24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Look elsewhere,sure...but come back to this., 14 Sep 2008
If you don't mind not having a longreach zoom or even a medium reach zoom, then there is simply no better compact out there.
Panasonic have really tried to come up with a compact that can genuinely be used by professionals as a pocketable, carry anywhere, wide to standard length lens.
The camera has all manual controls (which actually are very easy to use compared to other supposedly fully-manual compacts I have tried), a bright 24-60mm equiv. f2.0-2.8 lens developed by Leica, a larger, optimised 10MP sensor (for better signal to noise ratio, and other picture quality benefits), large internal memory (50mb I think) for good buffering, a great wide LCD with high resolution (460k pixels), hotshoe on top for off-camera flash, serious low-light performance, and RAW file capture.
Many other great features like an HD 16:9 movie mode (don't expect camcorder quality though), voice notes for pics, fast continuous burst mode, 2 custom settings switches on the mode dial, intelligent auto mode for ease of use with all the modern advances like face recognition, intelligent contrast control etc., and more.
This camera has many rivals, but none come even close. Except, I would say, the Canon G9 which is quite a different camera anyway so they are not directly comparable.
The G9 has a more common lens that is actually used on other canon models, no wide angle but more telephoto reach (it does have a wide adapter though), the sensor is not optimised but it has 12MP.
The G9 is a little bulkier and the thing I noticed most was how much lighter the Panasonic was. If you had the G9 in your pocket, you would not forget about it, in fact you may actually be walking lop-sided!
In summary, the Panasonic LX3 is as close to a professional compact digital camera as you can get.
- The picture quality is stunning for such a small camera, due largely to the specially developed large sensor and bright Leica lens.
- The camera is designed really well along with all the features of a top end modern compact.
- This camera has raised the bar for compact cameras...full stop
- The only gripe people may have is the relatively short lens, but what a short lens it is! If having some telephoto capability is a factor for you then look at the Canon G9 or others. If not, this, in my opinion is the best of the best...by a country mile.
So, can it really be used by professionals? If you are a professional, then I'm sure you will already realise you cannot get pro picture quality from a compact zoom lens camera. (The closest you may come is the Sigma DP1 which has a large sensor but a fixed 35mm f4 lens.)
That said this Panasonic compact has made a giant, brave leap forward and can offer you close to what you have been looking for and using RAW file mode you will be able to get really great results.
But make sure you get it in black!
P.s. Look out for the new Micro Four Thirds system, a technology to allow DSLR' s and their lenses to get significantly smaller. Many companies have a range of products out already.