Mudsock Heights

Mudsock Heights

The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

By Dennis E. Powell | Posted at 7:24 AM

Imagine a new Ferrari. The specs are incredible: great steering and suspension, 0-60 in around four seconds, a top speed exceeding anything you would ever hope for on a public road. On paper, the perfect machine.

So you order it and wait, then wait some more, then finally take delivery.

And the first thing you notice is not the musical roar of the exquisitely tuned exhaust, nor even the bright Ferrari red. No, what first gets your attention is that it has no windshield.
The hood continues from the front of the car right up to the top. The aerodynamics are perfect — but how do you see to drive it? Ah, simple: a three-inch LCD panel. If you want, for a ridiculous price you can purchase a periscope. But there is no provision for a plain old windshield.

Ferrari would never market such a thing, of course. It would be a joke and would ruin the company’s reputation for making fine, well-sorted automobiles. It won’t happen, because Ferrari isn’t made up of idiots. Ferrari knows what its products are used for and how they are driven.

Ah, if only we could say the same for today’s digital camera makers.

The LX3 features a compact design (SOURCE: DENNIS E. POWELL).

I’ve lately been doing a lot of shooting with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3. On paper, it is a marvel. It’s small — maybe a bit too small, only a little bit bigger than the vest-pocket cameras that are all over the place nowadays. It has a nifty Leica-designed lens that is very fast — f2 at its shortest length — that zooms over a 35mm-equivalent range of 24-60mm. That’s not vast, but this is a wideangle camera; indeed, I’d like it even better if it were, say, 20-50.

The ridiculous megapixel wars were not joined with this camera. It has a fairly big sensor that delivers a 10-mp image — plenty for making, say, 11×14 prints. But the camera seems aimed at a market comprising people who know that cramming more pixels into a tiny sensor means only that users are eating up drive space storing noise generated by the sensor.

The LX3 is an expensive camera as little digital cameras go, retailing for about $500 and available for about $400. (The same camera with a red Leica badge sells for nearly twice as much, catering to those who have more dollars than sense.) But it is not the typical point-and shoot.

With its fast wideangle lens and general technical competence, it harks back to the glory days of rangefinder Leicas and the street photography school. One used to throw a Leica around his neck, with a 21mm or 35mm lens, and go out looking for targets of opportunity. The photographer could grab the camera, make the shot, and have the camera back hanging around his neck (or backwards over his shoulder) in next to no time. Some very good pictures resulted. The LX3 ought to be the perfect successor to the old Leica film cameras for this kind of thing. But it isn’t.

Instead, it is festooned it as if it were an ordinary point-and-shoot camera. Amid its useful, professional features are some really goofy ones: it has, for instance, the provision to put in the names and birthdays of as many as two infants, and automatically calculates their ages afterwards so as to imprint them on pictures taken of the tots as life unfolds. It has a pet function that does the same for dogs, cats, and goldfish. No, I am not making this up.

It continues the nonsensical trend of having a function that allows it to make noisy, jiggly, low-quality movies in high-definition. People who make movies with a still camera are foolish; those who then try to show these to others should be severely punished and have their cameras taken away. It is sad that Panasonic encourages them.

The LX3 continues another trend, acceptable on throw-away junk snapshot cameras but unforgivable for serious photography. In the LX3 it is very nearly a fatal flaw.
It has no viewfinder.

One of the things that made Leicas so good for street and news photography was the excellent optical viewfinder. It was located at the upper left corner of the camera (from the photographer’s standpoint) so that horizontal and vertical pictures could be made without smashing the camera into one’s nose. The finder showed what would be in the picture. A bright line frame changed its area as different lenses were used.

Digital camera makers have mostly abandoned the optical viewfinder, leaving the photographer with nothing more than the LCD on the back. This is possibly the worst idea anyone has ever had. Until recently, Canon included a small optical finder on even its cheapest digital cameras — and this was a no-slouch finder, actually zooming with the lens. If the LX3 were to include a built-in finder, with a zooming bright line over its short range, the camera would be just about perfect. But it doesn’t.

Why does this matter? Well, it’s nearly impossible to view an LCD with the camera close to one’s face. It needs to be held at a distance (which distance increases as one grows older!), making very quick photography very difficult, making photography in bright sunshine problematic, and making holding the camera still for slow shutter speeds an exercise in futility.

That the LX3 has no finder is absurd; that the twice-as-expensive Leica version doesn’t is obscene. (Leica has recently introduced another camera, the X1, which does not include a viewfinder, either — and it costs $2,000. To get a built-in viewfinder on a digital Leica, you need to spring — I’m not kidding — $7,000 for an M9. What are they thinking? Is this a plan to establish a database of suckers and chumps, the kind of people who would buy carbon credits?)

There is a provision for an optical viewfinder for the LX3, and a sorry effort it is, too. For about $200 (available at discount, but never cheap) Panasonic will sell you a little optical viewfinder that fits into the camera’s flash shoe. But guess what? It shows the field of view at 24mm — period. Zoom out, the finder doesn’t change. Those contacts beneath the flash shoe are for the extortionately expensive little accessory flashgun; they do nothing for the finder. (Just to maintain the stream of absurdity, Leica makes its own finder, just as limited, for almost $300.)

The LX3 can become absurdly large very quickly (SOURCE: DENNIS E. POWELL).

The problem is that the LX3 is capable of making very good photographs. As a result, owners find it worth the trouble to go to enormous lengths to make the thing usable, which is to say they’ve done everything imaginable to give it a finder. There is a brisk market on eBay for accessory finders sold by Yashica, Soligor, Kalimar, Petri, and others a generation ago for use with cheap wideangle and telephoto lenses made for midrange rangefinder cameras. These, at least, have multiple brightlines, though none is just right for the LX3’s lens. Likewise, people are coughing up $140 for fixed-focal-length Voigtlander finders, which are at least as good as the Panasonic and Leica offerings.

The cleverest solution is the Clearviewer, invented by a fellow named Gary Robertshaw. It screws into the tripod socket and provides a magnifier, in the fashion of a folding linen tester, that lets one look at the LCD while holding the camera close to the face. It is not perfect — when extended it adds two inches to the thickness of the camera and there’s no real way of carrying the camera with it set up for use — but it at least addresses some of the shortcomings of an LCD-only finder system.

These are stopgaps, and imperfect ones. They would all be obviated (well, the Clearviewer would still be useful if, for instance, the LX3 were attached to a telescope for eyepiece-projection photography) if Panasonic and Leica had included a viewfinder, which is to say if they had exhibited the slightest understanding of how serious photographers use cameras.

There’s another flaw in the LX3, though it’s not as bad as the viewfinder atrocity. The camera uses a separate lens cap instead of a built-in one. Fair enough — lots of cameras, old and new, have employed lens caps. And lots of photographers have thrown the caps in the bottom of the bag, screwed on a skylight or UV filter to protect the lens, added a lens hood both to shield the lens from bumps and to keep direct sunlight from striking the front element, and gone on to the business of picture making. But with the LX3 one must purchase a separate tube that screws around the base of the lens before one can even attach a filter. This tube makes the whole camera about an inch and a half thicker. Add a lens hood and it’s almost as thick as it is wide. Providing threads at the front of the lens would have been trivial. Again, what were they thinking? Or, really, were they thinking?

Transforming the LX3 from cute little camera into something fit for the steady and reliable taking of good pictures turns it into a kind of grotesque lump. What is so troubling is that the wounds are all self-inflicted. It could so easily have included a finder and lens ring threads. And none of the aftermarket remedies come even close to producing what we would have had the thing been properly equipped to begin with — and the attempt adds $250 or so to the price.

Thus, what could have been one of the all-time great cameras — a true classic — is instead a sorry almost-great camera.

Kind of like the world’s best Ferrari, if it were shipped with no windshield.

Join the Conversation

25 comments posted so far.

worst review i've ever read

did you seriously just ramble on THAT long about a flippin’ viewfinder??? go back to journalism school and learn how to write something that matters. get off your soap box douchebag.

Posted by George - Mar 01, 2010 | 7:43 PM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

Had to respond to “Douchebag George”: Believe it or not, serious photographers have discussed this whole viewfinder subject for about as long as digital cameras have been around. Clearly, you are not someone who has ever heard of Cartier Bresson or Weegee or Winogrand. Of equal interest is why this subject so infuriates you so. Why complain about something about which you are aggressively ignorant? My compliments to Dennis Powell for an excellent criticism of current cameras and the idiotic features added to the detriment of serious functionality.

