Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Fans of the Panasonic LX series (LX1 or LX2) believed it had already been discontinued, for a long time there was no successor to the powerful pocket camera in sight. But Panasonic’s engineers have made good use of this long time and with the LX3 have introduced more than just a slightly improved camera – Panasonic concentrates entirely on the wide angle. The universal zoom of the LX2 (28-112 mm) has been replaced by a fast 2.0-2.8/24-60mm lens, with an improved 10-megapixel sensor instead of megapixel racing. We had the opportunity to test a pre-series model of the cameras in practice. Our impressions after the click.

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Extension possibilities (system flash shoe, viewfinder, optical accessories)
  • Excellent, large monitor
  • Powerful, “low distortion” wide-angle lens
  • High quality workmanship

Cons

  • Relatively high edge loss of resolution
  • Quite slow autofocus
  • No comfortable operation via 1-2 setting wheels
  • Short telephoto focal length

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

With the development of the new LX3 Panasonic took a lot of time. But in the meantime the digital camera has been improved in numerous points compared to the LX2. It stands out from the crowd above all due to its F2.0-2.8 fast and 24-60 mm focal length (corresponding to 35mm) lens. But even more equipment details make them on paper the ideal companion for the demanding wide-angle photographer who doesn’t want to carry large equipment. It is also an attractive alternative for owners of larger system cameras.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

Panasonic has technically updated the LX series with the LX3. These include advanced automatic features, improved facial recognition, Venus Engine IV with improved noise reduction, AF tacking, HD video recording and much more. But much more interesting than the technical gimmicks and “intelligent” automatic systems are the camera’s ambitions to be a compact companion for photo enthusiasts. In addition to options for manually operating the camera, this also includes an extensive range of accessories in the form of optical attachments or flash units and, of course, outstanding image quality.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

To guarantee this, Panasonic does not rely on the megapixel race (a new 15-megapixel sensor is currently “hip”), but on a moderate 10 megapixels on a relatively large 1/1.63″ CCD chip. It has optimized pixels, i.e. the space between the pixels has been reduced and the light-sensitive area has been enlarged with the same sensor resolution. Panasonic also uses another trick: the sensor physically resolves 11 megapixels, of which only 10 (at 4:3), 9.5 (at 3:2) or 9 (at 16:9) megapixels are used, depending on the aspect ratio selected. The switch is made – as already known from the LX1 and 2 – by means of a switch on the lens. The point is to keep the diagonal viewing angle constant at every aspect ratio – so the photographer doesn’t have to constantly convert the focal length as with the LX1 and 2. Thus the true 24 mm wide angles of the fast lens (1:2.0 for 24 mm and 1:2.8 for 60 mm) are always available.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 ReviewPanasonic has taken the extreme wide-angle lens to heart, especially with the LX3. While the LX2 had a rather universal 28-112mm lens, the LX3 completely dispenses with the telephoto range and already stops at the normal focal length of 60mm. On the other hand, one can expect the best image quality from the lens with only 2.5x zoom factor. The first test pictures we made, which we are not allowed to publish due to the pre-series status of the camera, look promising. You should always keep in mind that this is a compact camera with a small sensor compared to DSLRs – so the LX3 is also well advised not to increase the sensitivity too much, even if it allows settings up to ISO 3,200 or even up to ISO 6,400 in high-ISO mode.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

LX1 and LX2 owners will feel right at home with the LX3. If you take a look at the LX3 or take it in your hand, you will notice that hardly anything has changed in terms of shape, workmanship and operation. The screen, which comes in 3:2 format, has grown in size, has a very fine resolution of 460,000 pixels and was also able to convince with its viewing angle independence and brightness (with automatic control). The 3:2 aspect ratio felt best with the camera; it’s the “classic” 35mm aspect ratio and doesn’t need black “mourning borders” on the camera monitor. It can be used in bright environments, but sometimes you wish you had the good old viewfinder back – and Panasonic has thought of these people, too. There is an optional optical attachable viewfinder for the flash shoe, but it is only suitable for a focal length of 24 mm – Panasonic believes that this focal length would be the most used by the camera (or by ambitious users in general) anyway.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

