Lumix DMC-LX3, Canon G10

Seems like the decent prosumer compacts are here with the LX3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Digital Camera – Review – The Imaging Resource!

The Panasonic LX3’s noise handling is significantly improved over the LX2. Noise performance was the single biggest issue with the LX2, its Achilles heel. On the Panasonic LX3, we’ve had a change of image processors but the detail and color the LX2 captured at ISO 200 is roughly equivalent to ISO 800 on the LX3. In both cases, that’s about where the detail starts to fall apart, although it’s still quite acceptable. If ISO 400 was the LX2’s limit, ISO 800 is the LX3’s, with ISO

It has a fast lense with little zoom 24-60mm equivalent. F/2-F2.8 which is awesome. It has a bigger 1/1.6″ sensor. It also shoots Raw.The Online Photographer: Canon G10 Review

Canon has done something amazing with all those pixels it crammed into that small sensor. In a well lit, well exposed photo taken at low ISO, the image quality is so good that I was caught off guard. I kept checking to make sure I was looking at the photos from the G10 and not my 5D or 1Ds. The images have plenty of detail, nice saturation, and definite “cropability.”

Less sophisticated but ultracompact

So it looks like the advanced compact cameras are really a turkey shoot between the Panasonic DMC-LX3 and the upcoming Canon G10. As an aside the 5MP camera we are replacing is a “Canon SD400”:http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_sd400-review/ which is 5.7 cubic inches and 130 grams. So it would be nice to get something about the same size.

What about something without all the manual controls and fine lenses that is fine for daylight use but is incredibly small. What’s the smallest decent camera you can buy. “DCViews”:http://dcviews.com is useful for high-end cameras, but not for low end. I’ve found that “DCResource”:http://dcresource.com is one of the few sites that actually reviews these low-end cameras.

If you care about available light photography, then you have to go all the way back to the “Fuji F30”:http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/fuji/finepix_f30-review/ to get a decent camera. We have the F10 and F11 and they are remarkable. Nonetheless of the current crop, here’s a stack rank:

* “Canon PowerShot SD1100″:http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_sd1100-review/index.shtml. It’s 8MP and 38-114MM F/2.-F/4.9 and with a view finder and 2.5″ screen at 3.4×2.2×0.9” and 125g. Canon has an incredible complicated line of PowerShots. But essentailly there is the very compact SD1100 ($237 street). Image quality is decent to ISO 200.
* “SD790″:http://dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_sd790-review/index.shtml is a 10MP with the 3″ screen and no optical viewfinder. It is slightly wider 3.6″ and slighly thinner 0.8”. It also has a underwater case for $149. Image quality is decent upto ISO 200.
* “Panasonic DMC-FX35”:http://dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_fx35-review/index.shtml. It has got a 24mm equivalent lense which is great. The main problem is that the image is quite noisy. Best to leave it at ISO 100 as you can see visible noise at 200.

Just going by size and weight, here are the leaders according to “DCResources”:http://deresource.com. Thos guys do the best compact camera reviews by the way. It is amazing how standard and incredibly high the features are. All of these have image stabilization and also are instant on and have 2.7″ screens without an optical viewfinder for instance. If you shoot for less than 7 cubic inches and 125 grams, you get. From the new section of dcviews, here are the latest and smallest cameras:

| Camera | Volume (cu. in.) | Mass (empty) | Comment |
| Canon SD1100 | 6.7 | 125g | viewfinder |
| Canon SD790 | 6.3 || 155g | 3″ ISO 200 |
| Casio EX-Z250″*”:http://dcviews.com/cameras/casio_news.htm | 6.6 | 119g | |
| Fuji Z20fd | 6.3 | 110g | |
| Nikon S520 | 7 | 115g ||
| Olympus FE-320 | 5.5 | 95g | Uses xD |
| Panasonic DMC-FX35 | 6.7 | 125g | 25mm, ISO 100 only |
| Pentax M50 | 7.3 | 116g |
| Samsung NV4 | 5.7 | 140g |
| Sony DSC-T700″*”:http://dcviews.com/cameras/sony_news.htm | 5.5 | 125g | 3.5″ memstick |

These models churn faster than milk into butter, so of course most of these have new models. I put an asterisk next to those. Some of these are easy to exclude. For instance the Olympus like uses xD cards which is why they are small, but these cards are really nonstandard.

