Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Postby blue_quartz » Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:15 pm

Looks to be a very competent GX competitor, with a slightly larger image sensor (hopefully noise issues will take a step aside?), faster F2/2.8 aperture, 24-60mm, 720p/24fps HD video recording and a optical viewfinder accessory (compared to the tilt-able one GX has). Any comments?

If the joystick control on the LX-3 is usable *and* the image quality is on par with Ricoh's *and* it's Flash mount works with my Olympus FL-36 unit (contacts seem to be in the correct place!) for TTL, I'll be having second thoughts of upgrading to the GX-200...
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Postby odklizec » Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:11 pm

This LX3 looks definitely nice! It's too early to say anything serious about it. But it looks good and got several "hot" features attacking GX200, like flash hot shoe or this super bright lens and also RAW buffer (thought only 3 frames). We will see if Panasonic learned from their mistakes with LX2 NR visible also in RAW? The LX3 sample images available at http://www.infosyncworld.com/news/n/9604.html does not look so great, but I bet they are out of camera JPEGs taken with preproduction FW? We will have to wait for some real samples.

The sad thing is that Panasonic and particularly LX3 was one of my favorites for next large sensor cameras. So maybe Olympus will be the next one? Of course, Ricoh would definitely be the best and nicest surprise! ;)
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Postby micampe » Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:09 am

Hello, my first post here :)

I have the LX2 and I recently got a GRD. Obviously I can't speak on the image quality of the LX3, but the controls look the same as the LX2 and I think they are quite good and quick to use. The joystick functionality is comparable to what you get on the Ricoh ADJ menu, though not customizable. Manual focus I think it's better and more useful on the LX2.

That said, the GRD controls are just great, the joystick is not going to beat them in any way. I tried the GRDII and GX100 in a shop and the rocker switch on newer Ricoh models is quite clunkier, so the battle field is a bit leveled and they get more comparable.

The LX3 looks definitely nifty, a nice improvement over the LX2. It lost on the long end, but gained on speed (is this the first F2 compact camera?) and on the wide end (and giving real 24mm on all aspect ratios, not just on 16:9 like the previous model). The colour/bw film options look nice, if the jpegs can stand to them (in good light situations I often use the LX2 jpegs too).
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Postby Lucas » Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:21 am

I don't think the Lumix will be interesting to me: I'm spoiled now with the GRD2 controls.

To me the disadvantage of digital camera's is controlling it. When I tell this to other people they say it's easy to control. Then it appears they always set the camera to AUTO!

I've had different digital camera's and the worst to handle was a Casio. Now my wife has got a Canon EOS400D and I have to set up the camera before she takes photos. The flash unit of that EOS kept popping up even when photographing outdoors. Then it appeared switching off the flash wasn't in the camera menu's. So the manual was needed just to switch off the flash!

The Ricoh controls are the best I have experienced until now. For me an extra camera would be GX200 or an R8 so I wouldn't have to switch to different handling.
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Postby odklizec » Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:52 pm

Before I definitely migrated to Ricoh camp, LX2 was my #1 candidate for an "ideal" pocketable camera. Unfortunately, its poor NR visible even in RAW was unacceptable for me. Now this LX3 finally looks as a serious competitor to GX200. Its super bright lens opens some new possibilities. I look forward to see it in action and to make some comparisons with GX200.
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Postby viztyger » Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:48 pm

I've used both a Panasonic LX2 and a Ricoh GX100 extensively. I don't have either anymore: I sold the LX2 in 2007 and the GX100 this February, intending to get a Sigma DP1. The DP1's slow operation and other handling issues made me hold off, however. So now I need a compact camera again. I had assumed that I would make a decision between the Ricoh GX200 and the LX2's successor, which Panasonic had said they were working on. If the LX3's image quality is at least comparable to the GX200, then I am inclined to get the LX3. That f/2-2.8 lens will make quite a difference when lighting levels begin to drop. The LX3's bright lens was a surprise and I hope its performance is good wide open. That coupled with Panasonic's very excellent image stabilization should mean not having to rely so much on higher ISOs, a weakness of small sensor cameras. If my experience with both the LX2 and the GX100 can be applied to the LX3 and the GX200, then I suspect that the LX3 will have the more effective image stabilization. The LX2 seemed to give me more sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than I could achieve with the GX100.

