M Panasonic Lumix LX3 Digital Camera
by Rick Dreher
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Digital camera development continues apace, shabby economy or no. Hundreds of compact models tempt backpacking photographers (or photo-taking backpackers) from store shelves and internet ads. Folks who want a compact that's a legitimate substitute for a dslr quickly narrow down this supposed field of riches to a relative handful of ambitious compacts. Introduced mid-2008, the Panasonic Lumix LX3 (and its Leica D-LUX-4 twin) deserves serious consideration for membership in this tiny group.
The LX3 is a high-end compact digicam, part of a small but hopefully growing market segment of lightweight cameras that deliver very high quality point & shoot results and still give the shooter significant control over most camera settings. The metal-skinned LX3 has an especially fast f:2.0 wide-angle Leica DC Vario-Summicron lens of modest 2.5x zoom range - a range that must seem particularly loony to anyone impressed with the new twenty-something-times zooms recently dropped on the market. In another notable countercurrent to pretty much every other camera maker, Panasonic retained the approximate pixel count from the previous LX2. Rather than raising the count they chose to enlarge both the chip itself and the size of its photosites. These moves decreased image noise and kept image file sizes small.
The LX3 doesn't share the DP1/2's big-chip ambitions, despite being effectively the same size (if half the price). Its closest true competition is the Ricoh GX200. The Canon G10 is another obvious and popular competitor, but is much larger (half again as heavy and more than twice the bulk) and lacks the LX3's lens speed and wide angle of view, though it reaches much further at the telephoto end. The G10 also has an optical viewfinder. The two are very different creatures, each offering some distinct advantages over the other.
- Specifications: Lens, Megapixels, Sensor size, Screen, Shutter, Aperture, ISO, Exposure modes, Metering, Focusing, Image File Formats, Still Image Aspect Ratios, Video modes, HD (16:9 Aspect Ratio), Image Stabilization, Drive modes, Flash, Low-light Focusing Illumination, Storage, Cache memory, Audio Recording, Battery, Battery Life (CIPA standard), Dimensions, Weight, BPL Weight, Colors, Cost, Weatherproof?, Shockproof?, Firmware Version, Notable Optional Accessories
- The Lens
- Of Caps and Straps
- LCD display
- Aspect Ratio
- Focus Modes
- Other Items
- Storage and Mobility
- Modes & Such
- Image Performance
- Color and Contrast
- "Mega O.I.S." Steady as She Goes
- LX3 in the Field
- What's Good
- What's Not So Good
# WORDS: 5100
# PHOTOS: 18
# TABLES: 1
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