Panasonic Lumix LX5 review

Is this SLR replacement radical enough for Panny to stay ahead?

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lumix lx5

Some of the new features of the Lumix LX5 are more useful than others. Let's start with ergonomics.

While it's cool to be able to adjust aspect ratio via a slider on the lens body, the slider is quite loose, and you have to be very careful that you don't accidentally change from standard 4:3 to 3:2 format when taking the camera out of your pocket or bag (it happened to us several times).

Having to worry about checking this can slow down your shooting. And while the buttons round the back make it easy to adjust focus points, ISO or metering modes, it'll take newcomers to Lumix a while to work out how to adjust exposure compensation (you click in the control dial).

lumix lx5

Such a fundamental exposure control really should be more clearly flagged. Intrusive menu options make it a bit of performance to play back video until you get used to it , too.

Otherwise, the LX5 is very easy to use. Although you don't get an electronic viewfinder as standard, the three-inch rear screen is bright and crisp. No problem there, but sadly, the LCD is fixed. This is a surprising omission considering the G11's flexible screen, and certainly limits your composition options. As for the menus, while not as slick as Canon or Nikon's, they are very straightforward to navigate too.

The LX5 is also impressively fast to start up, and the lens extends with the minimum of delay.

lumix lx5

Images are saved to card with the minimum of fuss too, even when shooting in RAW. The burst mode of 2.4 frames per second (full-resolution image) is OK, but can't hope to keep up with a speedy hybrid like the Sony NEX-5 or a D-SLR.

The Lumix DMC-LX5 features an impressive 24-90mm equivalent lens, with a maximum aperture of f/2. So the lens offers the benefits of 'fast', wide aperture glass – it lets in lost of light and makes it easy to get a shallow depth of field, for instance – while still giving you some zoom flexibility.

Image stabilisation has been brought into line with other models in the Lumix range too, and as with the FZ45, gives three options, Auto, Mode 1 and Mode 2.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Effective Camera Resolution10.1 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product FamilyLumix LX
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom4x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NamePanasonic
FeaturesFace Detection, Manual White Balance, Aperture Priority, External Flash Shoe, Continuous Shooting Mode
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsQuickTime Motion JPEG
Weight (Approximate)233 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Image Sensor Size1/6.3" (7.60 mm x 5.70 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution3648 x 2736
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height65.5 mm
Width109.7 mm
Depth43 mm
Product SeriesLX
Focal Length5.10 mm to 19.20 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
Product ModelDMC-LX5
Product NameLumix DMC-LX5 Compact Camera
Product LineLumix
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDMC-LX5EG-K
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The DMC-LX5 packages an f/2.0 LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens with 24mm wide-angle and 3.8x optical zoom. This low-distortion, high-resolution lens lets you capture truly dynamic 24mm wide-angle images while rendering the tiniest nuances clearly, from corner to corner. The fully open f/2.0-3.3 aperture and iris diaphragm also work together to produce stunning scenes with gentle soft focusing. The 24mm wide-angle lens captures approx. 213% larger viewing space compared to a normal 35mm lens.

Package Contents
  • Lumix DMC-LX5 Compact Camera
  • Battery Charger
  • Battery Pack
  • AV Cable
  • AC Cable
  • USB Cable
  • Shoulder Strap
  • CD-ROM
  • Lens Ring Front
  • Hot Shoe Cover
  • Lens Cap
  • Lens Cap String
Limited Warranty1 Year