Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC5. Review from reader Radozhiva

Sergey Ovchinnikov (blog on Yandex-Zen; photo hosting Flickr).

rice. 001 - Panasonic LC5 Compact Camera

rice. 001 - Compact camera Panasonic LC5. increase.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC5 compact camera was announced by Matsushita Electric (Panasonic) on September 17, 2001. The compact digital cameras DMC-LC5 and DMC-F7 presented in the announcement were the first products of the Lumix series so popular today. These days, the Panasonic LC5 is undeservedly forgotten by everyone. The recent 20th anniversary of Lumix, it seems, has not been celebrated anywhere at all. Even by the company itself.

The LC5 is one of the first cameras to use the new SD cards. In January 2000, SanDisk, Matsushita (Panasonic) and Toshiba formed a non-profit organization SD Association (SDA) to promote and create SD card standards. The format has proven to be extremely resilient.

Panasonic LC5 Quick Reference

Lens: 33-100mm (equiv.); F2.0-2.5 (max F8); Canon design (legend - Leica)
Matrix: CCD, 1 / 1.76 ″ (7.32 × 5.49 mm), manufactured by Panasonic, 4: 3
Maximum photo resolution: 2240 × 1680 dots (3,7MP)
Shutter speed: 1/1000 sec. - 8 sec
Light sensitivity: auto, ISO100, ISO200, ISO400
Shooting modes: automatic, P, A, S, M, video
Viewfinder: Optical, Matched
Monochrome LCD display: yes, no backlight
Color monitor: 2.5 ″, 200.000 dots
Picture Formats: JPEG, TIFF
Memory cards: SD / MMC memory cards, max 512MB
Flash shoe: yes
Power: Battery CGR-S602E (or BP-DC3), charged inside the camera
Gross curb weight: 487 grams

rice. 002 - Panasonic LC5 included a rather rare accessory - monitor hood

rice. 002 - Panasonic LC5 included a rather rare accessory - monitor hood

2001 in the history of digital photography

In 2001, a professional digital SLR Canon EOS-1D was fitted with a Panasonic APS-H size CCD sensor with an effective resolution of 4,15 megapixels (Canon got rid of Kodak sensors). A Panasonic LC5 compact camera is equipped with a 39591MP Panasonic MN3,7PT matrix. That. There is an obvious connection between the LC5 and EOS-1D - the same matrix manufacturer.

At that time, among the top compacts, we are seeing completely "clones" of the successful Canon PowerShot G1. Even the lens uses the same Canon design - 33-100mm (eq.) F2.0-2.5. The Panasonic LC5 is no exception: it has the same lens, but it is signed "Leica".

The megapixel race continues. The era of 4 megapixel dominance is coming to an end. Minolta DIMAGE 7 becomes the first 707-megapixel compact camera. Sony is offering a great value for its wonderful Sony F2001 compact. Among professionals, megapixel records are beaten by Kodak. In 16, Kodak made the large format advertising photography market happy with the launch of the 4080MP ITO CCD DCS Pro Back Plus for Medium Format 4080 x 21995 cameras for $ XNUMX.

CMOS matrices are already appearing in 2001, but have not yet created real competition for CCD matrices. At the beginning of 2002, Canon EOS D30 remains the only 3 megapixel camera with a matrix made using CMOS technology.

Among the "new names" that appeared in 2001, the alliance between Leica and Panasonic is noteworthy. The merger of two brilliant companies results in the creation of a 4MP Panasonic LC5 camera with a Leica DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens. As of early 2002, the press release can only be seen on the Japanese website and in Japanese. The camera is not getting the publicity it deserves.

rice. 003 - Inscription on the Panasonic LC5 case

rice. 003 - Inscription on the Panasonic LC5 case

Panasonic + Leica = Lumix?

So, the world learns about the collaboration between Leica and Panasonic in 2001. A new brand is born - Lumix. The LC5 has three new brand markings: the signature badge on the front of the camera, the inscription on the monochrome LCD and on the monitor hood lid.

