Photo by Scott Bourne (Click for larger view)
LX3 JPG – ISO 80 – Handheld – 250th Sec F/8 Focal Length 24mm Some Minor Corrections in Aperture.

I heard a lot of talk about Panasonic’s new 10-megapixel LX3 on the web. People seemed excited that there was actually a new digital compact that didn’t rely on megapixel madness marketing. This was interesting enough to me to buy an LX3 of my very own and here’s my initial review.

The LX3 is a well-built, solid, compact digital camera featuring a zoom lens that covers the same focal length as a first class Leica 24-60mm lens on a 35mm camera. It offers a fast F/2 – F/2.8 lens that delivers sharp, contrasty photos. The ISO works from 80-3200, but is pretty much unusable after 1600. It also features a legitimate anti-shake feature that allows me to take shots at 1/5th of a second with great results. (See the close up below of the Harmony Remote.)

The LX3 has no noticeable shutter lag and in fact offers a 2.5 image per second burst mode.

The camera shoots in RAW as well as JPG mode. I haven’t tested the RAW mode yet because so far, neither Aperture or Photoshop support the LX3 RAW format yet.

The camera is smaller than a G9 but well balanced. I probably prefer the size and heft of the G9, but this camera is small enough to fit in a pocket, so that’s a plus.

There is a hot shoe as well as physical switches that cover aspect ratio, on/off, focus and shooting mode. There is no dial for ISO as one would find on the G9, but you can program the function button on the camera to switch the ISO.

In my unscientific test, the battery lasted through 300 jpg images. Quite good for a compact camera.

The lack of a viewfinder is a real problem for me on this camera, but I have ordered the accessory viewfinder and hope that works well enough to let me compose images in bright sunlight that render the LCD useless.

Speaking of the LCD, it’s big and bright and offers a great view. It’s just like all LCDs in that it’s pretty much worthless in direct sun.

The lens performs well at all focal lengths. I saw no evidence of vignetting or flare past F/2.8. This is remarkable given that I’ve seen these problems on most compact cameras. There is no built in lens cap and that’s something I am going to miss from the G9.

The main reason I selected this camera as a keeper is it’s superior image quality. While I have always enjoyed the image quality I got out of the G9, I was blown away by the image quality of the Panasonic.

At ISO 80, the images are publication quality. I mean REALLY. I’ve never written those words in any compact camera review before. When I opened mere JPG files on my 24 ” iMac in Aperture I was literally stunned. I could not believe how well the images held up – even full screen.

There are plenty of image comparison sites online so I am not going to bother with showing you every single ISO image etc. I also don’t have any fancy test equipment so my review is based on nothing more than three plus decades of experience as a photographer. In other words, I think I know a good image when I see one.

In my opinion, the image quality on the LX3 at ISO 800 equals that of the G9 at ISO 400. In my tests with the G10 (which were not extensive) there was more detail in G10 images but also more noise.

Photo by Scott Bourne (Click for larger view)
LX3 JPG – ISO 800 – Handheld – 1/5th Sec F/8 Focal Length 24mm (Close Up Mode) Exposure only adjusted in Aperture.

There is always going to be a trade-off between noise and detail, especially when you are looking at such a small sensor.

I think the Panasonic LX3 offers the best compromise available. The image quality below ISO 400 is outstanding. The colors pop right out of the camera and even JPG files are stunning. The images are usable up to ISO 1600 (but just barely.)

Photo by Scott Bourne (Click for larger view)
LX3 JPG – ISO 1600 – Handheld – 1/2000th Sec F/8 Focal Length 60mm – Exposure and cropping along with some edge sharpening only adjusted in Aperture.

There are some little things I really appreciate about the LX3. The on/off switch is a switch, not a button. I like that. The aspect ratio control is also a switch. The joystick on the back of the camera is surprisingly easy to use. Combined with the other intuitive controls on the back of the camera, I was able to figure most of out without resorting to the manual.

I should also mention that unlike every compact camera I’ve ever used, the LX3’s auto functions are all amazing. The Intelligent ISO in particular works very well.

A big thing that I like about this camera is its dynamic range. High contrast situations can be controlled using this camera in ways that the G9/G10 cannot.

The video quality from the LX3 is superior to the G9. This also surprised me since I always thought the G9 did a great job. The G10 actually drops some video quality compared with the G9 and in a direct comparison between the LX3 and the G10, the clear winner is the LX3 when it comes to video.

