May 152011

I’ve been using my Panasonic DMC-LX5 for quite some time now, more or less exclusively. Do I miss my Nikon D300, that waits for me in a bag in Vienna? Not at all. I still have no strategy for when to use one and when the other, I will definitely not sell my Nikon gear, but the moments when I really feel that I would need the DSLR are extremely rare. Maybe it’s because on the D300 I mainly use the same range of focal lengths, maybe it’s because I am no action shooter at all.

But then, in the end it is all about image quality, right? Well, of course at base ISO all cameras should make images as good as their lens allows, and the Leica-branded lens on the LX5 is pretty darn good. Indeed, this small camera does not disappoint our expectations at all. The images are as good as 10 megapixels can be. I don’t particularly like colors in the JPEGs right out of the camera, but when I convert from RAW myself, the results are pretty impressive.

Black and white conversions are especially critical, because when we do that, we often stretch the limits a tad more than we would do in color. Take this image, taken Saturday a week ago. It was taken at noon on a sunny day at the edge of a forest. Well, you can imagine the enormous contrast, and for B&W I have lightened the shadow regions substantially.

I do see some noise. The important fact is though, that it is not worse than what I’d see in a file from the D300, that had been taken through the same steps. It’s just good enough.

So, is the LX5 good enough for B&W work, given that we are satisfied with the 7.5 megapixels of a square image? Yes, indeed!

The Song of the Day is “Yes, Indeed!” from Ray Charles’ 1958 album of that name. YouTube has a 1976 version, and that’s fine as well.

  10 Responses to “1670 – Yes, Indeed!”

  1. Quite an impressive photograph you have here, a good demonstration of your analysis of the LX5.

    Maybe this gives some credibility to the Leica lenses posting at TOP, about “people who say they love the look of Leica lenses”.

    • Yes, indeed 🙂

      Well, maybe most people don’t recognize it, but the lens on the LX5 is really excellent. On my D300 I would call this a first class lens. Sure, it’s much smaller and therefore cheaper to build, but nevertheless. This lens is so good, that it easily out-resolves the sensor, and it’s corner-performance is impressive as well.

  2. I’m extremely pleased with my LX5 and agree with all your comments. I would add though that although I can see noise, when I print A4 the results are equal to my GF1 and 5D Mk11 used handheld and no noise is visible. B&W conversions are superb. I’ve never tried printing bigger, but I’m sure that would be pretty good too. It’s a great camera but I do need that EVF!

  3. It seems here is a congregation of Lumix followers… What I can add from my own experience with the LX3 is that I am highly content with what I got – this is a photographer’s machine with the right buttons where they are needed. What I am missing most is a hyperfocal setting that you could dial into one of the my-something to have it ready immediately.
    And of course the viewfinder is, say, requiring adjustment, when you come from a DSLR. In bright sunlight and when wearing a white polo, it borders to useless. So yes, Colin, I understand your wish for an EVF. For me a OVF for square format might do, as I use the WA position almost exclusively, but the Panasonic one would cost me as much as I have paid for the whole camera.

  4. Markus – I’m almost satisfied with the way the manual focus works on the LX3: when you set it up (for example, hyperfocal), the next time you switch to manual focus it remembers the last setting you used for manual focus.

    Of course, being able to store more than one setting would be good to have. But to be really useful, that would mean remembering the aperture and focal length settings in addition to the focus distance. Not having aperture and focal length stored in the custom settings means that if you switch to manual focus and have different aperture and focal length then you are messed up…

  5. The LX5 is such a great camera that I think we will see more like it from other manufactures in the future, including Nikon and Canon.

    • There are already some attempts, and the best may be the Olympus ZX1, especially coupled with Oly’s excellent electronic viewfinder. Ergonomics seem to be worse though, and I hate that it begins at an equivalent of 28 mm. 24 mm are so incredibly useful.

  6. Nice dynamic range and detail!



  7. It’s funny how that works, Andreas. You used the D300 quite a bit and quite effectively, but now you don’t miss it. That was the feeling that I got, as well. I don’t miss mine. I actually loaned mine out to a friend. He’s had it for a few months and is enjoying it. Glad to hear you’re enjoying it.

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