Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gadget Lust: Panasonic Lumix LX5

What a beautiful chunk of metal and glass. This is the logical sequel to 2008's LX3, Panasonic's venture into the world of high-end Point and Shoot cameras. As Point and Shoot cameras continue to pack features that rival an SLR in a smaller and cheaper package, I think you'll find fewer and fewer people splurging for a $2,000 SLR when they can save $1500 and get one of these without sacrificing much. The most interesting thing about this camera is that it signals an end to the Megapixel war; the inane pissing match between Camera manufacturers that involved them slapping a few extra megapixels on every new camera iteration rather than making any improvement to the guts. The LX5 has only 10 megapixels (the same number it has had for the last 3 models), but has made vast improvements under the hood. New Leica lens, new screen, improved battery life, wider angle lens, faster shutter speed, higher ISO. All significant advances that actually improve image quality, rather than stuffing more pixels into a dark, blurry photo.

I used to be a big Canon fan, until I resolved to find a camera with three criteria that Canon couldn't offer (at the time). Optical Image Stabilization, HD Video, High Optical Zoom lens. Canon had a few offerings, but none of them could compare to the Panasonic TZ5 that I ended up buying and love as much as man can reasonably love an inanimate object.

Nowadays there are newer versions of the camera as well as Panasonic's most recent entry into the Micro Four Thirds arena, the drool-worthy GF1. At $600-800, this SLR is probably the first thing I would buy if I won the lottery. Well, the GF1 and these.

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