|Color reproduction and Sensitivity range
If we take a look at the color reproduction of the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX3, we notice a nice and consistent result. The entire range of the ISO sensitivity from 100 -3200 ISO, an excellent color reproduction is achieved with accurate true-to-nature colors. Metering is carried out with optimized white balance and light metering, making the result show what the Panasonic LX3 is able to do in the most ideal circumstances. The white balance metering shows that the Panasonic LUMIX LX3 achieves a very precise white balance up to and including 800 ISO. From 800 ISO it is less consistent and drops slightly from excellent to fine. The auto white balance has some trouble in circumstances with an abundance of incandescent or fluorescent light, which does not come as a surprise. Setting the white balance manually will obtain the maximum result.
Sensitivity of the DMC-LX3 sensor
When testing the image sensor of the Panasonic LUMIX LX3, it turned out that the sensitivity of the sensor slightly differs from the claimed values. The sensor is up to 17% more sensitive in practice, which means that 100 ISO generates a sensitivity of 120 ISO. And for 200 - 800 ISO a sensitivity of 235 - 930 ISO is measured. 1600 and 3200 ISO are respectively 9 and 6% more sensitive. In general, a deviation like this would not cause any problems in practice. It is perhaps a good idea to set 1/3 stop underexposure in certain circumstances. For those shooting in RAW it will not make that much of a difference; the small deviation is easily corrected afterwards.
Pixel quality vs High resolution camera
Because of Panasonic's statement of working on the sensor and pixel quality, we had our hopes up high. It remains a difficult task to control a small sensor with a relatively large amount of pixels. The digital SLR camera will benefit from it, although the masses do not appreciate it yet due to the elaborate character of the DSLR. However; things seem ready to change in the near future with the joint announcement of the Micro FourThirds System by Panasonic and Olympus. A system like this could produce a spectacular small camera with inside it, the same size sensor as is used for current DSLR cameras. The Panasonic LX3 can therefore only make the most of the present situation.
Panasonic LX3 noise reduction
Measurements concerning the signal/noise ratio show that Panasonic has noise nicely under control up to 400 ISO. After that, noise is quite visible and a lot of work should be done afterwards to reduce noise.
|Although this is not a bad result for a 10 Megapixel camera, we were expecting more in this field. It looks like Panasonic too has reached its limit on signal / noise and high resolution. Do we hear Micro Four Thirds System?!
Dynamic range of the Lumix LX3
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX3 proves in practice that annoying high contrast situations are quite well under control. The light areas are not bleached easily and also detail remains very well visible in the dark areas. From measurements of the dynamic range, it is also clear that the Panasonic LX3 performs excellently to good up to and including ISO 800. The improvements of those issues Panasonic have focused on are realistic, and although not significantly visible, they do add positively to the final conclusion.
Leica DC-VARIO Summicron f/2.0-f2.8 zoom lens
Where its predecessor was equipped with a larger tele, the 2.5x optical range of the Panasonic LUMIX LX3 offers more quality. In addition, the range fits the type of camera very well. You have to get a bit closer to your subject, which will appeal to the enhanced photographer. The LEICA DC-VARIO SUMMICRON f/2.0-f2.8 zoom lens has a beautiful wide angle range of 24mm ranging to 60mm. The lens performs superbly and shows a high sharpness in the centre, and at wide angle and the centre focal length there is a slight measurable although not visible blur of the edges. A superb performance!
First class Leica lens
Also distortion of the DC-VARIO SUMMICRON is on an excellent high level. Some distortion, although not unexpected is visible at 24mm. This is not disturbing or annoying and absolutely acceptable. The consistent performance of the lens is proof of a first quality lens. The same goes for vignetting. While testing it, whether at maximum aperture of f/20 or at f/8, the results are practically consistent again.
Chromatisc aberration of the lens
The only thing the LEICA DC-VARIO SUMMICRON f/2.0-f2.8 suffers from is chromatic aberration. At maximum aperture range in wide angle there is visible chromatic aberration present. The centre focal length mainly shows aberration from f/5.6. Tele range is clean and performs excellently.