Panasonic Lumix LX5 Review

 
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Performance


Timing and Performance

A mixed bag in terms of performance.

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

9 seconds
(after 3 RAW + L/F JPEG frames)*
2 seconds
(after 3 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.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times.

Average startup and shutdown times here. Buffer clearing is also about average, though buffer sizes are small.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.351 second

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

Full Autofocus Tele

0.367 second

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

Full Autofocus
Flash enabled
0.562 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.

Shutter response is quite fast for a compact at both wide-angle and telephoto, at 0.35s and 0.37s respectively. "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, also very fast.

 

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

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW + LF JPEG

1.88 seconds

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

0.57 second (1.77 frames per second);
3 frames total;
2 seconds to clear

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

Continuous mode
RAW+LF JPEG

0.59 second (1.71 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 about average, at 1.59 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, and the camera does seem to 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.) RAW + large/fine JPEG cycle-time was 1.88 seconds, which is pretty good for RAW files in a compact, but with only 3 frames before the buffer was full and it slowed down.

The Lumix LX5's continuous shooting modes were a bit sluggish for its class, capturing large/fine JPEGs at only 1.77 frames per second. That's a bit slower than Panasonic's 2.5 frames per second spec. (We shot this test at ISO 200 to keep the shutter speed above 1/100s, so perhaps Panasonic's testing conditions are different.) The burst rate dropped slightly to 1.71 frames per second when capturing RAW + large/fine JPEGs. Interestingly, the buffer size remained the same whether RAW files were captured or not. As mentioned previously, buffer size was quite small at only 3 frames in our tests. The flash took 4.8 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is about average.

Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

6,785 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 were pretty good.

Bottom line, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5's performance was a mixed bag. Startup and shutdown times were about average, autofocus speeds and shutter lag were faster than average, but full resolution continuous modes and buffer depths were below average.

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)
400

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 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 LX5 accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, and includes about 40MB of internal memory. Panasonic recommends at least Class 4 speed when shooting HD movies in AVCHD Lite format, and at least Class 6 for Motion JPEG format.

Image Capacity with
40MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal RAW RAW+
LF JPEG
3,648 x 2,736
Images
9
15
3
2
File Size
4.4 MB
2.7 MB
13 MB
17.4 MB
3,072 x 2,304
Images
12
20
-
-
File Size
3.3 MB
2.0 MB
-
-
2,560 x 1,920
Images
14
26
-
-
File Size
2.9 MB
1.5 MB
-
-
2,048 x 1,536
Images
18
36
-
-
File Size
2.2 MB
1.1 MB
-
-
1,600 x 1,200
Images
46
88
-
-
File Size
870 KB
455 KB
-
-
640 x 480
Images
230
400
-
-
File Size
174 KB
100 KB
-
-

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SDHC memory card at least a 4GB card, preferably an 8GB 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.)

 

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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