I do not like having to take on and off the lens cap. I have attached it to the little strap that Panasonic includes with the camera but it’s already gotten in my way more than once.

I am looking forward to shoot this camera in RAW mode and I’ll update this review when that happens.

On balance, I think the G9/G10 is the better choice for those who have large hands or for whom ergonomics are the most important consideration. I think the LX3 is the better choice for someone who wants a camera that’s smaller and might fit in a pocket. The LX3 is also the better choice for those who think better image quality is the single most important feature in a pocket camera.

Lastly, I doubt anyone buys a compact camera just because of its video capability, but the edge goes to the LX3 there as well. The G10 now only captures in 640×480 mode while the LX3 shoots video in 720P HD format at a data rate of 25 mbp/s.

The LX3 retails for $499 and comes with a one-year warranty from Panasonic.

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This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store

Join the conversation! 76 Comments

  1. Could you post some photos without any post-processing? Great review otherwise! :) I’m in the market for a good compact camera and this Panasonic is definitely a contender although I will wait for the raw support if I decide to buy this model.

    Reply
  2. Could you post some photos without any post-processing? Great review otherwise! :) I’m in the market for a good compact camera and this Panasonic is definitely a contender although I will wait for the raw support if I decide to buy this model.

    Reply
  3. @Juniscott the post work I did on these images is so minimal that there would be no advantage to posting them without. These are the only samples I will post.

    Reply
  4. @Juniscott the post work I did on these images is so minimal that there would be no advantage to posting them without. These are the only samples I will post.

    Reply
  5. [...] Bourne hearts Panasonic’s LX3 in a mini-review at [...]

    Reply
  6. [...] Bourne hearts Panasonic’s LX3 in a mini-review at [...]

    Reply
  7. Scott how is the built in mic for the movie mode? OK for say a quick interview, or a post to Vimeo/YouTube etc.? Also how much background noise does it pick up v subject talking? Could you post a clip with it, say maybe for your new Sigma lens? Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Scott how is the built in mic for the movie mode? OK for say a quick interview, or a post to Vimeo/YouTube etc.? Also how much background noise does it pick up v subject talking? Could you post a clip with it, say maybe for your new Sigma lens? Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Scott, what about the somewhat limited focal range. 60mm sounds short to me, has it been an issue for you? Specially if you want to shoot some casual portraits sometimes, I would tend to set my camera at 70 or 80mm.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  10. Scott, what about the somewhat limited focal range. 60mm sounds short to me, has it been an issue for you? Specially if you want to shoot some casual portraits sometimes, I would tend to set my camera at 70 or 80mm.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  11. sweet… I can’t wait till mine gets here next week. It’s shipped and I have a tracking number. I got it via Amazon at the Beach Camera store.

    Reply
  12. sweet… I can’t wait till mine gets here next week. It’s shipped and I have a tracking number. I got it via Amazon at the Beach Camera store.

    Reply
  13. @JP I guess I don’t have a strong opinion on this point. I was attracted to the wide side of the camera and judging by how I traditionally use pocket cams, this isn’t a problem. I believe 60mm is just a tad short for an optimal portrait but then again, if I need to make serious portraits I do that in my studio with my pro gear. For those who seek the telephoto range, the G9/G10 are a better option.

    Reply
  14. @JP I guess I don’t have a strong opinion on this point. I was attracted to the wide side of the camera and judging by how I traditionally use pocket cams, this isn’t a problem. I believe 60mm is just a tad short for an optimal portrait but then again, if I need to make serious portraits I do that in my studio with my pro gear. For those who seek the telephoto range, the G9/G10 are a better option.

    Reply
  15. Amazon is current listing the LX3 from J&R for only $400 with free shipping. I’m seriously considering it

    Reply
  16. I have fairly large hands and found the LX3 awkward to handle because of its small size. (I was also coming to it from a DSLR.) I solved the problem with a hand strap from Camdapter. It really is a great little camera!

    Reply
  17. I have fairly large hands and found the LX3 awkward to handle because of its small size. (I was also coming to it from a DSLR.) I solved the problem with a hand strap from Camdapter. It really is a great little camera!

    Reply
  18. @Eric I’d say the sound on the LX3 rates an 8 and the sound on the G9 rates a 9.5. I will post a video of the unboxing of the 300-800 Monday.

