Two months ago, I blogged about my new Panasonic DMC-LX3 camera. Since purchasing the camera, I’ve taken it on multiple trips and use it almost daily. After two months, I’m happy to report that I’m still loving it.
My favorite features are still the same:
- The 24mm f2.0 lens is fantastic
- The sturdy construction has held up well so far as I toss it into my bag during every trip
- The controls are intuitive and well placed
- The optical image stabilization is awesome
- The image quality is superb
My complaints are also still the same:
- I don’t like the separate lens cap. It’s a miracle that I haven’t lost it!
- Battery life is not great, but it’s acceptable. I purchased an extra battery that travels with me
- I wish it had more zoom, but for me, it’s worth the sacrifice to get the 24mm equiv wide angle
- The high-ISO performance is not great… BUT… it’s still a fantastic low-light camera. See below
Shooting in low light and ISO
The DMC-LX3 allows the ISO to be set as high as 3200, however I would not recommend it. With the amazingly fast f2.0 lens and the lens stabilization feature, I’ve never needed anything above ISO 800, even in very dimly lit scenes. I don’t hesitate to shoot at 1/15th of a second shutter speed (although, I’ll take a few extra shots just in case). If you own this camera, I highly recommend that you make the following setting change: Go to the ISO LIMIT SET menu option and change it to 800. This will prevent the camera from going higher than ISO 800 which will keep your photos looking great. I’ve personally had better luck avoiding the “iA” mode on the camera. I mostly shoot on either “P” or “M”.
Here’s an example. The following shot is at ISO 80, hand-held at 1/8th of a second. Click the image to see the high-res version. I consistently get good low-shutter speed shots with the LX3.
On a recent trip to Seattle, I made a quick stop at the Seattle Aquarium. I had my trusty Nikon D300 with both my 18-200mm lens and my 50mm 1.4 lens. The 18-200mm lens was too slow (3.5-5.6) to get any good shots of the dimly lit aquarium life. The 50mm 1.4 lens was more than fast enough but it has no macro capabilities so I found myself without a good lens for the situation! I suddenly missed my old 55mm micro lens. So, I put away my D300 and pulled my LX3 from my jacket pocket and found that it was perfect for the task. Since aquariums have a wide range of lighting, I set the camera to manual (“M”), tweaked the exposure a bit and started shooting. Below are a few results from the visit:
Below are a few more shots I’ve taken with the LX3:
All of the above photographs as well as tons of other shots are on my SmugMug site at http://gregorywilson.smugmug.com