The shoe is not only a viewfinder holder, but also has TTL contacts – Panasonic’s FourThird camera flashes are compatible (and probably Olympus’, which Panasonic didn’t want to confirm or deny). A particularly suitable and compact flash for the LX3 with a guide number of 22 will follow later. But this is not the end of the camera’s expansion options: optical accessories, which are also available from Panasonic, can be connected via a tube adapter. In addition to a polarizing filter, this also includes a neutral density filter (also called ND or gray filter) and a protective filter. The crowning glory is probably the 0.75x wide-angle converter, which gives the camera an extremely wide-angle focal length of 18 mm – a teleconverter, on the other hand, is not announced and would not make as much sense. At one point, however, Panasonic has saved on the expansion options: there is no connection for a cable remote release.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

The camera is strongly oriented to the LX1 and LX2. One has to say: unfortunately, because with such a camera one or two adjustment wheels would be surely attached in order to be able to make with it exposure and other adjustments. Instead, the camera has five buttons on the back, which are arranged like a control pad. Sometimes they call up direct settings, sometimes they are used for navigation, e.g. in the menus. In addition, there is a mini joystick – and “mini” is not understated. It is a little fiddly to use and serves sometimes for navigation (e.g. in the menus) and then again for setting camera parameters – instead of control wheels. You have to get used to the fact that this inaccurate joystick often has to be used instead of the more precise and larger navigation keys – but whoever comes from the LX1 or LX2 won’t be used to it any other way.

Ergonomics and workmanship

If you take the camera in your hand, the first thing you notice is the weight (265 g) and the pleasant cold of the metal housing. The processing quality is excellent, so that the camera leaves a very solid impression in the sum. Another positive feature is the slightly shaped handle, which is equipped with a plastic insert with a grained structure and matt metal frame. In contrast to the “grip nose” of the LX2, the design also has a practical use. The thumb is securely held on the back by a shaped edge and a knob structure. Otherwise there is less space on the back side. The largest part is occupied by the 3 inch monitor, which has an aspect ratio of 3:2 and a fine resolution of 460,000 pixels. During operation it shows a brilliant, colourful and pin sharp picture. Finally, Panasonic has also learned that viewing angle-independent displays are much more practical than the previously installed displays with viewing angle switching. Thus, the view from above, below, right and left is also guaranteed diagonally, only the contrast decreases slightly with more extreme viewing angles, so that deep black degenerates to a light grey. After all, the monitor is not quite optimally readable under very bright ambient conditions, but it is usually sufficient for image composition. If you want an optical viewfinder back, you will find it as an optional accessory for attaching to the flash shoe – but then you are fixed to an image section corresponding to 24 mm 35 mm focal length.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

Owners and connoisseurs of the predecessor model LX2 will soon be able to make friends with the new camera, which has a very similar design – but there are still some new features. Nothing’s happened on the underside. The metal tripod thread still sits clearly outside the optical axis, but at least a tripod exchange plate mounted there does not block access to the memory card and battery compartment, which is provided with a plastic cover. In addition to the tiny 50 MB internal flash memory, the camera can be equipped with SDHC cards up to a capacity of 32 GBytes. Fortunately, the LX3 is battery compatible to its predecessors, and even a wrong insertion of the energy dispenser is mechanically not possible. The runtime is quite decent with 380 shots according to the CIPA standard (including 50 % flash usage). Larger innovations, on the other hand, are noticeable on the upper side of the housing. The flash jumps up considerably higher, and in the middle of the lens there is a real system flash shoe. There were also changes to the mode dial, which now makes only one scene mode, but two individually storable user profiles directly accessible – very practical! In addition to the film mode and the PASM modes (program automatic, aperture automatic, aperture automatic and manual) which are mandatory for such a camera, Panasonic’s intelligent automatic mode is also accommodated here (more about this later).

