The early morning chatter on the Panasonic LX3 proved to be prophetic (in a leaky kind of way), as we are all now proud "virtual owners" of the new Panasonic LX3.
And this is a direction many photography enthusiasts wanted Panasonic to take, break out of the mold of the predictable sequential updates. And they sure did with the new LX3! Press release via the Imaging Insider, where we learn of its modest $500 price and expected August release date. August is not far folks! Hooray!
Meet the Panasonic LX3
The biggest item of interest on the LX3 is existential: it's finally here, after months and months of waiting, watching the clock, and speculating. Its predecessor, the LX2, was announced in July 2006. Two years is almost an eternity in the ephemeral digital camera world.
The lens appears to be the "India" of this camera, with a
Telephoto and portraiture fans may be disappointed a little bit because the lens is going 24-60mm in 35mm equivalency, but you can't have a big zoom lens and f2.0
But the "microscopes" of photographers, gadgetologists and pixel-peepers alike will be "focusing" (oh dear, so many bad puns in a single sentence) on the brand new 10-megapixel 1/1.63" sensor introduced by Panasonic. The Panasonic page promises 40% higher sensitivity and 35% higher saturation when compared to the 10-megapixel 1/2.33" sensors such as the one found in the Panasonic FX35. Press release promises are great, and while we hope that not only they are true, but they are also under-estimated, we have to wait and see hard data and pictures.
As with all the new Lumix models of today, the new Venus Engine IV is another item of interest, as the press release promises noise miracles and wonders, ISO to the moon (6400), 5ms response time, and things like that.
Old is new and new is old, and film modes are hot in this model, with six color and three monochrome options. Talk about baiting film users to buy this camera :)
If you are frustrated by the aspect ratio soup out there, the LX3 provides three out of the box options, the usual 3:2 and 4:3, along with the widescreen-friendly 16:9. It has a "multi-aspect mode" which allegedly takes a picture in all three models and lets you chose which one to keep. Does it let you chose all three? Some people may be interesting in that option as well! Time will tell!
On the gadgetology front, the camera has a LiIon battery that delivers 380 CIPA pictures, which is not bad, considering its size, but no one would complain if it had more. Nevertheless, 380 is a fairly good number, and considering the f2.0
The LX3 has a 3" TFT LCD display with 460K dots (nice!) and a 3:2 aspect ratio. But there is no optical viewfinder built in the camera. This can be very frustrating to those who prefer to compose their pictures through the viewfinder. But just like the Ricoh and the Sigma, Panasonic is joining the "milk the accessory cow" campaign by offering an optional DMW-VF1 external viewfinder.
We forgot to mention it already, but the camera comes with a hot-shoe, where you can attach the new Panasonic GN22 external flash. The irony perhaps is that Panasonic calls it "Compact Flash" which perhaps may confuse some with the "Compact Flash" memory card format. The camera, as with all things Panasonic, uses SD/SDHC memory cards.
And speaking of milking the cow, there is also an optional 18mm wide-angle converter DMW-LW46 lens that gets you to 18mm wide. Not bad for a compact digital camera!
The LX3 will be available in silver as the LX3S and in black as the LX3K. No pink, blue, or green I'm afraid :)
We searched Amazon for pre-orders and we have now found the LX3 available for pre-ordering. See the next paragraph for details.
UPDATE: The Panasonic LX3K is available for pre-order at Amazon for $500. Also available is the LX3S (silver) for the same price. No shipping date is given, but Amazon says "temporarily out of stock", which we are not sure how to interpret. Does this mean it is about to ship soon?
Panasonic LX3 coverage on the Net (photography sites)
- Detailed specs and feature breakdown at dpreview.com
- The highlights of the LX3 at Professional Photographer UK.
- Summary at Serious Compacts
- Lots of body pictures at LX2 Diary, along with news from Russia
- More on the LX3 at Wouter 28mm
- lots more in "Reactions to the LX3 post"
- And even more, reactions in the forums
Be sure to bookmark this post and revisit!