The lure of the LX3 (and the LX5)

Discussion in 'Panasonic/Leica Forum' started by dixeyk, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. dixeyk

    dixeyk Guest

    I have been happily using my EPL-1 and recently acquired panasonic 20. I didn't realize I was missing anything. I had always wondered about the LX3 but never picked one up because I had a decent investment in my m43 gear and frankly the LX3 was just too pricey for something I just wanted to play around with. Well, the introduction of the LX5 brought the inevitable dumping of the old in a rush to buy the new so the market was flooded with nice. low mileage LX3's. I got one cheap and started to experiment.

    Now I find myself in the unusual position of preferring the LX3 to my m43 gear. IQ be damned, I am having a freaking BLAST with the LX3 and despite having a Panny 20/1.7 and soon a 14-45 to play with (along with a few really nice legacy lenses like a Pen-F 40/1.4 and 100/3.5) I am much more interested in the LX3.

    What is it about the LX3 (and other serious compacts)? Is it the go anywhere-ness? Is it the fact that you can go from macro to telephoto with the flick of a switch instead of the change of a lens? My EPL-1 is a better camera in every way. I have some great lenses, I have a VF2, I SHOULD prefer the EPL-1 but the LX3 is more fun than nine holes of naked mini-golf and jello shooters. I'll probably wake up one day with a shiny new LX5+EVF in bed next to me and not remember how it got there or why it's wearing my undershirt.

    What gives?
     
  2. lattiboy

    lattiboy SC Regular

    167
    Mar 6, 2011
    For me, it's the lens. I mean a 24-72 (or 90mm) f/2-ish lens??!?! Is that even possible optically? If so, it'd cost an insane amount of money.

    Also, you can much more easily take pictures in "security" type places like museums and sporting events.

    Also, looks cool!
     
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  3. dixeyk

    dixeyk Guest

    I have to agree that the flexibility of the lens and camera is pretty great. I am not finding myself particularly hampered by the short zoom on the LX3. The extra length on the LX5 would be nice but I'm pretty happy with what I have. So far I have very few complaints. I did order one of those Ricoh style lens caps though.
     
  4. TraamisVOS

    TraamisVOS SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 29, 2010
    Melboune, Australia
    I find that I don't use the camera at full zoom very much at all. I thought I would but most of my LX5 photos have been wide open at 24mm.
     
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  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk Guest

    Same here. Probably why I haven't felt hampered by the short zoom.
     
  6. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
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    Same here, almost all of my pictures are taken "unzoomed".

    The Olympus PEN cameras were my ticket back into photography, having been away from it for a long time. I'd never done anything with a digital camera except with a couple of Canon Elph's (still do use one, too:biggrin:), but the siren song of creativity began and thanks to having been an Olympus OM-1 fan...I naturally went the Olympus route after reading and finding my way to Amin's other site Mu43.

    Won't bore you with the rest of it, suffice it to say that I started to realize that I wanted a smaller camera, I wasn't really interested in lenses, as I tended to use one and the "wider" the better - the 9-18mm was my favorite on the PENs. Skip forward a couple of cameras, and I ended up with the LX5. If I hadn't already owned Lightroom, I'm sure I would have gone for the Leica D-Lux5. I was influenced by Don AKA Streetshooter and Ray because of their descriptions of how they used the camera... Most importantly, I wanted a camera that I would not hesitate to carry with me.

    However, the amazing thing to me about this LX5 is the quality of the images - they are excellent! I was afraid to have any printed but I did - and they're huge...well, to me 8 1/2 by 11 inches is pretty big...and, yet, they look fantastic. I was shocked and very pleased.

    I like the camera because of its size and the quality. There are a few little things that I wish it would change. Think of how it is when you fall in love, live together and/or get married and even though you still love the person sometimes little things can be annoying...like someone who leaves the bathroom a mess....:tongue: So, I'm kind of at that stage now. I don't imagine that I'll ever get rid of this camera because it's too good and too useful and a great size. I have to admit that my eye has wandered and I am awaiting another camera...but only time will tell if it crowds this little jewel out or not, but I think it will always have a home with me.

