I only got to play with the LX3 for 15 minutes before the battery went flat. T3 Magazine lent me the digicam for review but couldn’t find the charger. Nevertheless that 15 minutes is sufficient for me to form an opinion.
The LX3 has already garnered lots of positive reviews on its image quality, and I have no doubt about that. But after using the Lumix G1 for a day, the LX3 felt inferior in all areas – except the f2.0-2.8 24mm-60mm Leica DC Vario-Summicron lens.
But how to compare? The LX3 is almost half the price of G1.
Seriously, the LX3 pales in comparison with G1. The start-up time is slow(er), the AF is slow(er), the shot-to-shot is slow(er), the zoom mechanism is slow. The LX3 even exhibits the delayed-shutter-syndrome that I pointed out was pleasantly absent in G1. When I full-press the shutter while the LX3 tries to establish focus and when I lifted my finger off the shutter while the focus is still in progress, the LX3 proceeds to take the shot even if it means finding the focus 1 second later. That’s so silly and I felt like an idiot when that happens to the camera I am operating on.
Image quality is understandably less stellar better than G1. Granted, the LX3 is better than most compact digicams, and G1 is technically classified as a DSLR with a larger image sensor. And despite LX3 having a bigger lens aperture, the lagged performance negates any advantages a fast lens could deliver.
But the LX3 has its place in the photographic arena. It’s an excellent (and rare) wide-angle camera that produces above average images compared to any compact digicams. For static situations like posed portraits, the LX3 with f2.0 lens will capture low-light scenes at lower ISO, which translates to lower noise images.
I must say that with Lumix G1 and LX3, Panasonic has 2 innovative camera models that differentiates from the rest of the competitors. These will find a place with many consumers looking for specific photographic needs.