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Old Jan 21, 2009, 12:51 PM   #1
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I'm thinking of buying either a Panasonic Lumix DMC LX3 or a Canon G10. I've looked at the G10 countless times, like it's size appearance, controls.

Reading the reviews of the G10, give me pause...everything's great till it comes to noise (or grain as we used to say at higher ISO's such as anything over 200.

I mostly photograph at 80-200 during the day, but occasionally near dusk will push to 400- 640 or thereabouts.

I want to carry a smaller camera that has settings that I can manipulate and the Canon has all these controls on it's various knobs, etc.

I do use a Pentax K10D DSLR normally, but find as I'm older, that it's a bit if a beast to carry...weight, size, etc. I would use the K10D for serious photography, but want a top quality smaller camera for day to day stuff. I want to carry a camera during my daily activities, one that is capable to take excellent pictures.

I'm a long time amateur photographer , since 1968 and I have a number of film cameras such as Mamiya TLR, Leica, Pentax SLR's Olympus, etc. I mention this to indicate that sharp, clear pictures are important to me, and I don't want to buy a camera not capable of these qualities.

I do have a Panasonic Lumix DMC LC80 that I have had since '2004. Good camera @ 5 MPs, but not manual enough for me.

I have read that this new Panasonic Lumix DMC LX3 is an excellent camera and surpasses the Canon G10 in picture quality, especially at higher asa , 400 and up.

The LX3 seems to be at a similar price point to the G10, but I do like the looks of the G10.

In the end, though, I think I could live with a small camera, capable of taking excellent,sharp, clear pictures with top notch colour rendition between 80 to 200 ASA.

Sorry that I'm so logwinded but what would you recommend ?
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Old Jan 21, 2009, 9:07 PM   #2
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Evening Lensmore, I use a Pentax K100 and recently acquired a LX3 for similar reasons as you. Its a nice camera as you have read - both fully automatic or fully manual. I am still in the learning stages and have shot about 300 images in various situations, day to night, iso 80 to 800. At low iso speeds, the images are very clean and I like them very much. However at higher speeds - 800, there is grain (or noise) - no getting around it - it is there. It all depends on your tastes and expectations. The f2 lens helps a great deal. I like the wide end of photography, and thus I have the Pentax DA10-17, 12-24, 16-45, 50-300 lenses, which are relatively slow ~f4. Interior shots taken by the LX3 with ambient light, the f2 lens at 24mm, iso 80, 1/20 to 1/40 sec, are clear and sharp. With my Pentax lenses, I would be hard pressed to even come close.

I am sitting here reviewing the images I have taken and here is my quick take...
80 through 400 - daytime - outside and inside (no flash) - very clean, sharp, good detail
80 through 400 - evening and night - outside, clean, sharp

800 - night - noisey, can be pretty muddy
I have two images in particular, taken a couple of weeks ago, about 30 seconds apart of the same outdoor landscape, using abient light, 7pm (essentially after dusk) that essentially tells the story-
1) iso 80, f2, 8 seconds - set on a railing, good color, good definition, clean and sharp
2) iso 800, f2, 1/8 second - set on a railing, no color, no definition (essentially a silhouette), muddy and noisey.
I like the camera - it meets my needs and expectations. I will be keeping it. The f2 lens at iso 80 lets me do things I am unable to do with my dSLR. I can also carry it on business trips, something that is somewhat difficult to do with my Pentax.

Hope that helps...
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Old Jan 22, 2009, 11:11 PM   #3
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Lensmore, I have the Pentax K200D and a number of Pentax's higher-quality lenses: 14-50, 50-135 - both f/2.8 - and the 55-300 - f/4-5.8. I also have the Panasonic LX3, which just impresses me more with each passing day.

Like you, I considered the Canon G10 for a while. It's a lovely camera that is a joy to hold. And the manual controls on the camera body almost closed the deal. If you're going to keep it at ISO 200 and below, this camera will do you just fine. No one could fault you for buying the G10, because it really is one of the best compact cameras out there.

