This marks the start of a new review series, and of course it’s about the LX5. I’ll do it like I always do, I may put in some technical stuff, but mostly it’s about what really matters: How does it feel, how is it to use such a camera when you are accustomed to a DSLR, what are the advantages, what are the compromises.
Why did I do this at all? There are many reasons:
Well, you know, I’m a man and men need toys. Some may need more, some less, but hardly anyone of us is innocent.
I’m curious. I follow Juha’s fantastic blog and I am always amazed to see what he can do with his LX3. Thus I am curious what I can do, and the best way to find out, is just to try it.
I don’t do it because I want to stop using my D300. There are plenty of things that you can’t do with anything but a beefy DSLR.
Cost is also not a consideration. I currently own 21 lenses, thus much of the damage is already done. To the contrary: the LX5 is not a cheap camera, especially when you add the electronic viewfinder and a spare battery, as I did yesterday. This all added up to 650€. For 529€ (all current Austrian street prices) you get a latest generation Nikon D3100 (14 megapixels, gorgeous high-ISO) with the second generation of the stabilized 18-55 kit lens, or if you shell out 688€, you already get the D3100 with stabilized 18-55 + 55-200 lenses. You get slower lenses, much less noise at high-ISO, higher resolution, higher speed, more flexibility, a big system of lenses from multiple manufacturers, etc, etc. Cost is not a consideration 🙂
Weight is not a consideration. I always hold my D300 in the right hand, slinging the original camera strap around my wrist, holding the incredibly comfortable grip with my fingers, and I don’t get tired. It just works. My hands are big and are made for that, the weight is not a problem and carrying the camera this way allows me to respond to what I see almost immediately. Weight is not a consideration.
I like to use the square format. Having a switch on the LX5 that gives me an aspect ratio of 1:1 (and 2:3, 4:3 as well as 16:9) is very convenient. I’ve looked at other cameras that can be switched to square, but they are either in the same category (Olympus ZX-1) or Micro Four Thirds, and the even the one that interested me most, the new Olympus PEN E-PL2, is a bit heavy and a camera with interchangeable lenses. I already have a camera with interchangeable lenses and some weight. I didn’t want another one.
Btw: I’ve caught myself yesterday trying to take an image in portrait format while the camera was on 1:1 🙂
I have switched off the autofocus assist light (we’ll see how well this works in low light, but I can always turn it back on), turned all sounds off, and when I use the electronic viewfinder, this camera is absolutely unobtrusive. No sound, no light, you can use it everywhere without disturbing people. This is a stealth camera, this is a church camera, this is a chamber concert camera (although it does not have much reach).
Any more reasons? Follow this ongoing series of posts and find out 🙂
The Song of the Day is “Tell Me Why” by the great Dinah Washington. Oh how I love her voice! I have it on “The Complete Dinah Washington On Mercury Vol.7 1961”, the collection that I’ve linked to, and YouTube has another, different, Mercury recording from 1952.