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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 review




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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 front angle
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  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 front
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 flash
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  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 specs
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 test photo
  • TrustReviews Awards
  • Lumix DMC-LX5 Black Digital Camera (10.1MP, 3.8x Opt, SD/SDHC/SDXC Card Slot)


Our Score:


TrustReviews Awards

How do you improve on perfection? When Panasonic launched the Lumix LX3 two years ago, it created one of the very few digital cameras that have come to be regarded as classics. It won a string of top awards, including a well-deserved Editors Choice from TrustedReviews, as well as our award for Best Compact Camera of 2008. With a superb f/2 wide-angle lens, a 10.1-megapixel 1/1.6-inch CCD sensor, a three-inch 460k monitor, full manual exposure controls, Raw capture mode and the best image quality in its class, the LX3 was an instant hit, especially with photography enthusiasts looking for a compact camera that could rival the performance of their digital SLRs.

Designing a replacement for such a highly-regarded camera was never going to be easy. Of course digital imaging technology has advanced since 2008, but it hasn't moved on all that much. We've already seen the Lumix GF1, which shares many design features with the LX3 but adds a larger Four-Thirds sensor and interchangeable lenses, but for an advanced fixed-lens compact there just aren't that many ways to significantly improve on the design and specification of the LX3, which is probably why it's taken two years for the LX5 to appear. Thankfully Panasonic hasn't messed with the winning formula too much, and has resisted the obvious temptation to simply add another couple of megapixels worth of resolution, opting instead for incremental enhancements to a few key features, just enough to keep the camera up to date with the rest of the market.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 front angle

While camera technology hasn't changed all that much in two years, the shape of the market has changed quite radically. Since the launch of the LX3 we've seen the appearance and sudden growth of the compact system camera, with models such as Sony NEX-5, Olympus E-PL1, Samsung's newly-announced NX100 and Panasonic's own GF1 stealing away a large part of the market for advanced compact cameras, offering as they do SLR-like performance and image quality in a more portable format. The LX5 will have to compete with these, as well as with other advanced compacts such as the new Canon PowerShot G12 and Nikon Coolpix P7000, but it shouldn't have too much of a problem. With a high street price of £399.99 the LX5 may seem expensive, but it is substantially cheaper than any of its main rivals except one. Despite rumours to the contrary the LX3 is still available for around £300, and is still a great camera even by current standards.


September 19, 2010, 8:53 pm

I know that cameras at this price level is always awarded a 9 or a 10 because that how good they are, and you shouldn't be using the 9's and the 10's to say which camera's better than which, and this camera is almost identical to the LX3, but does it not get an overall score at all?

Glen Wells

September 19, 2010, 9:09 pm

I now have the LX5 and previously had an LX3. I bought the new model for all the improvements that it offered.

I have found that it has delivered in all areas except the supposed better high ISO performance. It certainly has better noise reduction algorithms at higher ISO's than the LX3 but this leaves jpg images a little softer than the LX3 and loss of a little more detail.

When comparing the two in RAW the outputs are almost identical regrds to noise levels at the various ISO settings but the LX5 does have the edge on colour represenation.

I am very pleased with the camera and recommend it as a pocketable take anywhere camera.



September 19, 2010, 11:15 pm

I guess I'm sticking to my trusty LX3 then. Too bad the high ISO noise is worse than on the old model, the 90 mm focal length would have made for excellent portraits.


September 19, 2010, 11:17 pm

Okay; I'll start the ball rolling.

Thanks for this timely and interesting review. It's a relief to know that I no longer have to wish that I could replace my relatively new LX3, especially after reading your remarks on the LX5's image quality.

One of the LX3's fortes is speed of operation. With all due respect, I don't see how a separate menu button, used in conjunction with the 4-way button pad and then rotating a separate dial, can be "simpler" and "more sensible." Seems more complicated to me, and significantly slower than pushing a small knob and without further ado scrolling straight to a new setting - which can even be done wearing gloves. In the field any control scheme that acts as a barrier to quick and direct operation is frustrating.

As an off-and-on Panasonic owner, I never minded accessing Review using the switch. But after temporarily using a Sony or Fuji for a bit one can become accustomed to a review button. On the LX3 one can assign Review to the Fn button, so I am neutral on the new review button - unless it has power-on functionality. If an LX5 can get accidentally switched on while it's inside a padded pouch carried on a belt (Murphy's Law), then I prefer the old switch instead.

