I decided to treat myself to this camera as a Christmas present after using a Canon Powershot G7 and G9 and I am seriously impressed! I was tempted by the G10 but in the end I felt the extra 4MP of the G10 were not worth it for the price when you see how Panasonic have improved quality over quantity. More megapixels does NOT make a better camera.
What I DON'T like about the LX3
The door for the battery/SD card is a bit flimsy and I have a feeling that it could get broken easily.
Zoom range -- I knew it was v.short before I bought it and yes it IS very short at just 60mm and only 2.5x from the 24mm wide end. But...if you are willing to drop the MP you can get up to 4.5x optical zoom from it. Granted you will not be making poster size prints from the resulting 3MP images. There is a digital zoom but even looking at them on the playback screen you know it isn't even worth taking them off the card. For emergency use only.
The shutter speed is not showing up in the EXIF information in PhotoShop. I hope Adobe/Panasonic will correct this. I have been using the SilkyPIX software which came with the camera to look up the info after the fact. The info does show up in the camera replay but not in CS3.
What I DO like about it:
Size --- it IS important and this camera fits easily into my jacket pocket. Much lighter than the G7/G9's I have been using and much less bulky.
Handling -- complaints on the web about the fiddly joystick are exaggerated IMHO, it is easy to use and I am a big lad with big hands. The controls are well laid out, the menus are easy to navigate and it only took me about 15 minutes to get used to everything having come from a Nikon/Canon background.
Zoom -- that 24mm wide angle is great! And the 16:9 aspect ratio has become my favourite way of shooting almost immediately. It's bloody briliant! Totally, totally, totally love it to pieces!!!
Image Stabilization -- the Canon IS is very good, this appears to me to be far superior. Really impressive.
Lens -- it's a little belter - I'm shooting everything at f2/0 haha!!! I love it!
Image Quality -- what can I say? I'm shooting handheld at ISO80 and have shot a few at ISO400 and the 80s are outstanding and the 400's were acceptable. I've not been over 400 with it yet. I've only been shooting JPEGs with it as I haven't done any serious landscapes yet or snowscapes.
Flash -- I was expecting the flash to be very weak but I was very surprised when I used it and it lit up my living room which is 10 metres long! Perfect for parties! Red eye is not as much of a problem as with the G7/G9 because of where the Flash is located (popped up on the left) and also because there is some very clever software manipulation going on which combined with the double -flash for RE reduction, also processes the image and removes it for you. Clever.
LCD -- 3" big and crystal clear (excuse the pun). Really sharp and bright.
SD performance -- well, I've not been shooting rally cars with it but it performs very well, quick and efficient. I'm using a Lexar 4GB 133x SDHC in it and haven't had any problems firing off bursts of 3,4 and 5 pics.
White Balance. I've left it on Auto and it has coped really well. I have no complaints with it. There is a noted problem with shooting under flourescent lights but I've not tried that yet -- do I REALLY want to take pictures of my co-workers? Nah! A firmware upgrade is due for release by Panasonic tomorrow to improve AWB even more.
I'd give it a 96% rating overall. Very highly recommended.
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