The lenses of both cameras start at a for me essential 24mm. The LX3 allows you to shoot even wider since its various aspect ratios are all at 24mm: 16:9 at 24mm has a greater horizontal field of view than 4:3 at 24mm (while vertical coverage increases at 4:3).

Both cameras feature different user interfaces. Ergonomically, my GX100 was certainly superior to the LX2: the size and shape and the soft rubber covering of the GX100's hand grip gave me a sure and comfortable hold on the camera. The LX2's slick metallic form with the ornamental finger grip was less good. The LX3 seems to be only slightly improved in this regard. I wonder how the LX3 will handle when in the DMW-CLX3 case. As to the controls, both manufacturers follow a different approach. Ricoh emulates the typical DSLR interface whereby settings are changed up or down using a pair of adjustment wheels. Panasonic instead relies on a joystick. Both approaches are valid and which you prefer comes down to personal preference. Having used both, my preference is for the joystick: it seems more intuitive as it corresponds directly to the up-down and left-right directions on the screen which is used to adjust settings. The LX3 finally also features custom settings on the mode dial and a customizable function button, something present on high-end Ricoh cameras for quite a while.

Another area where Panasonic has finally caught up to Ricoh is in that they now offer a compressed RAW format, though unfortunately not Adobe's DNG format. The LX2's RAW files were nearly 20MB and you had to save a fine JPEG as well. That's changed and you have a choice whether or not you want a side-car JPEG as well as the JPEG compression.

Now it's just a matter of waiting for sample images taken with the final firmware. Hopefully the LX3's RAW files don't suffer from mushy or smeared areas of low contrast like were sometimes evident in LX2 RAW files.

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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Postby odklizec » Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:13 pm

Thanks for your detailed research and useful thoughts Bjorn! This new LX3 looks really good! I'm really curious about some RAW samples. But from what I've saw, the LX3 JPEGs doesn't look so smeared. So we can only hope they learned something from LX2 RAW NR fiasco ;)
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Postby odklizec » Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:33 pm

My favorite source of knowledge and early previews dc.watch.impress.co.jp just released some high resolution samples, including ISO tests! You can see them here:

http://64.233.179.104/translate_c?u=htt ... en&ie=UTF8

I have to say, I'm impressed! These samples look very good considering they are from small sensor camera (even the ISO1600 looks very acceptable to me). Maybe a bit too oversharpened? It seems Panasonic greatly improved their noise reduction engine. I'm really curious about RAW samples.
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Postby Detail Man » Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:28 am

odklizec -

Having recently purchased and a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3, I find that the (approximately 12 MB file-size) RW2 image files that it produces definitely appear to contain less detail (spatial-frequency) information than the (approximately 20 MB file size) RAW image files that my Panasonic DMC-FZ50 produces. This observation is drawn from photographing the same subject under similar lighting conditions with (virtually) the same parameter settings in each of the two cameras. I believe that the differences are due to more than the larger (and likely higher quality) Leica lens system in the FZ50 (relative to the smaller Leica lens system on the LX3). These differences have been noted when using the latest Shortcut Software Silkypix DS 3.021 SE available.

Having evaluated DxO Optics Pro 6.11 (which is presently able to post-process my FZ30 JPGs, and will in the near future support the LX3 camera body as well), I am rather impressed with it's capabilities so far, and I am hoping that DxO Optics pro 6.x (may) be able to produce improved results with LX3 RW2 image files (although their user interface presently lacks the visual "color-wheel" display of the status of fine color adjustment that Silkypix presently offers). However, spatial-frequency information lost (thanks to Panasonic) cannot (via any algorithm) be magically resurrected ... And that is the core problem that prompts me to attempt to raise the issue among fellow consumers who value and use "raw" format.

