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Monday, 21 July 2008


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The maximum image sizes are interesting: 3648x 2736 pixels (4/3) 3776 x 2520 pixels (3/2) 3968 x 2232 pixels (16:9) It looks like that the sensor is bigger than the lens covers, and that the wider modes are not crops of 4/3 (or vice-versa). Therefore, we should benefit from the 24mm wide lens in every ratio. We might even get wider than 24mm in RAW if we don't might vignetting :)

The lens looks good but the DPreview review said even at 10MP the LX2 was very noisy. I hope the slightly bigger sensor is improved because everything else makes it very tempting!

It's been a while since I was excited by a camera, but this one made me pause.

I'm afraid for them though, I think the 10MP sensor and the 24-60 (2.5x zoom!) are going to be deal killers for most consumers.

Sounds nice but...

I have been looking for a long time now for a Digicam that has a long lens and a wide aperture. We have 6 DSLRs that do the job most of the time, but their shutter click is too loud for use in an auditorium or a musical concert. Any advice?

Huh. f 2.0, RAW, IS, and a respectable wide-angle...and at the same price as a Canon G9.

Maybe not a DMD, but this is at least a step in the right direction!

Too bad the Panasonic JPEG engine won't be as good as the Canon or Nikon. OK. That's probably premature and speculative. But I bet it's true.

Noise and noise, i believe, was the issue with the previous versions of this camera...that and a shaky noise reduction scheme. It was reputed be ugly noise, too.

I hope they've figured that out because i was having some desire for this camera a while back.

I've taken up counting sheep and boy is that tough stuff. They all look exactly the same and will never stay in a line like they do in the cartoons!!??

"Bold" would have been reducing the pixels to 7 or 8mp. But cool that it's so fast!

I hope they really did improve the noise problems with that camera, even the LX1 was pretty bad. I am curious to see how the viewfinder works, will it only be for the 24mm eqivilant or will it have multiple framelines or something. Fun looking camera, though I think I will still get the Olympus 420 with pancake lens as my "point and shoot".

Whoa, whoa, I haven't finished lusting pointlessly after the Ricoh GX-200 yet, or was it the GR-2? Anyway, I planned to spend August dreaming of the Canon G9 if I had the money. Maybe I can start drooling over an imaginary LX-3 in September?

As an often-frurstrated LX2 owner, I'm delighted by this move. Under the "right conditions," the LX2 is capable of stunning photographs, and it's native 16:9 aspect ratio presents a striking perspective on the world.

Unfortunately, the "right conditions" basically means broad daylight, as anything over ISO 100 looks horrid. And forget about shooting any subject with back-lighting, or one that's likely to move within the next 30 seconds -- the LX2 is depressingly easy to trip up. (I will say that have found the pop-up flash to be surprisingly effective on those occasions when I've finally given up on trying to take a discreet, available-light snap in the evening.)

With faster optics (2.8 at the long end is awesome, IMO) and sensor, the LX3 will be a welcome replacement. Now if Panasonic would only provide tactile feedback for the manual controls ...


I expect it is also super noisy, as usual.

Any thoughts as to how expensive the re-branded "Leica" version will retail for?

An even bolder move would have been to price it at $250.

There's always something to complain about, Mike.

So, is this another candidate for DMD?

For this size sensor I'd rather have 8 MP if it meant less noise at high ISO. I certainly hope this camera provides reasonable image quality at ISO 800. The lens speed is very welcome. I also hope the external optical finder will become a trend for this type of camera.

I look forward to learning more about the sensor performance.

Too bad it's not also available in film.

Mike - My Nikon 8400 is an equivalent of 24 - 85. Raw mode to beat. Pic from last Sunday at the Toledo zoo with the camera.

This is an exciting compact. 1) Leica has not used the label "DC Vario Summicron" since the Leica Digilux 2/Panasonic LC1. 2) In 16:9, this lens gives slightly wider coverage than an Xpan & 45mm lens! 3) Combination of f/2, optical image stabilization, 24mm angle of view, and 1/1.6" sensor makes this an absolute low light champ amongst compacts. 4) An f/2-2.8, 2.5x zoom lens is a return to the age of bridge cameras, and they managed to do it without approaching the overall size of those cameras from 4-5 years ago. Good for Panasonic, deciding to limit zoom range to 2.5x to maximize lens speed and quality!


This is the one all street photographers have been waiting for--to bring to the bar at night!

"So, is this another candidate for DMD?"

Not with a < 9x5mm sensor, no.