But it was the lens that finally brought me to the LX3. 24mm wide and f/2.0-2.8 just can't be beat in the world of compact digital cameras. I brought the camera in to my office in Manhattan when I first bought it. I was very pleased with the natural-light photos I was able to take inside. That evening, after dark, I walked across town to the bus station, taking natural-light photos of things like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. The results were just astounding for a compact digicam.

Now, make no mistake: With a 1/1.6 sensor, there will be noise at high ISOs with the Panasonic as well. But the fast lens means I can still shoot at 400 ISO when most other cameras in its class would have me at ISO 800 or even 1600. Plus, Panasonic has finally learned how to strike a good balance between noise reduction and detail retention. Plus, the decision to hold it at 10 megapixels also helps keep the noise under control.

As long as 28mm will satisfy you in terms of wide-angle shooting, the 14 megapixels in the Canon G10 will give you stunning results for a camera of its size at low ISOs and in good light. Once you pass ISO 200, the Panasonic LX3 has caught up in terms of image quality and pulls away as it gets darker and the ISOs get higher. And, unless you keep the G10's lens at 28mm, the aperture gets smaller fairly quickly, meaning you'll need the higher ISOs if you don't have good light.

But the LX3 only zooms from 24-60mm (the G10 gives you 28-140mm), which can cramp the style of a lot of photographers. I find for family gatherings, parties and landscapes - both urban and rural - it works just fine.

Neither the LX3 nor the G10 will be as noise-free as a DSLR at high ISOs - they can't be with sensors that small. The LX3 is better than the G10 in this regard, but that isn't to say the G10's results will be unusable if you push it to ISO 400-640 as you say you occasionally do. In this respect, some of the reviews may be overstating the noise issue. But at ISO 800-1600, you'll definitely notice the noise. But if you don't have to use natural light all the time, you can always use flash.

You say you won't be using either of these cameras for critical "serious" work... more like day-to-day stuff. If that's the case, either one will do the job. Just decide if natural-light photography is what you want most of time (both indoors and outdoors when it begins to get dark)... whether the LX3's zoom range is enough for you, whether the G10's 28mm is wide enough for you... whether the G10 is small and light enough for you... and whether you really prefer the manual controls on the body of the G10. Even though both cameras give you manual control, you have to use the LX3's menu just a bit more.

Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes.
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Old Jan 24, 2009, 1:21 PM   #4
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Hi Lensmore,

Just one additional item that I ran across this morning. Ned Bunnell the President of Pentax USA has a blog, that I read from time to time. In his last posting, yesterday - he wrote that he just made a new acquisition. A Leica D-Lux 4 (which is exactly the same camera as the Panasonic LX-3).

http://nedbunnell.blogspot.com/2009/...ded-to-my.html
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Old Jan 25, 2009, 6:23 PM   #5
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interested_observer wrote:
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Hi Lensmore,

Just one additional item that I ran across this morning. Ned Bunnell the President of Pentax USA has a blog, that I read from time to time. In his last posting, yesterday - he wrote that he just made a new acquisition. A Leica D-Lux 4 (which is exactly the same camera as the Panasonic LX-3).

http://nedbunnell.blogspot.com/2009/...ded-to-my.html
Thanks for adding the link.

Very interesting comments by Ned and I examined his pictures...blew them up...v. good quality.

Geez, the guy is head of Pentax and admits to owning different makes of cameras...well probably good, I guess, that way he can see what the competition is up to...I wish Pentax would bring out a competitor for the LX3 or G10.

I haven't checked out the LX3 , put one in my hands, try it out, to see what it is like. I intend to rectify that soon. I could be wrong but the LX3 seems to not have the same amount of external controls as the G10...I'm guessing the LX3 is controled through the menu, or at least more so than the G10 ?

I like the external controls rather than scrolling down a menu.

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Old Jan 25, 2009, 6:25 PM   #6
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Interested Observer and Biro...thanks very much for the information you provided...I appreciate the anecdotal reports based on your actual use. Lots of food for thought. I'm hoping to make a decision over the next couple of months...my birthday approaches and I need to approach my wife....:-)
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