High Quality Compact Camera

Well here are the choices right now in rough order and the net is that if you can hold off, the Canon G10 is probably good. I’d say for quality the LX3 is probably going to give higher quality shot but be larger.

* Panasonic DMC-LX3. Good quality to ISO 400 and great Leica lense. Reasonably compact. But the main thing is that it is a true wide angle at 14mm so that you can get nice landscapes. It only goes to 60mm equivalent so no zoom shots though. But I’d trade that anyday. Main problem is that it is a big camera. The lense is so large it makes the camera about 50mm or 2 inches high vs the much slimmer G9/G10
* Canon Sureshot G10 which is coming shortly might be better but the Sureshot G9 is their current 12MP camera. Very professional. Good through ISO 200 without noise, but like the Ricoh, relatively slow lense.
* Ricoh GX200. A nice update, but only shoots to ISO 200 without noise and lense is relatively slow so Panasonic is nicer.

The ones that are rejected are:

* Sigma DP1. Has a big sensor but it is amazingly slow. Requires 3 seconds shot to shot!
* Nikon P6000. Nice and new, but requires Windows Vista proprietary software to read its raw format. Ugh. Has GPS and Wifi.

Projectors

There is so much innovation in projectors right now. My buddy Mac has done a great job looking for some that really work. Really bright, small and light. “Laptop Magazine”:http://www.laptopmag.com/review/projectors/projector-reviews.aspx has a good summary of reviews. Also you can use “Projectorreviews.com”:http://projectorreviews.com and in particular 1080p “projectors”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/Best1080pProjectors032008/projectorawardwinners.php and “Projector Central”:http://www.projectorcentral.com/projector-reviews.cfm

The most confusing thing about this is that there are different technologies for displaying on a projector. There is the traditional CRT (cathode ray tube) like the monster 9″ CRT Mitsubishi that sits like a 400 pound boat anchor that are direct view. BTW, beside being bulky and expensive, it is still amazingly high in quality according to “Displaymate.com”:http://www.displaymate.com/ShootOut_Comparison.htm. The other “technologies”:http://www.cnet.com/4520-7874_1-5108443-4.html are LCD, 1-Chip DLP, 3-Chip DLP and LCOS.

DLP. In general, “audioholics”:http://www.audioholics.com/education/display-formats-technology/display-technologies-guide-lcd-plasma-dlp-lcos-d-ila-crt says

* 1-chip “DLP”:http://www.audioholics.com/education/display-formats-technology/display-technologies-guide-lcd-plasma-dlp-lcos-d-ila-crt (this is TI technology called a Digital Micromirror Device that like it sounds has lots of mirrrs in it) c have a color wheel that spins fast with red, green and blue, so there can be “rainbow”:http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6029_7-6405175-1.html where you see white against black in high contrast. The 3-chip DLP has a dedicated DLP for each color so no rainbow, but way more expensive. 1080p high resolution DLP are very expensive and DLP in general will be more than an equivalent LED projector. And in general, they are better than the old LCD technology with better black levels and brighter images. Right now DLP

LCDs and DLP are very close in performance in general but in general and there are very few 1080p projectors in LCD. LCoS is the latest technology that is pioneered by Sony. The VP-VW100 was the firt 1080p LCos and its cheaper brother the VPL-VW50 is $5000. It has good black levels and does 1080p.

Here is what I’d pick in quality order for “best 1080p projector”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/Best1080pProjectors032008/index.php (“pricegrabber”:http://electronics.pricegrabber.com/projectors/p/38/st=category has good street prices) and most folks think that “1080p”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/advice/1080p_vs_720p_projectors/index.php makes most sense for projectors with greater than 50″ diagonals. Also looked at “Projector Central”:http://projectorcentral.com although their reviews are less complete.

