Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Digital Camera Review
The LX5 is crammed with features that photo-savvy users will love, but performance runs hot and cold.
The movie mode on the Panasonic DMC-LX5 is incredibly versatile, offerings users a plethora of manual controls—something you'll rarely find in a point-and-shoot camera. When you first switch over to movie mode, you'll have the option of shooting in Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, or full Manual mode. In Manual mode, you'll have access to all the great controls you have in still mode: aperture, shutter, white balance (including Kelvin control), color modes, ISO up to 6400, and manual focus. As in still mode, the manual focus control isn't great, so we recommend sticking with the autofocus. The LX5 will autofocus during recording: it's a slow process, but it's also a silent one.
With all of these great manual controls, you might hope for full 1920x1080/60i video. Unfortunately, the camera is limited to 720/30p. There is a wind cut feature, but the audio is recorded by an oddly placed monaural microphone. Coupled with some unspectacular video performance, the LX5 is the little engine that could—but didn't. We would love to see all those amazing features paired up with 1080/60i video; even most consumer camcorders don't offer this level of control.
The LX5 offered decent color performance, though it was not as impressive as what the camera accomplished taking still photos. The minimum color error recorded in video mode was 8.73, with a saturation of 86.18%. Those aren't great numbers, but it's about what we've come to expect from point-and-shoot cameras capturing video. More on how we test video color.
The camera's sharpness testing was a real disappointment; the LX5 bested the closest competition, but was outstripped by the $300 ZS3. We try not to get our hopes up when it comes to point-and-shoot video sharpness and the LX5 gives us good reason to continue that trend. The maximum horizontal sharpness measured was just 475 lw/ph, while the maximum vertical sharpness at least reached 550 lw/ph. More on how we test video sharpness.
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