Pros High quality images, high ISO capability, having control over all aspects, Exposure control is excellent, focusing is accurate, camera is easy to use
Cons Doesn't shoot unlimited bursts like the LX-3, Low light performance is not as good as I hoped, Lens cap is annoying
Summary I said "Depends on What You're Looking For" because everyone has their own expectations and needs. In my case, all my DSLRs have been Nikon, and all my small pocket cameras have been Canon. I was in the market for a new pocket camera since my others didn't have optical image stabilization. So I bought another small Canon, and for some reason, just not as pleased anymore (I ended up giving to my wife and she loves it). I must admit I'm picky on quality of the image, high ISO capability, and having some control over camera setting.Edit Broken Link
A friend of mine had been looking at DSLRs, but bought the LX5 and asked what I thought about it. The more I reviewed and analyzed it, the more I liked it. So I bought one. It's close to a pocket size camera, but a little larger. Though the specs say 4.3 inch x 2.6 inch x 1 inch, that is true, but just for the body itself. The lens with lens cap adds another inch sticking out. So the body is OK, but a little bigger than I previously would purchase for casual carry around shooting. But, it's still not that large overall, and fits in jacket pockets, larger pants pockets just fine.
So after using this camera, I changed my outlook. Why? Because this camera met my expectations of high quality images, high ISO capability, and having control over all aspects (but I found automatic mode produces outstanding images also, so it's a win-win on this camera). This camera is the first compact I ever owned that produces superb images which I don't find myself complaining about. The images actually look like the original scene. Exposure control is excellent, focusing is accurate, images look great, and the camera is easy to use. For being picky, I really haven't found a complaint yet. Lumix did a good job on this one.
Even though this camera has a hot shoe on top for an external flash, I don't buy compacts for that reason, normally wouldn't care if one was there anyway. I would use my DSLR for that purpose. However, that's me, so I took my Nikon SB800 flash (which is 3 times the size of the camera) and stuck it on the LX5. I put the camera in Aperture priority mode, set the f/stop and set the flash accordingly. No problem. Everything worked very well. Though you can't expect to get a computerized camera to flash operation that a dedicated Panasonic flash would give you, it does mean you can use whatever flash you want on the camera and get good photos. (I posted one under customer images using the Nikon flash).
So it does depend on what you're looking for in a camera that suits your needs, in my case, this camera does excellent and very pleased with it.
*** P.S. If you will buy this Camera I suggest you have compare price before you decide at: www.amazon.com/gp/*************?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%****%2Foffer-listing%2FB003WJR69E%3Fie%3DUTF8%26ref_%3Ddp_olp_new_map%26condition%3Dnew&tag=***************&********=ur2&camp=1789&creative=390957
Updated on Oct 2, 2011
If you will buy the LX5 I suggest for best deal at: www.ama zon.com/exec/******/****/B003WJR69E/cnet-offer-20
Updated on Nov 20, 2011Edit URL
Suggest check for best deal at: www.amazon .com/dp/B003WJR69E/?tag=cnet-offer-20
Pros Superb Quality. As a rep at B&H said: "The Canon S95 will take photos you'd see in a magazine. The LX5 will take picture's you'd see in a book." CLOSE macro focusing (1cm, and yes it is useful). Excellent flash coverage and exposure in Macro mode. 2
Cons Not really a portable point-and-shoot like the Canon S95 (which i eventually chose after testing both). That DARN LENS CAP!!! "Unimportant", say the purists -- but it has a nasty habit of getting in the way, especially when shooting video. Also gives er
Summary Best choice for purists who want a "real" camera in compact size. But it is a mid-size, not a true compact.
Pros Very sharp pictures thanks to the excellent Lens. White Balace is very good too. 2.0 lens great in low light. Picture Quality is very high here. Small Camera, not as smal as the excellent Canon S90 but still feels small in your hands.
Cons Nothing major so far. Lens cap it's no issue to me. Just attached it to the camera and end of that. Videos very good but the software displayed them upside down. If shoot too close to people' faces with the flash, you'll get exagerated light colors.
Summary I have the Canon S90 and love it. Heard a lot about the LX3 and decided to try my first Panasonic camera with the LX5. Fantastic decision! To me it's all about the pictue quality and this camera has it. Colors are nice thanks to the great WB. Very sharp pictures and skin colors are accurate and nice. Went to a Greek festival at night and was impressed with the picture quality. The 2.0 lens is top notch and sharp. Out of the box pictures are very good and if you shoot Raw you can make them better, especially the ones that need some adjustment.
Over all, my satisfaction with this camrera after 150+ pictures is very high. I gave it a very deserving excellent rating and the reviews of the pros will confirm what a GEM this camera is. Want great picutre quality, easy to use in a small package? The LX-5 meets and exceeds these requirements. I
Pros Extraordinary RAW image quality for the compact size; amazing and ultra-fast Leica lens; unexpectedly good HD video performance.
Cons Old school manual detachable lens cap; while compact, not small enough to fit into the pocket of your skinny jeans! I forget about this, since I shoot in RAW mode, but JPEGs have a slightly over-processed look.
Summary I purchased this the first week it was available in fall 2010. I bought sight unseen, based on specs and early hands-on reviews.
I own thousands of dollars of professional digital SLR gear, and I purchased this to use when carrying bulky pro gear is not feasible. Overall, this camera has exceeded my expectations and has proven more useful than I had anticipated, actually offering some meaningful advantages over my pro gear.