The entire collaboration with Leica consisted of Panasonic buying the right to use the German company's logo. This should facilitate the entry of the Japanese company into the European and North American markets and contribute to a positive perception of the Panasonic / Lumix brand. In addition, Panasonic began making digital compact cameras for Leica in 2001, which they sold (and are still selling) at a good brand markup.

rice. 004 - The Lumix logo first appears on the Panasonic LC5 camera body

rice. 004 - The Lumix logo first appears on the Panasonic LC5 camera body

In 1998, Leica introduced its first compact digital camera, the Digilux, which Fujifilm then assembled for it. Panasonic has been assembling compact digital cameras for Leica since 2002. The lenses on Panasonic and Leica compact cameras bear the Leica lettering, but they are still excellent Japanese lenses, designed and manufactured with minimal involvement from the German company.

Interestingly, our compact hero - Panasonic LC5 - had three "sequels". On February 24, 2002 the Panasonic LC5 clone - Leica Digilux 1 was announced. The Leica Digilux 1 design is original, but personally I like it less. In addition, if you want to purchase a Leica Digilux 1 on the secondary market, the "magic of the red dot" will add up to xxx% of the cost of the original Panasonic LC5 to the order amount. At the same time, the Leica Digilux 1 is an exact copy of the Panasonic LC5. It was funny when users in 2002 took pictures with their expensive Leica Digilux 1, and in the EXIF ​​data of the image they read that the picture was taken by a Panasonic LC5. And after all, someone "saw" the difference in color between these two cameras!

The second incarnation of the LC5 is a cheaper copy in a "modern" case - Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC40. Less power consumption, reduced features.

The third reincarnation is the cult Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC1 - 5MP compact with three (!) Control rings on the lens. An extremely overvalued compact today: it is sold extremely expensively in the Russian segment of the market. All the difference from the LC5 is the extra million pixels and big problems with the Sony sensor.

rice. 005 –Panasonic LC5 (left) versus my other favorite camera, the Olympus E20

rice. 005 –Panasonic LC5 (left) versus my other favorite camera, the Olympus E20

Aftermarket LC5

The camera first went on sale in Japan on October 27, 2001 at a price of 90.000 yen (about $ 765). Today it can be purchased much cheaper. It cost me only 1000 rubles (excluding delivery).

The camera is over 20 years old – that’s a long time. If the camera turns on and records pictures, that’s great. When purchasing, pay attention to the Panasonic LC5 kit. You must have a power supply, battery, lens cap and monitor hood (a rare accessory for compact cameras). It would be great if the kit included a memory card. The problem is that the camera does not accept memory cards. SD with a capacity of more than 512Mb, it writes a card error.

I got my copy in the correct black color. This makes the camera less visible, which is important for street photography. Cosmetically, the camera is in nearly perfect condition (for a 20-year-old camera). There are slight abrasions on the sharp corners of the case and slight abrasions on the monitor. Technically, the device is fully functional - everything is functioning properly. All discs and buttons are free of backlash.

There was a problem: a dead battery. The seller reported this, so it came as no surprise. I was able to fully test the camera only due to the fact that the Panasonic LC5 can be powered directly from the AC adapter (the battery is charged in the camera body).

When buying old appliances, prepare an extra budget. At least - on the battery. In this case, the battery is CGR-S602E (or BP-DC3). The original can not be found, it was taken out of production. The CGR-S602E battery is based on two 14500 size cells, you can open the case and re-solder the batteries. Or buy a new battery made in China.

