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Lumix Lx3 Vs Lx5--whats So Special About The New Guy?
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The luxury compact digital camera niche has become one of the most popular and competitive in the photography industry. The days of releasing the same basic camera over and over with only an upgrade in megapixels are over. Consumers are savvier and more demanding than years past and it takes a lot more than just one or two upgrades to impress us enough to lay our money on the table today.

With Panasonic's latest offering, the Lumix LX3 vs LX5 discussion is heating up. Up until now, the LX3 has been the flagship luxury compact for Panasonic. It has been so successful, the Lumix brand represents the standard that other cameras must live up too. This includes the LX5.

On the surface, the LX5 looks to be very similar to the LX3. Sure, the LX5 is a little bigger than it predecessor and it even looks like the lens might be different. But for most casual photographers, a cursory review doesn't give ample opportunity for an in depth comparison.

Let's take a look under the hood and decide for ourselves which is the winner of the Lumix LX3 vs LX5 heavyweight battle.

For anyone familiar with the Lumix LX3, the first noticeable difference in the LX5 is the size. Panasonic went for an ergonomic overhaul. The result is what I feel is a superior grip and button layout in the LX5. One of the few complaints you actually read and hear about with the LX3 was that its compactness actually was hindrance when trying to adjust settings in the middle of the action. The exact difference in size between the Lumix LX3 vs LX5 is about 40%. In reality, it seems less drastic since the LX3 is pretty small.

Now the lens is the biggest upgrade as far as I am concerned. The LX5 still sports a 24mm lens, but it has a wider angle than the LX3. The wider-angle lens gives several advantages over the Lumix LX3 vs LX5. The LX5 lens gathers more light which produces more vivid pictures with more color saturation, especially in low-light settings.

Low-light environments have always been the biggest shortcoming of compact digital cameras, but the wider-angle lens of the LX5 handles them with little to no problem. I am yet to be disappointed with any of my nighttime images. This was not always the case with the LX3, although, it performed admirably compared to competitors.

Additionally, the LX5 lens makes it faster than its predecessor. The Lumix LX3 vs LX5 has a maximum shutter speed of 1/2000 compared to 1/4000 in the LX5. That's a huge difference when you are taking continous shots with a lot of action.

A glaring shortcoming of the LX3 was its 2.5x zoom limitation. It was not very useful and I found myself just editing my pictures to achieve the zoom effect I wanted, which worked fine for the most part. The LX5 has 3.8x zooms and makes such a difference. It won't win any telephoto awards, but at least it has an effective range.

If you take a lot of nature shots from a distance, it could be an issue. Most of my nature shots are macro images and that's a strength of the LX5. Overall, lens performance between the Lumix LX3 vs LX5 is superior on the LX5. It addresses every shortcoming that you claim the LX3 had: speed, zoom, and low-light imagery.

These are the biggest advantages of upgrading to the Lumix LX5, and I will even throw in a few more just to make you happier. The battery capacity is larger on the LX5 at 400 images, compared to 380 on the LX3. We can also choose between Optical Viewfinder (OVF) or Electric Viewfinder (EVF) with the LX5. For continuous shooting, the LX5 is a slightly faster at 2.5fps compared to 2.4fps on the LX3.

The last few upgrades are not deal-breakers, which is why I threw them in at the end. They are worth noting though.

Since I own both models, I feel my personal perspective is worth giving. I loved my Lx3 from the first day and always will. It was the first luxury point and shoot worth investing in, as far as I am concerned, and it still is a top performing digital camera. However, the LX5 improves on the LX3 in the three major trouble areas for most users: comfortable handling, low-light capture, and zoom limitations. I must admit that I find all three categories to be improved enough to justify upgrading to the LX5. So now, I really LOVE my new Lumix LX5!

In the end, we all have to decide for ourselves what matters the most and which camera satisfies those needs. If it makes it any easier, the price disparity is no longer a deciding factor in the Lumix LX3 vs LX5 competition now that the LX5 is available for nearly the same price.

If you have been procrastinating on upgrading to one of the best compact digital cameras on the market, you should take advantage of the current discounts before their gone.

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