The DMC-LX5 has a hard act to follow. Its predecessor, the DMC-LX3, was so good we'd still recommend it today. So what does this one offer as an upgrade?
It certainly looks the part, and is littered with the sort of features you don't normally see on a compact camera, such as a hot shoe for attaching a flash and a mode dial for manual controls.
Minor external changes are evident. On the rear, the old joystick control has been replaced by a DSLR-style click-wheel that makes adjustments to aperture and shutter speed more quickly, and there's a movie record button too.
It's inside where the big changes have been made, with a new higher resolution 10-megapixel sensor, an uprated 3.8x zoom f/2 to f/3.3 lens, and an improved image processing engine. The DMC-LX5 can also now shoot at up to ISO 3200 in standard mode, and in general we were impressed with its high ISO performance, especially in RAW mode. We found the DMC-LX5 produced usable shots at up to ISO 1600, and although noise begins to creep in, it's well controlled.
The fast f/2 lens impressed as well, and the extended zoom range makes it more flexible. Barrel distortion is noticeable at its widest aperture, but elsewhere we found little to criticise. The video mode records at 720p in AVCHD Lite format, quality is excellent, and the zoom and autofocus remain active, which they don't on the Canon PowerShot S95.
That said, these two cameras are very close. If you're after top quality in a pocketable form, the Canon PowerShot S95 is the way to go; the Panasonic DMC-LX5 offers more features, control and flexibility.
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk