Steve's Digicams DMC-LC5 review updated!|
(Thursday, May 2, 2002 - 17:35 EDT)
Traditionally-styled 3.9 megapixel, 3x optical zoom digicam gets the "Steve Sanders treatment"...
The good folks at Steve's Digicams have now finalised their review of the attractive DMC-LC5 digital camera, which was posted as a first-look in early March. Unfortunately, as with its sibling the DMC-LC40, Steve found deficiencies with the image quality - and he's not alone, as samples we've seen at the Digital Camera Resource Page seem to echo the problem. Areas of fine detail such as leaves and grass in particular seem to suffer, looking (as the DCRP's Jeff Keller describes it very succintly) like " they've been run through the 'Impressionist' filter in Photoshop". High-contrast edges look speckled and noisy, whilst areas of similar color look flat and lose their detail - the end result looking almost like a painting. Steve comments:
"The Lumix DMC- LC5 has an excellent Leica zoom lens, its design is unique for a digital camera and we very much like the larger sized body. Tiny cameras are "handy" but they're difficult to hold steady and often yield less than optimal images. The LC5's control layout and overall ergonomics are very good, the lithium rechargeable battery pack is top notch, but the competitiveness of this camera seems to wain from there. Curious as to the problems noted with image quality? Two images we've seen show off the problem particularly well at 1:1 viewing - one from the Digital Camera Resource Page, and another from Steve's Digicams.
One of our major concerns is the LC5's auto focus system. The wide area AF mode is less than reliable and often focuses on high-contrast background objects. Image processing is another area of concern, it takes approx. 6 seconds between shots in single frame mode, this is slow compared to its peers. Hair detail and skin tone reproduction in a head and shoulders flash portrait is less than satisfactory. We saw more than the usual amount of "noise" in clear blue sky areas and there was noticeable shadow noise in the low contrast areas of the image. We also noticed that people's skin often appeared "blotchy" or even semi-solarized, something that is normally attributed to a lack of dynamic tonal range. After seeing the LC5 sample images posted at DC Resource I feel confident that our camera was not defective, it seems that they all operate similarly."
You can see more samples in the Digital Camera Resource Page gallery (their review isn't yet posted), and of course there's a lot more info in the Steve's Digicams Panasonic DMC-LC5 review.