Not mentioned in the report is the fact that the LX5's battery is no longer the ubiquitous CGA-S005 used for many in Panasonic compacts (and the Fuji F20). They've changed to a new one with four contacts and just a tiny bit more oomph. And they've changed the diameter of the adapter thread for lens accessories, too.

Anyway, all that can be dealt with. For me the LX5's one huge drawback is the loss of the Focus button, which on the LX3 can be squeezed blindfolded with the camera on a tripod whenever the AF point needs shifting - instantly, and without thinking about it. There's absolutely nothing wrong with - or indeed unusual about - having movie mode on a mode dial, where it can't be tapped by accident.


September 19, 2010, 11:42 pm

I think I would go for the GF1 rather than the LX5. However It is understandable some people don't want all the changeable lens etc...


September 20, 2010, 2:27 am


I'm afraid that almost all of your point can be argued:

The LX5 actually does have a review button in the Playback button, which was a switch on the LX3. Looking at the control panel of the LX3, and I would imagine the LX5 being more accessible because of less buttons and without the need to fiddle what looks like a tiny joystick. Though I would say that the dial wheel isn't what I'd say the most comfortable way of doing thing, at first I didn't even notice the dial. And the LX5 didn't loose its focus button, it's on the back panel now, and it's actually relatively hard to tap the movie record button by accident.

Yes I actually have the camera, I wanted to know the overall score because I'm trying my best to combat buyer's remorse

Basil Speaks

September 20, 2010, 5:10 am

I work in Jessops and after playing about with this camera and others like it, I found the LX5 far less intuitive than the Canon S95. It's down to the fact that the S95 has 2 control rings, one on the front and one on the back - one for aperture, one for shutter speed if in manual. This soon becomes an extension of the photographer’s fingers, whereas the LX5 had far more menu-wading which slowed the process down.

Good camera, but not as usable (or small) as the Canon.


September 20, 2010, 5:58 am

The external design looks more like a Leica D-lux 4, both made by Panasonic.


September 20, 2010, 6:08 am

I don't know about LX5(not really that much difference from LX3), I have an LX3 and E-PL1, in terms of image quality and versatility the E-PL1(if you can overlook a few quirks) outstrips the LX3.I bought E-PL1 for AUD$600 and LX3 for AUD$400. The LX5 is priced close to E-PL1 now,I will buy the E-PL1.

I am using Nikon lens(18-70mm) on E-PL1 in manual/aperture priority mode via an adapter(sorry manual focus only), the image quality is excellent(close to 10) much better than the Nikon D80 and Nikon lens combo.


September 20, 2010, 6:15 am

I agree with most of this review to be fair. I got an lx5 a week ago and i have to say it's blew me away. I never thought a compact would live up to my expectations but the lx5 went even further. I use both Nikon and Canon dslr's and have been looking for a good quality compact for some time. After a LOT of product research (and after buying a different compact that was nothing short of junk) i settled for the lx5. My girlfriend already had the lx3 so i knew of its qualities so i felt safe that panasonic would deliver the same if not better quality. I have to add that my comparison of the lx3 and lx5 is that yes the lx3 is a superb camera but after a week of testing both my partner an I agree that the lx5 is a far better camera. We tested a low light shot on the same tripod, same settings and printed off in A3. I never thought for a minute either would produce good quality at a3 but both did. In terms of sharpness the lx5 is leagues ahead though.You really do notice a difference. I must admit the lx5 is possibly one of the best cameras i have used for low light shots. It's also very good for portraits too.I'm used to using prime lenses for portraits but for a compact i was amazed at the quality of portrait the lx5 produced.It picked out all the fine details superbly.

I feel guilty at the moment as this week i have not even touched my dslr's. I literally can't put the lx5 down.It's got to the point i don't leave the house without it. I can honestly say the lx5 is one of the best cameras i have ever used. It might not compete with high en dslr cameras but it certainly should be considered by anyone looking at budget to mid range dslr's.

To put it simply it's that good that my girlfriend wants one for christmas to upgrade from her lx3.......i wish i hadn't shown her the lx5 now.


September 20, 2010, 3:53 pm

I picked up the LX5 as a birthday present (preciousssss...) for my wife, who's been pleading for a more portable alternative to our DSLRs. While I appreciate that low-light performance isn't that much better than the LX3 under test conditions, real-world low-light shots (e.g. living room of a typical mid-terraced house) seem to be distinctly sharper and richer in terms of detail. I suspect I will be using this a good bit as a pocket camera.


