Pros Ultrawide angle zoom. Gorgeous lens. Responsive camera
Cons High ISO speed problematic for some
Not a great movie taking camera
Summary As a photojournalist Leica cameras were the workhorses of my profession and my favorite camera Leica was the compact CL that was produced for only a few years in the 1970s. It was my standard carry-around camera. With its 40mm Summicron and a 28mm Elmarit it fit into a small camera case and was easy and unobtrusive to use.
For me the LX3 is the descendant of the Leica CL. Yes the zoom range is limited, only 24-60mm (35mm equivalent), but that's more then I had with the CL and two lenses.
And the Vario-Summicron is worth the price of the camera alone. In fact you can't buy a used summicron for the cost of this camera.
And the lens makes the difference. Thruly the tonality, sharpness and color fidelity of this lens (this tiny, tiny lens) puts the lenses on many dSLRs to shame. When I first got the LX3 I took some test shots and made large prints. Hanging them next to similar sized photos from my dSLR I was surprised at how muc smoother and sharper the LX3 prints were.
But this is not a camera for everyone. If you want a long telephoto range, to shoot party snaps in low light and if you are not making big prints you'd probably do better with another point and shoot something like the Panasonic TZ5.
This is a great camera for street photography, interior work and oddly enough for landscapes. The supersharp 24mm lens takes in great expanses and makes great, big prints.
I'd recommend it to anyone who has begun to take photography seriously and wants a camera to match their vision.
Pros 24-mm wide angle, FAST Leica lens, raw mode, great OIS, great manual controls for serious photographers w/o sacrificing "point and shoot" simplicity, VASTLY improved high ISO response compared to predecessors, versatile movie modes, 16:9 capable.
Cons Slight aberrations off-axis at widest FOV (but very good for cameras in this price range), rumors of underpowered flash are true, rumors of poor white balance are true but (I believe) overstated.
Summary I've owned the LX-1, LX-2 and now the LX-3, and it's been interesting to see how Panasonic updates a compact camera series targeted toward serious photographers. The LX-1 was great out of the the starting gate, but a bit noisy (within reasonable limits for the imaging sensor used). The LX-2 added a lot of irrelevant features, and INCREASED the pixel count (8 to 10 Mp) and ISO specification, further degrading the noise problem. The LX-2, in my opinion, was a step backward from the LX-1
I'm happy to see that Panasonic has listened to it's users. While holding the pixel count constant at 10 Mp, increasing the lens speed and improving an already impressive optical image stabilization system, the LX-3 overcomes the flaws of the LX-2. All the other great features of the LX series: great lens, manual controls, raw shooing, flexible movie modes, and fast shutter speeds, remain. Unless someone prefers longer telephoto capabilities, serious photographers will find this the compact camera of choice.
Personally I would like to see an intervalometer capability, like some Nikon & Canon compacts, but this is niggling over what is, in balance, a fantastic camera.
Pros wide angle lens, low light shooting, burst shooting, lcd screen, functions/features, durability
Cons lack of telephoto (but i understand why), some graininess in low light situations
Summary after shooting with this camera for about a week while on vacation in l.a., i feel like this is one of the better investments i've made this year.sorry for the typo, my friend had the d-lux3, not the same camera as the one reviewed.
the picture quality is tip top for most situations, especially for gorgeous wide angle landscapes.
i also got some decent shots in very low light situations at the kings of leon concert out in l.a., but they were a stretch. graininess did appear in about 75% of those shots, but i managed to get a few really crisp shots as well (the unlimited burst most worked wonders.)
and just to address the difference between the leica d-lux and the panasonic lx3 series, i found that the leica d-lux3 was slightly over exposed in most outdoor situations when compared to the lx3 (my friend had the lx3, and I shot with it as well.) however, i don't know if they've tweaked anything in the d-lux4...
anyhow, i'll have to tinker around with this new toy over this coming weekend to better understand what the camera does. there is an ample amount of manual and semi-manual adjustments to make this lx3 far better than any point and shoot.
in the mean time please refer to this blog, which i found incredibly helpful when deciding to purchase the lx3: http://www.lawrenceripsher.com/blog/2008/08/panasonic-lx3-review.html
Updated on Oct 24, 2008
Pros fast, wideangle, obtically superb lens. good noise performance up to ISO400 (800 is ok but pushing it), beautiful style and construction, manual controls
Cons wish the noise performance was better, short zoom
Summary I've used this camera for 6 months now and I absolutely love it! i find the balance of size and image quality a good compromise, specially because i'm a street photographer at heart and my style is annonimity. of course you need to know your way around cameras if you're willing to buy a larger-than-your-average-compact, short zoomed, and without the highest pixel count (it matters to most more than it should) but if you do you'll be very pleased with the results. or if you're a newbie and one happens to be in your hands, put it on auto mode and be amazed. I dont think cnet's review on this camera does it justice.
"Great small camera"on by Dr__Nick
Pros Fast lens
Effective image stabilization
Smaller sized than competition
Good low light performance
Good macro performance
Good image quality
Great street and landscape camera
Cons Silkypix RAW software
Battery life could be better
No optical viewfinder
Camera resets manual focus when it falls asleep
Blooming with spectral highlights in HD video
If telephoto matters to you, not the camera for you.
Summary Excellent small, serious photo tool. 24mm f2.0 is fantastic. It has good image quality. I would recommend ditching the RAW software and using Adobe's conversion tool.
And BTW, for the editor who wrote the review, the different format modes are not crops- you'll note on the LCDwhen you flick between the modes that the coverage in the frame actually changes (ie 4:3 mode actually ADDS some height while taking away width from 3:2 mode, and 16:9 mode is wider than any of the others). It's different than an in-camera crop- if you shoot in 4:3 mode (which has the most megapixels) you will never be able to crop that picture to look like what the 16:9 would have looked like.