The shutter release button and ring zoom rocker are identical to their predecessors as is the switch-on slider, but the button for the image stabilizer mode has now been replaced by a focus button. The new belt eyelets, which are attached to the left and right of the housing, are sensible and stable. Together with the shoulder strap included in delivery, the system camera character of the LX3 is supported even more – the camera hangs around the neck and does not dangle on the wrist. The connections behind a plastic flap on the right side of the camera are contemporary. In addition to USB/AV and the proprietary power supply connection, there is a (component) HDMI output, so that nothing stands in the way of a high-resolution slide show on a flat-screen TV in HD or FullHD resolution – only the matching cable is not included. It is a pity, however, that the camera only sends a signal to the outputs in playback mode, but a live image is not possible.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

The new operating concept of the Lumix cameras comes into its own on the back. A somewhat wobbly switch mechanically switches between playback and recording mode. Panasonic believes this will simplify operation. However, we think a playback button is more practical, so that you could always set the camera to recording readiness (recording priority) by tapping the shutter release button, which the LX3 can no longer do. With the target group of the camera – the demanding amateur photographer – one would have wished for at least one control wheel, as one knows it from DSLRs and bridge cameras. Unfortunately, Panasonic uses a somewhat fiddly joystick instead, with which, for example, aperture and exposure time, but also the manual focus can be adjusted. The Quick menu, on the other hand, is very practical and can be called up by pressing the joystick. Here you can set important shooting parameters such as movie simulation mode, exposure metering mode, autofocus area selection, white balance, sensitivity, shadow brightening, resolution (but not the change between RAW and JPEG), and monitor brightness mode. The latter has a well-functioning automatic mode in which the monitor brightness adjusts to the ambient light. This not only saves electricity, but is also extremely practical.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 ReviewIn addition to the joystick, there are other buttons on the rear panel that can also be used to control the camera (for example, in the menu), but can be used in shooting mode to directly select certain shooting parameters such as exposure compensation, flash mode, self-timer, and a freely assignable Fn button. The middle button, on the other hand, calls up the extensive and modern menu, which is divided into tabs and subpages. Other one-touch buttons on the rear panel are used to set the continuous-advance mode, display mode (e.g., to display gridlines or histograms), and focus and exposure lock (AF/AE lock).

Two additional switches are located on the lens itself, one for switching between autofocus, macro, and manual focus, and one for selecting the aspect ratio (see Image Quality for more information).

Equipment

As expected, the LX3 makes every hobby photographer’s heart beat faster. Almost everything can be set via keys or in the menu. Where many functions are, however, often also a little the overview is missing, and thus one should get to know the LX3 already a little more exactly, in order to be able to use and estimate all functions – and above all to know, what and where one can adjust it at all. For example, there is the continuous shooting mode. Contrary to the data sheet specifications in our measurement, it only achieves 1.9 frames/s in each mode. The pleasant thing about this is that you can make well over 100 pictures at a time and they are also stored away quite quickly. Even if no continuous-advance mode is selected, the camera does not block the shutter release while saving, so you can always be “ready to shoot” – even in RAW mode. What doesn’t work in continuous mode is the internal flash – you have to plug in an external one. But here, too, a maximum of three flash images in a row are possible. However, there is one exception for serial pictures with the internal flash: By means of a special motive program these are possible – but only three pictures in a row and above all with only 3 megapixels resolution, a somewhat strange limitation. This may be due to the somewhat weak performance of the internal flash – we measured a guide number of only 5.3. The fact that it should nevertheless shine up to 8 m is undoubtedly due to the fast lens and the high sensitivity in ISO auto mode.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

On the positive side, the flash folds out higher than its predecessor. However, it always has to be extended by hand, but then has almost every mode you can wish for: Auto, with anti-red-eye preflash, fill-flash, and via the menu a sync to the second shutter curtain (flash ignition at the end of the exposure instead of at the beginning) and via the exposure-compensation button also a flash-compensation. The latter doesn’t hurt, because Panasonic still uses a lot of flash light, especially when shooting people, which doesn’t necessarily lead to what a European understands by healthy skin color. Japanese and above all Chinese see it of course completely differently, there a “porcelain skin” is considered as particularly beautiful.