    But back to the size thing - that was one of the biggest draws for me about this camera. I don't like to carry a lot with me. Ideally for me, a camera that is seriously compact and has straightforward controls is what I am after. The LX5 has quite a bit of this going for it, though I wish its controls were like the Fuji X100's.
     
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  7. vincechu

    vincechu SC Veteran

    316
    Sep 14, 2010
    Yes and yes! Spot on! For me its also about the discreetness - I'm trying to get into street photography and I feel more comfortable with the LX5 as opposed to my K5, I also think the LX5 handles really well and feels premium too - love the build.
     
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  8. dixeyk

    dixeyk Guest

    In the end the camera doesn't do much good sitting on your desk or in a cabinet. It's the same with me, I am drawn to small easy to lug around cameras. I don't crave ultimate picture quality, I want something that will always be with me and have some degree of flexibility (manual settings). I'd rather have a picture that is perhaps noisier or has less dynamic range than no picture at all. Even something like the EPL-1 (and I assume the GF1) feels too big. I like my EPL-1 and I find it fun to shoot with but the LX3 is proving to be good enough that I would leave the EPL-1 at home while traveling. I think perhaps I am a bit extreme in my unwillingness to lug around gear. I know folks that will lug around 2 bodies and several lenses and think that's fine. Their value is image quality of portability. I can respect that...it's just not me.
     
  9. Bruce

    Bruce SC Rookie

    13
    Apr 3, 2011
    PA
    How much image quality do we need? I’ve been bouncing back and forth between the M4/3rds and a LX5 for a few months, I have a DSLR, I have lenses for it and coming from 35mm SLR it feels pretty familiar. But I also use a discontinued FZ28 Pany and enjoy the camera thoroughly. At present the argument I’m having with myself is how much quality do I really need for another “walkabout” camera? It’s a personal thing I believe. I have no need for huge prints, seldom do I make prints over 11x14. When needed I use the DSLR or because I simply feel like using it. Many times though the FZ28 goes along with me. It’s not perfect but it is small and fun to use.
    Bruce
     
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  10. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
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    BB
    Good points, Bruce. For me, I prefer smaller prints and need to get a bunch made soon. I'm more of a 5 x 7 or 6 x 9 person. And "small and fun to use" is pretty important to me, as well.:thumbup:
     
  11. dixeyk

    dixeyk Guest


    I hear you. I see a lot of folks getting all tied up in knots over low light ability and noise. I used to use an Olympus 35RC with a 42/2.8 lens and Kodak Tri-X 400 film (and image quality was never an issue then). I have found that digital cameras (more so than film) seem to be plagued with people freaking out about having the latest and greatest. It seems as though people see their choice of camera as a reflection of themselves and get really worked up when someone doesn't like their choice (or has a different choice). It's the same with personal computers. It's amazing how worked up folks get. Out of that comes a lot of rationalizing about WHY their choice is best.

    I think when you find something that works for you, stick with it. The camera is just a tool like a hammer, saw or even a computer. What you do WITH the tool is what matters.
     
  12. dixeyk

    dixeyk Guest

    The last few weeks have been a real eye opener for me. I picked up a used LX3 on a whim and since it has arrived it has rapidly become my go to camera. I find that it's easier to play around and experiment with, is much smaller so I can easily carry it anywhere I go and ,ost of all I don't think it gives up much in the IQ department to my EPL-1. Perhaps I am not sophisticated enough, but I think the LX3 is great and I am seeing less and less reason for me to keep the m43 equipment around. I know all about the sensor on the LX3 being too small and too noisy at high ISO and not good enough because...blah, blah, blah...but in actual practice I am not seeing much of a difference in the two image wise. Add to that the fact that I am having waaaaay more fun with the LX3 and it gives me an interesting problem. Do I keep my m43 gear or jump ship?