# “Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/epson/powerlite-home-cinema-1080ub/ (see also “Projector Central”:http://www.projectorcentral.com/epson_cinema_1080_ub_review.htm). Best in class $3K projector that has the best black levels. There is a pro version which is $4K which is ISF certified so truer and has a 3rd year of warranty and a spare lamp. 1080p, 3LCD that out performes both CD and DLP, 11.5 pounds. The reference level is very close the JVC RS1 which is a $10K LCoS projector. “Pricegrabber”:http://electronics.pricegrabber.com/projectors/m/60743099/zip_code=98101-1621/qlty=n/st=sort/sort_type=bottomline has it for $2650 and claim a full US warranty. One drawback is the fan noise is definitely there.
# “Panasonic PT-AE2000U”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/panasonic/pt-ae2000u/index.php is a $2000 street price projector and nearly as good as the Epson. It is also 3LCD and a “comparison”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/Best1080pProjectors032008/EpsonHomeCinema1080UBvsPT-AE2000U.php say what you get for the additional $1K is Epson is brighter so in places where there is external light, the Epson produce 1500 lumens vs. 1019. But, the Panasonic doesn’t have visible pixels, but Epson image is slightly nicer and both look right without calibration. The big difference is the Panasonic black levels are not as good. Still good, but not excellent. Because Panasonic uses lots or rebates sometimes it is the same price as Epson and other times more expensive. Net, net the Panasonic is very nice but Epson is really just excellent and with Panasonic at a street price of $2580 at “Pricegrabber”:http://electronics.pricegrabber.com/projectors/m/54341186/st=sort/sort_type=bottomline, the Epson seems way worth it, although Panasonic fan noise is less and AE2000 is really quiet.
# “Mitsubishi HC4900”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/mitsubishi/hc4900/index.php is very bright but the color. 3LCD also. $3K MSRP but the big advantage is that it is very quiet. The big drawback is black levels aren’t too good.

Other ones are either too expensive

# “InFocus IN83”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/infocus/in83/index.php just got a terrific review. 1100 lumens, very film-like image when it is there, although you can push to 1900 lumens if needed. You can put an anamorphic lense on it. 2 year warranty. Only available through local dealers not online. It is a small update to the IN82:http://www.projectorreviews.com/infocus/in82/index.php. It has the Darkchip4 DLP processor in it with a 4000:1 contrast ratio. $6000 MSRP but native 1920×1080. 14 pounds. At the high-end, it compete with the JVC RS2 and the Sony VP-VW40
# “Optoma HD65”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/optoma/hd65/index.php is an 720p DLP projector and at just $1000 is a good deal. 1600 lumens and 4000:1 contrast. Fan is noisy though although color accuracy is good.
# “Optoma HD71”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/optoma/hd71/index.php. $1200, Single chip DLP, 720p as well. So a little more and slightly brighter at 2400 luens, 4000:1. 6.3 pounds.

Here are some others not sorted particularly:

* “Panasonic PT-AE2000U”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/panasonic/pt-ae2000u/index.php. 1080p, $2700, accurate out-of-the-box colors, 16000:1 contrast, 3-LCD based, 1200 lumens
* “Mitsubishi HC4900”:http://www.projectorreviews.com/mitsubishi/hc4900/index.php, $3000, 7500:1, 3LCD, 1080p, 12 pounds.

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Cordless Drills and Screwdrivers

Hey I need one now that I’ve got a boat to mangle.

Some to look at are:

Panasonic EY6432GZKW $200 and the Ryobi P813 at $170 are really godo if expensive. The Makita BDF452HW $200 is only 3.5 pounds.

If you want to be really manly, then the Hitachi DS18DMR at $200 and 6 pounds is the way to go or the Makita BDF451 at $280 is nearly a pound lighter.

Finally, if you don’t like turning screws, then the Ryobi HP472K seems like the best choice at $30.

BTW, Craftman are only at Sears, Ryobi only at Home Depot. While Hitachi is only at Lowe’s. You can get Makita at Sears, Home Depot or Lowe’s.