Among the accessories you can find the telephoto lens attachment DMW-LT52 x1,4 - it turns 100mm into 140mm. There is a more useful DMW-LW52 x0,8 wide-angle attachment - it turns 33mm into 26mm. The cost for genuine Panasonic accessories can be low today. And, it would seem, you can take these additional glasses, but it is very difficult to find a DMW-LA1 nozzle adapter on sale, without which the glasses cannot be installed on the camera.

rice. 006 - My first digital camera Olympus C-120 (left) and Panasonic LC5, from which my passion for old photographic equipment began

rice. 006 - My first digital camera Olympus C-120 (left) and Panasonic LC5, from which my passion for old photographic equipment began

First acquaintance with Panasonic LC5

My first acquaintance with the LC5 was in 2004-2005. Then I was still a student, money was exactly for the Olympus C-120 digital camera. A friend took pictures with a Panasonic FZ1 superzoom - the colors of the pictures were invariably pleasing. I remember that I regularly visited the Panasonic brand store, took and looked at brochures. In the store, I saw both cameras live for the first time - LC5 and LC1. They were on sale at the same time, despite the difference between them in 3 years. It took a long time for digital technology to "get" to Russia. I remember being very impressed with the look of the LC1, and the LC5 seemed ugly.

After 15 years, tastes have changed radically. Today I consider the Panasonic LC5 to be almost the best compact digital camera in terms of design and appearance. I tried a lot of CDs from the early 2000s and am still convinced that the LC5 is the best of them all. Despite its modest 3,7 megapixels and many limitations associated with the age of the device.
In 2021, I often take a Panasonic LC5 for photography.

The fact is that the camera is distinguished by a unique combination of an extremely successful Canon lens and Panasonic's proprietary CCD matrix, which is distinguished by an interesting reproduction of colors (especially red). I do not know if the matrix design is unique or the software color processing inside the camera is just originally configured. I just love the shades of red that I see. I don't get this red from any of the cameras.

If you're photographing something red, you might want the Panasonic LC5.

rice. 007 –Panasonic LC5

rice. 007 –Panasonic LC5

rice. 008 –Panasonic LC5

rice. 008 –Panasonic LC5

The functional design of the Panasonic LC5 is excellent. Many controls are located on buttons (typical for expensive cameras of the early 2000s). Nice metal body with high quality paintwork. Excellent grip. A matched optical viewfinder that's a pleasure to use. A huge monitor for 2001 with a complete hood.

An important feature: consistently excellent JPEGs straight from the camera at standard settings.

Another important feature: the camera is relatively compact and lightweight, which allows you to easily take it for shooting with a second or third camera. Only 487 grams in full gear (including monitor hood). This is important because You will most likely take a retro camera "in the mood" to your main cameras. Therefore, compact size and light weight are better than huge dimensions and heavy weight (for example, as is the case with the Olympus E-20).

rice. 009 - Please note that the viewfinder is positioned strictly on the center line of the Panasonic LC5 lens to give precise frame boundaries. In the same Canon PowerShot G3 and G5, the viewfinder window is displaced and inconvenient to use.

rice. 009 - Please note that the viewfinder is positioned strictly on the center line of the Panasonic LC5 lens to give precise frame boundaries. In the same Canon PowerShot G3 and G5, the viewfinder window is displaced and inconvenient to use.

Can Panasonic LC5 be used today?

An old digital camera is always a limitation in photography.

You will only be able to shoot during daylight hours. At sunset and in the evening, you will need to use a tripod as the maximum value of sensitivity of 400ISO is conventionally suitable only if you are going to turn the photo into black and white during post-processing. Your working value is ISO100.
You are limited to a small and noisy sensor that produces an image of 2240x1680 pixels (3,7MP). You can forget about cropping photos - we learn to frame the frame correctly right away. However, with the modern development of computational photography, 4MP will not be a problem when preparing an image for printing on a large format. But, nevertheless, this is 4MP and this is a limitation.

You are limited to the minimum shutter speed in 1/1000 of a second. There is no built-in ND filter. It will be difficult to screw on the external filter - a very rare adapter is required.
Panasonic LC5 does not provide RAW shooting capability. You only have TIFF and JPEG. However, the JPEG on-camera is excellent.

Of course, you can forget about shooting video. But I think you shouldn't be scared by that.