Mike J.

I think Gordon made a mistake. "but it's still not a 'real' Leica unless it says so on the body" should read "but it's still not a 'real' Leica unless it says so on the price tag"

When is the hammertone version due out?

If ISO 400 prints nicely it could be a great little camera. Maybe even keep it in b&w mode though past "Venus" engines have done a lousy job with NR (watercolor smearing) so raw could be a necessary evil for higher ISO. f/2 at WA, OIS and ISO 400 would make for a great existing light pocket camera. (ISO 1600 with a bigger sensor would be better, but hey ...)

Be still my beating heart..might this perhaps mean the end of lugging carry-ons full of super fast film back to CR after every trip home to see the folks, having each and every box scanned in security and never having any room in my freezer for food? Might this be the end of carrying every possible film speed i could possibly need for an afternoon into dusk worth of street shooting every weekend? Could this be the end of wrecked negs because the power went out at the lab in the middle of processing? Could this be the end of spending each and every night scanning? Could this be the end of point and hope manual shooting under the absolute worst lighting conditions in a country with a 6 month rainy season? Is it possible that it will shoot raw fast enough to handle street work? I don't care about noise. If it shoots up to ISO 6400 in "sensitive mode" (whatever that is) then i am all ears and credit card. This could be it. Anyone interested in a freezer full of ultra fast film?

C'mon, you know very well that this is going to be yet another noisy Panasonic p&s with a Leica-branded lens. I applaud their restraint in holding the camera's resolution to 10 mp ... I wish Canon had exercised the same restraint with the G9, which is a bit grainier than the G7.

If you're in the market for a p&s I'd suggest waiting to see how Nikon's upcoming Coolpix P6000 looks when it comes out in August. It could be quite nice for the same price as this tired old Lumix junk.

Very nice. I have a FX-33 which I use mainly for street photography in broad daylight. It might not be the ideal DMD, but it's small, cheap and good quality. Yes it is a bit noisy but who cares. Raw mode is really slow on compact cameras so they're not really usable for shooting street photo.

The only thing "bold" is the hyperbole in the press release. Even taking the LX1/2 as the starting point (i.e. miniscule sensor), bold would be reducing the pixel count to 6MP, still enough for a decent sized print. Maybe then you would see an improvement in noise of more than 1 stop, which is about as much as you can hope for, given the published specs.
Bolder still would be to get rid of the high ISO modes and say outright "this thing won't give decent results at any size print over ISO400, so don't even try".
Even bolder would be to reduce the LCD a bit (say, 2.7 inches) and give the user a place to hold on to the thing. Instead, we get two strap holders, presumably so you can hang it around your neck like Friedlander's Hassie. No wrist strap for this baby, it's a REAL camera.
As an LX1 owner, the most welcome improvement is the optional "high end Aluminum Optical viewfinder". Improvement in noise is certainly welcome too, but one stop? (Two I suppose, if you factor in the faster lens).
But the price, hmm, I think it needs a third baby mode to justify that.
(btw the specs on the panasonic site are incorrect, stating aperture of f3.3-8 wide in two steps).

I was so disappointed with my LX-2 (the noise was far too much, but for me the real killer was the narrow dynamic range and flat images it produced) that not even the new wide, fast lense could entice me this time.

I'd like to point out something that usually doesn't get any attention in the high ISO pixelpeeping community: I used to own a LX1 and what pi**ed me off about that camera was that it had a really good OIS but anything below 1/30, even at ISO 100, was just awful due to noise/banding. What's the point with stabilized optics if the sensor freaks out if it's exposed for more than 1/30 second? With a stabilized wide angle you can get decent results down to 1/4 or lower with some support, shake wise that is, but in my experience the small sensors can't handle longer exposures even half as well as a DSLR-sized sensor. What I'm getting at here is that you can do alot with a stabilized, reasonable fast, wide angle at ISO 100/200 but if you are stuck with 1/30 or faster you would still be limited to daylight photography.

Is it just me, or does this marina shot have a lot of blue and purple fringing?


I've been waiting for this camera for over two years, ever since I bought the LX-1, which comes with me everywhere I go. I like the way it works and it gives me pretty good results (http://www.flickr.com/photos/schani/tags/lx1/), even in moderately low light, but I always wanted something a bit more wide-angle and more low-light capable. The LX-2 wasn't enough of an improvement for me to upgrade and as it seemed that Panasonic wouldn't update the LX line anymore I considered moving to Ricoh and was also very interested in the new Nikon, but this is all I could ask for. Thank you Panasonic!

