Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Review

 
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Performance


Timing and Performance

Overall good speed for a consumer camera.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

2.3 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy and capture a picture.

Shutdown

2.3 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens.

Buffer clearing time

11 seconds
(after 3 RAW + L/F JPEG frames)
1.5 seconds
(after 20 L/F JPEGs)

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.

Slower than average startup and shutdown times here, and quite slow buffer clearing.

 

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

0.8 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to play

2.4 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

1.2 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

Mode switching times are better than average, though Record to Play is on the slow side.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.77 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.

Full Autofocus Tele

0.76 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.

Full Autofocus Tele
High Speed mode

0.61 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position, High Speed AF mode.

Full Autofocus
Flash enabled
0.92 second
Time to capture while forcing flash to fire, zoom lens at wide angle position.

Prefocused

0.012 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Continuous AF
0.77 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects
Manual Focus
0.28 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused."

Shutter response is about average at both wide angle and telephoto, at 0.77s and 0.76s respectively, and "prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in a lag time of only 0.012 second. Times for manual focus and Full autofocus with the flash are also good.

 

Cycle Time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
1.17 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
640x480 JPEG

1.03 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW

1.17 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 4 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW + LF JPEG

0.99 second

Time per shot, averaged over 3 shots.

Early shutter
penalty?

YES

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG

0.53 second (1.88 frames per second);
4 frames total;
1.5 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
640 x 480 JPEG

0.40 second (2.49 frames per second);
8 frames total;
1 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
RAW

0.53 second (1.89 frames per second);
3 frames total;
6 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
RAW+LF JPEG

0.53 second (1.89 frames per second);
3 frames total;
9 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Flash recycling

4.8 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity also affects cycle times and burst mode performance, with higher ISOs generally increasing cycle times and reducing burst performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are good, at about 1.17 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, and the camera does capture frames continuously at this rate. (That is, given a fast enough memory card, it doesn't have to pause every few frames to wait for the card to catch up.) The DMC-LX3's continuous shooting modes performed well, capturing large/fine JPEGs at about 1.88 frames per second. This rate increases to 2.49 frames per second at the lowest resolution setting. The flash takes 4.8 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is better than average.

 

Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

4,650 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are very good.

Bottom line, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 performs well, despite some slightly slower times in buffer clearing and mode-switching. Continuous modes aren't super fast, but should be fast enough to keep up with normal action. Overall, good performance.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Above average battery life for a lithium-ion design.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard)
380

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Although battery life is pretty good, we recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 accepts SDHC/SD/MMC memory cards, and includes about 53MB of internal memory.

Image Capacity with
53MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal RAW RAW+
LF JPEG
3,648 x 2,736
Images
10
20
4
2
File Size
5.1 MB
2.6 MB
12.6 MB
17.6 MB
3,072 x 2,304
Images
14
28
-
-
File Size
3.6 MB
1.8 MB
-
-
2,560 x 1,920
Images
20
40
-
-
File Size
2.5 MB
1.3 MB
-
-
2,048 x 1,536
Images
32
61
-
-
File Size
1.6 MB
855 KB
-
-
1,600 x 1,200
Images
50
94
-
-
File Size
1.1 MB
559 KB
-
-
640 x 480
Images
230
322
-
-
File Size
230 KB
164 KB
-
-

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SDHC or SD memory card at least a 1GB card, preferably a 4GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings and video. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)

 

Panasonic DMC-LX3

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