The Panasonic LX5 shines in Maine, beats my dSLR 85% of the time.

During a two week vacation in Maine this summer, I brought along my little Panasonic LX5 and my bigger Olympus E620 dSLR.  I was quite surprised that of the 660 images I have decided to keep (hard drive space is cheap these days!)  that fewer than 100 were taken with the E620.  That's less than 15%!

[A few trip pictures are included below.  I have posted about 35 images on my Website, here: www.peterfraileyphoto.com/mainevacationjunjul ]

All pictures were taken in RAW + JPEG, and both cameras have full manual controls.  When it comes to one important feature for me, the LX5 is better: it has a broader f-stop range for 3 shot exposure bracketing. You can bracket up to 3-stops, compared with only 1-stop on the Olympus. And it is easier to get to the bracketing on the LX5 because you are able to program the function button for that purpose.  The Olympus takes a lot more clicks to get into the bracketing. 

Another nice feature of the LX5 is the 24-90mm equivalent lens. I prefer this over the 28-108mm equivalent lens on the E620. 

When I say that the LX5 beats my Olympus E620 85% of the time, I am not talking about image quality.  I am talking about usability.  Especially for landscape and travel photography. As a tool, I picked the LX5 85% of the time during this trip.  This wasn't planned, it just happened.  It wasn't because I expected better image quality.  It was based on a subliminal mental formula: (camera to carry = image quality + size of camera + convenience + ease of use +  fun factor.) 

The image quality piece of the formula was not on this trip as important to me as it might be to others.  That's because I realize that 98-99% of the images I keep on my computer will never be printed. Nor will they ever win any contests, no matter what camera was used.  They will be seen at no wider than 650 pixels on this blog (about 1/3 of a megapixel), or no wider than 1550 pixels on my Web site (about 1.5 megapixels) or no wider than 1920 pixels (less than 2 megapixels) on my 24" monitor or an HD TV.  For this purpose everything I get from the LX5 is "good enough."  Actually, for these images, I usually keep the JPEG and dump the RAW.

Some of the LX5 images from this trip have already been posted previously. No one has told me that I should have had a better camera for any of these. That's not to say these images could not have been improved upon; but improvement has nothing to do with the camera.

As far as printing goes, perhaps 12 images (2% of the 660) might be printed.  At 9" x 12" or smaller it is hard to tell the difference. To be honest, as much as I like the LX5 (obviousy), if I knew which 12 images would turn out to be the best, it is for those shots that I would want the Olympus.

I have posted larger and more pictures (about 35 images) on my Website, here: www.peterfraileyphoto.com/mainevacationjunjul

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