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Panasonic Lumix LX5 Vs Canon PowerShot S95

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         Views: 1837
2010-10-12 07:36:55     
Article by Raphael Chieza

Ever since testing the Canon PowerShot 300 HS recently, I have started to take a new stance towards these low light compacts that are now becoming increasingly popular. Of course, I still secretly (or rather not so secretly) harbor the feeling that larger compacts cameras like the PowerShot G11 and Panasonic LX3 would be much better. Now with the LX3's successor, the Panasonic Lumix LX5 available, I was eager to pit it to the test with the Canon PowerShot S95, which was also released very recently.

Are the Canon S95 and Panasonic LX5 much better than their predecessors?

Well looking at the specs, I would have to say... No. Not particularly. Both Canon S95 and Panasonic Lumix LX5 have 10 megapixels sensor resolution. However, the longer focal range of LX5 over the LX3 and the inclusion of HD movie in the S95, do make both newer cameras a more attractive choice to the older models.

However, looking at the specs only tells you so much so to get a feel for how these new cameras really are, we'll need to take some photos.

LX5 vs S95 - Look, Feel & Handling

The Canon PowerShot S95 is of course the more compact of the two cameras. With the improved manual ring, using advanced features like manual focus still feels very comfortable. Mind you, I don't have what Kai would call sausage fingers... Using the Panasonic Lumix LX5, I immediately notice the addition of the rear dial. For changing settings while shooting, I found it to be a very comfortable and useful addition but I have to confess that I did not like it so much when I was using it for manual focus. I actually felt better using the multi-selector in that case so it may just be a case of preference.

The more classic styling of the LX5 would of course continue to appeal to those who find it synonymous with quality imaging but the S95 is no slouch in that department either. With its more streamlined body, I was ready to try slipping the camera into the front pockets of my jeans, something I would not do with the LX5. The S95 is truer as a compact camera with the LX5 feeling more of a downsized GF1 for me. If you are likely to make use of the hot shoe, then obviously the LX5 is the obvious choice.

ISO Test

With both cameras boasting great image quality, we were eager to test out how they fare in an ISO shootout in low light situations. All shots were taken with Aperture Priority at f/5.6 at approximately the same focal length with centre spot focusing and evaluative exposure.

The performance for both is quite similar under normal lighting conditions although the noise handling of the Canon PowerShot S95 seems to trump the Panasonic Lumix LX5 a bit.

What do we think?

Looking at the night shots at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200, I was quite surprised that I found the S95 samples better exposed and with crisper details. Sure, the Canon PowerShot S95 was marketed as a low light specialist but the idea that it can better the pedigree of the Panasonic LX-series in image quality is certainly a real affirmation for the HS system of the S95. This makes taking the S95 with you to dinner parties or just a night out a really good option. I would only recommend the LX5 to those who really need to shoot at very high shutter speeds such as 1/2000 to 1/4000 seconds which is something the S95 cannot do. Of course, if you prefer to shoot with an optical or electronic viewfinder, the LX5 is again the only valid option of the two. These are of course big factors for choosing the Panasonic Lumix LX5 but as I am looking at them in terms of high image quality compacts, I will have to say that the Canon PowerShot is the winner for me.

More information on:
Canon Powershot S95 and Panasonic Lumix LX5

RAPHAEL is an ardent photographer, a member of the Marketing Communication team at DigitalRev, and a colourful personality whose favourite hobby is to tell bad jokes to people. Being driven by passion to shoot something new all the time, his photos are an exciting story even when they don't turn out quite as he expects.

Specialized in: Panasonic - Lumix Lx5 - Canon Powershot S95
URL: http://www.digitalrev.com/
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