    Reply
  19. @Eric I’d say the sound on the LX3 rates an 8 and the sound on the G9 rates a 9.5. I will post a video of the unboxing of the 300-800 Monday.

    Reply
  20. Scott, have you used the Ricoh GR-D II or GX200? If so how would you rate the ergonomics of those in comparison to the LX3?

    I’ve only had a quick play with the Panasonic. I have quite large hands and found it rather uncomfortable to hold.

    Reply
  21. Scott, have you used the Ricoh GR-D II or GX200? If so how would you rate the ergonomics of those in comparison to the LX3?

    I’ve only had a quick play with the Panasonic. I have quite large hands and found it rather uncomfortable to hold.

    Reply
  22. @Andy F no sorry haven’t tried either. The LX3 is small. No doubt about it.

    Reply
  23. @Andy F no sorry haven’t tried either. The LX3 is small. No doubt about it.

    Reply
  24. Scott, were you ever able to figure out what that small plastic looking strap was for the camera during your unboxing video? Nice review and keep up the good work.

    Reply
  25. Scott, were you ever able to figure out what that small plastic looking strap was for the camera during your unboxing video? Nice review and keep up the good work.

    Reply
  26. Great sensible, hands on review.
    It seems alot more photographers are reviewing this camera on the blogoshpere, rather than pixel peepers. I have heard nothing but rave reviews, therefore it will replace my need for a G10.
    Just think what the next generation of this will bring, maybe incorporating the micro 4/3rds sensor?
    We can dream.

    Reply
  27. Great sensible, hands on review.
    It seems alot more photographers are reviewing this camera on the blogoshpere, rather than pixel peepers. I have heard nothing but rave reviews, therefore it will replace my need for a G10.
    Just think what the next generation of this will bring, maybe incorporating the micro 4/3rds sensor?
    We can dream.

    Reply
  28. I applaud the movement to low noise cameras. I have a Fuji F30 and a Sony DSC-R1. These 2 cameras were and probably still are the lowest noise cameras in their classes. They are both discontinued but can be had for twice – yes twice! – their original prices because they were/are soooo good. The Lx3 is halfway between these 2 cameras in terms of size. The F30 is a pocket camera and the R1 has the form factor of a small DSLR.

    I also have a Canon 40D etc etc but that is way more heavy with all the lenses….

    Reply
  29. I applaud the movement to low noise cameras. I have a Fuji F30 and a Sony DSC-R1. These 2 cameras were and probably still are the lowest noise cameras in their classes. They are both discontinued but can be had for twice – yes twice! – their original prices because they were/are soooo good. The Lx3 is halfway between these 2 cameras in terms of size. The F30 is a pocket camera and the R1 has the form factor of a small DSLR.

    I also have a Canon 40D etc etc but that is way more heavy with all the lenses….

    Reply
  30. @Royce yes it’s the strap for the lens cap.

    Reply
  31. @Royce yes it’s the strap for the lens cap.

    Reply
  32. I like the sound of a sensor with improved low light performance and lower noise, better than increased pixel count. I hope the other camera manufacturers take note.

    My question for the Twippers though is how often do you anticipate replacing your cameras? I bought a DSLR because I was not able to achieve the level of photography I wanted with a point and shoot. I then bought the G9 because I wanted a compact camera that would take good pictures, for more casual settings. (I don’t see the G10 as an improvement on the G9, btw)

    The reason I ask is that technical improvements are becoming increasingly incremental in nature. Is the improvement in noise that much better in the LX compared to the G9? Bear in mind that I am a hobbyist, not a professional.

    Obviously Nikon’s improvements in their DSLR system were significant enough for Scott to switch his whole system over. But how do you judge if the new release is worthy of the investment? I am at a point with my Canon XTi that I have gotten about as fair as I can with it. I would really be happy to get usable exposures with ISO settings greater than 400. But can I justify the $1000 to $1500 price tag as a hobbyist? Maybe in a few more months.

    I am just curious to see what others Twippers think about this.

    Reply
  33. I like the sound of a sensor with improved low light performance and lower noise, better than increased pixel count. I hope the other camera manufacturers take note.

    My question for the Twippers though is how often do you anticipate replacing your cameras? I bought a DSLR because I was not able to achieve the level of photography I wanted with a point and shoot. I then bought the G9 because I wanted a compact camera that would take good pictures, for more casual settings. (I don’t see the G10 as an improvement on the G9, btw)

    The reason I ask is that technical improvements are becoming increasingly incremental in nature. Is the improvement in noise that much better in the LX compared to the G9? Bear in mind that I am a hobbyist, not a professional.