The color temperature and uniformity of the flash light over the field of view – even at a focal length of 24 mm – is excellent, on the other hand, you should only pay attention in the close-up range, as at least in the wide angle, drop shadows can be created by the lens. It remains to be mentioned that we miss a manual flash output control for full creativity (and to suppress the measuring pre-flash) as well as a wireless control for external flash units. But the flash shoe itself offers completely new possibilities for external light sources. Here, the user can fall back on the full range of flash accessories from Olympus, Panasonic and compatibles – even if the camera looks rather pitiful under a large, powerful flash and one considers to tackle this combination rather at the flash than at the camera.

Our impression of the video mode is ambivalent. The picture quality is very good with 1,280 x 720 pixels at 30 frames per second, also the sound recording is quite good for an internal mono microphone (an external microphone connection is missing), but the used memory format Quicktime Motion-JPEG is no longer up to date and above all consumes a lot of memory space. A modern MPEG4 codec like DivX or even better H.264 would be more appropriate here – some of the competitors are showing the way. What’s missing in the video mode are focus tracking and zoom function – not even a digital zoom is possible, although the resolution would give a lot without losing too much quality. Here Panasonic should use even more synergies in its own company – after all, it is the leading manufacturer of camcorders.

A particular strength of Lumix digital cameras are the intelligent automatic systems, which now cover a very wide field. They can be switched on individually, but with the mode dial on iA for intelligent automatic, the camera can also be set to a “carefree mode”, which should enable any layperson to take the best possible photos. One of the intelligent automatic systems hides in the sensitivity. Not only is the upper limit of the automatic range adjustable from ISO 200 to 3,200, but it can also detect motif movements if desired, thus avoiding blurring at the expense of higher noise. Also intelligent is a brightness correction, which recognizes particularly high-contrast situations and in this case brightens the shadows to different degrees and thus provides for maximum drawing – this step can then be saved on the computer (very practical also for direct printing via PictBridge). Another useful feature of automatic systems is the already mandatory facial recognition function. However, there is also a motif tracking function that keeps the focus on an object once it has been aimed at – this function, however, is still somewhat sluggish at times. The useful orientation sensor should also be mentioned here, which does not constantly adjust the screen content to the camera rotation, but at least saves it in the image, whether it was recorded in portrait or landscape format.

Lens

This is probably the most outstanding feature of this digital camera – not only in comparison to its predecessor LX2, but in general. While the LX2 still had a rather universal as well as conventional zoom of the equivalent of 28-112 mm, the LX3 with its 24-60 mm goes more extreme ways. Not only the strong wide angle, which no manufacturer could build with such a compact camera with reasonable quality so far (in terms of distortion, vignetting, edge blur), but also the complete renunciation of telephoto focal length (60 mm is just slightly tele-heavy normal focal length) in favor of better quality and speed make the LX3 a special camera. F2.0 at wide-angle and F2.8 at the longest focal length are speeds we haven’t seen in a compact zoom camera for a long time. In addition, the LX3, like all Panasonic Lumix digital cameras, has a built-in optical image stabilizer. Both together allow photos to be taken in situations where most other digital cameras would be noisy due to higher sensitivities, or where a bulky SLR camera would be used.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

But a 24 mm wide angle is not enough. In contrast to the LX2, the LX3 can optionally be fitted with a tube adapter which, in addition to optical filters, also accommodates a wide-angle converter – with this, the camera then achieves an 18 mm ultra-widefield focal length. Without tube adapter, a screwed-on metal ring covers the external thread. This alone means that it has to remain unscrewed in order to be able to insert the stylish new snap-in cap when switched off to protect it from the lens – the LX2’s rather cheap-looking plastic cap is now a thing of the past. In general, the LX3 looks like a real system camera with its rigid lens part that protrudes by 1.7 cm even when switched off. When switched on, the lens lengthens by 2.3 cm to 4 cm, but when zoomed to 60 mm, it becomes shorter again and measures only 2.4 cm from the camera body. The motor is noticeable by its quiet humming, whereby the LX3 can precisely control a total of 13 zoom levels and takes about 2 seconds from wide-angle to telephoto.

