Seventh, the auto modes on the G10 are very well programmed (as noted above, they prioritize speed) and all useful controls are externally mounted so you don’t have to take time to fish through menus when you might miss a shot, and its image stabilization system is highly effective. I doubt very much that I could have taken the bicycle picture (shot on a cold, gray, drizzly, misty afternoon in Amsterdam) with any other kind of camera. If I’d had to sort through menus or frame using the LCD screen (in the drizzle), the girl on the bike might’ve come and gone before I was even ready to shoot. Ditto for the shot above of the woman turning her head, which was taken on a wave-tossed motorboat on the Bosporus.
Steven Stone (Panasonic LX3): The Panasonic DMC-LX3 is the first high-end point and shoot camera to opt out of the mega-pixel wars. Instead of trying to jam more pixels into an APS sensor, the LX3’s designers created a camera that has lower noise at higher sensitivities. Because pixels aren’t jammed so close together, they generate less heat which delivers better low-light photographs (see cat leg photo below, which demonstrates how clean and noise-free the LX3 is at ISO 400 speed).
The LX3 is also the first high-end point-and-shoot camera to have a fast F2 lens. This one f-stop advantage over other cameras, such as the Canon G10, also makes it easier to obtain high quality images under poor lighting conditions. I shot the photo of the guy with the guitar at the Arlington Guitar Show under difficult mixed light (again at ISO 400). Note how vibrant and clean the colors are. In addition, this shot shows the LX3's absence of chromatic aberration on the highlight edges.
The LX3’s extra wide angle (24mm on a 35mm frame equivalent) capabilities give it a creative advantage over other comparable cameras that only offer a 28mm angle of view. In tight quarters, such as when photographing interiors, sometimes you can’t back up any farther to include necessary visual information. With the LX3 you can make photographs that are impossible to achieve with competing cameras.
With three formats, 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9, which are all available via a small three-way switch on the camera’s lens barrel, a photographer can quickly and easily experiment to see which frame dimension is best suited for a particular subject and composition. I prefer the 3:2 since it’s the same as 35mm film proportions, but many photographers, especially those with a motion picture background, gravitate to the 16:9 frame.
What kind of photography and photographer is this suited for?
Jonathan Valin: As I said, because of its image quality, sturdinesss, feature set, convenience, image stabilization, and battery, the G10 will give you professional results on just about every kind of photograph (except for sports or long-distance wildlife), particularly at lower ISOs. It is just about perfect for travel, nature, hiking, street portraits, or cityscapes, as in this shot at the left taken in Amsterdam.
Steven Stone: The Panasonic LX3 design lends itself to most types of conventional photography. Its compact size makes it unnecessary to carry a shoulder bag or special camera case. I keep my LX3 in a Case Logic TBC-3 belt case (which costs a whopping $11.79 including shipping at Case Logic’s Website). This case has room for the LX3, a spare battery, and a spare SD card. It’s so compact I wear it everywhere on my belt.
Because of its size and lack of shutter noise the LX3 is perfect for candid photography. It doesn’t look like a professional camera, and since it uses an LCD rather than an eye-level optical viewfinder for framing, it doesn’t call undue attention to a photographer - who looks like any other amateur shutterbug to a casual observer. Henri Cartier-Bresson would have loved the stealth factor of the LX3.
Although the LX3 works great for candid street photography, its large bright LCD viewfinder also makes it a useful tool for a still life or landscape photographer. This LCD is so much larger and clearer than those on any previous LX series cameras it feels like a miniature view camera except the image isn’t upside down. Since it has a tripod screw, you can mount it on a tripod and spend as much time as you need to carefully frame your composition. And since the LCD is 100% accurate, all of composition’s subtleties can be seen and considered before a photograph is made.