Posted by Aeropapa - Mar 01, 2010 | 10:54 PM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

I couldn’t agree more. Removing the viewfinder from high-end compact cameras is definitely one of the worst ideas ever.

Posted by alansky - Mar 02, 2010 | 6:33 AM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

I don’t agree with your remarks about the LX3’s video. In capable hands, the camera will deliver pretty good video, and in low light, it is even better than some reputed camcorders like the canon hv20/30. If there is one flaw in the video, it is the ‘smearing’ (blue lines when filming directly into a strong lightsource), but this is typical of all video shot with a p&s with a ccd sensor.

Posted by Ivan - Mar 02, 2010 | 8:40 AM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

I agree with Powell about the viewfinder. I can not understand the new way of shooting pictures. When you grow old you need the viewfinder. All young people take there pictures with straigth hands. They have good eyes and have no habits of using a viewfinder. I guess they think that old people look silly, putting the camera up in front of there face. If the new LX4 has a viewfinder, it should be a camera ot its own. I don´t agree about the videofunction though. I do not want to carry a camrecorder and a camera.

Posted by Arne - Mar 02, 2010 | 6:13 PM

viewfinder frustration?

Of the 13 complains you are mentioning about the LX3, 10 are about not having a viewfinder…hmmm. Sounds like a frustrated person to me.

Personally, I am glad the LX3 hasn’t got a viewfinder. With the good old OM2 I think a viewfinder was fun. Certainly because the LCD wasn’t invented yet. But today with a DSLR like the Canon 450d I find the viewfinder much too small and use the LCD instead.

Start accepting change Dennis, soon DLSRs will loose their viewfinders as well…

The strength of a good design is in what you leave out. You can never serve all at once. I applauded Panasonic that they left out a larger zoom range to include a faster lens with wider zoom, that they left out additional pixels to include better low light performance. But that’s just my opinion.

Cheers, Pat

Posted by pat - Mar 02, 2010 | 10:05 PM

Re: Aerocaca

I wouldn’t say I’m infuriated. More like disgusted. There are so many wonderful things about the LX3, it seems so petty to dwell on one little thing that hardly matters. And to go on and on and on about it. Get over it. There’s thousands and thousands of pictures posted on the internet taken by the LX3 that look absolutely amazing for a compact camera. Very few compacts, if any, can match the quality of the LX3. BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE A VIEWFINDER! OH NO! If you want a stupid viewfinder, buy a different camera. There’s plenty out there. Your logic, just like the author’s, is moronic.

Posted by George - Mar 02, 2010 | 11:35 PM

Thanks, George!

I’d meant to mention that one of the most annoying aspects of the LX3 is the swarm of adoring fanboys who think that because it meets their limited needs (typically based on uploading pictures to the Internet) it is beyond criticism.

But now I see you’ve done that for me. And for that I thank you — you’ve said it more eloquently than I ever could.

Posted by Dennis E. Powell - Mar 03, 2010 | 2:20 AM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

I’m not saying the LX3 is above criticism. It’s just the way you insult people and make ridiculous generalizations like calling today’s digital camera makers idiots; saying that anyone who uses a still camera to make movies are foolish and should have their cameras taken away; saying that the idea for an LCD on the back of a camera is the worst idea anyone has ever had. You’re so opinionated, it’s sickening. You’re like a shock jock of the journalism world.

In case you’re not aware, there is a very lengthy thread about your article at

Here are some of my favorite quotes (not by me)…

“How a failed writer can attract readers…”

“I see that as an article by a jerk trying to attract attention to himself. He couldn’t manage the camera so the camera must be bad. Great logic.”

“The LX-3 would have been a great camera if it had a full frame sensor, view finder, a built in flash with a 50 guide number, 10X zoom, articulating LCD, oh, and cost less than $200. OK, now back to reality.”

“To use the authors analogy… asking for a viewfinder in the LX3 is like asking Ferrari to make a super-sports car that comfortably seats 4.”

“Can’t believe the author of this article can ramble on for so long about the absence of a viewfinder on the LX3! Most reviews just note its absence as a minor drawback common to most modern compact cameras and move on, but not this guy. He really should get out more.”

