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Old Dec 18, 2009, 10:20 AM   #1
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Default Panasonic LX3 or GF1?

All things being equal, which one will take better overall photos, especially in low light? Want to know if the GF1 is worth the extra $$ for someone who will likely not use all the possible goodies on the GF1. I also know the GF1 has much lower iso setting (800) bug the much larger sensor.

I know they are very different. I am looking for the camera with the best image quality in a non-DSLR package, and narrowed it down to these 2 based on a previous discussion here.

Assuming:
- I will not interchange lenses ever
- Only use the in camera flash (adjustable flash level is critical)
- No post photo processing
- Default "auto" settings
- Photos are family stuff (inside, beach, garage, kitchen, living room, gym, etc)

I know these things will improve result, but I must consider my wife, who will never adjust any settings, and when I just have the camera on my hip and bring it up for quick shots. One would think the GF1 would do better with the larger sensor and huge price tag, but if I don't use all those things, will I still get better pictures? If yes, in what way will the photos be better? I would like to understand.

Last edited by pnut; Dec 18, 2009 at 10:32 AM.
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Old Dec 18, 2009, 11:26 AM   #2
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Hi there, pnut-

The micro 4/3 format is a very expensive sort of only a semi solution. I own a G-1 with two lenses which I do change. The biggest flaw of the Pansonic G-series is its inability to use numerically high ISO settings. Through experience, I have found that ISO 800 is about the top of the shop. Above ISO 800, image quality slips away or goes down hill rather rapidly.

Thre Panasonic LX-3 has excellent outdoor image quality, but due to its small imager, is about equal to the G-series cameras. OK, the logical question is where to you go from here? If you want to go with a smaller form factor consider the Pentax Kx model or even better the Olympus E-620.

I know you said that you never want to change a lens again. Put the Pentax 18-250mm lens on the Kx and you have a very small single lens solution. Is that still too big, consider the Olympus E-620, the smallest DSLR with built in image stabilization in the industry and put a Sigma 18-125mm lens on it. I have a friend who has that configuration and loves it. That eliminates a wide angle as the result, expressed in 35mm film terms is 36mm to 250mm a nice zoom range.

And both the Pentax KX and the Olympus E-620 solutions are about the same or somewhat less $$ than the Panasonic GF.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 18, 2009, 12:09 PM   #3
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For low light shots. you will absolutely get better results with the GF1, the 4/3 sensor is many times larger than the small sensor on the LX3. And the GF1 has ISO ratings up to 3200, and 1600 is usable when needed.

Have you looked at Olympus's EP-1. It is of the micro 4/3 system like the GF1, and in many ways is a very similar camera. Because of Olympus's jpeg engine, it would arguably outperform the GF1 in jpeg mode, while the GF1 can do a little better when shooting raw. It offer in-camera image stabilization, and is usually found at a lower price-point compared to the GF1.
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Old Dec 18, 2009, 4:00 PM   #4
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Thank you both.

I did look at the EP-1, but the lack of a built in flash is a show stopper. Otherwise this camera would be the clear choice for me.

Mtclimber:
Thanks for the 2 suggestions. The traditional DSLR shape and size is also a show stopper for me, so both of those suggestions are not right for me. I understand that the difference in size is minor, but if I get something other than the size and features I have my heart set on, I know it will be a mistake.

Mtclimber (2):
The iso settings on the GF1 go all the way to 3200, but there have been a few times you mentioned the 800 setting. Are you suggesting that anything above 800iso is realistically useless? If that is the case, wouldn't the case be the same for the LX3 at anything above 800 also?

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Old Dec 18, 2009, 4:09 PM   #5
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Pnut, sorry i totally missed the bullet about built in flash being a priority.

if you are looking for absolutely the best image quality without going to a dslr, and are willing to spend the extra $$ to get it. the GF-1 offers just that, given your criteria.
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Old Dec 18, 2009, 4:14 PM   #6
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You know, after all this discussion, I wonder whether or not something simple like the Lumix DMC-ZS3R might be more suited to my needs. I guess I'm just looking for the camera that will take the best pictures at just about any price if I use it as a point and shoot.
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Old Dec 18, 2009, 4:36 PM   #7
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pnut-

I am just speaking from my experience with the Panasonic G-1. That is a different camera and a different generation in the G-series. However, based on my own hands on experience, when I move above ISO 800, I can see a difference. Perhaps I am being picky, and perhaps there is indeed a generational difference that also affects or improves the ISO performance. Professional review seem to confirm that the GF cameras do have much better High ISO performance.

If you want to consider P+S Panasonic cameras, the FZ-35 has much better image quality both indoors and outdoors than the ZS-3 model and it is not much more in cost.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 18, 2009, 5:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
pnut-

I am just speaking from my experience with the Panasonic G-1. That is a different camera and a different generation in the G-series. However, based on my own hands on experience, when I move above ISO 800, I can see a difference. Perhaps I am being picky, and perhaps there is indeed a generational difference that also affects or improves the ISO performance. Professional review seem to confirm that the GF cameras do have much better High ISO performance.

If you want to consider P+S Panasonic cameras, the FZ-35 has much better image quality both indoors and outdoors than the ZS-3 model and it is not much more in cost.

Sarah Joyce
With my Fuji F11, most of the indoor images are at 1600, so my guess is that any of these will be worlds ahead of that.

The FZ-35 certainly has some nice specs, but that DSLR bulky style body is not for me. I like the rectangle style.

Questions?:
Does the GF1 or the LX3 have image stabilization or zooming while in video mode? Will either be equal video quality?

Comparing the (built in) flash quality, does either have an advantage?

Finally, are there any specs, or can someone say if either is faster in power on speed, or shot cycle speed (shot to shot)?

Should I be considering alternative P+S's to the LX3? I'm not stuck on that one, any top performing P&S I would be interested to hear about for my needs (above).

Thank you.

Last edited by pnut; Dec 18, 2009 at 5:28 PM.
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Old Dec 18, 2009, 5:54 PM   #9
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pnut-

I really have given this "my best shot." I my opinion, the bottom line really is image quality and performance, not camera size or shape, and that is what the FZ-35 will do for you, but this only my opinion, I realize.

If you want shot to shot times and the like, it is time to read those professional reviews.

All the best.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 18, 2009, 6:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
pnut-

I really have given this "my best shot." I my opinion, the bottom line really is image quality and performance, not camera size or shape, and that is what the FZ-35 will do for you, but this only my opinion, I realize.

If you want shot to shot times and the like, it is time to read those professional reviews.

All the best.

Sarah Joyce
If IQ is the key the surly that takes us back to the GF1 or Oly Pen as they do better than the FZ-35 which is more similar to the LX3 due to the small sensor.

Obviously if we take camera size shape out then even better something like the Canon T1i etc.......
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