Despite all of the above, you can and should take pictures with the LC5! The camera is ideal for amateur photography. Automation works perfectly: focusing, Exposition, white balance, flash. At the same time, the camera has the ability to manually adjust all the basic shooting parameters. There is manual focus. The LC5 is a pleasure to shoot.

There are just a few general tips that will make your camera more attractive to use today.

First, change the shooting style with the Panasonic LC5: turn off the monitor, use the optical viewfinder, stop viewing the footage.
Shooting correctly with the LC5 is leisurely shooting with the optical viewfinder, in the style of the Leica M10-D. The camera monitor must be closed with a complete hood and forgot about its existence. That's when you can enjoy shooting with this camera. Imagine you have a film camera and forget about viewing pictures. Shoot without being distracted by these little things. "Develop" pictures in your home "darkroom" later!

rice. 010 –Panasonic LC5: large color monitor is hidden behind a hood - nothing distracts from the shooting process. Almost Leica M10-D ... Almost ...

rice. 010 –Panasonic LC5: large color monitor is hidden behind a hood - nothing distracts from the shooting process. Almost Leica M10-D ... Almost ...

The monitor turns off by pressing the "DISPLAY" button. A switch would be more convenient. But - that is, that is. Turn off the preview of footage in the menu: settings SETUP - AUTO REVIEW - OFF.

The most productive for the Panasonic LC5 is the P shooting mode. In this mode, you can use the optical viewfinder without having to turn on the camera monitor.

Using the optical viewfinder makes shooting quick and easy. You see a clear, bright and vivid picture. Unlike compact cameras with electronic viewfinders, you see the picture in the highest quality, with all the details, the image does not freeze when focusing or taking pictures.

With shooting mode P, make sure exposure compensation is off, SPOT AF is off in the menu. In the optical viewfinder, aim the crosshair at your subject, press the shutter button halfway to lock the focus, and exposureholding the button half-pressed, compose the frame and press it to record the frame.

rice. 011 –Panasonic LC5 boasts a monitor that was very large for its time. Comparison: Sony F717 (left) versus Panasonic LC5 (right).

rice. 011 –Panasonic LC5 boasts a monitor that was very large for its time. Comparison: Sony F717 (left) versus Panasonic LC5 (right).

Of course, you have to turn on the monitor when taking macro shots. When shooting with aperture priority or excerpts a monitor will also be needed for monitoring exposure.

The LC5 monochrome LCD is very poor. Just as well done in the first Canon G-series cameras, it is so goofy in the LC5. I want to see information about exposure and its deviation from the values ​​set by the machine for the selected shooting parameters. I want to see information about the aperture and shutter speed... But I see nothing of this. The engineers decided not to deprive the gorgeous huge monitor on the back of the camera, which, by the way, pretty much heats up the camera matrix.

rice. 012 - The LC5 monochrome LCD is very bad: it shows everything except what you really need (picture from camera manual)

rice. 012 - LC5 monochrome LCD is very bad: it shows everything except what you really need (picture from camera manual. 012 - LC5 monochrome LCD is very bad: it shows everything except what you really need ( picture from camera manual) d)

I almost always use center-weighted metering. exposure (default on camera).

Use 100ISO when shooting with the Panasonic LC5. The 100ISO Panasonic LC5 is actually equivalent to the higher standard ISO on other cameras (somewhere around 160ISO). It is a pity that constructively, on the early Panasonic matrices, it was impossible to set the value to 50ISO. It is what it is.

Shoot with standard in-camera JPEG settings — contrast, color, and sharpness at “STD”. The colors will be bright, the contrast is high enough, the sharpness is excellent. If you need more detail in penumbra, highlights, and more - set the sharpness, contrast and color settings to the minimum level. The picture will turn out less expressive, the camera will add practically nothing "from itself" and you can easily bring it to mind in the editors.

