Friday, November 05, 2010

Panasonic Lumix-LX5 Review [Part.I]

"a new legend is born from a legacy" that was one one statement that changed the world's opinion of point-and-shoot, it was intended for the unrivaled compact camera of that year. That was the Panasonic Lumix-LX3 in 2008. Read my review of LX3 here. Since then, the LX3 has seen itself being the most talked about and purchased compact camera, because of its specifications, capabilities and appearance. Many competitors did try to copy this winning strategy, but they failed.
The LX3 was one camera which never saw any depreciation in selling price and resale price for 2 years.
Simply because the Legacy is strong to live on!
This year, 2010, a new successor is reborn and joined the Legendary Legacy.
Panasonic Lumix-LX5
"the Legendary Legacy Lives on"

Thanks to Panasonic Singapore for giving me this LX5.
It came unexpected, but I see it as a reward for my continous support for the Legacy.


It came as no surprise that the LX5 box remains similar to any other Lumix cameras.


Contents include: DMC-LX5, Lumix Neck strap, Lens cap string, USB cable, AV cable, AC cable (2-pin), AC cable (3-pin), Battery charger, Battery pack, Battery cradle, Warranty card, Lumix CD-ROM, SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.1 & PHOTOfunSTUDIO 5.0 HD CD-ROM, Instuctions manual.

Take a look at the difference in terms of packaging and appearance of both legends.
At once, you can identify the difference between the box is the size.
Surprisingly, LX5 has a slimmer box than LX3.

It is not easy to tell the differences, in terms of appearance, between the two legends.
1. LX5 has a redesigned hand grip.
2. LX5 has "Power O.I.S." printed in red, instead of "Mega O.I.S.".
3. There is a silver rim around the lens cap of the LX5.
4. LX5 has a taller hotshoe mount attributed to additional accessory port.
5. MIC has changed its location to the top of the LX5.

6. The Focus button on the LX3 has been replaced by a red Motion Picture shortcut button on the LX5.
7. The Aspect Ratio Selector Switch on the LX5 has an additional "1:1".

The rear is where most of the physical changes can be seen.
8. LX5 has a dial similar to on the GF1.
9. The shoot/playback switch on the LX3 has been removed from the LX5.
10. Joystick on the LX3 has been removed from the LX5.
11. On the LX5, AF/AE Lock button has been moved to replace the position of the joystick.
12. LX5 has a Playback button after losing the shoot/playback switch.
13. Cursor Up on the LX5 is now assigned to Focus button instead of exposure compensation.
14. Cursor Right on the LX5 is now assigned to ISO setting button instead of Flash button.
15. Quick Menu button is now assign to the Delete button on the LX5.
16. The battery pack of the LX5 (right) has gained more juice and an ID-recognition contact.

17. The shutter button on the LX5 is slightly convex compared to the flat button on LX3.

18. The barrel of the lens on LX5 is thicker than that of LX3.

20. At telephoto, the LX3 lens barrel retracts while the lens of the LX5 remains slightly unchanged.
21. On closer observation, the lens on LX3 seems to have a dark purplish-green coating while the lens on LX5 is a huge piece of clear glass.

22. The Panasonic logo has been moved from the body to the top of the pop-up flash on the LX5.
23. The "LUMIX" text on the LX5 is now engraved on the body in white paint, while the text on the LX3 is textured and raised fonts.


• 1/1.63" Type CCD
• 11.3 million pixels total
• 10.1 million effective pixels
• Primary Color Filter
Under the hood, the sensor of the LX5 has been redesigned such that sensitivity and saturation has both been improved by at least 30%. The bright lens and high sensitivity allows movie recording at a minimum of as low as 3 lux. Once again, low light photography has been taken to new unrivaled heights.

