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Suggestions on a compact please. $350. or so.

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by Alanroseman, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi Folks,

    My eldest daughter asked me for a suggestion on a "compact" camera.

    Most of you know I have converted from the DSLR world to µ43, and very happy to have done so... just an aside.

    I don't keep up on the "fixed lens" compact side, and I'm considering making a recommendation of one of the following:

    Panasonic LX3
    Panasonic LX5
    Canon S95

    (Obviously the LX5 would have to be used to fit their budget)

    Anyone have a compelling reason to avoid any in the list above?

    I noticed Nic had recently mentioned a Ricoh, should I be looking at those too?

    Thanks in advance for your suggestion.

  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I think all of the above would be adequate cameras. The Panasonic LX3 was the top contender in the point-and-shoot world for the longest time, and I don't expect the LX5 to do anything but carry on that heritage. Too bad you couldn't find an Olympus XZ-1 used and cheap, because that camera will blow that list out of the water. ;) 
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi Ned,

    i'll do search on the Xz-1 and see what it looks like.

  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    f/1.8 aperture Zuiko branded lens (first point-and-shoot lens to ever bear the Zuiko name) with aperture ring on the lens. Trupic V Image Processor like the Olympus PEN cameras, VF-1 accessory port and hotshoe like the Olympus PENs (allows VF-2 electronic viewfinder and EMA-1 external mic jack, as well as external flash), and a very similar operating system to the PEN Lites. Basically a PEN camera shrunk down to pocket size with a point-and-shoot sensor and collapsible bright fixed lens (widest aperture lens in a point-and-shoot). It's as small as all your above options, but so much better. It's not a cheap camera though, in the price range of a Canon G12. It's been out since February, so hopefully there might be some used goods by now!
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    You might want to find out if she wants a compact camera that a photographer would want, or one that'll fit into tiny pockets or is super cute..... My wife liked the gf1 and I tried to steer her to an LX3....."no that's too big, too"....that's like yours. I just want a tiny camera that takes "good pictures". She loves her little Panasonic ZS-6.

    I'm just saying.....the camera that she loves is better than the whichever is the best camera for her. Definitely involve her in the process. Let her handle a few and see what UI she likes....etc.

    Frankly.....they're all good enough....or if you geek out on cameras (like we do) ....none of them are good enough:wink:
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Photorx12

    Photorx12 Mu-43 Regular

    May 11, 2011
    The Canon S95 is also a pretty good camera, and very pocket freindly.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi Ned,

    Might be a little more than they're willing to invest. It looks great though. They're moving from a tiny little Canon P&S, a digital elph I believe. Kate actually takes very nice photos, but the quality of them is awful.

    Your consult is welcome and duly noted.

    Thanks, Alan
  8. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi Photorx12,

    That's on my original list actually... do you have one?

  9. KS11

    KS11 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2011
    Busan/Hong Kong
    a used canon g10 would also be a good choice as well if you dont need the swivelling screen on the g11 or g12s.
  10. semma

    semma Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2010
    Hi Alan,
    I personally own a Leica D-Lux5, the red dot version of the LX5, but just because I got LR for free with it, for the rest the cam is just the same (pic quality)
    The LX3 is just an older version of the LX5.
    I would recommend the LX5, it is a wonderfull little thing.
    Pro's for the LX5 over the Olympus:
    - more manual controls
    - direct access to ISO and WB
    - customizable function buttons
    - the handgrip
    - very good macro function
    - better video
    - 24-90mm lens range
    Pro's for the Oly:
    - faster lens 1.8-2.2 (2.0-3.3 for the Panny)
    - very good OOC JPG
    - 28-112mm lens range