Also the autofocus of the LX3 is a bit leisurely. In the laboratory, we determined focus times of around 0.7 seconds – which is now faster with other cameras. You can still tickle out some speed if you switch to high-speed mode. For support in dark environments, the LX3 also has a bright orange auxiliary light, which can also be switched off in the menu. However, the strengths of autofocus lie in other areas. This makes it possible to select five out of eleven measuring fields for multi-field autofocus. On the other hand, one achieves full flexibility if one is content with an autofocus point, then one can place it completely freely and practically steplessly on the image. The close-up limit of the autofocus is 50 cm over the entire focal length range, which makes it quite easy to work with. The macro mode can be selected using the switch on the lens. 30 cm for 60 mm or 1 cm for 24 mm (from the front lens) are then the close-up limits. So nothing stands in the way of breathtaking macro shots (albeit with wide-angle distortions). If, on the other hand, you like to have full control, you should focus on manual focus. As an adjustment aid, there is not only a magnifying glass, but also a bar which indicates the focus range (and not only the focus point). So it is easy to work with the hyperfocal distance (see further links) to get everything sharp from as close as possible to the horizon – besides, the shutter release delay drops to about 0.16 seconds, which is fast, but not record-breaking.

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

 

Picture quality

Panasonic has neither used old technology nor a new (and dubious) resolution class for the image sensor. Instead, the engineers thought about how to improve the image quality with sufficient resolution of effectively 10 megapixels. The result is a 1/1.63″ CCD sensor with 11.3 megapixels that is large for compact camera ratios. Not only has the light-sensitive area per pixel been improved by new manufacturing processes compared to older 10-megapixel sensors, but also the microlens structure. So each pixel should be able to capture the maximum possible light. But the real highlight is to use only the middle part of the sensor. Thus, the image diagonal (and thus the effectively used image angle) can remain constant – no matter if one photographs in the 4:3, 3:2 or 16:9 format. The fact that the resolution of 10 megapixels at 4:3 over 9.5 megapixels at 3:2 decreases slightly to 9 megapixels at 16:9 is simply due to the fact that wider image formats cover a smaller area with a constant diagonal.

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

Surely one would have wished now that the LX3 with the new sensor sensationally little noise. However, Panasonic has set the sensitivity range from ISO 100 to 3,200. At ISO 100 and 200, the noise is surprisingly low, ISO 400 is also still good to use, and – especially compared to the more noisy LX2 – there are worlds between the two. But at the latest from ISO 800 the noise increases strongly, and ISO 1.600 or 3.200 should only be used in an emergency. After all, there is hardly any color noise, as it is very well suppressed by the software. But even those who “stand” on differently bright pixels with originally the same brightness will be dissatisfied with the noise in the high sensitivities, because unfortunately it has little to do with a natural grain character à la film grain.

Parallel to the increase in noise at higher sensitivities, the input dynamics decrease. While the LX3 can handle 8.8 f-stops at ISO 100, the subject contrast is only 7.7 at ISO 400 and 5.9 f-stops at ISO 3,200. Here, too, it makes sense to use low sensitivities. Since the high motif contrasts occur mainly in sunlight, this shouldn’t be too difficult, after all, ISO 100 is required anyway, especially if you want to use the large aperture openings as a means of masking your style. The exposure of the camera is by the way quite balanced with a rather slight tendency to underexposure with rather drowning shadows than eroded lights. However, the shadows in the tonal value reproduction are a touch too bright and tolerate a little more contrast. Otherwise, the tonal value reproduction is quite neutral with only a slight inverse S-shape.