    NOW I am curious about the LX5. I have always preferred having a VF of some sort and that is the sole complaint I have about the LX3 (maybe I'll feel different when my Clearview arrives). I like the fact that the LX5 can have a VF if need be. That said, from what I have seen of the LX3 vs the LX5 in the image department I find the LX3 images a tad sharper throughout the zoom range. I am just putting that down to more aggressive noise reduction in the LX5 but seeing as I cut my teeth in photography using 400 Tri-X I can't really say that noise bothers me too much and I find when printed most noise that one sees while pixel peeping isn't much of an issue.

    No matter, back to the main point of this post. I am finding myself contemplating selling off all my (hard won) m43 equipment in favor of using a serious compact. I never thought I would ever say that. Well, it sure would be a heck of a lot cheaper. :eek:
     
  13. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
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    Kevin, I'd go to a camera store and see if you can find an LX5 with the view finder. Frankly the viewfinder was a no go for me. I ordered it and expected much more than it gave me...but different view finders for different eyes, and you might like it.

    With my LX5, I've gotten some pretty darn crystal clear shots, but I don't normally use the zoom at all. I tend to shoot at the widest setting.

    Gotta go with the one you love the best - unless you can afford to keep both. I'm so glad you're enjoying yourself with this camera!
     
  14. dixeyk

    dixeyk Guest

    It's the same viewfinder that you use on the GF-1 correct? If so, I'm familiar with that one...and I don't care for it. I'm spoiled by the VF2 on my Olympus. The VF2 by itself would be enough to make me consider one of those Olympus XZ-1 cameras. That said, I like the LX3 so I don't feel that motivated to switch. The lack of a viewfinder is not the end of the world. I shot extensively with a ZS3 and it had no viewfinder. You work with what you have.

    As far as the sharpness of the LX5 relative to the LX3...they are both nice. I see a lot of folks getting really wrapped around the axle about pretty small differences in cameras. When I look at the sample images it looks like Panasonic decided to go for less noise by having the noise reduction be a bit more aggressive. I think that more aggressive noise reduction can make images look a bit softer. It's a choice they made. I think most folks they are more bothered by noise than slightly softer images. It probably sells more cameras.

    People take their product choices waaaay too seriously when it comes to electronic gadgets (I suppose it's because of the high price some of these gadgets carry). You see endless posts about how someone feels betrayed by a tech company because their beloved product was changed and act as if its some personal vendetta against them and all of sane human kind. It would be funny if it wasn't so weird.
     
  15. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
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    Yes, it is - or at least the one I ordered was and I am in agreement with you about being spoiled by Olympus's EVF which I thought was fantastic.

    Had a good chuckle sitting here as I read your last paragraph, too.:biggrin::wink:
     
  16. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw SC Rookie S.C. Charter Member

    11
    Jul 11, 2010
    The viewfinder for the LX5 is the same as that for the GF1 and GF2. It sucks but it's better than nothing. I wished I had the viewfinder to use on my LX2 when I was in travelling in S.E.Asia three or four years ago. There were days when it was so bright I had a really difficult time viewing anything on the LCD screen. I have since sold the LX2 (and LX3 which I regretted as I sold it dirt cheap) but now have the LX5 and GH1. With the GH1, I find my self using the viewfinder all the time. I only use the LCD screen for changing menu items.

    Konrad
     
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  17. dixeyk

    dixeyk Guest


    I have my VF2 permanently attached to my EPL-1 for that same reason (the again the VF2 is a lot nicer than the Panasonic version). The LX3 OTOH is a bit of a different beast. I do a bit more playing with it and the LCD is a bit more useful than the one on the EPL-1. It has much better resolution for starters. Since the LX3 doesn't accept an EVF I figured I'd try the Clearviewer. I find I like the LX3 quite a lot and the LX5 doesn't seem to me so much better to prompt me to upgrade at this point. I'll report back on the CV when it arrives. I have the experience of using the EPL-1 with the VF2 so I think I'll be able to determine how useful it is compared to a LVF or equivalent.