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Old Jul 13, 2009, 5:50 AM   #1
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Default Panasonic LX3 vs. Sony H20 / Bright lens

Hello everyone,



I bought my first, and as of yet only, digital camera, the Sony W12, in 2005. I was very happy with it, but now itís really worn out quite a bit. Iím also thinking of using widescreen video, and a steady shot function.

There are so many to choose from, but I am quite interested in the H20. Itís cheap and it seems like a pretty good update. Itís, however, one of the zoom models, so it might be too much for one who not really uses zoom all that much.

And the reason why I hardly use it: lack of light. I donít like pictures with flash, I really donít. I try to make flashless pictures in every situation, so also while being quite in dark environments. And because the W12 did not have any help of image stabilization, it was very difficult to make a sharp picture with your armgrip only.

So, Iím actually looking for a digital camera with a very, very bright lens. A wide angled one would be interesting to have too.

From what I understand, zoom camera lenses are rather dark, because of all the mechanisms to make these zoom lenses work, which makes the H20 not that good of a deal, right? However, itís 2009 now, so it might be a lot different now.

I discovered some Panasonic cameras, because I was looking for digital cameras with widescreen video capability, and Panasonic was the first (and until recently, I thought only) camera to have that as an option. The LX3 looks marvelous, though itís quite more expensive, and I donít know if there are huge differences between Panasonic and Sony. I know Sonyís were, or maybe still are, the fastest, so I might have to get used to the less fast Panasonicís?

So I want:
a very bright lens
a very sharp lens (both seem pretty good)
widescreen video (both have this option, fortunately)
(optical) stabilization support

There might be other options of cameras to recommend for me, so come with what you want.

Thanks,

Mano
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 9:14 AM   #2
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Mano-

Because zoom is not that important to you and the Sony H-20 has a measurably slower (dimmer) lens and zoom, it looks like the Panasonic LX-3 is the better choice for you based on the parameters you have listed.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 9:50 AM   #3
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Hey,

Thanks for the fast reply.
Yes, I read some other threads about the Panasonic, and it seems like a fantastic camera, actually. It has like the fastest lens out there, for a non SLR, right?

Hmm, I'll check out some more.
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 10:01 AM   #4
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The only small camera likely to satisfy your low light, HD movie and wide angle requirements is the Panasonic LX3. http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmclx3/

The 60mm (eq) telephoto isn’t very much, but you said you don’t use the telephoto much.

It also has a hot shoe. A small and inexpensive external flash might change your mind about flash shots. Bounce the flash and the light looks quite natural.
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 10:04 AM   #5
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There are two Point and Shoot cameras that have a fast bright lens (f2.0-2.8) that are available - the LX3 and the Leica DLux4 - they are essentially the same camera. With the Leica you do get the red dot on the body along with a price tag that is double (but it has a 3 year warranty), and a nice wrist strap.

The LX3 has the fast lens, however it also has a slightly larger sensor, and the resolution has been capped at 10MP. This combination creates the ability to take good low light images with reduced noise. At ISO speeds over 800, noise does start to be a problem as with any other camera. You can set the camera up to limit the ISO speed to say max out at 800, which would then force the camera to then extend the shutter time - which may or may not work out for your particular situation.

It does have a HD 16x9 video mode at 24fps, which is very good. It is a very nice camera overall. A bit larger than the small ultra compacts, however able to be slid into a jacket pocket.

Panasonic ran out of cameras earlier this year, so the price has risen a great deal - supply and demand, however they have restocked and supplies are now available and the price has started to come down.

I have one, specifically for the wide angle and fast lens, with the lower noise potential at the lower ISO speeds. I like it a lot. Here are a couple of postings of images from the camera. Note, that these are of long durations - several seconds in length. The image stabilization is good, but no IS capability will span several seconds, so to obtain these, I placed the camera on something solid and held it still. The bottom line is that it captures low light situations very well.
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...ego-night.html
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...t-imagery.html
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...a-sunsets.html
I hate to say it, but the Panasonic forum here at Steve's is pretty sparse on the LX3. The forum at dpreview is much more lively with quite a few postings every day (however a lot of the postings are about where to find the camera and the current price).
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/forum.asp?forum=1033
hope that helps...
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 10:43 AM   #6
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Hey, thanks guys.

What about concert photos? Rather dark environments with movement?

EDIT: Oh, and what's with Panasonic and Leica? Are they the same? And the extra warranty, different design, case and wrist strap are the only things that makes it more expensive?

Last edited by Manolito_Mystiq; Jul 13, 2009 at 10:47 AM.
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 12:29 PM   #7
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There are over 15,000 LX3 photos on pbase. If you find one that is full sized go to that person’s galleries for more. Same if you find some good available light shots. The EXIF is displayed if you click it. Look for f2 – f2.8, slow shutter and higher ISO. That would indicate they were taken in very limited light. http://www.pbase.com/cameras/panasonic/lumix_dmc_lx3
This is the first I ran across, but there are probably better examples if you take the time: http://www.pbase.com/image/108293781

I think the Leica name on the camera alone boosts the price. Most Panasonic cameras have Leica lenses.
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 1:53 AM   #8
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Evening, Well I am no expert on concerts, but I do think that the zoom may be a limitation - especially depending on where you are seated. You really need to decide on this. However, there are no other superzooms that have such a fast lens as the lx3. Also, just the pure optical physics - the larger the zoom factor, the smaller the area your taking a picture of, thus that area then needs to be VERY well lite. So large zoom lenses tend to be some what slower (because of the more complex construction and higher grade optical glass). Thus very fast and large zoom tend not to go together too well. For that you would need to go into the dSLR. A fast f2.8 zoom at 300mm starts around $2,000 (just the lens) and goes up from there very quickly. Plus it would weigh about 3 to 5 lbs, and you would need a tripod.

A quick way is to do a google search (or any other search engine) on lx3 and concert .... just like slipe suggested. And then click on images up at the top. You will get quite a few concert images taken by an LX3.

http://images.google.com/images?q=lx...N&hl=en&tab=wi

On your other question, Panasonic uses Leica lenses in their cameras (well most of their cameras). Leica also makes their own cameras and custom lenses. Leica has a very good reputation in lenses.
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 2:10 PM   #9
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Hey gals and guys,

Thank you very much for all your information and help. I'm very impressed by what it can do. It is quite a price tag (I mean the Panasonic), but for the quality it has, I think it's a steal.

Oh, and my question regarding Leica and Panasonic: Who made the camera? At first glance, the Panasonic seems to be a budget version, but the difference is really hardly there. Far better software, a year extra warranty, and a wrist strap, huh? It's just so interesting that a sameish camera is brought in the market. Does this happen more often?
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 11:59 PM   #10
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On your question on the differences between the LX3 and the DLux 4 or if the Panasonic makes the budget version, is a reasonable observation. By looking at the cameras they are essentially the same physically, except for the markings and the LX3 has the hand hold on the side, which the Leica is missing. You can look at the manuals on line and they describe the same functionality and capabilities. The menus are ever so slightly different. There is a much more active board on both the LX3 and DLux 4 on dpreview.com. A lot of the discussion centered on this, however it appears that Panasonic makes both of them. They are just marketed differently to different segments of the photographic community. There are a number of interesting sites that compare the two. Here are a couple of them.

http://ianho.blogspot.com/2008/11/pa...a-d-lux-4.html

http://www.seriouscompacts.com/2008/...4-and-lx3.html

http://leicarumors.com/2009/01/30/d-...-coating.aspx/

hope that helps....
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