In terms of resolution, the digital camera – faded in and out – actually cuts a pretty good figure. However, there is a catch: The edge drop is quite pronounced, whereas even dimming does not help. The same applies to a significantly increased directional dependency of the resolution in the blue channel, so that a somewhat uneven reproduction occurs here. If one could think that the lens is not as good as the Leica lettering suggests when it comes to the edge drop, one would seem to be disabused when it comes to distortion and edge darkening. The vignetting is quite low and has a soft course, the distortion is surprisingly low – for the initial focal length of 24 mm – with 1.6 % ton shape, especially since the ton shape has a natural, familiar character for the human eye compared to the cushion shape. At medium and “long” focal lengths, the lens is even almost distortion-free. But those who fall back on the RAW format and compare it with JPEG will notice that the lens is visibly stronger at 24 mm and RAW – obviously Panasonic applies a significant reduction of distortion in JPEG mode. You may be divided on whether that’s good or not. In our opinion, however, Panasonic is on the right track with this: JPEG should deliver “finished” results, i.e. more beautiful results, for example for shoot-to-print. I would like to correct lens errors that would have made the camera unnecessarily more expensive on an optical level. With RAW images, on the other hand, the user consciously wants to correct such errors himself using software – or even keep them.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 ReviewImage processing in the camera also intervenes quite aggressively in other areas: in sharpening. This is – considering the target group – quite clear and especially in the brighter areas of the image so strong that visible white clipping occurs, which is mainly disturbing on larger prints. Here again the RAW format is recommended to the user, if this disturbs him. Besides, with a RAW converter you can fight the noise even at higher sensitivities much more effectively than the camera is able to, so that the LX3 still has some teasing potential. The moiré and aliasing effects visible in JPEG with fine image structures can also be better eliminated with a good RAW converter and the concentrated computing power of a PC.

The horse feet of the image quality, as recognized in the test laboratory, should not, however, hide the fact that the camera – viewed subjectively – simply has a beautiful image reproduction. This is not only true for the color rendering (with some limitations in the automatic white balance under incandescent light, where red-orange color casts occur), but also for the noise and the detail rendering at lower sensitivities – after all, even with auto ISO you have the possibility to limit the highest value and thus keep the noise low. Above all, however, Panasonic’s attempt to deliver a better image quality with the LX3 instead of a higher resolution deserves respect – and all in all this has been achieved.

Bottom line

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 is a fantastic tool, a camera that’s just a lot of fun. This is due not only to the high-quality workmanship, but also to the system concept, the outstanding lens and last but not least – for compact camera conditions – very good image quality. On the other hand, the LX3, with its special wide-angle lens, is a specialist – a shortcoming that is worth getting into. Panasonic should, however, start again with the handling of the successor model, especially with regard to the target group: An adjustment wheel here, one there, slightly larger knobs and a more modern video function would make the very good camera almost perfect.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 is an extremely interesting digital camera especially for ambitious wide-angle fans. The image quality of the pre-production model is promising. It is a pity, however, that the lens is no longer as universally applicable as with the LX2 due to the lack of telephoto focal length and that the operating concept has not been further developed to suit the target group.