LCD monitor
• 3.0" TFT LCD Display
• 460K dots
• Field of View : approx. 100%
• AUTO Power LCD mode, Power LCD mode ,High CRI (Color Rendering Index) LED backlight
Once again, similar to the LX3, the LCD monitor on the LX5 might not be the best too look at and make judgment of the photos. It is still much more reliable to depend on the histogram.
110 x 65 x 25 mm
(4.08 x 2.20 x 0.97 in)
Weight with battery
271 g
The physical dimensions of the LX5 does not differ too much from the LX3. In fact, the LX5 can fit snugly into my current LX3 2-piece leather pouch.

New Venus Engine FHD
The LX5 is equipped with a newly developed Venus Engine FHD promising faster processing speed and improved performance, attributed to the triple-core CPUs in this imaging engine.
The new processor allows multi-tasking enabling a super-fast response time and overall much faster operation timing.
The new Venus Engine FHD is also equipped with Intelligent Resolution technology where outlines, textured areas and soft gradation areas are recognized and processed separately to enhance the photo outcome. This technology plays an important role in noise control, sharpness, intelligent zoom (digital zoom) as well as zoom during movie recording. This is something that is hard for the end-user to realize, but users will sure appreciate the better outcomes.
Most importantly, the Venus Engine FHD is much more energy-efficient, allows the LX5 to snap 400 pictures/charge (CIPA) and longer recording times in AVCHD Lite.

Movie Recording
• AVCHD Lite 1280 x 720 pixels @ SH: 17 Mbps/ H: 13 Mbps/ L: 9Mbps)
• Motion JPEG: 1280 x 720 pixels @ 30fps
• 4:3: 640 x 480 pixels, 320 x 240 pixels @ 30 fps
• 16:9: 848 x 480 pixels @ 30 fps
It is not only the Motion Picture recording button make a big difference in the ease and convenience to the whole movie recording experience.
The LX5 now records movies in AVCHD Lite 720p format which allows double the recording time compared to the older Motion JPEG format.
Creative Movie mode allows the user to have more creative control over movie recording. The user can now change the aperture and shutter during movie recording and not rely on the erratic automatic detection. Do note that it is better to set the camera on a sturdy tripod when using this mode, as the turning of dials is going to cause your camera to move. You won't want to be making a "Blair Witch Project".
Optical zoom during movie recording is the biggest bonus and definitely something to shout about, for the LX5. This feature usually present only on dedicated video camcorders, is not available on the LX5. This one feature is making all the difference in an amateur video and a professional-looking video!
The bright F2.0 lens and high sensitivity CCD allows minimum illlumination of as low 3 lux.
Recommended SDHC Speed minimum requirement: Class 4.0 for AVCHD; Class 6.0 for Motion JPEG
The maximum record time for Motion JPEG is 30mins and/or less than 2GB.

• 3.8x optical zoom
• 24-90mm (35mm equiv.)
• F2.0-3.3
• 10 elements in 9 groups (3 Aspherical Lenses / 5 Aspherical surfaces)
POWER O.I.S. lens-shift image stabilization
The DMC-LX5 is equipped with newly developed F2.0 24mm ultra-wide-angle LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens. The new premium LEICA lens features an improvement of optical zoom from 2.5x(60mm) to 3.8x(90mm), addressing the earlier complaints of the LX3's lack of zoom. The super bright F2.0 lens not only allows more light in to allow low light shooting but also gives a better bokeh. The lens begins at 24mm on wide-angle, which means that you capture more without have to retreat to back to capture a bigger group.
Aspect Ratio
1:1 was added to the LX3 with a firmware upgrade. The LX3 has 1:1 added to the existing 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 on the Aspect Ratio Selector.

