Panasonic Lumix LX5 review

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

TODO alt text

lumix lx5

While Panasonic's harping on about the wider dynamic range offered by the new tech inside the LX5, we were more immediately impressed by the lens.

While you obviously won't get f/2 throughout the lens's range, it's really great for bringing the depth of field right in. So the lens is a solid macro performer too, and the benefits of such a wide maximum aperture can't be overstated.

lumix lx5
See full-res image

COLOURS: In good light the camera rewards you with warm, well-exposed images

Zoom performance is reasonable too, though we did feel a tad short changed after using the monster-zoom Lumix FZ45. The Canon G11 still has a longer reach at 140mm at the telephoto end, so it would have been nice to be able to go in a bit further.

lumix lx5
See full-res image

EXPOSURE: The 'intelligent auto' function does a better job at judging exposure than most 'auto everything' modes

The image stabilisation system works well when zooming right in, so make sure it's turned on when you first set the camera up.

Lens distortion is well controlled, though not perfect - we did notice some distortion on the tower on Glastonbury Tor when shooting in 16:9 format.

lumix lx5
See full-res image

IMAGE STABILISATION: Make sure the image stabiliser is turned on when shooting at the telephoto end, it really makes a difference

In terms of overall sensor and image-processor performance, it's up to Panasonic's usual high standards. Colours are characteristically warm and vibrant without being garish, and edges are kept sharp in JPEG mode without it looking artificial.

lumix lx5
See full-res image

MACRO: That fast f/2 lens really comes into its own with close up nature work

In terms of ISO, keep it under 800 and you'll be impressed. Noise is well controlled at this level but as our ISO tests show, kick it up to 12800 and colour and detail really suffer. Still, even at this extreme level it's not a bad performance for the money, and this, combined with the effective pop-up flash, make the Lumix DMC-LX5 a convincing low-light performer.

lumix lx5
See full-res image

METERING: The metering system copes well with a variety of challenging light conditions

AF is generally unflappable and metering reliable, though as with many cheaper cameras, the LX5 has a tendency to blow out highlights in brighter light. So make sure you've got to grips with the slightly eccentric way of adjusting exposure compensation before heading out.

lumix lx5
See full-res image

SKIN TONES: Skin tones are accurate but the Lumix does have a tendency to blow out highlights in bright sunlight

As you'd expect, there's a full PASM dial mode, with the inclusion of Intelligent Auto (iA). iA's no replacement for learning how to adjust exposure yourself, but as an auto everything mode, it does seem more consistent – and indeed intelligent – than you'd first expect.

lumix lx5
See full-res image

WIDESCREEN: Note the distortion on the tower when shot at 16:9 format - it shouldn't lean in like that!

lumix lx5
See full-res image

ZOOM: While hardly a super zoom, the lens stays nice and sharp at the far telephoto end

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