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Author Topic: Panasonic LX3  (Read 29607 times)
mbridgers
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« on: July 21, 2008, 01:43:44 PM »
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Panasonic has introduced the LX3 -- 24-60mm-e lens, larger CCD, still 10.1 Megapixels, RAW mode.  Sounds interesting:
http://www.professionalphotographer.co.uk/...c-lumix-dmc-lx3

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0807/08072102panasoniclx3.asp
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JPrimgaard
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« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2008, 04:55:12 PM »
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It certainly appears promising!  Can't wait to see how the reviews turn out.

The old G2 is getting tired.
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Nill Toulme
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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2008, 05:29:33 PM »
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Promising indeed... maybe even a turning point if the other companies' marketing departments read the PR (which, happily or not, uses the word "exquisite" at least twice...)  ;-)

Does it do RAW?  I stopped reading after the second "exquisite."

Nill
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JPrimgaard
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2008, 06:22:57 PM »
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Does it do RAW?

It appears so.
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mrleonard
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2008, 10:39:41 PM »
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YES it shoots RAW.
Ive used both the LX1 and LX2 and as you may have seen posted, find it the best P&S digi yet (factoring a balance of design, size,  proce, ergonomics and image quality). I prefer it over my G9 ( I got rid of) as the G9 is too large and doesn't shoot wide (they both go down to 28mm).
Now this one goes to 24mm, has a faster lens and has improved some noise issues. OMG!!!

You can guarantee this will be a great camera. An improvement over a great series.
Where do I line up to get one? hehe
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2008, 12:49:52 AM »
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Someone at DPreview posted a link to some early samples images...

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=28691393

I hope that they improve a lot, because those are not very appealing.

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
DavidB
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2008, 01:15:15 AM »
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Someone at DPreview posted a link to some early samples images...
[...]
I hope that they improve a lot, because those are not very appealing.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=209862\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
The LX1/LX2 have always had nasty (in my opinion) NR applied to their JPEGs: I'm expecting the same for the LX3.  It will be interesting to see some RAW files before making any judgements.  Unfortunately most of the review sites are very JPEG-centric.

The LX2 was a very disappointing camera for LX1 owners (IMHO: my wife has an LX1) with no real incentive to upgrade.  There are enough things even in the specs of the LX3 to make it very interesting.  Time will tell...
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JohnBrew
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« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2008, 07:44:28 AM »
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The LX1/LX2 have always had nasty (in my opinion) NR applied to their JPEGs: I'm expecting the same for the LX3.  It will be interesting to see some RAW files before making any judgements.  Unfortunately most of the review sites are very JPEG-centric.

The LX2 was a very disappointing camera for LX1 owners (IMHO: my wife has an LX1) with no real incentive to upgrade.  There are enough things even in the specs of the LX3 to make it very interesting.  Time will tell...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=209867\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I've had the LX1 since it came out and I think it's a great pocketable p&s. After the LX2 came out and the noise issue seemed the same, I hesitate to believe any Panasonic advertising hype on noise. However, the lens for the LX3 does have me interested - but I'll wait for a few of the more thorough testers to weigh in.
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2008, 12:54:16 PM »
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Panasonic cameras have long had a reputation for higher noise levels per megapixel than the competition. So the stated 45% increase in photo site area per pixel and decreased downstream noise may bring them up to par or even a bit beyond. The extra-large sensor size (1/1.63") is a red herring given the 1/1.65" size of the LX2, both being 10 mp, since the LX2 did little to shake the Panny high noise reputation. Actually, the LX3 is closer to 11 mp, it's just that for any one aspect ratio there are only 10 mp being used.

The LX1 and LX2 shot RAW were reasonable at 100 ISO (some noise visible), usable at 200 ISO (cleanable with NR), and essentially intolerable at 400 ISO (significant destruction from NR). Thus, I would be very surprised if there is anything more than a 1 stop improvement in the LX3 RAW output - with 400 ISO becoming tolerable, or close to tolerable.

Another minor consideration is that the lens cap and protruding lens housing are significant irritations to anyone used to an actual pocket-sized point&shoot with fully retractable zoom. IOW: this is not quite the don't-think-twice, carry-everywhere design of a Casio or a Digital Elph.

I personally really did use the full zoom range from 28 to 140 equiv. of my LX1, so for me the new 24 to 60 equiv. is a bit of a downer. But, yes - the upside is that the f/2.0 - f/2.8 wide does buy you an extra stop of speed, so one could say the LX3 is effectively an 800 ISO cam even before image stabilization.

On the plus side: both build quality and control set are second to none. There is even a usable live histogram plus blinking highlights. RAW write times are fairly tolerable. And the image stabilization really does work.

In sum, I don't see the LX3 dramatically changing the compact landscape. Some have RAW and usable controls but are not truly pocketable; others are truly pocketable but lack RAW and usable controls. But all digital compacts come up short on the IQ front.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2008, 12:56:12 PM by Dale Cotton » Logged
BJL
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2008, 02:02:57 PM »
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Someone at DPreview posted a link to some early samples images...
...
I hope that they improve a lot, because those are not very appealing.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=209862\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I would not worry, yet.

1. These seem to be unauthorized images with pre-production firmware, and we have seen repeatedly how much firmware fine tuning can improve image quality: need I say "14/N".

2. Some at least are at smallest aperture of f/8, ridiculous with such small pixels due to diffraction, while giving DOF like about f/40 in 35mm format: almost pinhole territory, including the fuzziness.  Modern small sensor cameras seem best used wide open or close to it, unless extremely high DOF in desired, and the lenses seem to suited to this.


