playing, reviewing and managing your images. You can instantly scroll through the images that you have taken, view thumbnails (up to 30 onscreen at the same time and in a special Calendar view), zoom in and out up to 16x magnification, view slideshows, delete, protect, trim, resize, copy and rotate an image. You can also select favourite images, sort images into categories, change an image's aspect ratio, add a text stamp, add a soundclip and set the print order. The new Leveling option automatically corrects a picture in which the subject is leaning to the left or right, rotating the image to straighten it and cropping the edges. Dual Play is a great option that takes advantage of the big LCD screen by allowing you to compare two images onscreen at the same time. The Display button toggles detailed settings information about each picture on and off, such as the ISO rating and aperture / shutter speed, and there is a small histogram available during both shooting and playback. When taking a photo, pressing the Display button toggles between the detailed information, the detailed information plus gridlines to aid composition, and no information at all.

    In summary, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 is an unusual, well-made, feature-rich yet easy-to-use camera that caters for both beginner and more experienced photographers alike.

    PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.

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