My primary camera of choice for the past four years has been my trusty Nikon D70s. It’s a wonderful camera and I’m not getting rid of it any time soon but because of its size/weight, it’s not always ideal for carrying around and taking quick snaps or shooting video (impossible). At the other end of the spectrum, my iPhone’s camera isn’t up to the job of anything other than grainy low resolution photos – good enough for making a visual note of something but nothing more.
Photo by Daniel Y. Go
Enter the Lumix LX3, a new high-end compact from Panasonic which has been getting rave reviews. I’ve been wanting to get a compact for some time but none offered quite the right balance of manual control, superior picture quality and HD video (more on this later). The LX3 sports an impressive Leica DC Vario-Summicron 24-60mm f/2.0-2.8 (35mm equivalent) lens, 10.1-megapixel sensor, choice of shooting aspect ratios (4:3, 3:2, 16:9), full manual control, RAW recording, and the ability to shoot 720p HD video at 24fps.
Photo by Daniel Y. Go
Unfortunately, it didn’t arrive in time for my previous weekend excursion so I’ve not had much opportunity to put it through its paces fully yet but my first impressions are excellent. The body feels robust and the controls intuitive – whilst it came with a weighty manual I only read the first couple of pages to get up and running. The screen is bright and the are menus easy to navigate.
I’ve been particularly impressed with its ability to shoot in low light – the above shot was taken through the window of my apartment hand-held on auto.
I also won’t feel like such an idiot getting out my camera to take snaps of my food now!
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Those sample photos look impressive. My current compact – a Canon IXUS 900 Ti – tends to struggle under low light, including normal room lighting. I’m not going to give it up for quite a while yet though, as it’s generally a great camera. If I was forced to replace it, the LX3 sounds like a great candidate.
Your test images look really nice – good colour balance in mixed lighting and, even compressed on the blog, look bitingly sharp. I think you’ve made a great choice. The video (on the bus) also looks great – maybe we’ll be seeing more video blogs in the future…. Have fun!!
At the moment the LX3 certainly seems to be amongst the top of the high-end compacts along with the Canon PowerShot G9/G10.
Expect more videos soon – the one on the bus was a very quick and dirty test but will try to put a bit more “artistic direction” in the future.
Does Panasonic offer a LX3 user’s manual in PDF? I would like to have one to store on my computer. Bought the LX3 to have a “constant carry” camera.
Hi Russ, I found a copy of the manual here – http://tda.panasonic-europe-service.com/docs/2z49588943z3z277a7z656ez706466z20z3e54b7a5887606e8fe09137d75132267d820e52f/tsn2/data/ALL/DMCLX3/OI/796420/vqt1t63.pdf