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The digital camera market has grown tremendously over the years. The cameras were developed to suit the needs of different customers, from those who just want to take a casual picture to those who want to take a professional one. For those who want to have some control over the camera but still want to have the convenience of an average camera, there lies a new type of product "prosumer" cameras. And Panasonic LX3 is one of them.
I have been using my LX3 for a few years and still loving it. It is my best companion for travelling. It does its job very well in various conditions and take pictures of great quality.
Easy to use
The phone has an IA (Intelligent Auto) mode. Under this mode, the camera will do its own setting according to its circumstances. This is very convenient if you don't know much about camera. When my parents take my camera for travelling, I always tell them to use the IA mode all the time. The pictures won't go really wrong with the IA mode. Of course, it will also comes in handy if you want to take a snap shot and don't have much time to set everything.
If you want to have a more accurate setting, you can go to the scene mode. There are a range of preset scenarios for you to choose, for example, portrait, night scenery, etc. I like the pin-hole mode most and the result is very much like the ones taken by a lomo.
The camera offers a 24mm wide angle setting. It allows you to a wider picture which is very useful when you use the camera to capture the scenery or a large group photo. This advantage is more obvious when you put two cameras side by side.
The 2.0 aperture is not common in the range of cameras like LX3. It allows you to take photos in a dark environment without using the flash. Besides that, the gentle soft focusing generated is also great for portraits.
Size and outlook
LX3 is larger and heavier than an average digital camera. It is relatively bulky and heavy especially if you have to carry it around all day. (Of course, if you are using a DSLR camera, you will find LX3 to be a light-weight camera!)
The lens cover is not attached to the camera and you have to take it off every time before taking a picture. It can be lost easily! My solution to this is to use a small string to attach it to the lens. However, in that way, you have to be careful not to allow the cover to hit the lens.
The white balance is inaccurate when the environment is dim. There is no problem if you are taking an outdoor picture but it can be very problematic if you are using it indoor and using the IA function. It is better to use the scene mode or adjust the white balance manually.
All in all, LX3 is an excellent "prosumer" camera, especially in taking landscape photos. It is my best companion when I go travelling and I guess I will still stick with it for some time.
Panasonic have released a number of different camera's in their lumix series and this one is the DMC-LX3 - it's at the more expensive end of the the series costing between £350 and £400 to buy new.
Specifications and points of interest:
- 24-60mm optical zoom
- Leica lens
- SD compatability (small internal memory)
- 3" LCD
- inbuilt flash (well hidden by being recessed into the top of the camera's body, it pops up when you slide a button across)
- Capable of shooting RAW (useful for say the professional photographer looking for a professional compact, however most people won't need this function and probably shouldn't use it as you'll find that your standard computer won't be able to open the files - you need proper software to do it)
- Hot shoe
- 10 second timer
- exposure compensation
The lens is quite chunky and doesn't fully recess into the body of the camera, however despite this the camera manages to retain quite a compact size with a decent weight - not so light you'll forget you've got it, but not so heavy that it will get on your nerves. The body also feels well made and durable and has a matt finish which doesn't attract finger prints.
As far as shooting is concerned, there are a number of options including the standard scene selections such as pet, food and baby. The intelligent auto function is very capable, with auto white balance also being effective and the camera copes very well with shooting indoors without flash. The camera is capable of taking images in very quick succession (easily less than a second between each) which is handy if you're trying to take action shots and is capable of focusing from roughly 2cm from the subject and there is a focus button although pressing it doesn't seem to make the camera do anything that it doesn't already do of it's own accord.
The movie function is good and keeps focus well even when moving the camera rapidly past a scene.
The results are very pleasing in most circumstances - crisp, sharp photos with accurate colour and contrast although you want to be careful with the ISO settings. The camera does go up to 3200, but this is so noisy it's unuseable - it's useable from about 400.
The setting adjustments are not the most intuitive and it would be advisable to read the manual - I didn't and it took me 10 minutes of pressing random buttons just to work out how to set the ISO (for reference you have to press and hold down the 'q.menu' button to bring up options).
Overall I like this camera - it's capable of producing some very pleasing photos and has a decent movie function, however I feel that the setting adjustments are needlessy complicated and for the price I would expect a greater degree of manual adjustments available or at least improved noise levels at higher ISO's. I can't say that I either would or would not recommend this camera - if you don't mind the price then this would be a great compact for taking photos in decent light conditions and even indoor shots due to the accurate auto white balance, however if you plan on taking very low light shots (evening, night etc) you'll probably be disappointed with the noise, I also wouldn't recommend the camera to someone who wanted to learn more about photography through manual adjustments as you won't get it with this.
I received this camera as a surprise gift for Christmas 2008 and I am so pleased with it! It has the convenience of a point-and-shoot, but the versatility of a manual camera that I can carry around all the time! I am constantly pulling it out and snapping a few buttons to get the perfect on- the- go- shot! I am new to photography and so this is a great camera for me, but I know it's well liked by more experienced photographers too. It has a very easy to use mode dial, and settings are easy to adjust with just a few button presses. There is a Hot Shoe suitable for an external flash (though there is one inbuilt which works well!) or even a viewfinder which is also available from Panasonic. It has a fast F2.0-F2.8 24-60mm (35mm equivalent) Leica DC Vario-Summicron lens that is brighter than the lens on its predecessor (LX2) and allows the photographer to take clear, crisp photos at higher shutter speeds. There are 3 aspect ratio options, allowing you to take pictures using a variety of perspectives. It also has auto focus, manual focus (with movable focal point) and macro focus. The 3 inch LCD screen is perfect for composing shots and reviewing them once they are done. This is a versatile digital camera that sets the standard high for competitors, it's great to carry around and pull out for *just that right moment* when the ease of Intelligent Auto is perfect!