Ken, the P6000 looks to have a typically slow lens (f/2.7-5.9 if I read it right) though it is a longer lens. I'm not sure why camera mfr's have suddenly forgotten that fast lenses are useful.

After reading reid review of GX200 and an owner of the panasonic LX2, I am not sure I would want this one. It seem the GX200 would fit better what a photographer need. For example, both takes external view finder. But after I try to fix one onto LX2, it takes much more than having a hole up there. For example, you have to control the zoom to fit into the finder you like (35, 50, ... etc.). I see that in GX200 with the MY setting but where is this in LX3? In LX2, you simply have to guess and that defeats the point. Hence it is not very useable other than the extreme ends of the zoom. I am seriously thinking about jumping boat. (Still, LX2 takes very good picture if the condition is right. Video is not bad as well. Not sure about GX200.)

The interesting part of this camera is that the specs say 2.5 fps even in RAW (with a 3 frame RAW limit). But if that means single shots can be taken every second without delay, that would be nice.

Too bad there doesn't appear to be a step zoom.

My son has an LX2, and I must admit that under the right conditions it takes stunning pictures.

Panasonic makes some of the most frustrating digital cameras on the market because they get everything (I mean EVERYTHING) right except the sensors. For my taste, the noise their cameras' sensors produce overrides the good hand feel, the mechanical features, and the generally excellent metering they offer. I'm encouraged that Panasonic isn't upping the pixel count, because they haven't done much with the pixels they have already.

man, you guys are dashing my hopes with every post but i'm still keeping an open mind pending further investigation..what do they say about hope being eternal?

See, everybody knows..i tooold you, no fair....Hey Mom!!! I bought this slick looking camera and it's noisy!!

Damn, this had better be good.

I wonder what WIll Rogers would have said about this entire digital ass grab??

Excellent. All we need now is a twin model with a 7.4mm f1.4 lens. The LX35?

this is the first digicam released in the last year that is worth getting excited about in my opinion

If this report is any indication, it looks like you guys who are worried about noise may be right. Check it out - http://www.infosyncworld.com/news/n/9604.html

You should trust panasonic to throw a spanner...they will balance out all the positives with a BIG negative, as always...just wait for the results...that will play the spoilsport...i have no doubt about it.

Hope i am wrong.

*Sigh* more comparing of spec sheets and reviews. The internet, what a triumph.

Not a peep, sadly, about RAW write times -- the only real gripe I have with the LX2, my constant companion & a camera I like better than my 5D's in many respects.

There are hints, in the LX3's burst-mode specs, that it may finally have an in-camera buffer for RAW data so that shooting-priority handling is a reality. One can hope...

BTW, if you want it to be a Leica buy the Leica *case* since (a) it's a Crumpler and very good, better than Panasonic's, and (b) you don't need to take the camera out to show off the red dot thus keeping it pristine. In fact, you can carry the case empty or use it for your blackberry.

Regarding Dennis's comment above, it does appear that the LX3 has two "custom" settings on the mode dial, a la Ricoh GRD/GX. However, what isn't clear is whether focal length can be saved in those settings. If not, as Dennis says, using an optical viewfinder is kind of a pain because every time you turn on the camera you have to fine-tune the zoom to get it set to the proper focal length for the viewfinder you have mounted. With Ricoh cameras this is painless because of the step zoom, but if the LX3 can't "save" focal length in its custom settings it's kind of a deal breaker.

Too bad, because I really love the aesthetic of this camera. Of course the IQ is paramount, but as Mike suggested in a previous post, there are other factors that determine whether we "love our camera". For me, the look and feel of it is one of them.


I can't remember where I read this, but as I recall the LX-3 has a 3-shot RAW buffer.

Posted by Dennis: "Ken, the P6000 looks to have a typically slow lens (f/2.7-5.9 if I read it right) though it is a longer lens. I'm not sure why camera mfr's have suddenly forgotten that fast lenses are useful."

You raise a valid point and issue, Dennis. I certainly cannot pretend to know the barriers to creating (low-cost) fast zoom lenses for p&s cameras, but it's clear that they're present and probably formidable. I think that Nikon's real bogey for the P6000 is clearly Canon's G9 which has an f/2.8-4.8 lens.

Sure, we'd love to have f/1.4 throughout a focal length range of 24mm - 300mm, eh? Still, for this type of camera I'm far more content with a slightly slower lens (but still of good quality) as a trade-off for good noise control and reasonably quick shot recovery times. But, based on several years of brand history, I just don't think that this Panasonic is going to deliver any of these treats.