September 22, 2010, 6:50 am

Thanks for straightening me out. I couldn't see the word "Focus" on the button in the picture in the review, and I should have downloaded an LX5 owners manual before hastily submitting comments.

The manual explains how exposure compensation works on the LX5 using the thumb wheel. It looks good on paper and the wheel also changes shutter speeds and apertures in their respective modes. But I still suspect navigating the Quick Menu is slower on an LX5. How can it not be? To change a single setting you have to press first one button to enter the menu, then use four different buttons to navigate side-to-side and up-and-down, finally pressing a sixth button for okay! With the LX3 you push down on the domed button and move around the Quick Menu briskly with tiny nudges, setting settings as you go. It's very positive and fast.

And I also still don't care for the movie button. Not just because I'd rarely use it, but because with the limited space available for buttons it's a wasted opportunity. The spare button (the one now used as the Focus button) could have been used for something more useful, like metering mode, or AF area.

Rakesh Aynil

September 24, 2010, 6:57 am

LX5 while a nice back-up camera is only good for robotic professionals who shoots all day all sorts of things but self shot image of themselves as it lacks vari-angle lcd to do the job to make them human.

Gary Arr

September 25, 2010, 8:50 pm

The quick menu is very easy to use and navigate...they've just moved the button. I've used both, and don't mind the change there at all. The thumbwheel is still a "maybe". I didn't like it at all to begin with, but after a little use it's easier to adjust than when new. It's still not good for accurate manual focusing, the pad buttons are far more accurate and easy to use.

The movie button is one of those things I didn't like before ever having one, since I only take occasional movies. After using them on my other Panasonics, I did a complete reversal, they are what I consider an important feature. I don't know how many times, on my LX3, I've taken a short movie of something, then forgotten to switch the mode dial back to photo mode; you then wait for the perfect shot, press, and instead of a photo, it starts taking another movie. Very annoying, and that itself is enough reason for the button. I have NEVER had a movie start by accident, and that includes carrying my waterproof TS1 stuffed inside a wetsuit, nor on my ZS3 or on my LX5. Also, the button location on the LX5 is a major improvement; stopping a movie using a back-mounted button invariably ends in camera shake, but the button next to the shutter button is great.

The jpg quality has gotten a lot of bashing, but I have not found the gripes to be valid. I've taken identically-set-up shots with both cameras, and detail is virtually the same viewed at 200%. There are exposure and color differences, the LX5 seems to produce a better-exposed shot, but with some adjustment the LX3's are much the same. Focus and performance are undeniably faster...you can mash the button down and get a good focused shot.

None of these are earth-shattering updates to where most LX3 owners would feel a compelling need to update, but I needed a second LX3 anyway, so the move to LX5 was a natural, and I do see it as an overall positive move, and am very pleased I went for the LX5 instead of the second LX3.


October 9, 2010, 5:50 am

Been trying to decide between the LX5 and S95. Saw this information on another site and it helped me decide the LX5 is the way to go:

IQ is going to be comparable; however there are some key differences:

1. Difference in the f-stop:

LX5: F2.0-3.3 Leica Summicron lens - faster lens

S95: F2.0-4.9 - slower lens

2. S95 is approximately $100 cheaper than the LX-5, but the LX-5 also has the brighter Leica lens and slightly larger sensor.

3. Battery life:

S95 is approximately 200 shots

LX5 is about 400 shots

4. Ergonomically

S95 - is overall flat, some have found this challenging to hold

LX5 - has a grip

5. Focal Length

S95 has slightly more zoom - 28mm-105mm

LX5 has slightly more wide angle - 24mm-90mm

6. Video

LX5 - able to zoom and AF while recording video

S95 - cannot zoom nor AF while recording video

7. Maximum Exposure

LX5 - longer maximum exposure (60 secs)

S95 - shorter maximum exposure (15 secs)

8. Top shutter speed

LX5 - faster - (1/4000)

S95 - slower - (1/1600)


January 1, 2011, 5:54 pm

But can I select focal length, eg 50mm equivalent, on the LX5?


February 18, 2013, 3:17 pm

you work for the other guy.? degrade your dignity for a "salary'
many seems to like lx5.

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