Use JPEG with minimum compression for best quality and smallest photo file size on Panasonic LC5. Comparing the files in detail, I did not find why TIFF is better than JPEG. By shooting in JPEG, you save space on your storage media (the camera supports SD up to 512MB), retain useful burst shooting functions, bracketing... I don't know why you would use TIFF on this camera.

The 512MB card contains 254 photos in the highest quality JPEG format.

rice. 013 - It is very convenient to shoot macro on Panasonic LC5

rice. 013 - It is very convenient to shoot macro on Panasonic LC5

Panasonic LC5 is perfect for macro photography!

Let the maximum frame resolution be 2240x1680 pixels. But for macro photography, this is not as critical as, for example, for shooting landscapes.

For close-up shots, set the focus mode dial to manual mode (MF). The manual focus ring on the lens simulates mechanics perfectly. Focus by rotating the ring on the lens and analyzing the sharpness of the picture on the monitor. The camera does not display the enlarged fragment of the image, but there is help from the automation - when the object located in the center of the frame is sharp (from the camera's point of view), a corresponding indication will appear.

It's easy to focus. The monitor is not the brightest and sharpest, but it is big for 2001. Whether the image is clear in the frame or not - you can see it on the monitor. For shooting in bright sunlight there is a complete accessory - a folding monitor hood.

It's a shame that the monitor doesn't flip up, but you can always use a mirror. The optical viewfinder cannot be used for macro photography. No focus confirmation plus optical parallax phenomenon.

I love taking close-ups with the Panasonic LC5 for another important reason - there is an effective bracketing focus. The LC5 takes three separate shots with the focus bracket.

In the mode bracketing focus, a series of frames are shot quickly - in a second. Then the camera writes images to the memory card for 4 seconds and is ready to shoot again. It is not very convenient that to enable the function bracketing focus, you need to press the buttons at least five times. Moreover, after shooting a series, the camera turns off the function - you need to turn it on again.

With precise manual focus and function bracketing focus, it is possible to obtain high-quality images in most cases. Constantly using the monitor and bracketing focus, you will discharge a modern Chinese battery in about 120-150 shots (about 45 series). Consider this when going to shoot.
The Panasonic LC5 is capable of shooting 36 frames per minute. Recall that the Olympus E-20 is only capable of 7 (seven!) Frames per minute.

rice. 014 - Panasonic LC5 is compatible with Olympus FL-36 / 36R flash.

rice. 014 - Panasonic LC5 is compatible with Olympus FL-36 / 36R flash.

Working with an external flash

The camera is compatible with the Olympus FL-36 / 36R flash. On the camera, in the menu, do not forget to go to the "EXT.FLASH" item to set the "MANUAL" value (so that you can use any aperture value during operation).

The built-in Panasonic LC5 flash can be turned on simultaneously with the external flash. The flash intensity of the built-in flash is adjusted by the button to the right of the viewfinder eyepiece. Between themselves, of course, the outbreaks "do not agree."

Set the flash to AUTO. In the custom setting, set the sensitivity to 160ISO to adjust to 100ISO on the camera. Set the zoom display to 135.

The flash output can be adjusted by changing the aperture value on the flash (relative to that actually used on the camera). For example, shoot a subject close-up at F4.0. In order to reduce the power of the flash, select the F2.0 aperture on it.

rice. 015 - Leica D-Lux 6 (Panasonic LX7 clone) and Panasonic LC5: fathers and grandfathers of the Lumix family

rice. 015 - Leica D-Lux 6 (Panasonic LX7 clone) and Panasonic LC5: fathers and grandfathers of the Lumix family

Summary: Panasonic LC5

With the Panasonic LC5, there is no need to check the picture, as we are used to doing with digital cameras. Just be sure - the shot is good. With the LC5, you can focus on composition. Even with the camera turned off, you can always estimate how the subject will look within the frame of a 35mm lens.

I would really like Panasonic to remember their first Lumix and re-release the LC5 in exactly the same package, providing it with a higher-performance matrix, processor and other stuffing.

