Recently my Canon G9 has been showing some signs of wear: no wonder, since it's been banging around in my daypack on a daily basis (when not being pressed into service on Sierra trail rides) since I purchased it for the Japan trip. One issue is that one of the neck strap attachment points has broken off, thus requiring a lanyard to be used as a neck strap all the time.
As a replacement, I decided to try a Panasonic Lumix LX5. Reasons: wide-angle lens (24mm equiv.), small and light-weight, and good image quality. You'll recall that I've been interested in Panasonic ever since they announced a "micro-four-thirds" partnership with Olympus. Since Panasonic's LX3 has gotten extremely good reviews I felt relatively safe ordering the LX5 from B&H.
So: package from B&H arrives on Monday, 10:30 AM. Package is opened and battery extracted along with the charger. Battery charged (2 hours approx.). After charging, battery is inserted into camera and the time and date are set as prompted by the LCD screen.
Ah well, I guess that we should cut to the chase: the wee LX5 has now been sent back to B&H. Their return policy allows for 15 days of usage, but I only needed one afternoon.
1) Image quality. So . . . it was OK. Not bad! But nothing to write home about. The 24mm wide-angle was nice . . . and the higher ISOs are supposed to be good. I never got to that part.
2) Small & light-weight. The LX5, of course, is what it is. I have small hands, so I was somewhat mystified to discover that I found it too small and light-weight. The controls on the back are tiny, requiring fingernail presses to utilize. I found the overall camera so small that it took an effort to remember to use the neck strap. It's amusing that some users are complaining that it's too big (compared to Canon's S95.)
3) Files. My outdated Photoshop CS3 can't read the LX5's RAW files: they have to be converted to Adobe's DNG files. OK. I knew that. What I didn't know is that the (Quicktime) video files are unreadable by Movie Maker (my free Windows program) . . . they also have to be converted.
At this last discovery I decided to return the camera. Of course, I really don't take that many videos (just now and then for the blog) but, come on, I can't be converting everything! And of course, there's the all-important ergonomic issue.
(So: why didn't I order the Canon G9 replacement, the G12? Because it's not available yet. The G12 had just been announced and I wanted a good small camera for an upcoming trip. I might have to wait, though. It's clear that the G12's larger size is not that important to me.)
Photo: Panasonic Lumix LX5—Marin County, 2010