My Panasonic DMC-LX3 – 2 months later

May 2, 2009 | By

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



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About the Author (Author Profile)

Greg is an Adobe Creative Cloud Evangelist based in Tampa, Florida
  • Meg

    I love the flower shots.

  • alex

    didn’t your lx3 come with a lanyard to hold the lens cap to the camera?

    • http://gregsramblings.com gregorywilson

      It did come with a lanyard but I don’t like it dangling from a string while I”m using the camera so I usually put the cap in my pocket.

      I wish it had a shutter-lens cap like the other Panasonics.

      Thanks!

      Greg

  • Fred Palmer

    I got mine about a month ago after a long wait from B and H… had to have the black version. I’m loving it too. GREAT CAMERA

  • Rob

    I’m a realtor and don’t know much about cameras but want a nice one. I need a camera that can shoot a small room and show most of the room which is why the wide angle is needed. Also, sometimes all the walls are white and there is either all sun exposure in the room or hardly any. Do you think this camera would perform well under these conditions? Thanks Rob

  • http://www.kzsolt.com Katherine zsolt

    This is great news…I’m a sculptor that documents all her won work. My problem is I also want to do video work with the next pocket camera I own. Does this one have and HD video or the like. If so is it easy to work with? If not have you tried the new ZS3? Thank you for this clear summary!~

  • http://www.lisaroah.com/blog lroah

    What case did you buy for this camera? I just got one, and need a case.

    • http://gregsramblings.com gregorywilson

      I just got a generic zipper-bag case for it at Ritz Camera.

  • http://jswphotos.com Jim Waterwash

    Hi Greg,

    I am still waiting for my LX3 and hope to have it next week. Your photos are really great. I love their composition, vibrancy and sharpness. I know the Lx3 is a great camera, but how did you take the photos and what post processing do you use? If you don’t mind, check out some of my photos and tell me what I need to do to make them better. Mine just don’t seem to pop like yours and others that I have seen.

  • belle

    you can get a lens cap string. I would had lost my lens cap long ago if they aren’t attach.
    Higher zoom will make dmc-lx3 a perfect compact.

  • http://www.eyman.org/lx3pics ceyman

    I’m a little late to this party, but I, too recently got my LX3 and am mostly delighted. I love the fast wide lens. My poor Canon 5D must be getting lonely, it’s getting so little use lately.

    I’ve got my camera set to stop at ISO 400. I think the 800 is too high, and even so, I’ve seen some blotchiness in the blue channel at low levels. But the lens…the lens… is beautiful. I shoot almost everything at 24mm equivalent f2, and love the bokah.

  • Paul

    I am pondering an LX3 as a zoom companion to my Ricoh GRDII (which I simply love). A while back, I bought a used LX2 just for fun and I, too, just hated the lens cap. It’s something that holds me back from taking the leap on the LX# but since they’re finally coming down in price I may have to try one. Cheers.

  • Wendy

    hi, i just got LX3.. i wonder if without wide angle lens, the photos look good? Help and give me some tips.. I am still figuring how to take photos beautiful in right setting modes..Argh..

  • dragonfly

    hi! I’ve owned an LX3 for quite sometime now but a lot of times I got disappointed with my shots. I admit this is mostly attributed to my lack of knowledge on how to tweak the settings. I usually just use S or A mode. My shots in low lights/indoor are usually very grainy. I also noticed that pictures are a lot darker when transferred to the computer. Any tips on what settings to use when indoor?

  • pinhzoi

    The white flower and seagull photos are so clear, sharp images. Gotta love the lx3 :)

  • Snapshot

    I know his is an old thread but am looking for a little help with my camera. I have thus far been using IA and want to expand my use of the camera’s settings. However once I have downloaded the pictures I don’t know which ones were taken with what setting. So I don’t have the opportunity to learn how to use the camera. Is there a way to have this information?