Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5

8.0
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Reviewed by ColinR (Currently owns)

This is an excellent compact camera. The only camera to directly compete (for my attention) with it is the Fujifilm X10.

Let it be known, as great as it is, you have to work for the great shots. You gotta know how to use the camera. You can't put it on auto and expect amazing shots to happen.

Design: It looks great, is built well and has lots of external controls. This is good for being able to make the adjustments quickly that make great shots happen. Some of the controls are more fiddily that I would like, such as the control dial. It's also frustrating to have the tripod mount be as off-center as it is. I understand that it would have been impossible to put below the lens with the tiny body, but it would be helpful if it were more centered. My magnetic GorillaPod is barely able to hold it level because of this limitation.

Image Quality: Pretty great; for a compact. Don't kid yourselves though, it'll never compete with a DSLR or even a mirrorless, the sensor is just too damn small. This is where the X10 with give some good competition.

Video Quality: Fine, but I don't do much video shooting.

Software/UI: Plenty of features, but in the "Apple age" it shows its limitations. Would I like touch focus and exposure? Hell yeah, but not at the expense of physical controls. It gets the job done, and the quick menu and programmable buttons make it fairly painless.

Features: This thing is pretty loaded, and does an admirable job of making those feature accessible on such a small body. I think my favorite, most used feature that's unique to Panasonic is the aspect ratio switch on the lens protrusion. What's great about the Panasonic implementation is that maintains a similar pixel count given the sensor design. DP review has an excellent gif on their review showing how it works. My biggest complaint is how manual focus is dealt with. It's such a pain I rarely use it, despite wanting to.

Performance: Very fast and snappy... except when it comes to processing long-exposure shots. It literally takes as long to process as the length of exposure time. 50 second exposure? Tack on another 50 seconds to process that photo. WTH?!!

Lens Ecosystem: N/A, but the built in lens is very nice. It provides great macro shots with nice bokeh and fairly wide shots. Zoom could always be better, but the trade-off is worthwhile. Love the f2.0.

The Breakdown

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  • Hardware / design 8
  • Image quality 8
  • Video quality 7
  • Interface / controls 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 9
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