Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5 digital camera

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5 review: Panasonic's best camera has an excellent lens but complicated menus

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Bright lens with reasonable zoom range, good ISO performance up to ISO 800, excellent build quality, excellent multi-aspect sensor design

Cons

  • Frustrating lens cap design, mediocre LCD screen, convoluted menu structure

Bottom Line

Panasonic's LUMIX DMC-LX5 is a digital camera that's appealing to enthusiasts because of its manual control features and excellent image quality.

Would you buy this?

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5 is the best digital camera that the company has produced, with an excellent quality 10-megapixel sensor and a versatile 24-90mm lens that has a maximum aperture of f2.0 at the wide end. It can take high quality photos even in dim lighting thanks to the combination of good high ISO performance and a well-designed lens. However, we don't like the menu structure and there are a few design features that are disappointing.

Looking to buy a camera? Have a look at our camera buying guide.

If you've already got one, learn how to take care of your digital camera.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5: Design

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5 has a traditional digital camera design. The camera's top face includes an accessory hot shoe that can be used with a Panasonic electronic viewfinder. On the rear of the camera a 3in 460k dot LCD screen is accompanied by a typical button layout that includes a rear dial to adjust manual settings like aperture and shutter speed.

On the whole the camera's layout is intuitive and easy to grasp, but we took issue with the LCD screen which generally looks washed out — as a result, pictures look better when viewed on a computer screen or printed than on the camera itself. The use of a clip-on lens cap also adds unnecessary complication to the lens assembly, and in our testing we often left the cap off for convenience's sake. We would have preferred an in-lens shutter like the one on the Canon Powershot S95.

The menu of the Panasonic LX5 is an odd combination of overly simplistic and unnecessarily convoluted. There are only three main menus — Setup, Motion Picture and 'Rec', which we gather stands for Recording — but this simple approach means it can be hard to find the setting you're looking for. The Recording and Setup menu options each have seven pages of options to scroll through, which is excessive.

Thankfully it's not necessary to delve into the labyrinthine menu often. A quick menu allows common settings to be altered while still shooting, and this is far more logically laid out. Manual control in the P/A/S/M modes is easy thanks to the rear dial, which can be clicked to switch between aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation when appropriate.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5: Picture quality and performance

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5 produces excellent quality pictures for a compact digital camera. It's easily on par with the Canon Powershot S95, Nikon Coolpix P7000 and other great digital cameras thanks to its large (for a compact) sensor size and high quality lens. The 10-megapixel JPEG and RAW images the Panasonic LX5 produces have impressive detail levels at the base ISO of 80, and good detail levels are retained in default JPG settings up until ISO 800. Images get progressively grainier and noisier until the maximum of ISO 3200, and ISO 6400 and 12800 options are available for low-light photography (albeit at a reduced 3 megapixel image size).

The multi-aspect switch on the lens barrel allows users to easily switch between 1:1, 16:9, 3:2 and the standard 4:3 aspect ratios, and the specialised sensor means non-standard aspect ratios are almost equal in terms of megapixels. If you enjoy trying out different compositions when shooting this is a great feature.

The f2.0-3.3 24-90mm Leica-made lens on the Panasonic LX5 is excellent at every step of the zoom range — 24mm provides a relatively undistorted wide angle and 90mm works well for portraits. We didn't find any significant problems with the lens of the LX5 — it's among the best we've seen on a point and shoot camera.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5: Conclusion

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5 is a high-end digital camera with great specifications including an excellent lens and sensor combination. It has some annoying design elements like the surprisingly poor LCD screen but otherwise it's an impressive camera.

Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook

Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu

Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: Panasonic Lumix, Panasonic, photography, digital cameras
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?