Panasonic makes the Lumix DMC-LX5 official today. Replacing the LX3, this latest advanced compact point-and-shoot features a wide 24mm angle 3.8x zoom lens, 720p HD video recording, and a brand new, triple-CPU image processor.
The LX3 was limited to a 2.5x optical zoom range. The LX5 will get a boost in zoom power, but not by a whole lot. The new 3.8x Leica DC Vario-Summicron lens covers an equivalent focal range of 24-90mm. It's relatively fast with a maximum aperture range starting at f/2.0 at wide angle to f/3.3 at telephoto. It will focus as close as 1 cm in Macro and Intelligent Auto mode.
The sensor appears to be carried over from the LX3 - they both contain a 10.1 effective megapixel 1/1.63-inch imager - but the LX5's image processor has been overhauled. The new Venus Engine FHD powering the LX5's image pipeline features three CPUs in an attempt to speed up camera performance and improve noise reduction. It will also allow for the use of Panasonic's new Intelligent Resolution technology.
Burst shooting is advertised at 2.5 fps at full resolution for up to five images in standard compression and three in fine. Even with the increase in processing power, the LX5's rechargeable battery unit boasts 400 shots per charge over the LX3's 380.
Maximum shutter speed has been increased to 1/4000 second from the LX3's 1/2000. The LX3 also sees an upgrade in stabilization incorporating Panasonic's latest version, Power O.I.S. system.
Keeping in step with Panasonic's latest Lumix cameras, the LX3 will offer 720p HD video recording at 60p in AVCHD Lite. Other resolution options include VGA, QVGA and WVGA.
Image quality options include standard and fine compressions as well as RAW image recording, RAW+Fine, and RAW+Standard.
The Lumix LX5 didn't get a complete style overhaul, but Panasonic has made some improvements to keep it up to speed with the competition. It gets a retro-chic textured grip as well as a dial on the back panel thumbrest similar to the one on the Lumix GF1. The jog wheel will rotate as well as "click," and now handles manual focusing tasks.
The hot shoe accepts accessories such as an electronice Live View Finder and external flash units. On the back panel, the 3.0-inch LCD is of 460k-dot resolution with a newly adopted High CRI (Color Rendering Index) backlight LED. Panasonic claims that this will increase visibility in bright sunlight.
Pricing and availability
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 will become available in late August 2010 and will be introduced with an MSRP of $499.99.
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