Panasonic has been making advanced point & shoot cameras for some time now. Their last camera, the highly regarded DMC-LX3, is almost two years old. As you might imagine, fans of the camera have been waiting anxiously for months for Panny to update it with the next incarnation. Since the number 4 is bad luck in Japan it made sense the next LX camera would be the LX5. Lately rumours have been floating about that the LX5 was going to be announced in July. Then came word through the 4/3Rumours web site that the new LX5 would be released on July 21st, only a few days from now. Well, it seems Panasonic has updated their own website to include the Lx5 a few days in advance of the official announcement. So what’s the big deal here?
Well, it has a very large sensor for a point & shoot — 1/1.63. It also has a fast, wide lens from Leica — F2.0 @ 24mm that stretches out to F3.3 @ 90mm making it a 3.8x zoom. In comparison the LX3 is only 2.5x zoom. I know this isn’t much zoom, but that’s the sacrifice of high quality optics, you don’t get a lot of zoom. The new camera still sports a 10.1 mp sensor, although Panny claims it’s been improved. It offers all the manual controls of an entry level DSLR, along with a handful of aspect ratios, such as 3:2, 4:3, 16:9, and 1:1. The LCD display is a nice 3″ panel at 460K dots and the camera records HD movies. All in all, it sounds like a nice camera, although I’m surprised there aren’t more improvements over the LX3. If I were buying a p & s camera right now, the LX5 and the Samsung TL500 / EX1 would be at the top of my list.
More interesting, though, is a rumour floating about of a upcoming Panasonic rangefinder style camera (think Leica) with a fixed lens (ala point & shoot) that sports a micro 4/3rds sensor (much larger than p & s sensors). Now that could be one kickass camera for those who don’t like lugging around a large DSLR everywhere. Like the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have on you. Stay tuned.