Panasonic rolled out the DMC-LX3, a new flagship for its point-and-shoot line of Lumix cameras today, and this is not just like all the others. Finally, somebody breaks this stupid vicious circle of the megapixel wars. If you haven’t heard by now, more megapixels doesn’t necessarily mean better pictures. This nicely designed pocketcam stops at 10.1 megapixels, and instead concentrates on a bigger 1/1.63-inch sensor, facilitating better low-light shooting. How much better? Panasonic says the camera's sensitivity is 40% better than that of its predecessor.
While its execution might not be quite as impressive as its specs, this camera can shoot at a native ISO 3200. That means there are a lot of situations where you’ll be able to use natural, soft and flattering light instead of that harsh pop-up flash. Is this a big deal? Yes. This capability is important enough for me to have spent $1700 on a Nikon D300, one of the best cameras for low-light shooting.
Preliminary shots show the resolution of this $499 camera leaving something to be desired, but maybe the DMC-LX3’s mere existence will break this crazy spiraling of megapixels, which above about 8 just means more cumbersome files and not necessarily higher resolution. It’s about time point-and-shoot camera makers paid attention to features that really matter, rather than just megapixel numbers.