Got the rickety old train home this evening and in the absence of a power source for the laptop, I amused myself with the LX5. Must say, I'm getting to like this camera a lot and it's now a permanent pocket companion. It's light-weight, fast focusing and feature packed and performs very well on the street. The only down side is the absence of an adjustable LCD display, but I was aware of that at the time of purchase and will have to live with it.
I'm currently experimenting with some of the in-camera processing features. There are a variety of 'Film' modes which process captured files by altering contrast, saturation and sharpness to replicate the effects of film, e.g. 'Vibrant' = Velvia, 'Nostalgic' = Polaroid and 'Dynamic B&W' = 3200 Neopan. There is also a 'Colour Mode' feature on the Mode Dial where you can give additional input to the way the captured files are processed with regard to colour, e.g. 'Expressive' = High Saturation, 'Pin Hole' = adding a vignette, 'Elegant', 'Pure', 'Retro' ... the list goes on! Needless to say, you need some time to play around with these and of course the effect has to be suitable to the subject and lighting for best results. At the end of the day, is it any good? Well if you're a compact camera person that does not like to bother with your own processing in the computer, then you'll enjoy this.
Said 'arty' film and colour features are a bit better than the quality of the images produced by your iPhone but you have to remember that the computer in the camera is most likely not employing non-destructive editing processes so the resulting quality is not going to match what you can achieve by running your image files through Photoshop. If atmosphere is desired over image quality, then the aforementioned case won't be an issue. For casual, informal snaps it will be hard to top this camera. The kids will love it! You will get a decent, workable image from it in almost any lighting condition. Anyone want to buy a good second-hand Canon G9 then???
Photo: Shot in JPEG using the in-camera 'Film Grain' effect which converts the image to Black and White and adds a heavy, chunky grain. I thought it worked well for this subject and I was content with the result. Looked great on the camera's LCD but on closer scrutiny in the computer I was less happy. I opened it in ACR and pulled back the shadows a bit (why ARC? I thought that making any adjustment to contrast in 16bit would not further degrade the already seriously over-edited file). See the original file HERE and compare. I had to call myself aside to remind myself that I was shooting with a compact and not an SLR. Once I got over that, I was fine. For serious photographers that demand crisp quality images, that will always be the biggest obstacle to overcome ... get over it or stick with your SLR.
These two directly from the camera without adjustment. The LX5 'Film Grain' effect has a tendency to cook the shadows a little too much for my taste.