Monday, July 21, 2008

Exclusive! First photos taken with Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Today Panasonic officially introduced its first meaningful entry into what I hereby dub the "Leica M wannabees" category, joining the Ricoh GR Digital and Sigma SD-1. Their common theme? They all have optical viewfinders that attach via the flash shoe, and all feel like cameras that were designed by designers who allowed familiarity to photography to win over out-of-control engineering.

But do any of these cameras do digitally what I can do with my trusty Leica M3? Well...not really. But they're fun to play with and certainly cost a lot less than an M8.

So, on to the LX3. Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to take the camera for an informal spin on a boat ride around Manhattan, courtesy of the kind folks at Panasonic. You can read the news item, with all the specs and stuff, here. And now--a Blog and White World exclusive...here's what happens when a bunch of sun-baked photography writers, editors, PR people and Japanese bigwigs on the top deck of a cruise boat are photographed by a street photographer who's been shooting since 1976...

©2008 by Mason Resnick
©2008 by Mason Resnick
©2008 by Mason Resnick
©2008 by Mason Resnick
©2008 by Mason Resnick
©2008 by Mason Resnick
©2008 by Mason Resnick
©2008 by Mason Resnick

A very short review

While the camera says it has a manual focus setting, you have to go into menus to find it and use on-screen controls, which means you have to take your eye away from what's going on in front of you. I focused on 3 meters and let hyperfocal distance do the rest. Shutter lag is pronounced in AF, much less so in manual focus. However, there was a brief pause, and I missed some moments. Image quality was excellent, even at ISO 400 when most compacts start showing unacceptable noise. That's due to the larger-than-usaual 10MP sensor, which allows for the individual pixels to be made larger and capture more light.

So while it's no Leica, for around a 10th of the price of an M8 the Panasonic LX3 has a lot to offer and will likely give its two other closest competitors a good run for their money.
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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Didn't you see the slider switch on the side of the lens barrell that allows you to switch to manual focus with no effort, menu or need to move your eye anywhere?

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Mason Resnick said...

Unless I missed something, the switch on the side of the lens barrel simply toggles between AF and MF modes but doesn't control focus once in MF.

Mason Resnick said...
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Alex said...

Nice photos..! Panasonic digital cameras are best in technology and quality.

Mason Resnick said...

Thanks, Alex!

Anonymous said...

You did miss something. Once in manual focus, the joy stick controls manual focus. You simply move it up or down...no menu diving needed.

KB said...

Perhaps more fair to say: "A user with 5 minutes on the new camera with an unfamiliar UI isn't the same as one who's been using the same M camera since 1976" :) after all, the Panasonic execs would be more than happy to assure you that when it says "Leica" on the front this doesn't mean "not Leica"!

Anonymous said...

Why are people so preoccupied with their hair in the photos? Did the guy with the best hair get to shag the camera girls?

Mason Resnick said...

KB: Fair point (although I had about half an hour on the camera. I hogged it.)

Mason Resnick said...

Anon: LOL! The hair thing struck me too as I was going through my shots, which is why I put 'em together.