Still, I am not convinced that a larger sensor with a proportionately longer, less bright lens would not do better and still allow a quite compact and similarly priced camera: even a sensor as big as 4/3" (over four times the area) with a 12-30mm, f/4-5.6 lens for similar FOV, speed and DOF options.
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2008, 02:13:49 PM »
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Better samples (still JPEG of course):

DCR

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=28695712
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Ray
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« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2008, 01:30:13 AM »
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What size is 1/1.63"? Why can't we move away from this arcane way of expressing sensor size? My guess is, the sensor is still less than 6mm in height, so still a bit too small to expect spectacular image quality.

Nevertheless, an F/2 lens is a bit unusual on a P&S. In terms of shutter speed, DoF and possibly even general image quality, the LX3 at F2 and ISO 80 should be roughly equivalent to a 5D at F9 and ISO 1600.

If I've read the specs right, the LX3 appears to be capable of 2.5 frames per sec in RAW mode to a maximum of 3 frames before slowdown. That's impressive for a P&S and should allow for high quality HDR images.

Shutter lag also appears to be negligible, which is unusual for a P&S, and the closest distance in macro mode has been improved, compared to the LX2, to 1cm.

It also takes HD video (1280x720) at 24 fps. I think it's time to upgrade my Sony DCS T30   .
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dalethorn
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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2008, 07:49:06 AM »
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There's an image on the Web I found on the first page of a Google search - from an LX3, taken of a New York(?) bridge in daylight, where the buildings appearing under (through, actually) the bridge have so much noise it's ridiculous.  I assume they were shot as JPEG's, but in any case the ISO was in the 100's range.  RAW will help of course, but that image would need a lot more than that.
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BJL
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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2008, 10:27:32 AM »
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What size is 1/1.63"? Why can't we move away from this arcane way of expressing sensor size? My guess is, the sensor is still less than 6mm in height ...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210364\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
According to a Panasonic site, the sensor has 2.00 micron cell size (is this the biggest in recent compact sensors?) and the total active pixel count is 3968x2736, though all its JPEG output options crop that to one of three different shapes from 3648x 2736 in 4:3 to 3968 x 2232 in 16:9. The output crops seems to be limited to the image circle diameter of the lens, at least at its wide end where the image circle is typically smallest.

Multiplying out gives
- sensor active area of 7.936x5.472mm, diagonal 9.64mm
- 4:3 format area of 7.296x5.472mm, diagonal 9.12mm
- slightly smaller diagonal and smaller image area for the other shapes (more elongated formats like 3:2 and 16:9 record less of the total image area within a given image circle.)

I would love this to be called a 9.6mm diagonal sensor (or a 7.9x5.5mm sensor, but one number is all that some camera buyers will swallow!), with the 4:3 crop called 9.1mm diagonal format and so on.


And I agree that the small sensor size probably limits the f/2-2.8 lens to less low light performance and DOF control than an f/4-5.6 lens in even the smallest DSLR format, but for the many compact cameras users seeking mostly images that are sharp across the frame (meaning with fairly substantial DOF), it could be appealing.


Aside: This is as close as we are likely to get to the recurring square sensor dream: expanding the sensor to a rectangle that covers the part of the image circle that fits all commonly used image shapes. This would be harder in an SLR, due to the mirror needed being larger than for any one output format.
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BJL
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2008, 10:32:05 AM »
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There's an image on the Web I found on the first page of a Google search - from an LX3, taken of a New York(?) bridge in daylight ...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210393\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
As I said earlier in this thread, that Brooklyn Bridge image seems to be taken with firmware far short of final production status, and other images floating around already look better. We have seen many times how much firmware revisions can effect noise levels, so I counsel patience.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2008, 10:32:25 AM by BJL » Logged
dalethorn
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« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2008, 12:03:20 PM »
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As I said earlier in this thread, that Brooklyn Bridge image seems to be taken with firmware far short of final production status, and other images floating around already look better. We have seen many times how much firmware revisions can effect noise levels, so I counsel patience.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210432\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Oh, I understand 'beta' and 'final' and all that stuff, but you can't tell me that a photo that looks like it was taken by a $99 compact circa year 2000 somehow changes to the "top quality of all compacts" just from beta to final production.  Some plausible explanation would help.
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BJL
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« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2008, 01:53:06 PM »
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Some plausible explanation would help.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210455\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Comparably bad results have been seen many times before from pre-production versions of cameras, followed by substantially better production model images. Often the bad images come from cameras that were released for preview with specific instructions not to publish images from them, evidence that the camera maker often know that IQ is worse than expected from production versions. Firmware is most often blamed, but maybe some pre-production versions also have inferior hardware, as the production process is still being refined.


So without understanding the technical issues, we can safely conclude that

1. Pre-production versions of cameras often have substantially worse noise than production versions.

There are numerous potential sources of noise in a CCD image, such as residual charge in electron wells before taking an image, dark current and dark current offset correction, charge transfer across the sensor (a major one in CCDs it seems), charge-to-voltage conversion, pre-amplification, and A/D conversion, and I doubt that many of us know to what extent all of these are subject to change in the last month or two of product refinement before release.


2. It is pointless drawing adverse conclusions about image quality based on JPEG's produced by pre-production samples of cameras. (Favorable conclusions are safer though!)
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2008, 02:32:42 PM »
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http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=28705971
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Craig Arnold
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« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2008, 04:48:47 PM »
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I really like the look of this camera.

I guess I'm not all that averse to a bit of noise, and with the faster lens and slightly bigger sensor, even a 2-stop improvement over other pannies would make it very attractive.

I have an FX01 which does very nicely for P&S and this looks quite a lot nicer.
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Chris C
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« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2008, 04:06:10 PM »
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Here's the latest link to some pics taken with the LX3.  

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=28812853

Personally, I think this is going to be one hot little P&S!!!!!
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