    Here you can read the Enthusiast Compact test by DPReview
    Enthusiast Compact Camera Group Test (Q4 2010) Review: 1. Introduction: Digital Photography Review
    Here the test of the Oly
    Olympus XZ-1 Review: 1. Introduction: Digital Photography Review
    Some more lecture :wink:
    Panasonic officially announces DMC-LX5 premium compact: Digital Photography Review
    Why The Panasonic LX5? « RB|Design
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Digital Camera - Review - The Imaging Resource!
    The Complete Leica D-LUX 5 Review at The Phoblographer
    Face Off: Canon S95 vs Leica D-LUX 5 at The Phoblographer
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 review - Pocket-lint
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 digital camera review « Ethereality News & Weblog
    The Leica D-Lux 5 Review | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS
    And of course, lots of pics on seriouscompacts :wink:
    Panasonic LX / Leica D-LUX Image Thread
    I add also a few pics taken with the LX5 (D-LUX5) pp'd in LR

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 2
  11. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I vote against the S95; it ends at 28mm instead of 24mm, and I think the wider angle is most useful for 'social' photography.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Photorx12

    Photorx12 Mu-43 Regular

    May 11, 2011
    • Like Like x 1
  13. The best compact Ricohs are the fixed-lens GRDs. The last compact Ricoh zoom aimed at the same market as those mentioned was the GX200 which is comparatively old tech now. The GXR with the small sensor modules has replaced the GX200, but is larger and much more expensive. I recently tried to steer some work colleagues towards an LX5 but they were both blinded by the larger size of the Canon G12 (bigger means better, right?). Nothing wrong the G12 but they are not a small camera. Based on usual model cycles the LX5s are probably nearing replacement soon and prices seem to have come down a lot. The LX3 should be cheaper again, but it's biggest downside is that the lens only extends to ~60mm. Both the LX3 and LX5 start at ~24mm which would be a big selling point to me. There's a Samsung with similar specs to the cameras already mentioned but I dunno what it's called.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi Nic,

    Lots of good info in this thread.. for me. Over at the sister site, SC I asked the same question. BB had an interesting thought to offer.

    She asked if my daughter would be doing any serious PP... hmmmm. The answer would be a resounding no. It'll be all iPhoto for her. So, OOC Jpegs will be important, to which I hadn't given any thought at all.

    Lots of folks offering love for the Canon S95 due to small size and big results with OOC Jpegs. My original thoughts may well be biased toward LX 3/5 as I'm so familiar with the panny µ43 cameras. BB gave be some good reasons to pause.

  15. I am a big fan of Canon jpegs. Panny jpegs sometimes get a bad wrap but I think the LX output can be customized similar to the Panny m4/3 cameras.
  16. Oh, and one the guys I mentioned who bought a G12 didn't like the LX5 because it was "ugly". Don't know if that may be a problem...
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hello Semma,

    This was such an detailed response that I could not let it go without mention.

    Answers such as this set MU-43 apart from the rest, knowledgable, helpful, thorough .. answers in a NY minute!

    Thank you so much for taking the time to assemble such a complete opinion on the subject.


  18. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Hi Alan,

    I'm a little late to this, but I'll chime in. To me, the LX5, S95, and the new comparable Olympus XZ-1 are of a sort, but with different strong points and weak points. The Ricoh GRD3 is an awesome camera, but its a fixed focal length and has some fairly advanced features, which is WONDERFUL for a certain type of shooter but may not be what you're daughter is looking for. Here's my take on the KEY strong and weak points of the three contenders. I owned an S90, which is more or less identical to the S95 and currently own an LX5. The Olympus is just based on what I've read.


    Strong points are wide wide, fast lens at the wide end, lots of flexibility in the controls (you can go as simple or advanced as you want with this camera), incredibly quick reflexes (virtually zero shutter lag and quite quick on the AF also). It just feels like a really advanced camera in a smallish body. Has a hot shoe and can take an EVF, but its not a great evf. The LX5 also has some more advanced features that might matter a lot to an advanced photographer, but may not matter at ALL to someone stepping up from a lesser P&S - hyperfocal setup is wonderful, the step zoom is wonderful, just a bunch of cool little tricks for the more advanced photographer, but probably not an issue for a lot of potential buyers. Incredibly powerful video too.