    Obviously Nikon’s improvements in their DSLR system were significant enough for Scott to switch his whole system over. But how do you judge if the new release is worthy of the investment? I am at a point with my Canon XTi that I have gotten about as fair as I can with it. I would really be happy to get usable exposures with ISO settings greater than 400. But can I justify the $1000 to $1500 price tag as a hobbyist? Maybe in a few more months.

    I am just curious to see what others Twippers think about this.

    Reply
  34. I have this camera and I love every single thing about it. Image quality is amazing. I bought it because I wanted a camera that let me adjust every aspect manually, and it turned out is the first compact camera I’ve used which really has useful auto modes. Auto ISO, Image Stabilizer and F2.0 lens let me shoot very nice pics in extreme low light without flash.

    The only thing I hate: RAW (RW2) is not Lightroom/Aperture compatible. Yet, I hope.

    Note: RAW Developer is -> http://www.iridientdigital.com/products/rawdeveloper.html

    Reply
  35. I have this camera and I love every single thing about it. Image quality is amazing. I bought it because I wanted a camera that let me adjust every aspect manually, and it turned out is the first compact camera I’ve used which really has useful auto modes. Auto ISO, Image Stabilizer and F2.0 lens let me shoot very nice pics in extreme low light without flash.

    The only thing I hate: RAW (RW2) is not Lightroom/Aperture compatible. Yet, I hope.

    Note: RAW Developer is -> http://www.iridientdigital.com/products/rawdeveloper.html

    Reply
  36. Thanks Scott. Good points. Here’s something nice I found out about my LX3. Pretty much every compact digital camera has what’s known as a step zoom. You essentially have a bunch of preset zoom settings. The G9 had 13 from 35-210. The LX3 in it’s 24-60 range has 12! They’re good settings too.
    24mm (f/2) 26 (2.1) 28 (2.1) 30 (2.2) 35 (2.3) 37 (2.4) 41 (2.5) 44 (2.5) 52 (2.6) 57 (2.7) and 60 (2.8)

    It’s a nice range and you can have a host of OVFs @ 21-25mm (some say 21mm OVF represents 24 best if using 16:9 and 25mm finders are cheaper) a 28, 35, and 50 (for use with 52mm.

    To get to a particular setting you just have to zoom slowly. i.e. 28mm is 2 small tele lens movements 57mm is 1 small wide movement.

    Personally, I like the lens cap. It’s one less thing to get broken. It can get in the way sometimes, but you don’t have to tether it to a camera. I’ve only ever lost a single lens cap using SLRs or my LX1.

    I like the play switch better than the dial, however, if they made it a button (like and SLR I’d be really happy!

    Reply
  37. Thanks Scott. Good points. Here’s something nice I found out about my LX3. Pretty much every compact digital camera has what’s known as a step zoom. You essentially have a bunch of preset zoom settings. The G9 had 13 from 35-210. The LX3 in it’s 24-60 range has 12! They’re good settings too.
    24mm (f/2) 26 (2.1) 28 (2.1) 30 (2.2) 35 (2.3) 37 (2.4) 41 (2.5) 44 (2.5) 52 (2.6) 57 (2.7) and 60 (2.8)

    It’s a nice range and you can have a host of OVFs @ 21-25mm (some say 21mm OVF represents 24 best if using 16:9 and 25mm finders are cheaper) a 28, 35, and 50 (for use with 52mm.

    To get to a particular setting you just have to zoom slowly. i.e. 28mm is 2 small tele lens movements 57mm is 1 small wide movement.

    Personally, I like the lens cap. It’s one less thing to get broken. It can get in the way sometimes, but you don’t have to tether it to a camera. I’ve only ever lost a single lens cap using SLRs or my LX1.

    I like the play switch better than the dial, however, if they made it a button (like and SLR I’d be really happy!

    Reply
  38. @Ed Ott for me (a student) I had my LX1 for about 3 years. I got to the point where I wanted something more. The LX3 has D3 like noise coming from an LX1. -I mean the LX1 is a cool came but dang it had bad low light performance. The f/2 and the hot shoe further add to that. The 580exII feels a bit odd, but it works in auto mode on the LX3. So I have a big bonus there!