Fact sheet

Fact sheet
Manufacturer Panasonic
Model Lumix DMC-LX3
Price approx. 450 EUR
Sensor Resolution 10 megapixels
Max. Image resolution 3.648 x 2.736
(aspect ratio) (4:3)
Lens F2,0-2,8/24-60mm
Filter threads optional 46 mm
Viewfinder optical, optional
Diopter compensation
LCD monitor 3″
Disbandment 460.000
rotatable
swivelling
as viewfinder yes
Video output Composite, HDMI
as viewfinder
Program automation yes
Aperture priority yes
Aperture priority yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long-term exposure
Scene modes
Portrait yes
Children/Babies yes
Countryside yes
Macro
Sports/Action yes
more 19
Exposure metering Multi-field, Integral, Spot
Flash yes
Guide number 5.3 (measurement)
Flash connection TTL system flash shoe (compatible with FourThirds)
Remote release
Interval shooting
Storage medium SD/SDHC, MMC (photo only)
Video mode
Size MOV (Quicktime)
Codec Motion JPEG
Resolution (max.) 1.280 x 720
Frame rate (max.) 30 images/s
Sensitivity
automatic 100-3.200
(upper limit adjustable)
extended 1.600-6.400
manually ISO 100-3.200
White balance
Automatic yes
Sun yes
Clouds yes
Fluorescent lamp
Light bulb
Other Artificial light, manual color temperature selection
Manual yes (2 memories)
Autofocus
Number of measuring fields 5 out of 11
AF auxiliary light orange
Speed approx. 0.7 s
Languages Yes
more 14
Switch-on time 1,9 s
One-hand operation
(zoom and shutter release)
yes
Weight
(Ready)
265 g
Continuous shooting function*
Number of series images 4 (JPEG
)3 (RAW)
Frequency
(frames/s)
1.9 (JPEG and RAW)
Endurance run
(frames/s)
1.9 (JPEG only)
with flash with external flash only or 3 megapixel images in scene mode
Zoom
Zoom adjustment Ring rocker
Zoom levels 13
Time WW to Tele 2,0 s
Memory speeds*
JPEG 1,4 s (3,5 MByte)
RAW 2,4 s (11,7 MByte)
Triggering during storage possible. yes
Battery life approx. 380 pictures

4 GByte Panasonic Class 6 SDHC memory card

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Extension possibilities (system flash shoe, viewfinder, optical accessories)
  • Excellent, large monitor
  • Powerful, “low distortion” wide-angle lens
  • High quality workmanship

Cons

  • Relatively high edge loss of resolution
  • Quite slow autofocus
  • No comfortable operation via 1-2 setting wheels
  • Short telephoto focal length

Underwater housing for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

The Hong Kong-based underwater equipment manufacturer Scuba Network Ltd. (brand name 10 Bar Underwater Housings) has introduced a UW case for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 (see link for test). The aluminium/polycarbonate LX3 housing measures 134x152x112 mm (LxWxH) and weighs approximately 920 g without a camera, is tested at 90 m water depth (10 bar) and is recommended for dives up to 60 m. The LX3 housing is made of aluminium/polycarbonate. All functions of the camera are operable, the operating buttons are guided and sealed with double O-rings. For direct flash control, the housing has a Nikonos 5.pin flash socket and a slave flash connector for optical flash control. The exchange port is suitable for optional dome port in combination with the WW converter DMW-LW46 and DMW-LA4 lens adapter. The WW converter DMW-LW46 shortens the initial focal length of the LX3 from 24 mm to 18 mm (corresponding to KB). The price for the case with transport bag alone is stated at about 690 EUR.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

Underwater housing for Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 [Photo: 10BAR Underwater Housings]

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CCD sensor 1/1.6″ 8.1 x 6.0 mm (crop factor 4.3
)11.3 megapixels (physical), 10.1 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 2.2 µm
Photo resolution
3.648 x 2.736 pixels (4:3)
3.072 x 1.728 pixels (16:9)
2.560 x 1.440 pixels (16:9)
1.600 x 1.200 pixels (4:3)
640 x 480 pixels (4:3)
Picture formats JPG, RAW
Colour depth k. A.
Metadata Exif (version 2.2), DCF standard
Video resolution
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 24 p
848 x 480 (16:9) 30 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 30 p
Video format
MOV (Codec Motion JPEG)
Audio format (video) WAV

Lens

Focal length 24 to 60 mm (35mm equivalent
)2.5x ZoomDigital zoom
4x
Macro sector 1 cm (wide-angle
)30 cm (telephoto)
Apertures F2 to F8 (wide-angle
)F2.8 to F8 (telephoto)
Autofocus yes
Autofocus Functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Manual, AF Assist Light
Filter threads 46 mm

