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Panasonic Lumix DMC LX3K

by dbackus / July 21, 2009 12:40 AM PDT

Hello - Ive been partaking of your podcast for the last several weeks, and am enjoying the reviews & explainers. Personally I went through the digital SLR stage, but found lugging the big camera around really prevented me from using it as much & take inpromptu photos.. So Ive invested almost $1000 in high end point-n-shoots (Pana TZ3, FX37 - both dead since I drag them everywhere including sailing oceans) and now the ruggedized Olympus Stylus Tuff, which IMHO doesnt have nearly the quality of picture as the Pana's.

So here's my question: Ive become a big fan of wide angle, natural light, ad hoc people pictures.. The DMC LX3K looks just delicious. A little pricey, but I think it would fit the bill. Small enough to cargo pants pocket, yet fast enough to not have to use the flash. I also like to self document what I mess around in, so a small remote would be ideal, but havnt seen one of these in a PNS..

Opinions? Competitors? What am I missing?

Dave in Raleigh

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compact high end cameras
by hjfok / July 21, 2009 6:36 AM PDT

These are some of the competitions of Panasonic DMC LX3:
Canon G10
Olympus Pen E-P1 with 17mm f/2.8 pancake lens if you like wide angle with fast lens
Pentax Optio W60 (if you want a more weather resistant compact)

The Olympus Pen E-P1 technically is a micro 4/3 D-SLR like camera with interchangeable lenses. It has a larger sensor than the typical compacts (2x crop factor), just like the Panasonic GH1. Its body size is slightly smaller than the Canon G10, and the pancake lens is quite compact. Its image quality is better than the compacts and can take HD 720p videos. But it has no viewfinder and no built-in flash, and its autofocus is slower than a typical D-SLR, more like a compact.

The Panasonic LX3 has a fast f/2 lens, low light performance is better than the Canon G10. But the LX3 is mainly a wide angle and normal perspective camera, it does not zoom out much. The Canon G10 is more versatile in terms of focal range.

The Pentax W60 is quite rugged, water and mud resistant, and you can rinse it in tap water if it gets dirty. Image quality and performance however are not up to the standard of its competitors.

So it depends on what you value most in a camera. Sounds like the LX3 has most of what you want.

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Canon G10 with Litepanel Micro
by hjfok / July 28, 2009 11:22 AM PDT

I have been carrying a D-SLR, a couple of fast zoom lenses and a HD camcorder for the past few years, from everyday family photo, walking around theme parks to climbing volcano. The shoulders do get fatigue after a long trip, but the results are usually worth it.
But several days ago I hurt my back, so I went out and bought the Canon G10. I picked the G10 over Panasonic's LX3 mainly because I sometimes do underwater photos when scuba diving. The G10 has a few very good UW housing choices whereas the LX3 practically has none.
The G10 results are better than I thought. The G10 is really a breeze and fun to use for a D-SLR user. All the functions are at the finger tips for quick adjustment. In broad daylight, the photos are very good, hard to tell from a D-SLR.
But low light high ISO photos are unmistakingly PS quality, but this is not unique to G10. Although the LX3 has a faster lens, its performance is not better than the Fuji, and the Fuji still feels very much like shooting with a PS in low light rather than a D-SLR.

However I found a nice solution for low light photos for the G10. I bought the Litepanel Micro with very good quality LED lighting. This can be mounted right on top at the hotshoe or you can hold it from an angle. It is light and cool enough to hold comfortably in the hand. It is a great light for both cameras and camcorders. This light allows me to use ISO 80 in low light situations, instead of bumping up the ISO. Here is a couple of examples (all done by handheld):

Here is another photo that I use both the on-camera flash and holding the Litepanel micro in the other hand to brighten up the background:

For small cameras like G10 and LX3, you simply need a flash or an external light source to get a better photo with less noise. The f 2.0 lens on the LX3 will not be enough to crank up a D-SLR quality photo in low light.

So no matter which compact you pick, consider adding an external light source. My new favorite is the Litepanel micro because it works for both camera stills and videos.

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