    So not having a job makes it a lot different for me, but the LX3 is an awesome 16th b-day present! :)

    Reply
  39. I’ve had my LX3 for about 5 weeks now, and really like it. The video is a bit disapointing though. Not that I had high expectations for it. There are two major weaknesses. Firstly, it records HD using a JPG codec which is very noisy in low-light situations. Shadows are blocky with artifacts. Secondly, you can’t turn off auto iris. So the exposure can’t be locked for a shot making the footage wander in exposure as action ocurrs or you pan/tilt. Otherwise, I really like this camera and the stills are quite good. No RW2 support in Lightroom has taken away a fair amount of my initial enthusiasm. Hopefully that will change soon.

    Reply
  40. I’ve had my LX3 for about 5 weeks now, and really like it. The video is a bit disapointing though. Not that I had high expectations for it. There are two major weaknesses. Firstly, it records HD using a JPG codec which is very noisy in low-light situations. Shadows are blocky with artifacts. Secondly, you can’t turn off auto iris. So the exposure can’t be locked for a shot making the footage wander in exposure as action ocurrs or you pan/tilt. Otherwise, I really like this camera and the stills are quite good. No RW2 support in Lightroom has taken away a fair amount of my initial enthusiasm. Hopefully that will change soon.

    Reply
  41. Panasonic looks to be a bit of a dark horse, that doesn’t get quite the positive comments that some of the more main stream makes do. I don’t have the LX3 and I can’t justify another camera, but I have the TZ3 as does my wife. I use mine for quick work shots in law enforcement and it is great for this. What does impress me and it seems to be a bit of a feature with Scott’s review is that the colour just pops. This is something I noticed with the TZ3. Panasonic seems to have got this part just right for a point and shoot.
    I like the TZ3 for the 10X optical zoom, but the slightly wider lens in the LX3 would be a great bonus too. I like what I hear about it. It is great to see these reviews of point and shoot from a professional photographer like Scott, makes us mere mortals able to better see what’s good in the market.
    Keep up the great work Scott and the TWIP team.

    Reply
  42. Panasonic looks to be a bit of a dark horse, that doesn’t get quite the positive comments that some of the more main stream makes do. I don’t have the LX3 and I can’t justify another camera, but I have the TZ3 as does my wife. I use mine for quick work shots in law enforcement and it is great for this. What does impress me and it seems to be a bit of a feature with Scott’s review is that the colour just pops. This is something I noticed with the TZ3. Panasonic seems to have got this part just right for a point and shoot.
    I like the TZ3 for the 10X optical zoom, but the slightly wider lens in the LX3 would be a great bonus too. I like what I hear about it. It is great to see these reviews of point and shoot from a professional photographer like Scott, makes us mere mortals able to better see what’s good in the market.
    Keep up the great work Scott and the TWIP team.

    Reply
  43. I just bought the LX3 (it replaces my LX2 which replaced my LX1). The RAW compatibility issue seems particular bad this time around. The supplied software is a joke. The only application that I can find that can work with the LX3s RAW files is Graphic Converter 6.x. I hate having to wait for Adobe/Mac OS X support to view RAW files!!! This camera highlights the need for wide scale adoption of the DNG image format by camera manufacturers.

    Reply
  44. I just bought the LX3 (it replaces my LX2 which replaced my LX1). The RAW compatibility issue seems particular bad this time around. The supplied software is a joke. The only application that I can find that can work with the LX3s RAW files is Graphic Converter 6.x. I hate having to wait for Adobe/Mac OS X support to view RAW files!!! This camera highlights the need for wide scale adoption of the DNG image format by camera manufacturers.

    Reply
  45. I think the LX3 could be the ideal addition to my travel photography kit.

    I originally bought a Pentax DSLR with the idea of using it with an 18-200 or 250 for outdoor photography and switching to a fast lens for shooting inside museums, cathedrals, etc. But then the financial and logistical realities of this idea set in.

    I am a strictly amateur photographer so the idea of spending $300 for an 18-200 seem reasonable to me but spending $4-500 for the Sigma f1.8, 20 or 24mm does not. Also those lenses are huge hunks of glass to carry around. I have f1.4 and 1.8 50mm lenses but at 75mm equivalent those are really not very good for shooting in museums, etc. where I can never seem to back up far enough to get it all in. Also, I would really prefer not to change lenses in the field of I can help it.

    With a 24mm f2 and good low light performance, I think this might be an ideal solution for the indoor part of this equation.

