Despite the growing popularity of digital SLRs, many people prefer a smaller and lighter camera.  There are also times that carrying an SLR just isn’t practical. The DMC-LX3 fits perfectly into this niche.  It’s small enough to fit a jacket pocket, yet offers creative controls that will satisfy advanced photographers.


The DMC-LX3 sports an f2.0-f2.8 optically stabilized 2.5x Leica zoom with a 35mm equivalent range of 24-60mm. And that, in a nutshell, is what separates this camera from it’s competitors:  A fast, wide, high quality lens on a very compact camera.

Other notable features include a pop-up flash, the ability to choose between 4:3, 4;2, and 16:9 aspect ratios at the flick of a switch, a 10 megapixel sensor and a generous 3 in. TFT LCD Display.

This camera has a very solid feel primarily due to it’s metal case.  I have relatively large hands, and when I first unpacked it I wondered if it was too small to handle.  However, once I got used to it, I found it handled quite well and the small size was definitely an asset.

The f2 lens was definitely an asset for indoor photography, opening the possibility of using available light on a bright day. It also allowed the camera, in automatic mode, to leverage the pop-up flash to a degree that is usually not possible in a compact camera. And the wide lens, 24 mm, was also a great asset.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the image quality and colour accuracy. I did notice some digital noise in my high-ISO indoor available light shots, but I would have expected to see similar noise if I took the same shots with my SLR. Outdoors, the blue sky was faithfully rendered without any visible noise in the jpeg files. The RAW images were also impressive.

The only limitation I encountered with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 is the maximum 60 mm equivalent zoom.  However, camera design always involves compromise and in this case Panasonic made the right decision.  Had they opted for a longer zoom range, they would not have been able to offer it in an f2.0-2.8 lens.

So, if you need a long lens for trips to the zoo, this isn’t the camera for you. However, the DMX-LX3 is an excellent camera for indoor, family and some types of travel photography. In addition, the DMC-LX3 is particularly attractive to digital SLR owners looking for a compact camera for those occasions when they can’t — or don’t wish to — carry their SLR.

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