Ashland Daily Photo
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Panasonic LX3 vs. Canon S3

This morning I decided to do a side-by-side camera comparison to see if I need both an LX3 (Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3) and an S3 (Canon PowerShot S3 IS) or if I can do away with one. I took both cameras outside and set them next to each other on my deck railing. The first thing I noticed before even taking the pictures is that I like everything better on the LX3. It is much smaller, lighter, has a better view screen, features a higher-quality casing, includes a much better lens cap, and just feels better in every way.

Next I took a picture with each at the widest angle setting possible.

The above is the LX3 result on wide angle.

The above is the S3 result on wide angle.

The most obvious difference is the wide angle on the LX3 is wider than that on the S3. While this is great for landscape photography, it also provides some benefits for indoor and portrait photography. For instance, I can take self portraits of the entire family (four people) without a tripod with the LX3. I can barely hold my S3 camera outstreched with one hand (due to size and weight) for a self portrait, let alone have it capture more than two people in the image.

The second difference in the above two photos are the colors are a bit better with the LX3. Perhaps this is just because the LX3 captured more of the grass than the S3, but, to me, the greens of the grass look greener in the LX3 picture. The red-green distinction of the tennis court is also nicer looking in the LX3 photograph. The clouds also look a bit better in the LX3 photo. Maybe that is because they aren’t quite as close, but they seem less grainy in any event.

Conclusion: For landscape photography I’m usually going to get better results with the LX3.

Next, I zoomed both to max (3.6X for LX3, 12X for S3) and got the following:

The above is the LX3 result on 3.6X optical zoom. (The manual says it can go up to 4.5X optical zoom, but my settings must not have been right to get to 4.5X.)

The above is the S3 result on 12X optical zoom.

These images aren’t very comparable given the difference in zoom. I should have done a photo with the S3 at about 3-4X zoom for better comparability. However, on maximum zoom the LX3 photograph is far crisper and clearer, the colors are much better, and the image isn’t even remotely grainy like the S3 image on 12X zoom.

I haven’t needed to take many pictures with 12X zoom. Most of the times I have used maximum zoom on my S3 the results have not been good. The images are usually blurry and/or grainy like you see here (even though the camera was at rest so there were no jitters on my end). Is 12X zoom nice to have on occasion? Yes. Is holding on to my S3 for those rare opportunities worthwhile? Probably not… So if you are looking for an S3 at a good price…

3 Responses to “Panasonic LX3 vs. Canon S3”

  1. 1

    No doubt the shots with the LX3 are better 😉

  2. 2

    I have both these cameras too. The zoom range of the S3 IS is really nice to have and a great compliment to the LX3. However, I replaced that zoom range with a Sony Alpha A300 with a 18- 70 and 75-200 mm zoom which with the 1.5x multiplier makes it a 27 – 105 mm and 105 – 300 mm. My Sony Alpha with my LX3 are the perfect compliment. I love them!

  3. 3

    There must be something wrong with the Canon. I too would choose the LX3, but Canon grain should not be so bad…