Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 at a glance:

  • 10.1-million-pixel CCD sensor
  • 24-90mm (equivalent) f/2-3.3 zoom
  • 1280×720-pixel HD video capture
  • ISO 80-3200 with ISO 6400-12,800 extended settings
  • Street price around £430 (price varies greatly)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 review – Introduction

For an enthusiast photographer, the lack of manual control when using a point-and-shoot compact camera can be frustrating. Thankfully, the latest in Panasonic’s LX range is aimed at those photographers who demand more from a compact camera than just the ability to point and press the shutter.
In fact, as Panasonic’s flagship compact camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 comes with a full array of exposure and metering controls that one would usually expect from a DSLR.

Consequently, the LX5 is a ‘serious’ compact camera, designed to be used when the weight and size of a DSLR is a burden.

The LX5 is the fourth in the LX series, following on from the LX3, which was released in 2008. That may seem odd, but Panasonic, like other Japanese manufacturers, does not use the number 4 in its designations. This is because the number is considered unlucky in Japan, due to it being pronounced the same way as the word for ‘death’.
There are a number of ways in which the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 improves upon its predecessor.

First, the focal length has been increased from a 24-60mm equivalent optic in the LX3 to a 24-90mm equivalent in the LX5. Importantly, the maximum f/2 aperture has been retained, although this is reduced to f/3.3 at the 90mm focal length.

While the 10.1-million-pixel sensor of the LX5 is of the same resolution as its predecessor, Panasonic has revised its design to improve performance in low light and to increase the camera’s dynamic range.
There have also been changes to the build and handling of the camera, with an improved grip and direct video record button. Finally, the LX5 has a port beneath its hotshoe that allows the connection of the Panasonic DMW-LVF1 electronic viewfinder, which is more commonly paired with the Panasonic DMC-GF1 Micro Four Thirds camera.

Although the image quality and features of Panasonic’s LX range means these cameras are often compared to Canon’s PowerShot G-series models, they are actually quite different propositions. The LX5 is substantially smaller than the G11, and is pocketable. I was therefore keen to find out whether it could be the ideal enthusiast compact camera.

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