Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 review

September 25, 2010

Overall Rating:


Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5



Price as Reviewed:


Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-LX5 features an improved sensor design and an increase in zoom magnification. Richard Sibley finds out whether the improvements make it the perfect compact camera

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 at a glance:

  • 10.1-million-pixel CCD sensor
  • 24-90mm (equivalent) f/2-3.3 zoom
  • 1280×720-pixel HD video capture
  • ISO 80-3200 with ISO 6400-12,800 extended settings
  • Street price around £430 (price varies greatly)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 review – Introduction

For an enthusiast photographer, the lack of manual control when using a point-and-shoot compact camera can be frustrating. Thankfully, the latest in Panasonic’s LX range is aimed at those photographers who demand more from a compact camera than just the ability to point and press the shutter.
In fact, as Panasonic’s flagship compact camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 comes with a full array of exposure and metering controls that one would usually expect from a DSLR.

Consequently, the LX5 is a ‘serious’ compact camera, designed to be used when the weight and size of a DSLR is a burden.

The LX5 is the fourth in the LX series, following on from the LX3, which was released in 2008. That may seem odd, but Panasonic, like other Japanese manufacturers, does not use the number 4 in its designations. This is because the number is considered unlucky in Japan, due to it being pronounced the same way as the word for ‘death’.
There are a number of ways in which the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 improves upon its predecessor.

First, the focal length has been increased from a 24-60mm equivalent optic in the LX3 to a 24-90mm equivalent in the LX5. Importantly, the maximum f/2 aperture has been retained, although this is reduced to f/3.3 at the 90mm focal length.

While the 10.1-million-pixel sensor of the LX5 is of the same resolution as its predecessor, Panasonic has revised its design to improve performance in low light and to increase the camera’s dynamic range.
There have also been changes to the build and handling of the camera, with an improved grip and direct video record button. Finally, the LX5 has a port beneath its hotshoe that allows the connection of the Panasonic DMW-LVF1 electronic viewfinder, which is more commonly paired with the Panasonic DMC-GF1 Micro Four Thirds camera.

Although the image quality and features of Panasonic’s LX range means these cameras are often compared to Canon’s PowerShot G-series models, they are actually quite different propositions. The LX5 is substantially smaller than the G11, and is pocketable. I was therefore keen to find out whether it could be the ideal enthusiast compact camera.

  • Video: Up to 16:9 aspect ratio (1280x720 pixels), 30 or 25fps (AVCHD Lite or Motion JPEG)
  • AF Assistance: Yes
  • White Balance: Auto, 5 presets (all adjustable), 2 custom settings, plus Kelvin adjustment
  • Built-in Flash: Yes – GN 7.2m @ ISO 100
  • Memory Card: SecureDigital/MMC, SDHC, SDXC
  • Viewfinder Type: No, optional EVF or optical viewfinder
  • Output Size: 3648x2736 pixels (4:3 aspect ratio)
  • LCD: 3in LCD with 460,000 dots
  • Sensor: 1/1.63in CCD with 10.1 million effective pixels
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/2000sec
  • Exposure Modes: Program, aperture/shutter priority, manual, iA, two custom modes plus 24 ‘scene’ presets
  • Hotshoe: Yes
  • Weight: 233g (without battery or card)
  • Lens: Leica DC Vario-Summicron 5.1-19.2mm f/2.0-3.3 (24-90mm equivalent)
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion
  • File Format: JPEG, and raw+JPEG simultaneously
  • Shutter Speeds: 60-1/4000sec in manual mode
  • Drive Mode: Single, continuous 2.5fps for 5 images in standard mode, up to 10fps in Speed Priority mode or 6fps in Image Priority mode (both only 3-million-pixel resolution)
  • RRP: £449.99
  • Exposure Comp: Manual ±3EV in 1/3EV steps
  • Compression: Two-stage JPEG
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
  • Metering System: Intelligent multi-segment, centreweighted and spot
  • Dimensions: 109.7x65.5x43mm
  • DoF Preview: No
  • Focusing Modes: Normal, macro AF, quick AF, continuous AF, one-shot AF, AF area select, AF tracking, plus manual. AF points: Up to 713 selectable depending on size and AF mode
  • Colour Space: sRGB
  • ISO: 80-3200, ISO 64-12800 at 3-million-pixel resolution

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