    Scott, you say that the images are unusable over 1600 but I wonder if the quality you look for as a professional might be more than what some amateurs are willing to settle for. I am sometimes willing to accept the grainy quality of my DSLR at 3200 for photos which I know will not be widely distributed and which I have no other way of getting. For images of friends and families or performers in very dark rooms, sometimes my fast lenses and anti-shake or a tripod are not enough to get a blur-free image and I would rather get something grainy than nothing at all.

    Cheers,

    bhorn

    Reply
  46. I think the LX3 could be the ideal addition to my travel photography kit.

    I originally bought a Pentax DSLR with the idea of using it with an 18-200 or 250 for outdoor photography and switching to a fast lens for shooting inside museums, cathedrals, etc. But then the financial and logistical realities of this idea set in.

    I am a strictly amateur photographer so the idea of spending $300 for an 18-200 seem reasonable to me but spending $4-500 for the Sigma f1.8, 20 or 24mm does not. Also those lenses are huge hunks of glass to carry around. I have f1.4 and 1.8 50mm lenses but at 75mm equivalent those are really not very good for shooting in museums, etc. where I can never seem to back up far enough to get it all in. Also, I would really prefer not to change lenses in the field of I can help it.

    With a 24mm f2 and good low light performance, I think this might be an ideal solution for the indoor part of this equation.

    Scott, you say that the images are unusable over 1600 but I wonder if the quality you look for as a professional might be more than what some amateurs are willing to settle for. I am sometimes willing to accept the grainy quality of my DSLR at 3200 for photos which I know will not be widely distributed and which I have no other way of getting. For images of friends and families or performers in very dark rooms, sometimes my fast lenses and anti-shake or a tripod are not enough to get a blur-free image and I would rather get something grainy than nothing at all.

    Cheers,

    bhorn

    Reply
  47. Hey guys, it is me again.

    Gosh I love the Internet, surfing its pages I found another raw processor and it is called Raw Photo Processor or RPP. It comes from an independent developer called Andrey Tverdokhleb and it supports many cameras including Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3.

    It has all the basic features you need to process you raw files, and better yet, it is a free app. However, I encourage you to donate money to the developer if you like and use RPP to process your files.

    Here is the link you need to follow:

    http://www.raw-photo-processor.com/RPP/Overview.html

    Best regards,

    Reply
  48. What is the deal with RAW support in Lightroom/Aperture or in Adobe Camera RAW??

    It seems that Panasonic is refusing to let these editors support the RAW format of the LX3, and is pissing off Adobe: http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?128@@.59b62677

    I think we need Mr. Frederick Van to comment on this pronto.

    Reply
  49. What is the deal with RAW support in Lightroom/Aperture or in Adobe Camera RAW??

    It seems that Panasonic is refusing to let these editors support the RAW format of the LX3, and is pissing off Adobe: http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?128@@.59b62677

    I think we need Mr. Frederick Van to comment on this pronto.

    Reply
  50. I also have purchased an LX3 recently and can echo Scott’s remarks almost to a tee. The G10/G9 certainly have a place in the market, but this LX3 has it’s own niche and it fills it quite nicely thank you very much.

    I also recently received my Wide-Angle Converter lens thing for it, and so far it is quite usable. I have some samples up on my flickr page and I have a few more here on the computer that I have yet to really examine.

    Overall the camera has been a pretty big hit with me, some minor complaints:

    I am having troubles figuring out the Custom Settings mode. Usually I am pretty good at this type of thing, but for some reason I can’t get it set the way I want.

    The camera has a feature where it will take up to 3 different types of photos (This has to be simply processing the JPEG 3 different ways). This is pretty cool, you can shoot a B&W, a color, and a vivid color all in one button press for example.. Now the downside; from what I can tell, you can’t use this mode if you are shooting RAW in addition to JPEG. Not a major gripe by any means, but seems like it should be there.

    Also (not the first camera I have seen this on) it seems that in manual mode I can set the shutter to 60sec, but in Aperture priority, the shutter speed only goes to 8sec. Never understood that.

    Overall though, great little camera. I use it for backpacking when I don’t want to carry my D300, and as my “always by my side” camera too.

    Reply
  51. I also have purchased an LX3 recently and can echo Scott’s remarks almost to a tee. The G10/G9 certainly have a place in the market, but this LX3 has it’s own niche and it fills it quite nicely thank you very much.

