First major LX5 review published … if you’re looking to buy a high quality compact camera: Group test: Canon Powershot S95, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5, Nikon Coolpix P7000

I’ve been waiting for this review. I don’t know why it takes them so long, for in August, these models will likely all be replaced.

If you’ve followed this blog, the majority of the photos I’ve put up so far were shot with compact cameras, mostly the Canon G10 and G11, but since September of this year, I’ve been shooting the Panasonic LX5 exclusively.

I jumped the Canon ship (though I still shoot the 5D Mark II for the highest quality images, mostly which are not yet posted here) when the LX5 came out because I decided to sacrifice the longer reach of the G11 for the wider view of the LX5.

[Technically, the G11’s lens covers 28-140mm (35mm equivalent), while the LX5 covers 24-90mm, and its unique  “High-resolution 16:9 and 3:2 aspect ratio modes (thanks to multi-aspect sensor)” allows covering an even wider area at 24mm.

Also, Panasonic greatly improved the LX5 from their previous model, the LX3, while Canon didn’t change much in the S95 or the G12, compared to the S90 and G11.]

But what’s best for me is probably not best for the average shooter. I’ve actually steered people away from the LX5 and into Canon’s S95. It’s smaller, and Canon’s lcd screens are much more vivid and functional.

I’m really disappointed with the LX5’s lack of ability to zoom deep into pictures that have been shot, for example. This is a really fun and useful feature, and was almost a deal breaker for me.

If you’re interested in either of these cameras, including Canon’s G12 (which has many of the characteristics of the S95), Digital Photography Review finally, just today published their review of these three compact cameras: Group test: Canon Powershot S95, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5, Nikon Coolpix P7000. Here is a paragraph from their conclusion:

Basically, what this means is that if you’re considering purchasing one of these cameras, you don’t need to worry about image quality. They are all – to any practical extent – essentially on a level. What differentiates them is their feature sets and their handling. The dpreview office is somewhat divided on which is the ‘best’ camera of the three, but on balance, we consider that the Canon S95 is the most pleasant to use. Although it lacks the huge range of customization available from the LX5, or the versatility of the P7000’s 28-200mm (equivalent) lens, the S95 is exceptionally quick, very portable, and produces great images. If you want more manual control, and you like the idea of a faster lens, there is no doubt – the LX5 is the camera for you. Given that the S95 and LX5 offer extremely similar image quality, unless you really need the 200mm (equivalent) lens, we would recommend both over the P7000, which languishes firmly in third place in this test.

The LX5 feels awkward and unrefined compared to Canon’s compacts. Canon has been making cameras since the 1930s. I’m willing to put up with some glitches to achieve a wider image, and its faster lens is nice at times. But for most, I would recommend the S95, or if you don’t mind more bulk and weight, the G12 has some advantages over the S95, but they really didn’t improve the camera much over the G11, which was disappointing for me. They’re giving Panasonic a bigger piece of the pie.

Feel free to comment, if you have any thoughts or questions. None of my blogs require personal data, like email address if you prefer to be anonymous.

Jeff

Related:

Watch what can be done with a compact camera | The LX5 to replace my G11?

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