    Weak points are the jpegs (I'm ok with them, but I shoot RAW on almost every camera anyway) and the size. The protruding lens keeps this from really being a pocketable camera. And the 90mm max zoom is a little short for some, but not that much shorter than the 105 on the competing models.


    Strong points: Size (truly pocketable, very very small and handy). Some fairly handy controls (some folks love the lens ring which is where some of the adjustments live). And jpeg lovers tend to love Canon jpegs.

    Weak points: Not as wide at the wide end, but 28mm equivalent isn't BAD, just not quite as nice as the 24 on the others for folks who like wide. Slowest of the lenses except at the widest end - but it gets slower faster as you work up through the zoom range. Some people HATE the control ring on the back (as much as they love the one on the lens) - I never had a problem with it but I've never heard such kvetching! And its pretty slow - NOT a street shooter! Shutter lag that sometimes feels like its in the minutes! Not an issue for most shooting, but if she wants to catch spontaneous moments with kids, or any sort of street shooting where quick response matters, the S95 is not for her. That's ultimately why I sold it in favor of the LX5. No hot shoe and no evf, but an AWESOMELY good lcd, so less necessary than with the LX5.

    I had an S90 on my trip in Europe last summer, along with a pretty good m43 setup. I took only the S90 out on a couple of days and some of the photos I got with it are among my favorite of the trip. A pretty awesome little camera. If I hadn't been getting into street shooting at the time, I'd have kept it for sure.


    The really big really huge strong point of this camera is the speed of the lens throughout the zoom range. If low light is a big issue, this is the choice, hands down - all the way up to the longest end, its fast, so even good for lowish light portraits where you need some reach. And everyone loves Olympus jpegs, so that's a clear strong point too. Longest telephoto of the bunch too, but not that much longer than the Canon - similar zoom to the Canon with a 28 wide). And it has a hot-shoe and can take the incredible Olympus EVF - I don't know how good the rear screen is to know how necessary this is though.

    I don't know enough about this camera to really know what the cons are other than its not that small - probably not pocketable. I don't know how its speed of operations, shutter lag, etc are - my hunch is that its closer to the Canon than the LX5 just based on my knowledge of Oly vs Pany m43 cameras, but this is ONLY a hunch, not experience based. And some people (me!) would see the 28mm wide as a con, but most people who are less into wide angle shooting will be more than happy with 28mm, so probably not much of a downside.

    I don't think this told you anything you haven't already seen/heard, but hopefully its one more voice that might help. They're all pretty awesome cameras in small packages, but you do trade off size, speed, and a few specific features.

    • Like Like x 1
  19. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    If you require a truly pocketable P&S, the S95 is really the clear choice. Neither Panasonic nor Olympus are pocketable.

    Between the Panasonic and Olympus, the samples I have seen seem to indicate that the XZ-1 relies more heavily on noise reduction. The result, Panasonic seem noisier but retains more details.

    This is really apparent in the 800ISO samples from imaging-resource.com



    Its easy to see by examining the "wheel of cloth" in the upper left hand corner of the frame. Look for the pinkish cloth with fine print in the 4 o'clock position. You can see the difference in noise in the grey wall. You can still see the noise reduction in ISO400 samples as well but not really obvious.

    With that said. If the LX5 is an improvement over my current LX3, my vote is for the LX5. I'm very happy with my LX3 with the short focal range being the only limit that seems to bothersome (LX5 has longer reach). My second choice would be the S95 simply because I can simply put it in my pocket.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Asusming your eldest daughter is college age ...

    Where do college girls take most of their pictures? Clubs, bars, concerts, and parties.

    Low light performance is, IMHO, the absolute most important thing for these types of pictures - in effect, these "amateurs" are probably the most demanding of camera technology as they require great low light performance in a very small form factor. They will do NO post processing, but they will hardly ever print at large sizes, most often viewing on a screen, even down-rezzed versions on facebook, etc.

    While I typically hate Sony products, I must say that I have been absolutely stunned by pictures taken in "handheld twilight" mode (as viewed on FB, posted by some friends). I haven't heard about them lately, but Fuji has long been a leader in low-light capable compacts too.
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