    I also recently received my Wide-Angle Converter lens thing for it, and so far it is quite usable. I have some samples up on my flickr page and I have a few more here on the computer that I have yet to really examine.

    Overall the camera has been a pretty big hit with me, some minor complaints:

    I am having troubles figuring out the Custom Settings mode. Usually I am pretty good at this type of thing, but for some reason I can’t get it set the way I want.

    The camera has a feature where it will take up to 3 different types of photos (This has to be simply processing the JPEG 3 different ways). This is pretty cool, you can shoot a B&W, a color, and a vivid color all in one button press for example.. Now the downside; from what I can tell, you can’t use this mode if you are shooting RAW in addition to JPEG. Not a major gripe by any means, but seems like it should be there.

    Also (not the first camera I have seen this on) it seems that in manual mode I can set the shutter to 60sec, but in Aperture priority, the shutter speed only goes to 8sec. Never understood that.

    Overall though, great little camera. I use it for backpacking when I don’t want to carry my D300, and as my “always by my side” camera too.

    Reply
  52. Scott, great review. I’ve been looking at this camera closely myself. As a Nikon shooter, one + for the P6000 was the ability to use an sb800 on it . . . have you experimented with integrating a Nikon flash on the LX3, either right on the hot shoe (works for the G9 in manual I’ve heard) or via some kind of remote fire?

    Reply
  53. Scott, great review. I’ve been looking at this camera closely myself. As a Nikon shooter, one + for the P6000 was the ability to use an sb800 on it . . . have you experimented with integrating a Nikon flash on the LX3, either right on the hot shoe (works for the G9 in manual I’ve heard) or via some kind of remote fire?

    Reply
  54. [...] Pansonic LX3 — Scott’s Mini Review Scott liked it enough that he sent back the Canon G10 (and sold off his G9). One negative is the external lens cap. Image quality is excellent (at ISO 80). No shutter delay. Scott has a written review of the camera on http://www.TwipPhoto.com. Another negative is no view finder. He ordered an external view finder (needed when shooting out in the sun). [...]

    Reply
  55. [...] tell F-stop from bus stop, so Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 is the short answer. Head over to TWIP for a quick opinion from Scott Bourne or here for an in-depth review. Street price is around $420; [...]

    Reply
  56. [...] tell F-stop from bus stop, so Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 is the short answer. Head over to TWIP for a quick opinion from Scott Bourne or here for an in-depth review. Street price is around $420; [...]

    Reply
  57. Scott,

    I’ve had the LX3 for about a month now and am very happy with it. At first, I found the SilkyPix raw developing software somewhat confusing to use, but as I am using it more and more I’m discovering that it can do quite a lot. I am new to raw developing, however, and really have no other raw developer software experience to compare it to. So I wonder if you’ve tried to use that software and, if so, what do you think about it.

    Thanks,
    Dan

    Reply
  58. At the risk of asking a question with an obvious answer, which LX3 is everybody raving over? There’s one on Amazon, DMC-LX3K that’s $650 (and black) and one, the DMC-LX3S that’s $500. I’m guessing it’s the latter, but I was wondering which was being used…

    Reply
  59. At the risk of asking a question with an obvious answer, which LX3 is everybody raving over? There’s one on Amazon, DMC-LX3K that’s $650 (and black) and one, the DMC-LX3S that’s $500. I’m guessing it’s the latter, but I was wondering which was being used…

    Reply
  60. I love my LX2 and I just ordered the LX3. For me using the 60mm at 2.8 sounds real close to my 50mm film shots. I love shooting the wide format, here are some wide screen lx2 shots…

    http://www.fullframeimages.com/Wide%20Screen.html

    Reply
  61. I love my LX2 and I just ordered the LX3. For me using the 60mm at 2.8 sounds real close to my 50mm film shots. I love shooting the wide format, here are some wide screen lx2 shots…

    http://www.fullframeimages.com/Wide%20Screen.html

    Reply
  62. Hey, I was checking out the LX3 in a store a few days ago. I read all over the net that the camery is so small, however, the lens sticks out quite a bit making it thicker even than the G10! In terms of “pocketability” I think the thickness (especially when putting it into your jacket) is the most important dimension. In this regard, I think the G9 has a better format, what do you think?

