If you read my email you’d be busy since I get a bunch of it. You’d also see that many people still believe it’s the gear that makes the photo and not the photographer. If that were ever going to be true, it would be so when it comes to wildlife – or more specifically […]

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A while back, I wrote a blog post called “20 Steps to the Perfect Digital Camera.”

Reading Andy’s review of the LX3/P6000/G10 I realized I should have titled that perfect camera story more accurately. It should have read “20 Steps to the Perfect DSLR.”

Because now I want to talk about the perfect point and shoot!

I used to own the Canon G9. I replaced it with the Panasonic LX3. I confess that I didn’t give the P6000 much consideration for reasons I’ll describe in a minute. I also bought the G10 and sent it back the next day. Again, for different reasons than Andy did, which I’ll also point out in a minute.

The thing to note is that the decision to carry a compact camera is highly personal. As Andy pointed out – it’s not about which is the BEST camera – it’s about which is the best camera FOR YOU! His review made me wish I’d given more thought to the P6000. He raises some good arguments on its behalf. But one thing his review really drove home for me, was that NONE of these cameras is perfect for everyone.

For me, the LX3 is the winner because I prefer it’s low-noise/high image quality and fast/wide lens. The G10 was a stop noisier, didn’t have as fast/wide a lens, and had downgraded video capabilities. Unlike Andy, I didn’t mind its bulk. I didn’t consider the P6000 because at the time, I had no interest in Geo-Tagging (now I do since iPhoto 09 makes that so easy.) I also didn’t care for the weird new Nikon RAW format, and poor battery life. But you see, I have a different set of goals than Andy or you or the next person.

Based on MY goals, (and my goals alone) the perfect compact camera would take in the best qualities of all three of these cameras plus a few extra bits thrown in for good measure…

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Go ahead. The next time you’re shopping for a new piece of gear and you can’t decide between three attractive choices, fire off emails to each manufacturer and see if they’re open to loaning you some samples to play with for a month or so.

Aha. See? So there are some advantages to being an internationally-beloved technology pundit.

And no, I wasn’t being mercenary. The field of “premium point-and-shoot” cameras has really found its spurs in recent years and it was nigh-time that I wrote a comparative review of the Nikon CoolPix P6000, the Panasonic Lumix LX3, and the Canon Powershot G10. The fact that I’d had a void in my coat pocket ever since my beloved Kodak V705 gave up the ghost had nothing to do with it.

(Seriously, dude…you’re just embarrassing yourself by even implying such a thing.)

The photo world has been going moderately ga-ga over the LX3. And who can blame them after shots like this one started to saturate Flickr?

Center stage at the Colonial Theater, Boston.

Center stage at the Colonial Theater, Boston.

The LX3 redefines your expectations of compact cameras. If I saw this photo in anybody else’s Flickr stream, I’d have immediately thought “SLR. Tripod. Decent lens. Remote shutter release.” But in truth, all I did was stop for about five seconds on my way across the stage, take the LX3 out of my pocket, snap a quick photo, and then hustle to catch up to the pal who was showing me around after a performance of “Spamalot.”

I carried the LX3 with me faithfully for about a month and and its shots never disappointed. The LX3 has one hell of a lens. Made by Leica, it’s both very fast and very wide for a pocket camera, opening all the way to f2.0 and as wide as 24mm. Maybe that bit of extra wide-angle doesn’t seem like much (the Nikon’s lens zooms back to 28mm) but when you’re shooting a scene like this one, it’s the difference between a photo that’s framed by the natural margins of the stage, and one that’s simply cut off at the edges. 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