The Panasonic LC5 is a great investment in the retro style of your digital life. Today, if you are a freak and want to photograph some of the "retro" of the early 2000s, the Panasonic LC5 is the best choice. The camera looks cool and original in its own way. The camera grabs attention. Panasonic LC5 is the best for me.

Gallery with examples of images from the camera

The size of the original images is preserved:

You will find more materials from readers of Radozhiva here.

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Comments: 21, on the topic: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC5. Review from reader Radozhiva

  • Aleksey68

    written pleasantly, lively and with obvious love and respect for the old technique. I love the old one myself))

  • Oleg

    Nice colors, I still have a soap dish lz5, it seems, the warmest memories

  • Sergei

    I agree with the author: the camera is really beautiful. It is clear that now only for true connoisseurs of digital retro, but it's nice that you can still get quite watchable images on it. Even if only in good shooting conditions. Still, the camera is not for every day, but for the soul, well, and ... collections) Excellent review! Thanks to the author!

  • Zheka

    The review is interesting, it is clear that the author is passionate about the topic.

  • Sasha

    The masterpieces were filmed…. Maybe, he wrote quite so categorically, but to the fact that any photographic equipment has the right to be! Even my Sony DSC-W30, funny nowadays, 6 Megapixels, funny body, but something like that. Soul or something

  • Z

    A thousand years ago I already had two such devices, exceptionally pleasant memories. There was only one drawback - due to some kind of specificity of the processing of jeepgs with a camera processor, the background defocused when shooting on MDF came out with some kind of watercolor stains.

  • Jea reth

    I dabbled in such a camera a couple of years ago. It is categorically pleasant in the hands.
    And the color there is special because the matrix has a filter not with a standard set of RGB filters, but a CMYG array, it seems ...

    • sovch

      read the specifications of the matrix - everything is normal. about CMYG only on iXBT wrote in the review. where did they get it - it is not clear

      • Jea reth

        Somewhere I came across English-language resources, not here. I don’t remember the source for many years.

  • Oleg

    I have the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC1 you mentioned. There is less than 5MP. Love him. I still get it quite often.

    • sovch

      LC1 is a controversial camera. I thought to buy it for the collection, but 10-12 rubles in Russia is more than it costs. wrote in detail in my Zen

  • Oleg

    You may be right, but it seems to me that the main problem with your skepticism lies in the high secondary cost of the LC1. By the way, I have the opportunity to compare this camera with Sony F828. Just wrote about her today
    You know, although Sony is a more powerful camera, I will not put the LC1 on the far shelf for now.

    • sovch

      Sony F828 is good. On occasion, I will add to the collection. Although there is already an F717 which, from my point of view, is the best lens in the lineup. Or jump straight to R1 - this might be a more interesting experience;)

  • Olga

    An interesting question is whether it is possible to change the matrix to a more vigorous one. I sincerely love my LC 5, I keep it as a relic, I shoot a little on it. I really like the lens, in my copy it is very clean, responsive and sharp. Has anyone experimented with replacing the filling and flashing it?

    • Ivan

      What do you have in mind? You can change it to exactly the same matrix if you find used those who sell spare parts. No other matrix will work.

    • sovch

      I myself dream that Panasonic will re-release the LC5 with a new filling. but it won’t be like that (((and it’s quite possible to take pictures for yourself on the LC5. Photos look fine on social networks, look fine on most monitors, and you can even print.

  • Yuri B

    Interesting camera, true CCD color and all that. At the time of the release, it was crazy cool and expensive, then I couldn’t afford it at all.

    PS: I thought from the pictures that Arkady Shapoval came to visit us in Chelyaba. Only then I saw that the author is a different person :-).

  • Nicholas

    This is a great little camera! I recently got one, love its character.
    Any ideas where to find replacement batteries these days? Apparently discontinued in 2020!
    Thanks for the review!

  • Enver

    super camera! LAKE LENS! that says it all!

    • B. R. P.

      PANASONIK lens )))

      • Vlad

        Finally Canon!

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