I have scoured the internet for any/all data regarding this issue, finding precious little (other than what is presented below). There seems to be no other person on the planet who may be more appropriate to chat about this issue, with, odklizec, as your history of (from the FZ50/LX2 Firmware Update Request petition for the agreeably wretched Lumix Venus III JPGs produced to your posts surrounding issues of Panasonic appearing to apply pre-raw Noise reduction on the LX2) seems to qualify you (as well as "Amin" at Serious Compacts) as the primary whistle-blowers on these dubious and proprietary practices surrounding Panasonic's pre-raw processing of RW2 image files (on the LX2, as well as potentially on their other camera models which produce RW2 image files - such as the LX3).

While I feel like I may well be "hauling coal to Newcastle" (as they say) regarding this issue (of Panasonic degrading potential RAW image file quality by smearing details beyond the user's control) - it appears that no one (that I can find) in the 3 years that the LX3 has existed has attempted to note and confront Panasonic with these issues (perhaps because their marketing and technical support divisions present such a towering and stoic brick wall of proprietary corporatism). Rather than laboriously repeat the story of what I am up to (which can be read in the most recent entries to the comments section for the Serious Compacts article entitled "Keeping RAW Raw") located at:
http://www.seriouscompacts.com/2007/05/ ... w-raw.html

I will here (briefly) summarize my recent findings and activities.

Panasonic (themselves) re-posts a CNET review of the LX3 at:
http://panasonic.com.ph/web/cid/MainCont/1823
published by CNET's Leonard Goh on August 26 2008 at:
http://asia.cnet.com/reviews/digitalcam ... 0-4,00.htm
and at:
http://www.cnet.com.au/panasonic-lumix- ... 290909.htm
in which Leonard Goh reports finding that reducing the user-controllable settings "NR" and "SHARPNESS" in the LX3 "Film Modes" had a positive effect upon the image quality of LX3 RW2 files when processed with Silkypix. Mr Goh states:

"In the Film Mode settings, we reduced the noise reduction and sharpness level to -2, and then processed the RAW image in SilkyPix to TIFF format. After which, we opened the processed file in another image-editing software and tweaked the image from there. The result was significantly better than what we would have achieved if we had relied solely on SilkyPix."

Upon my contacting Senior CNET Digital Imaging Editor Lori Grunin (who authored a later February 9 2009 CNET review of the DMC-LX3 at:
http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-cameras ... txt%3bpage
she expressed that she was a surprised as me to learn of Leonard Goh's findings, stating in communications with me that such was "news to her". She then forwarded my inquiry emailed to her on to Leonard Goh, who responded to me and confirmed his earlier findings, stating:

"During my tests then, I did discover that by applying sharpening and noise reduction in-camera did somewhat return better RAW files, but I am not sure if the latest firmware still exhibited such traits."

(I guess) the good news is that it appears that the user has some (though perhaps marginal) ability to adjust, and thus reduce, the (apparent) Noise reduction as well Sharpening that seems to be going on in the LX3 prior to recording a RW2 image file. The bad news is that this is happening at all. And, this practice may (possibly, also) be occurring on any/all of the other Panasonic camera models that generate ".RW2" image files ... This seems like an important issue and concern. To paraphrase CNET's Lori Grunin - "It's NEWS to me!", indeed!

I responded to Lori Grunin and Leonard Goh with the following statement:
"Your CNET review of the LX3 is dated Aug 26, 2008. The LX3 firmware Version 1.1 was not available until Dec 15th, 2008. You must have been evaluating unit(s) with the original 1.0 firmware.
This web-page does a nice job of listing all of the issues publicly stated by Panasonic to have been addressed by all versions of the LX3 firmware updates since the time of your review:
http://www.lx3-photography.com/search/l ... 20FIRMWARE
Note that there exists no mention of any changes to the LX3 firmware at any time that would either modify or affect the behavior that you have reported."