• Normal
• Macro (Wide 1 cm / Tele 30cm - infinity)
• Quick AF On/Off (On in Intelligent Auto)
• Continuous AF On/Off
• AF Tracking
• AF Area select
• Manual
• Focus (Jog dial)
AF area modes
• Face / AF tracking
• 23-point
• Single-point
• Spot (flexible/ scalable)
Shutter speed
• 60-1/4000 sec
• Movie mode: 1/30 - 1/20,000 sec
• Starry Sky Mode : 15, 30, 60sec
• Multistage Iris Diaphragm
• F2.0 - 8 (Wide); F3.3 - 8 (Telephoto)
• F2.0 - 11 (Wide) / F3.3 - 11 (Telephoto) in movie mode

ISO Sensitivity
• Auto
• 80
• 100
• 200
• 400
• 800
• 1600
• 3200
• High Sensitivity Mode : Auto (6400 - 12800)
Shooting Modes
• iA (Intelligent AUTO) mode
• P (Program) mode
• A (Aperture Priority) mode
• S (Shutter Priority) mode
• M (Manual) mode
• Creative Movie mode
• Custom 1
• Custom 2

• Scene mode
• My Color mode

Continuous Shooting
• Full-Resolution Image
2.5 frames/sec Max. 5 images (Standard mode), Max 3 images (Fine Mode)
• High-speed Burst Mode:
Approx. 6.0 frames/sec (image priority)
Approx. 10 frames/sec (speed priority)
(recorded in 3M for 4:3, 2.5M for 3:2, 2M for 16:9)

Jog Dial
The jog dial is brought over from the GF1. The dial replaces the joystick on the LX3 and is used to change settings/values such as aperture, shutter speed. Depressing the dial switches to changing of exposure compensation.
Hot-shoe & Accessory Port
Like the GF1, the Accessory Port allows the use of Electronic Live View Finder mounted on the hot-shoe. For external flash capability, the LX5 can fire off Olympus and Panasonic flash units with TTL capability. The LX5 like the LX3 can also trigger Nikon Speedlight to fire but without TTL.

• USB2.0 High speed
• AV Output (NTSC/PAL)
• mini HDMI
• DC Input
• Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
• 0.8 - 7.2m (Wide/ISO Auto), 0.3 - 4.4m (Tele/ISO Auto)

Image Parameters
• Film Mode: Standard / Dynamic / Nature / Smooth / Vibrant / Nostalgic / Standard B&W / Dynamic B&W / Smooth B&W / My Film 1, 2 / Multi Film
• My Color Mode: Expressive /Retro / Pure / Elegant / Monochrome / High Dynamic / Dynamic Art / Dynamic B&W / Silhouette / Pinhole / Film Grain / Custom Happy (only in iA mode)

against ...
Retired Compact Cameras: Canon IXUS 40 & Konica KD400Z


Current Photography Gears: Nikon D90 & Olympus PEN E-P1
(D200 was absent since it was used to shoot this review)


Toys: Revoltech EVA-01 Type F & Robot Spirits Gundam EXIA Seven Swords

1/6th: Leonardo Dicarprio on Canon EOS 5D

The LX3 is a legend and revolutionized the fate of compact cameras. Both amateur and professional photographers appreciated the capabilities of the LX3, despite its few shortcomings.
Now, the Legend is reborn! LUMIX-LX5 addressed most of the issue related to LX3 and incorporated some of the features that made the LUMIX GF1 a success. The result is another Legend. Some might think that Panasonic is probably rehashing the LX3 with slight improvements. I agree since the LX3 can do most of my low light shooting, while the LX5 is not one that can do wonders compared to the former. I would have never scored the LX5, since I am contended with the LX3. However, Panasonic was very kind to reward me with a complementary LX5, I say "Why not!!"
If you are not a current user of LX3, you should get the LX5. If you are already an owner of LX3, there is really no need to go for the upgrade, unless you have heaps of cash and fancy the additional neat features of the LX5.

Keep a look out for REVIEW PART II where I will do photographic tests on the LX5 and as well as comparison in performace to LX3.


Photography & Editing by William Tan

All Rights Reserved
©William Tan 2010

Please respect the copyrights of the photographs and content in this post. Please support my work by linking back to this post via this address:
This is an individual and independent user review, for more information on the official product, please refer to:

technorati tags


Laurens said...

w8ing for u to post some of ur weding pix,but u gav us this.....


why self sexpose meself on moi blog?