This camera deserves kudos for combining full auto, point-and-shoot simplicity when in the hands of a user who just wants to shoot and not be a technician, while also being capable of a high degree of manual control and custom settings that rival options on SLRs. The latter characteristics make it capable of capturing difficult images that a serious photographer would expect to achieve only with an SLR. For example, I can not only specify forced flash on (such as for fill lighting situations where the camera would not activate the flash on its own) and also (albeit by diving into the 5th screen of menus) manually dial down the flash output to achieve natural looking images that are illuminated primary by ambient light, while throwing just enough fill flash to light up the eyes and keep the image from being overwhelmed by back light.
The combination of a very fast lens and excellent image stabilization enables me to capture images I simply cannot capture while hand-holding a bulky SLR. For example, when I have worked as the official (volunteer) photographer for WWII veteran trips, I have captured some amazing shots under available light of veterans aboard the crowded coach section of an airliner. I have just recently seen some of these candids enlarged to more than three feet wide, and these images--typically shot at f/2 and ISO 400 or 800--looked beautiful. I could not have squeezed an SLR with fast lens into such tight quarters, nor could I have avoided hand shake induced blur. The LX5 in this sort of tight shooting situation performs amazingly well where an SLR simply isn't workable.
Video performance has been another bright spot. I purchased Sony's first consumer HDV high-def camcorder in 2005 (at a cost of $2,000!), but I haven't touched the HDV camcorder in months. The LX5, with its combination of faster lens and larger image sensor, captures much better low light video at 720p HD resolution. Given that video is a secondary use of this photographic tool, it does remarkably well, offering smooth, silent zoom operation and good (and also silent) continuous auto-focus operation. The choice of multiple HD capture formats is also handy. Motion JPEG is great for short clips that will upload straight to YouTube, while AVCHD Lite works beautifully if one needs to, for example, put the camera on a tripod and record a lengthy lecture or play. (The two capture formats compress differently and have different strengths and weaknesses, so do a little reading if you plan to do much with video.) I now use this camera (paired with an almost comically larger professional video tripod that I already owned) to capture and share training sessions at my office. Audio capture is very good, but only in mono. My next step for better audio is to purchase a $100-$150 digital audio recorder to capture multi-channel high fidelity audio from closer to the subject that can then be synced with the video footage by dropping the audio track into video editing software.
For a camera with a fairly large and high-res LCD, battery life is excellent for a compact model. The most demanding use is video shooting, where the LCD and focusing systems are on continuously, but it will shoot for at least two hours on battery power with ease.
The lens is this camera's superstar. While the zoom range may pale in comparison to ratios offered by much less expensive cameras, the ability to go wide and have such a fast aperture is, for most uses, far more useful than a crazy big zoom ratio that lets in far less light and cannot go as wide. (Most buyers don't realize that ultra telephoto zoom ranges on compact cameras let in so little light that they are virtually worthless in anything other than good daylight.) It makes it awesome for capturing landscapes as a convenient travel camera as well as for capturing building interiors under available light.
The only operational drawback that I have experienced is the detachable lens cap, which I am somewhat shocked not to have lost yet. I assume it would have been impossible to engineer an automatic lens cap over this lens without imposing some other intolerable tradeoff, but it does mean care must be used not to lose the cap or to fingerprint the lens, which will still be exposed to the elements after you turn the camera off.
In conclusion, I have received countless compliments from others (often accompanied by wanting to take note of the model number) when they see the caliber of the images that can be captured with the LX5.
Pros Full manual control. Leica on the cheap. RAW Capture. Compact design, yet solid. Ability to high-speed sync flash. 24mm wide angle. Aspect ratio a real plus. Key controls easy to find and adjust.
Cons Pretty noisy at higher ISOs. Pricey. Deep menus difficult to navigate. Manual focus not good. USB not standard connector.
Summary When my old compact camera, a Canon, took one too many trips to the ground-- it was time to replace.
I struggled with the choice between the Canon and Panasonic. But having heard raves about the LX-3, I thought the LX-5 might make a good replacement. I haven't been disappointed.
At ISO 400 and below, the pictures off of the camera are nothing short of stunning. This camera likes a lot of light. Wide open at f/2, the bokeh, for a compact is decent. At higher ISOs, though-- grain is palpable. I was hoping for a little nicer performance in low light-- this won't make me dump my Nikon D700 any time soon.
Nice 24mm lens. One of the widest in a compact, and that's a good thing.
The on-camera strobe is okay, but using an external flash-- you can sync flash at any frame rate because there's no shutter. This is a huge advantage for bright sunlight.
Controls? Terrific on the surface. The thumb wheel controls aperture and shutter speed and ev. But to get to anything else, it's menu diving time, neither easy nor intuitive.
I thought aspect change was a bit of a gimmick-- not so. i've wound up using it more than I thought, and having the adjustment on the lens is a bonus.
Manual focus however-- oh boy... bad controls. Getting into that mode isn't hard-- another lens switch. But finding focus is not worth the effort.
All metal body. It's a solid camera. It's still pocket-able.. but it will fill that pocket.
Battery life isn't great-- and it's an all-new battery. Finding a spare isn't easy yet.
I gotta mark points off though on the camera sync cable. Why not just go USB 2.0 like the rest of the world so I don't have to pack a separate cable? Drives me nuts!
At $500 dollars, it isn't cheap, but the camera has game, and is worth the money.