I've requested that Senior CNET Digital Imaging Editor Lori Grunin, who can be contacted (via CNET web-based email) at:
http://www.cnet.com/profile/lgrunin/
follow up on this important issue by requesting that Panasonic disclose their practices to CNET - as they surely would choose to remain stoic and silent if queried by mere earthlings such as myself, Amin at Serious Compacts, or yourself ... Your historical experience with the FZ50/LX2 firmware modification request petition does not bode well for actions taken on the part of mere consumers.

However, CNET (should they elect to utilize their own influence, as opposed to play subservient lackey to the juggernaut known as Panasonic) has (I believe, or at least hope) an opportunity to extract (for once) some factual data from Panasonic as to what they are "pre-baking" into the "RW2 cake" in the LX3 (and possibly other camera models these days). After all, (it seems to me) that since Panasonic proudly re-posts Leonard Goh's "smoking gun" findings THEMSELVES, it would seem that (in doing so) Panasonic has freely chosen to invite further scrutiny into what they have (effectively) made into their very own marketing statements (by re-publishing Leonard Goh's findings themselves). It will be interesting to see what does (or does not) transpire at this point. Stay tuned!

BTW - odklizec, your daughter Lucia (and the images that you posted of her at:
http://www.shortcutinc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=280)
are beautiful! The wonder of a child transcends anything that our machines can represent to the heart. The machines become a secondary blessing allowing us to record glimpses of the magical "dream-time" of the first 2 years. While I like to take nature shots of a lush and dear creek that winds through urban Seattle, and the flowers that bloom along the way in the Spring and Summer months - my all-time favorite subject (and source of photographic and spiritual joy), was being lucky enough to capture many glimpses of the "dream-time" of my very dear little friend Kendra as an infant and toddler discovering everything in the world anew for the very first time. Our machines can only bear witness to such wonders of Nature!
Last edited by Detail Man on Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Postby odklizec » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:08 pm

Hi Detail Man and welcome here!

The RAW softness you experienced with Silkypix has probably nothing to do with in-camera RAW NR. The reason of larger FZ50 RAW files is that these were uncompressed. LX3 does lossless compression over the RW2 files.

I personally found LX3 RAW files very good and detailed especially in dcraw based RAW editors (Rawtherapee). Silkypix is unfortunately not a winner when it comes do RAW sharpness. The same apply for Ricoh DNG files and RAWs from many other cameras. Silkypix demosaicing is simply not that good. In addition, Silkypix does some Panasonic specific "improvements" over RW2 files. Most probably based on Panasonic request.

For example, Silkypix automatically fix barrel distortion produced by LX3 lens. And there is no option to turn this auto fix "feature" off. When you compare files processed with dcraw and Silkypix (with all user editable options OFF), dcraw processed file will have higher horizontal resolution and visibly higher barrel distortion. This is automatically fixed in Silkypix output. And I guess it's not the only thing automatically processed by Silkypix and without an option to fine tune or turn it OFF. I would not be surprised if Silkypix would do also an automatic noise reduction based of the in-camera noise reduction settings. But I'm sure there will be nothing like that visible in dcraw and non-Panasonic related programs.

All in all, I think the LX3 RW files are not (visibly) altered by in-camera NR (unlike the GRDIII files). Panasonic seems learned from their mistakes ;)

Thank you for your comments and nice words about Lucia's photos! I'm enjoying every bit of being a father and Lucia is currently my no. 1 subject of photography. You can clearly see this radical change in my Flickr gallery :D And next year will be probably even "worse" because I decided to swap the roles with my wife. I'm planning to stay with Lucia at home and teach her some new tricks ;)
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