Monday, October 30, 2006

"Lumix LX-2 Camera"

I think the official name is actually "Panasonic Lumix DMC LX2", but the real name of the company that manufacturers it is Matsushita; I have no idea what that "DMC" stands for; and I think it's better to write LX-2 than LX2, so I'm calling just calling it the "Lumix LX-2".

I have only been using mine for about a week now and I have yet to completely familiarize myself with it, but I'll still comment on some of my impressions so far, both good and bad.  (20 pictures taken with the camera can be seen on this page:
http://www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~LLLtrs/PhotoGlryMain/pgb/IroiroOct01.html

Good:

 - The unique wide aspect ratio finder and CCD are the primary reason I bought the camera, and I'm finding it quite interesting to take pictures in that wide format.

 - So far, I've found the auto-white balance to work well, something I've been not always been happy with when using several other digital cameras.

 - The camera looks really cool - especially when it's sitting on a desk and it looks rather like an old classic 35mm film camera.  (This comment for the silver one - I'm not sure how the black one would seem.)

 - The lens seems very smooth and precision-built as it powers in and out of the camera.

 - Other things are good too, but the other things I can think of off hand are good on all digital cameras I've used, so there's no point in noting them for this specific model.

Bad:

 - The big beautiful display seems to be a power hog!  The camera uses the same battery (not only the same specs, but actually the same part from the same factory I suspect - only the sticker is different) as my Ricoh R4 and Ricoh GR, but they both keep going much longer than the Lumix, particularly when they're in the mode that leaves the monitor off except when lightly pressing the shutter button to activate the screen just before taking a picture.

 - That big beautiful display stupidly stays on for the entire time that files are being transferred from the camera to the computer.  This is a really stupid design decision (that someone should lose their job over!) and something I haven't seen on any other digital camera so far.  Not only does it waste power, but it increases the chance that the battery will run out of power in the middle of a file transfer - something that could damage the flash memory card.

 - Part of the camera's claim-to-fame is its "Leica" lens (manufactured by Matsushita to Leica specs is how that works I think), but it's not as good a lens as is on my Ricoh GR - not surprising since the Ricoh GR has a fixed focal length lens and the Lumix LX-2 has a variable focal length ("zoom") lens.

 - Light-touch switches.  The dial that is used to select modes and playback is so light touch that it's easy to overshoot your target and you have to carefully feel for the overly-light touch of the stops.  Worse - such a light touch suggests the contacts inside the switch are not likely to be durable.

 - Weird USB connector.  This is something nearly every digital camera manufacturer is guilty of, but others' guilt makes not for innocence!  Of the digital cameras I've used - Olympus (three different connectors on three different models); Pentax (two different connectors for three different models); Casio (weird size for the one machine); only Ricoh (same standard size small USB connector for four different models) seems to be behaving logically here.

 - Bulky.  The same bulging lens barrel that makes the camera look retro cool also makes it more difficult to get into a pocket (don't even try to put it into pants pockets!).

Beyond that... I need to use the camera more before making further comments.  Have a look at the twenty pictures on this page to get an idea of what sort of pictures the camera records:
http://www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~LLLtrs/PhotoGlryMain/pgb/IroiroOct01.html

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon
http://www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~LLLtrs/

2 comments:

PPL said...

Hello,
I prefer the little Ricoh GR !!!

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon said...

I think I agree actually! I like my GR quite a lot. I rotate cameras and try out different ones at different times. One advantage to the Lumix LX2 is that its auto-white balance works a little better in some situations than the GR. Overall though - I think I miss my (now in need of repair) Olympus 5050 - which took quite sharp pictures and has an f1.8 lens - the Ricoh and the Lumix are only f2.8....

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon
http://www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~LLLtrs/