I own both... the Canon G9 and Leica D-Lux3. In my opinion, the only advantage the Leica has over the Canon is the wide lens. The canon does everything else better: Sharpness, low-light, ease and accessibility of control, noise levels, and better "retro" look.
I would stick with the Canon over the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3.

Ken, (and Mike and others),

you wrote

Please tell me if I'm wrong: Let's compare the LX3 with the Sigma DP1. Let's assume the correct exposure with the Sigma is 1/30, f4, ISO 400. The same scene could be photographed with the LX3 at 1/30, f2(.1), ISO 100. Why? Because the lens is (almost) TWO stops faster. Depth of Field would not be an issue with a sensor that small. That means, in effect, that we have to compare ISO 100 on the LX3 with ISO 400 on the Sigma. Do you think the Sigma will be that much better at that higher sensitivity than the LX3 near it's base sensitivity?

In the same fashion, you would have to compare the G9 at ISO 400 with the LX3 at ISO 250 (or round about that), just because of the faster lens.

I would therefore argue that making the lens faster is just as valid as improving the sensor. Both of course would be best. Panasonic seems to have done at least a bit in respect to the signal-to-noise ratio: Kept the pixel count "sensible", made the photosites larger, improved the circutry. (I won't be getting into the Venus Engine IV as RAW is what counts in my book.)

By the way: let's add optical image stabilisation into the LX3/DP1 equation. I can handhold 1/15 with the LX2 and I have even managed to take decent portraits at that speed. That's another stop of advantage for the LX3.

And at the end a sidenote: I would really like to know the real base ISO of the LX3's sensor. I may well be ISO 100, and they have added ISO 80 to allow for f2.0 shots in brighter daylight as the shutter only goes up to 1/2000. I'd suppose going down that route is much easier than speeding up the shutter...


Oh, and one addendum: One of the most welcome "improvements" with the LX3 must be that you can now attach a proper neck strap... ;o)

The quote somehow got lost:

You wrote: "Still, for this type of camera I'm far more content with a slightly slower lens (but still of good quality) as a trade-off for good noise control..."


Why can't the camera makers get on the same page as consumers? They would flock to this camera if the chip was any good...we'll see? It's the noise/grain problem at a higher ISO...All theses cameras are like buying a new roll of film when it first comes out.(.remember the "new" TriX with the triangle grain structure in the emulsion ) At least the optional finder is a step in the right direction...getting close

Well, I for one am pretty excited about this. I've been using an LX2 for more than 18 months, and while I was sometimes disappointed with the noise level, I really love how the camera handles and how the controls are laid out. I also love the native 16:9 aspect ratio.

But last year I got all excited about the (then) enigmatic Sigma DP1. So excited I started a blog dedicated to that as then non-existent camera. In the end, despite all the reading and writing I did about the DP1, I ended up falling in love with my LX2 all over again.

I was looking forward to the LX3, hoping they'd deal with the noise (they claim to have), and they'd add an optical viewfinder (check), but not change the basic handling (check). I was also hoping they'd give it a bigger sensor but no more megapixels (check).

But what really made me look forward to the LX3 is the fact that I dropped and BROKE my LX2 ten days ago! Ack!

At that point it wasn't even confirmed there would BE an LX3, so I was over the moon when this was announced yesterday.

My only regret is that I wish they hadn't changed the lens. Yes, the f2.0 is nice, but I don't want 24mm (eq) to be my starting point. I'm very fixated on 28mm, and I don't like the fact that I will now have to open the camera, then zoom slightly before I'm in my personal "native mode."

That sounds like a trivial thing, but it's not. I wrote about lens angle of view and personal perspective on my DP1 blog, when I was defending that camera's 28mm prime lens:

Well spotted Alex - I was glad when I saw the two neckstrap lugs on the LX3 - "Serious Compacts" always have two - toys have one!

Mini-review and some shots here from an actual street photographer (Mason Resnick): http://preview.tinyurl.com/6axm3y

Fortuitously (or perhaps foolishly?), I've managed to get my hands on a production LX3 (yes, they're already on sale where I live); I've posted some walkabout photos (including a couple of high-ISO photos) here:


The high-ISO photos tell the tale: Venus Engine IV artefacts (look for a stipple effect) start to become visible at ISO800, and get progressively worse at ISO1600 and ISO3200. (In my view, though, ISO800 remains perfectly usable for most purposes.)

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