One Month, One Camera – December 2019 (III) – Panasonic Lumix LX3 Summary

So throughout December I used my Panasonic Lumix LX3 as my only camera.

Here are my brief thoughts in summary –

The LX3 is a fantastic camera.

I really like the handful of Lumix cameras I’ve used, with their classy feel and logical controls, and the LX3 is the best of all of them.

Once I’d got over the disappointing handling out of the box, and added my own tape to enhance its contours, I haven’t looked back.

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If I could only have one camera, I would happily use the LX3.

With its Zoom Resume feature, I set it to 35mm equivalent focal length once, then use it as a 35mm f/2.3 prime lens camera.

I stick to aperture priority and rarely adjust it above the minimum f/2.3 (at 35mm).

The ISO I set to Auto and cap it at ISO400, which means the camera will try to shoot at ISO80 for as long as possible, then drop down through the range incrementally, stopping at ISO400.

Even ISO800 is fine in terms of image quality, but I can’t recall an occasion I needed it, and using f/2.3, most of the time the camera sticks with ISO80, optimising the image anyway.

Then it’s pretty much a high quality point and shoot.

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The on board processing options – especially the dynamic b/w film mode, which I used exclusively this last month – give me enough adjustment to be able to create b/w images I love straight out of camera, without the need for post processing.

Zero processing is entirely possible with the LX3, a huge plus in its favour, for me.

Whilst image quality isn’t something I obsess over, or have high demands of, the Leica designed lens of the LX3, combined with its 10MP CCD sensor, delivers lovely images time and time again.

On the wider topic of the One Month, One Camera (OMOC) project, I tried this for six out of the 12 months of 2019, and it’s proved very effective for me.

I love just picking up one camera and heading out, rather than having a debate about which camera to use, then second guessing myself out in the field, whatever choice I’ve made.

All of that is eliminated with OMOC, and you can just get on and enjoy the single camera you have.

Sticking with one camera for a sustained period also means it becomes so familiar, you don’t need to think about how to adjust anything. You just know.

The camera gets out of the way, and you’re free to enjoy the photography experience in a very direct and pure form.

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For 2020 I plan to try the OMOC project every month.

Because of my fondness for the LX3, for January I’m using another Lumix I’d previously bought but haven’t used much yet, an FX10.

More on that in another post.

If you have too many cameras and aren’t ready to (or can’t get motivated to!) purge your collection, I’d highly recommend trying just one camera for a month, and, if necessary, putting everything else out of sight.

How about you? Have you tried one camera for a month previously? How did it go?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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7 thoughts on “One Month, One Camera – December 2019 (III) – Panasonic Lumix LX3 Summary”

  1. I like that this camera goes down to ISO 80, and that you’ve set the upper limit at 400. This is the same as my Kodak P850. I feel there’s too much emphasis on high ISO shooting these days, like we’re all wandering around in the dark or something? Also too much emphasis on shooting wide-open, which is never where lenses are at their sharpest.
    Your Lumix really makes the shots too, so no one can argue with the camera or method – or photographer. Nice shapes and textures in those images!

    1. Marc, I too often wonder about why high ISO is used as such a marketing angle with modern cameras. I like my pictures to look fairly natural so shooting in decent light is part of that. And there aren’t many situations where ISO400, f/2.3 and say 1/8s isn’t sufficient with the LX3.

      Thank you for your kind comments on the images. I have no complaints at all with the LX3, the lens and CCD are a winning combo.

  2. Have to tell on myself. Grabbed a well used LX3 off eBay. Didn’t come with SD card. Waited for several hours to allow warmup after cold travel in postal vehicles. Put in an SD card and got error msg. Grumbled shouldn’t have bought that camera. Found a new card, same error. Then thought -this is a 10+ year old camera. Downloaded manual; skimmed SD card paragraphs. Nothing clicked. Finally tried an SD card from a similar age camera (8GB). Bingo! worked like a charm.
    Cards I first used were too large and the camera didn’t recognize.
    —If you use older cameras keep a supply of smaller SD cards. Lesson learned

    1. Well done for persisting Mark! How are you finding the LX3 now?

      I remember a similar thing happening with a previous Pentax DSLR I had. I think it was limited to 4GB and was wondering why my 16GB SD card wasn’t working.

      Over the last few years as I’ve bought cheap old cameras, many have come with an SD card, and usually a smaller one, like 1 or 2 GB, or even 512MB. All of which are fine for my needs as I only take a maximum of maybe 100 photos on a single photowalk, then download them when I get home and have a blank card again.

      It’s also a good way to be more discerning with the shots you take too. Using a small card is like having just a couple of rolls of film, not the potential for virtually endless shooting that a 16GB card or above give.

  3. I’d be happy to live with just my LX5 too Dan. Excellent cameras.

    I wondered if you set the camera to B&W or did that in post process? I’ve set one of the “My Film” settings on mine to a lovely contrasty B&W which needs pretty much no mods. I also set max ISO to 400.

    There’s a film setting on the LX5 called “Nostalgic”. It’s the only colour digital setting I’ve ever found which I’m happy with as shot. It’s beautiful – really muted and old looking. I used it for a whole week of family holiday pictures last summer.

    I think high ISOs are maybe about making photography generally easier? Set your lens wide and ISO all the way up and I guess the shutter speed is still quick enough to forgive any shaky handling? I’m sure it makes shooting fast subjects in low light a breeze too, without flash.

    That said I’m personally really enjoying using a lot of flash at the moment. Horses for courses…

    1. Richard, I use the Dynamic B/W Film setting on my LX3, then tweak the settings within that. It gives fantastic images, as does my GF1, with the same kind of mode.

      As much as I love my two Ricoh compacts, the GRD III and GX100, these days I would always reach for the LX3 first because I can use the images straight out of camera…

  4. I also think people put too much emphasis on high ISO. I used my K20D for years and the max ISO I used was 640. With my K10D I’m usually at ISO 100 – and just set it to 400 if it’s at night or if it’s dark indoors.
    I’ve had my eye out for an LX-5, I think these early LXs are fantastic cameras. I’d like to see how they compare to the Sony DSC-P200, that’s another great little camera that I’ve used almost exclusively for a decade… but it’s not as posh as a Panny LX-something.

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