    Reply
  63. Hey, I was checking out the LX3 in a store a few days ago. I read all over the net that the camery is so small, however, the lens sticks out quite a bit making it thicker even than the G10! In terms of “pocketability” I think the thickness (especially when putting it into your jacket) is the most important dimension. In this regard, I think the G9 has a better format, what do you think?

    Reply
  64. @Rainier having owned both – I can attest that the LX3’s lens does NOT extend further out than the G9’s lens when closed. Who walks around with the camera lens exposed? The G9 is bigger than the LX3 in every respect.

    Reply
  65. @Rainier having owned both – I can attest that the LX3’s lens does NOT extend further out than the G9’s lens when closed. Who walks around with the camera lens exposed? The G9 is bigger than the LX3 in every respect.

    Reply
  66. Scott, thanks for the quick reply. I browsed the web a bit longer and finally found a site that stated the size including the lense (and cap).
    So, LX3: 109 x 60 x 46 mm
    Canon G9: 106 x 72 x 43 mm
    Canon G10: 109 x 78 x 46 mm

    Granted 3 mm is not a lot and I personally thought that its more but probably its just the illusion of the small body and the lens that sticks out by 20mm.
    I am still undecided about which camera to get. I know that it “depends on what you need”, and thats exactly what I am trying to figure out. I want a cam where I can
    a) take decent pictures (Point and shoot, I probably wont ever fuss around too much with the more detailed settings)
    b) record decent video (VGA is fine but it should be good quality and decent framerate)
    c) zoom is definitely a plus although with enough resolution you can probably make up for it (by using only 5 MP and taking a 10MP shot and cropping the rest).

    Reply
  67. Without the cap the LX3 is smaller than the Canon. In any event – that’s too pedantic for me. Pick whichever camera you like – but don’t then spend lots of time trying to find online evidence to support your decision. Camera choice is a personal decision, and nobody ever needs to defend their choice.

    Reply
  68. Without the cap the LX3 is smaller than the Canon. In any event – that’s too pedantic for me. Pick whichever camera you like – but don’t then spend lots of time trying to find online evidence to support your decision. Camera choice is a personal decision, and nobody ever needs to defend their choice.

    Reply
  69. There is an in-depth review now online at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmclx3/ The people at dpreview give it an all thumbs-up (“highly recommended”). Was just waiting for their review to come out an ordered it today in black.

    Reply
  70. There is an in-depth review now online at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmclx3/ The people at dpreview give it an all thumbs-up (“highly recommended”). Was just waiting for their review to come out an ordered it today in black.

    Reply
  71. @terpkristin, That’s strange. On Amazon, it looks like the only difference in the models is the Black vs. Silver. Yet, the prices are $599 and $399 respectfully. The specs look the same otherwise. The Black is out of stock. I ordered the silver one for $399. I hope I indeed will end up with the camera everyone is talking about here. The weird thing…why $200 more for Black??

    Also, does anyone have links for where to get the accessory viewfinder and an accessory flash?

    Reply
  72. @terpkristin, That’s strange. On Amazon, it looks like the only difference in the models is the Black vs. Silver. Yet, the prices are $599 and $399 respectfully. The specs look the same otherwise. The Black is out of stock. I ordered the silver one for $399. I hope I indeed will end up with the camera everyone is talking about here. The weird thing…why $200 more for Black??

    Also, does anyone have links for where to get the accessory viewfinder and an accessory flash?

    Reply
  73. Now it seems to be supported in Lightroom and Photoshop with Camera RAW.

    Reply
  74. Now it seems to be supported in Lightroom and Photoshop with Camera RAW.

    Reply
  75. I’m thinking about picking up an LX3 in a week or two because it’s a bit cheaper than the G10, has fewer pixels on a larger sensor (while still being appx. twice the resolution of my Nikon D70). Only bummer is the lack of a viewfinder, but I can survive without one I think… If Scott were to read this comment before I make my purchase, I’d love to see a “long-term review” or at least an update-comment on what he thinks of his LX3 now.

    Reply
  76. I’m thinking about picking up an LX3 in a week or two because it’s a bit cheaper than the G10, has fewer pixels on a larger sensor (while still being appx. twice the resolution of my Nikon D70). Only bummer is the lack of a viewfinder, but I can survive without one I think… If Scott were to read this comment before I make my purchase, I’d love to see a “long-term review” or at least an update-comment on what he thinks of his LX3 now.

    Reply

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About scottbourne

Founder of Photofocus.com. Retired traveling and unhooking from the Internet.

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