Panasonic Intros 10.1MP LUMIX DMC-LX5 Compact Camera with F/2.0, 24mm Lens



July 21, 2010
By Dan Havlik, PDN's Technology Specialist

Panasonic LX5

Panasonic introduced a new flagship compact camera this morning, the LUMIX DMC-LX5 which boasts a bright, f/2.0 Leica DC Summicron lens capable of capturing images as wide as 24mm equivalent.

The long-awaited LX5 -- which had been leaked to the Internet in the past week -- is the replacement for the popular LX3 which also used an f/2.0, 24mm Leica-branded lens.

But Panasonic claims the LX5's lens improves resolution by 30% over the previous model, with better sharpness to the corners. The company also says the new camera's 10.1MP 1/1.63-inch CCD image sensor has been completely redesigned and improved over the LX3's chip, offering full resolution images all the way to ISO 3200. (Max ISO is 12,800 but that's at 3MP.)

Zoom range on the LX5 has been expanded to 3.8x, or 24-90mm equivalent. (The LX3 has a 2.5x zoom.)

Other upgrades to the RAW-capable LX5, which will begin selling in late August for approximately $500, include:

• Venus Engine FHD processor which Panasonic says can single out chroma noise without altering color for less noisy images at high ISOs

• 720p HD video recording in the AVCHD Lite format

• Full manual control over stills and video

• One-touch HD recording via a red button on top of the camera

• Video recording to as low as 3 lux luminosity

• Special port to use the GF-1's Live View finder

• 3-inch, 460,000-dot LCD

• "Sonic Speed" autofocus, locks in at 0.3-seconds

• One-second start-up time

• Slightly thicker design with chunkier handgrip

• Available in black or white

• Battery life extended to 400 shots

One of the biggest questions marks about the new model has less to do with the camera than with its availability. The LX3 faced serious supply shortages since it was first announced which persist to this day. Panasonic said it plans to meet photographer-demand for the already hotly-anticipated LX5.

More details in the press release below.



PRESS RELEASE

PANASONIC LUMIX LX5, THE ULTIMATE COMPACT HIGH-PERFORMING DIGITAL CAMERA AIMS FOR SUPERB PHOTO QUALITY, ESPECIALLY IN LOW-LIGHT ENVIRONMENTS

Panasonic LUMIX LX5 Features New High Sensitivity CCD and F2.0 Leica Lens for Shooting Stunning Photography and Vivid High Definition Videos

SECAUCUS, NJ (July 21, 2010) – Panasonic today announced the LUMIX DMC-LX5, the ultimate compact, high-performing digital camera offering photo enthusiasts the ideal camera for capturing professional-quality photos and High Definition (HD) video.  With an ultra-bright F2.0 ultra-wide-angle 24mm LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens, the LUMIX LX5 minimizes image distortion, resulting in stunning, true-to-life images with outstanding resolution and detail. The 24mm wide angle lens offers extraordinarily large viewing space and now the optical zoom is extended to 3.8x(90mm) making the LX5 even more versatile.

“The Panasonic LUMIX LX-Series cameras have been extremely popular models for us with professional and enthusiast photographers, who understand and value the superb image quality such a compact, affordable digital camera can offer,” said David Briganti, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “We expect the same enthusiasm, if not more, for the LUMIX LX5, which features improvements to the lens and processing – resulting in even better images.”

The Panasonic LUMIX LX5 is a unique compact digital camera in that it offers superb image quality along with a super-bright lens and increased creative modes.  The F2.0 lens is twice as bright as a F2.8 lens, making it easy to produce beautiful photos with a soft-focused background thanks to the shallow depth of field provided by the extra light. In addition to the newly-designed lens, the LUMIX LX5 features an image processing engine that combines technologies resulting in professional-quality photos, especially in low-light situations.  Like its predecessor, the LUMIX LX5 features the highly-acclaimed 10.1-megapixel CCD, but it has an expanded dynamic range by increasing the sensitivity and the saturation.

The newly developed Venus Engine FHD image processor enables higher-speed, higher-performance while compiling the Intelligent Resolution technology. The triple CPUs in this imaging engine dramatically speeds up processing while achieving exceptional noise reduction performance. With its high-sensitivity CCD and the brightness of the lens, minimum illumination of the LUMIX LX5 is as low as 3 lux while shooting video.

In addition to capturing high-quality still photos, the LUMIX LX5 can record HD videos in AVCHD Lite, a format that allows almost doubling the recording time in HD quality compared with the conventional Motion JPEG format. Creative video shooting modes include Creative Movie mode, where users can set shutter speed and aperture manually to make even more impressive movies. My Color mode and Film mode are available for more extended expression not only in photography but also in videography.  The LUMIX LX5 also features Dolby Digital Creator to record high quality audio and the 3.8x optical zoom is available while shooting video.

The LUMIX LX5 has also been redesigned externally – with a thicker grip making it easier to hold and a newly-incorporated turn-and-push jog dial achieves various selection and setting more quickly. The LUMIX LX5 also features a hot shoe, which allows for the attachment of a wide-variety of accessories, such as an optional Live View Finder which helps shooting under strong daylight with high visibility or an external flash. The 1:1 square format setting is added in the aspect ratio option which can be selected with the switch at the side of the lens barrel.

Other features of the Panasonic LUMIX LX5, include:
•    The 3.0-inch large 460,000-dot high resolution Intelligent LCD also redesigned by adopting High CRI (Color Rendering Index) backlight LED to greatly increase the color reproduction, making it more visible both in shooting and playing back images in any conditions from at dark night to under bright sunlight.
•    Battery life is extended to shoot 400 photos (CIPA) per a single charge.
•    A wide-variety of accessories, including a Live View Finder (DMW-LVF1), External Optical View Finder (DMW-VF1),  Wide Conversion Lens (DMW-LWA52), Conversion Lens Adaptor (DMW-LA6), MC Protector (DMW-MC52), ND Filter (DMW-LND52), PL Filter: DMW-LPL52, External Flashes, Leather Case (DMW-CLX5) and a Battery Pack (DMW-BCJ13).

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5 will be available in late-August 2010 for a suggested retail of $499.95 and will be available in black and white models.






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