Jeff Fenske's Blog

January 12, 2011

DxOMark Finally Publishes LX5 Sensor Data!

Filed under: Photography • jf — Jeff Fenske @ 9:20 am

I just got this email:

Latest DxOMark news – 12/01/2011 [should be 01/12/2011 – editor]

Today we are publishing new data for the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX5 sensor:
•    To view full test results and scores for the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX5 click here;

The DxOMark team
www.dxomark.com

Since DxOMark had taken so long to test the LX5, having tested all of the other brands’ serious compacts long ago, I thought they had decided to stop testing the LX series. I kept checking periodically anyway, being very interested in how it compares to the Canons and its predecessor, the LX3.

I had always ruled out the LX3 anyway, because its lens didn’t have enough reach. Overall, I’ve been a pretty happy camper with the LX5. I love its 24mm width (the Canons are all 28mm) and its unique 3:2 and 16:9 feature that uses even more of the width of its Leica f/2.0 faster-than-Canons lens. (The Canons’ telephotos reach further, but I’m willing to trade that for the wider LX5 view.)

The LX5 is so small and light, compared to the G11 (Canon’s S90 and S95 are even smaller, because their lenses are slower, because they’re smaller).

But I’ve noticed its IQ (image quality) of the LX5 to be slightly less in some ways than what I had got with the G11. And I really miss the Canons’ viewfinders, which allows zooming way into the image just shot.

Here are the LX5, LX3 and G11 compared, side by side. For some reason, DxOMark’s summary page often doesn’t appear to agree with what their charts show, if you look at them individually (click on the boxes above the cameras).

The individual charts show that the LX5 is better than the LX3 in every way. But the G11 (and the S90/95 and the G12) are usually better still, but not by as much.

The most incredible revelation from these findings, to me anyway, is how Canon’s latest entrees aren’t really improved over their previous models, and in some cases the older models’ results are better. So unless there is a new feature the G12 or the S95 have that you really need, there is no reason to upgrade. DxOMark’s figures could be off at times, though. But I don’t

And the G10 still stands as the compact resolution king — 15MP crammed into this ultra tiny sensor size. The G-series is now staying in the 10MP size, which is better for dynamic range and high ISO.

Darwin Wiggett has been the biggest proponent of the G11. It looks like he doesn’t see any reason to upgrade to the G12, and that he actually likes the Samsung EX1/TL500 better: Samsung EX1/TL500 Review – A Canon G11/G12 Killer? He has some very interesting comparison photos here, like the wide angle shot of his dog, 24mm verses 28mm — HUGE difference!!! This is what I’ve been talking about. 24mm width rocks.

Darwin shows how sharp the Samsung’s Schneider f/1.8 lens is too, considering that the Canon’s G10-12 lens is very good. But I just couldn’t handle the short reach of the 24-72mm lens. The LX5’s 24-90mm was a huge sacrifice for me, after using the 140mm reach of the G11’s 28-140mm range so often. I still miss it. I plan on switching to the 4/3rds system when the next generation comes out; though, this will be much bulkier.

So it’s nice to see that the LX5 stats are improved over the LX3s in every way. And the fact that the Canons’ sensors still outperform the LX5 pretty much across the board — though, not by a huge margin — doesn’t surprise me much. I’m sometimes finding the details in the LX5 to be more crunchy. But none of these cameras’ images can be made into large fine-art prints anyway. These are fun, take-it-with-you cameras that can’t take the place of a DSLR.

God bless!

Jeff : )

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