Let’s begin at the ending:

There’s a new superclass of pocket cameras. Reliable field identification marks for this species include the ability to shoot RAW; having fine control over how the camera shoots and processes images; and the ability (or even just the potential) to add external flashes, filters, and lens adapters.

The Panasonic LX3 and the Nikon Coolpix P6000 are both superlative examples; they’re the top cameras, embodying two different design goals. If you want to take the best pictures possible — particularly in low-light situations — the Panasonic will make you very, very happy. If you value simplicity and convenience, you’ll love the Nikon.

The Nikon sells for a bit less than $400. The Panasonic is closer to $450.

Okay? 122 words and we’re through. The rest…is mere postscript.

And so here’s where I talk about the Canon G10. I did get a hold of a G10 to test out but I only used it for about a week. Just long enough to determine that my column would just be about the LX3 and the P6000.

Was the G10 that bad?

Oh, no. Not at all. If it were awful, hell, I would have devoted a whole column to its wretchedness. That’s how I spell “fun.” I had so much fun with the Microsoft Zune player that the opening line from my review became a question on “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!”

I removed the G10 from the column because over the course of a week’s use and probably about 150 photos, it had failed to make any impression on me whatsoever.

None.

I take that back. I do like the built-in neutral density filter. Well done, there. Nifty feature. I’d use the hell out of it if it were on the LX3 or the P6000. You know…the cameras that truly got me excited about picture-taking.

I’ve had a couple of months to think about it but I’m right back where I began. I still don’t see a single reason for anybody to get excited about the G10.

It’s not as small or as convenient to use as the P6000. It lacks the Nikon’s simplicity, customizability, and creature-comforts. The biggest disconnection for me is the G10′s size: it’s too big for a lot of my favorite pockets. The P6000 fits everywhere except for a shirt pocket, which means that there is no moment and no circumstance under which I can’t have a high-quality pocket camera on me.

Again I say: the camera you have with you at the moment you want to take a picture takes much better photos than the one you left back at the house or the hotel…or the one that’s such a hassle you don’t want to even bother with it. Continue reading

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.) Continue reading

Panasonic Lumix DMC LX3 Unboxing from Scott Bourne on Vimeo. _______________ This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store

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