This is the last post about my reflections on the LX3 on loan to me.
Having used it for five days now, I'm a bit in love with this camera. Well, it is not as flexible as the GX200 in terms of ergonomics. But that's only because GX200 is at the top of the class on that front. The LX3 is nonetheless a camera in its own class.
What I like about the LX3 is the mindset the engineers have put in it. This is a camera targeted at the people from the common folks to fellows just into photography, while reserving some nice features to cater for the more creative mind of the old hands. Well, probably it is more for the sake of marketing and sales. The common folks make for a bigger market.
(The LX3 is not responsive for a sudden scene. I was unable to get the exposure right when the bike passed by. With the GX200, a press on the button will set the exposure at the right level for me to step it up or down)
Its quick access menu at a press of the 4-directional button is rather restrictive to me, having been taking photographs for two decades. But it just suits the less experienced. I have come across some GX200 users who, understandably, can't figure out what's best suited to themselves on the customisable menus and modes. A fair bet is that they are taking photos on occasions not too varied from one and the other. Or else, they have not found out the differences between this setting and the other. It is all about experience.
So, given a relatively short experience in photography, tyros would probably find customisability not really meaningful to them. They just wish for the most commonly used functions be there when the camera is handed over to them. With this logic in mind, the LX3 succeeds. Of course, my opinion remains that old hands would prefer the ergnomics of the GX200. I think that given the slight differences in image quality between the two, the GX200 (GRDs too, for that matter) is more preferable.
This is just the same case as in any other habits. If you play a guitar, you start with a guitar which suits the needs of a novice. When your techniques advance, you'll wish for another guitar of which the character you like. The character of a guitar doesn't matter much to a novice, however good it may be.
In the hands of an advanced enthusiasts, the LX3 is enticing for its fast lens and nice high ISO performance. That said, the photographers will need to pre-set the settings before they can get ready for the decisive moments which may emerge in any instant. This is less so for GX200, which is swift in making adjustments.
Particularly noteworthy is the mind-boggling design of the customisable Program mode in the LX3 menu system. For C1, a turn on the mode dial will get you there. For C2 and C3, the user is obliged to turn the dial to the C2 and then select and comfirm the C2-1 or C2-2 modes. That's forbidding. The point of having the customisable modes is to allow quick access to the required setting, more often in urgency. Those extra presses are anything but helpful.
(This shot is a bit blurred because the miniature multi-functional button of the LX3 toggles between several functions and the display on the LCD screen doesn't supports the toggling well. I mean, the indication is not clear enough)
Previously I think that the 60mm focal length at the longest is forbidding. Well, if you read the menu, there is an option for you to use the extended optical zoom mode at the expense of the pixel size (image reduced to 3M). Anyway, the GX200's is just a wee bit longer. The G10 has a longer zoom but I personally prefer a wider start at 24mm because the scenes are restrictive more often for walking backward than forward. A wider focal length is definitely more preferable.
One last point is that the sliders on the lens casing may not be a good idea for a small camera like the LX3. They are way too inconvenient for the big thumbs or fingers. For the LX4, Pany definitely needs to listen to the inputs of experienced photographers for the design.
So, I haven't got a chance to try the multiple exposure function. But this is time to part with the LX3. Maybe next time if I still can manage to borrow a LX3. (How about a G10?) Until then, I am returning it now.