The LX5 is the latest Panasonic iteration of the big sensor, modest resolution compact that offers better than typical compact ISO noise performance, albeit at a nearly entry-level DSLR MSRP. Still image quality on our LX5 was very good in compact digital terms, and the slower-than-most AF and shutter lag times of the LX3 have been laid to rest. The camera can shoot RAW, has full manual controls and a wide range of automatic and scene shooting options to please folks who don’t wish to be overly involved with image capture. The LX5 is feather light and miniscule when compared to even the smallest DSLR, and this combined with that noise performance and still image quality are the main points in support of the lofty price tag.
Our LX5 had problems in the video department with bright scenes where the light enters the lens directly, resulting in significant vertical bands of color appearing on movie clips. The problem persisted in a second LX5 test unit and so seems to be generic to the model rather than a case of our review unit being at fault. Panasonic identified the problem as typical vertical flare that occurs when a camera is pointed at a very bright light, but even so, the effect was far more pronounced with the LX5 than any other compact I’ve reviewed. That’s the major gripe with the LX5’s performance, so if video is in your shooting plans this may not be the camera for you.
If not for the video, the answer to the “what happened to the LX4?” question would have been “don’t care.” For the record, the answer will have to remain “don’t know (but I wonder if the video was less sensitive than on the LX5?).”
- Very good still image quality
- Improved AF and shutter lag times over LX3
- RAW capability
- Better than compact digital noise performance at compact size
- Near entry-level DSLR cost without DSLR performance
- Video quality can be negatively impacted by bright scenes
- Power up time a little slow