Bird is a word

markus-hartel-street-photography-P1010046

I’m very pleased with the Panasonic Lumix LX-7, successor to the LX-5 I have been using for a few years. Full HD video, pleasing noise/grain pattern, pleasing high ISO (3200 for this shot). There is a little shutter lag with the (contrast) AF, but it is negligible with manual focus so far. I love the aperture ring around the lens, which clicks distinctly in 1/3 stops.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 mini review

fine art street photography by Markus Hartel, New York

I’m a big fan of your street photography, and visit your site almost daily (even weekends!) You are a truly gifted photographer, and a great inspiration to us street photographers!

I noticed that lately you’ve been using a Lumix LX5 instead of the Leica M9. Would you please share some of your experiences using the Lumix–what u like and don’t like. For me, it’s a poor person’s Leica (wannabe?)–I can’t afford anything with that red dot on it, so I’m interested in the LX5. Also, have u tried out the Ricoh GRD3?

Many thanks! Looking forward to your reviews (please consider posting some),

Bette L.

thanks! I’m not a gear review guy, but here my impressions on the LX5, a decent, useable, but not great street camera…

Some time after getting rid of every piece of gear (EOS 5D, Hasselblad XPan, two Leica M8’s, Ricoh GRD II, Sigma DP1) to afford the Leica M9… I still wanted a pocket-sized camera and re-considered the GRD II/III, but at the time wasn’t able to find one at a decent price and I wanted to try something new to me… Over the years I oftentimes came across the Lumix series and photographers generally liked them, but I never used one before. Finally, patience wore thin and I picked up a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 at B&H photo. Purchase the improved Panasonic Lumix LX7 on amazon.

I normally prefer a fixed 28mm lens, and generally dislike zoom lenses for street photography, as a fixed lens simply gives me the ability to “mind-frame” what I see beforehand. The LX5 has a fast f2, 24mm equivalent, wide zoom lens and the ability to step-zoom at “fixed” focal lengths of 24, 28, 35, 50, 70, 90mm helps me somewhat with my rangefinder mind-set and supports my shooting style. Normally, I turn the camera on and hit the zoom rocker one time to set the lens to 28mm, the rocker has gotten sticky since the camera got drenched in a blizzard, but still works fine. The lens is plenty sharp with some annoying barrel distortion at 24mm.

Another thing I like is the ability to set the camera to manual focus with a small switch, situated on the left side of the lens and the thumbwheel on the rear is used to adjust the MF, supported by a distance scale with a DOF indicator and an enlarged visual on the LCD screen. It is somewhat slow and cumbersome, but good enough for what I do and simply beats the abysmal contrast autofocus, which is useless for quick street shooting.

The lens also has a manual switch to set the aspect ratio, something I never use, but I can see how that’s useful for square shooters (no pun intended) and the display button cycles through grid-line, blank screen and set-up states.

I find the amount of finicky silver engraved buttons and an abundance of menus somewhat confusing, but everything I need for straight shooting is readily available and there are plenty of functions that I’ll never even consider using, since I’m a manual guy…

Shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom 3, image quality at ISO 800 is excellent with a pleasing amount of noise, ISO 1600 has a wonderful grittiness to it, and is pretty excellent for such a small sensor camera. color noise reduction in LR3 kicks a$s btw.
RAW write speed on a class 6 SD card is pretty quick at around one second per frame with a burst buffer that seems to work fine, and I yet have to exceed.

verdict: overall satisfied, but could do with less features mumbo-jumbo

Panasonic’s successor, the Lumix LX7 now sports 7.5x Intelligent zoom, less ghost with Nano Surface Coating Lens, 10MP new high sensitivity MOS sensor, F1.4-2.3 Leica DC vario SUMMILUX 24mm Wide Angle, 60p Full HD Video Recording with Stereo Microphone in AVCHD Progressive /MP4, 9fps High Speed Continuous Shooting

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