Viewfinder and Monitor

Monitor 3.0″ TFT LCD monitor with 460,000 pixels

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement, spot measurement
Exposure times 1/2,000 to 1 s (automatic
)1/2,000 to 60 s (manual)
Exposure control Program automatic, Aperture automatic, Time automatic, Manual
Bracketing function Bracket function with maximum 3 shots, step size from 1/3 to 1 EV
Exposure compensation -2.0 to +2.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Sensitivity to light ISO 80 to ISO 3,200 (manual)
Remote access non-existent
Scene modes Baby, Twilight, Fireworks, Skin, High Sensitivity, Candlelight, Night Scene, Night Portrait, Party, Portrait, Self Portrait, Sunset, Food, Sports, Beach/Snow, Animals, 0 more scene modes
White balance Auto, Cloudy, Sun, Fine Tuning, Shadow, Flash, Bulb Light, Manual
Continuous shooting 2.5 fps at highest resolution, maximum 8 (standard mode) or 4 (fine mode) or 3 (RAW mode) images in a row
Self-timer Self-timer at intervals of 2 s, special features: or 10 s (optional)
Shooting functions Live histogram

Flashgun

Flash built-in flash (hinged
)Flash shoe: Olympus/Panasonic (also Leica compact camera), standard center contact
Flash range 0.8 to 8.3 m at wide-angle0
.3 to 5.9 m at telephoto flash range
at ISO auto
Flash functions Auto, Fill Flash, Flash On, Flash Off, Slow Sync, Flash On Second Shutter Curtain, Red-Eye Reduction

Equipment

Image stabilizer optical image stabilizer
Memory
SD
Internal memory yes (50 MByte)
Power supply Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x PIXO CGA-S005 (lithium ion (Li-Ion), 3.7 V, 1,150 mAh
)380 images according to CIPA standard
Playback Functions Image rotation, playback histogram, image index, slide show function, zoom out
Voice memo Voice memo (WAV format)
Picture parameters Contrast, Saturation, Noise Reduction
Grid can be faded in during recording yes
Ports Data interfaces: USB USB Type
: USB 2.0 High Speed Video Output
: yes (HDMI Output Micro (Type D))
Supported direct printing methods PictBridge
Tripod socket 1/4″
Features and Miscellaneous Venus Engine IV Signal Processing Processor Switchable
Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.)) optional permanent or during shutter release9/3/1-point autofocus
with switchable high-speed mode selectable
single-frame focusing or focus adjustmentautomatic
backlight correction/shadow illumination in single mode5-level
adjustment of color saturationimage contrast
, noise suppression and sharpness adjustablemotion warning displaymotif program help textsadjustableauto playback (1 o.2 s)
Recording magnifier (1-, 4- or 8-fold magnification)
Playback zoom (max. 16x)
Picture playback in calendar view possibleSingle image animationUser memoryIntelligentISO control I.I.C. (light sensitivity level adjustment or program curve adjustment coupled to the camera shake sensors)

Size and weight

Weight 265 g (ready for operation)
Dimensions W x H x D 109 x 60 x 27 mm

Other

included accessories PIXO CGA-S005 Special battery chargerUSB connection cableAudio/Video cableLens coverRigid strapPicture editing software

ArcSoft PhotoImpressionPanorama software
ArcSoft PanoramaMakerPicture database
ArcSoft
PhotoBasePicture
management software
PHOTOfunSTUDIO Viewer for WindowsCamera raw data conversion software
Silkypix Developer Studio 3.0SEUSB device driver
for Windows 98/98SEMovie software
Apple QuickTime for Windows and Macintosh

optional accessory Olympus FL-700WR Slip-on flash with swivel reflectorPanasonic
DMW-LMC UV filterPIXO
CGA-S005 Special rechargeable battery power supplyRemovable memory cardHD component cableDMW-HDC20
.75x wide-angle converter (equivalent to18 mm)
ND-Filter DMW-LND46Polfilter
DMW-LPL46Lens tube adapter
DMW-LA4Plug-on viewfinder
DMW-VF1 (24 mm)
Leather case DMW-CLX3Camera case
DMW-CZ18
USB
USB 2.0 High Speed

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