Panasonic DMC-LX5 compact enthusiast camera arrives on the net early

The “compact enthusiast” category of camera, which I have just now made up, includes such devices as the Canon G11, Sigma DP2, and some of the more consumer-oriented M4/3 cameras. It’s for the photographer who wants more control, slightly better glass, and doesn’t care about the creature comforts of touchscreens and in-camera sepia tones. Panasonic’s entry in this class was the competent LX3, now being supplanted by the slightly (but not trivially) improved LX5. With a fast lens and high ISO range, this could be the carry-around compact you’ve been looking for.

The full specs are available over at 4/3rds Rumors, who found the leak, or at the Panasonic UK microsite, but here are a few vitals:

  • 10.1 megapixels
  • 1/1.63″ sensor
  • 3.8x zoom on a F/2.0-3.3 Leica Summicron lens (zoom is improved over LX3)
  • ISO 80-12800 (nice range, also implies lower noise at normal ISO levels)
  • HD recording at 720p/30 or 720p/60 (weird since sensor output is limited to 30p)
  • 3″ LCD (480×320)
  • Optional optical or electronic viewfinder (nice!)

There you have it. Looks like a competent camera, although these fixed-lens guys are looking less sexy every day as the nicer M4/3 cameras drop in price, with their sexy pancake wide-angle primes. I’m looking forward to Panasonic’s own GH2, in fact.

The LX5 will be officially announced July 21, at which time we’ll get pricing and availability. I notice the UK site actually refers to it as the LX5K, but that might just be a local variant.