There’s a lot of people that didn’t think much of your little article. But they couldn’t possibly have a point because they’re just “adoring fanboys,” right? And you’re article is also “beyond criticism,” right? Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re the one who started the thread.

Posted by George - Mar 03, 2010 | 5:40 PM


There are no japanese Ferrari’s - it is culturally impossible. But camera-wise, the LX3 comes pretty close …

The lens cap “issue” is a total NON-ISSUE (at least for anyone who’s ever used a camera beyond a p&s) - simply take the cap off when using the camera, & stick it in your pocket (btw - isn’t that MUCH better than an un-usable camera because of a stuck lens cover - the most common cause of a “broken p&s?) …

No vf p&s zoom - or you can one that’s ultra-tiny & extremely inaccurate vf, like Canon’s G’ series …

EVERYTHING involves some compromise - or - a NO compromise price.


Posted by F.G. - Mar 03, 2010 | 5:59 PM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

I’ve got the LX3 and think its a great camera, especially when compared to others of the same ilk. I agree that as I get older, I’ll probably want one with an optical viewfinder, but not having one doesn’t stop me from framing beautiful shots with it now.

I’m not sure I agree that it has compromised anything by adding common digital camera “tricks”, like video and scenes. I don’t use them myself, but I’m not a snob about it and I know its important to others, so do Panasonic it seems, and there are more than enough manual controls for me to play with.

On the whole its a great camera that would have been better if it had a linked optial viewfinder. However it doesn’t, so we just have to make do with the tools we have. Those that can, do, those that can’t… moan about it it seems :roll:

Posted by Sack the Juggler - Mar 04, 2010 | 12:47 PM

Re: The View w/o the viewfinder and a slam at the critics here!

Wow…critics abound…good thing you won’t be visible in my electronic viewfinder today…good thing I don’t have ‘audio’ or ‘video’ functions on my photo making gadget either…because the silly hand-wringing and noise you all are making about one man’s written opinion would be even more disturbing to see and hear, than it is to read!

PEOPLE: this is an article expressing one man’s opinion…in the year 2010, and on a still - relatively - ‘open’ - internet. And you want him to write what? Something you like? Something you agree with? OK, I can understand a little criticism; yes, there were certainly some nasty grammatical and spelling errors at the beginning …and what was the Leitz reference about, for example? But the personal attacks and insults; and the hurt feelings and seeming outrage visible in your comments are so over-wrought! Please, take that same passion, and write yo your political representatives about more important, and life threatening issues… like political terrorism/privacy intrusion/economic manipulation/racism/tea-bagging-parties- in public, sponsored by International Banking Interests who want to enslave you, and take this unique artistic freedom of expression (photography) away from you (while they take your cash as well)! Then, go out and hold out that easily smeared LCD screen 2 feet from your face, in bright sunlight, use your scene mode, and take a pretty snapshot! Insulted yet? See how it feels? Angry yet? No..? Well then, let me finish…

Next time you read some positive review of you favorite new gadget, you should thank this writer (did you really call him a has been?), for telling the Camera Makers to think about you, the consumer, before they dumb down the next potentially great camera. The one that will cost you as much as an entire winter’s worth of fuel for your new - old wood-stove…which you may need to use, when you move out to the wilderness, to avoid the wave of violence coming after the next corporate/banker created economic disaster - coming to your town soon, provided by the very same mafia fraudster bankers that sadly, and threateningly control the marketing departments at these ‘camera’ producing companies… as they think up ways to help lower your photographic potential, one ‘dumbed down’ camera at a time!!!

Come and get me now!!!

Posted by Joepiano - Mar 04, 2010 | 4:11 PM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

Pathetic. If you want an EVF, buy an SLR. Otherwise, you’re tilting at windmills to demand -and make such a showy, verbose rant of it- EVF on what basically amounts to a higher end P&S. That stands for Point and Shoot, not whip your blather into a lather over lack of viewfinder.

I’ve had a TZ5 for about 2 years. Great camera, amazing zoom, decent to rather good picture quality. No EVF. I have no idea where they’d put it, because the back of the thing is 80% screen and the rest is buttons.

If I wanted EVF, I’d have stuck with my D100 or gone with a more traditionally shaped non P&S camera so that I’m not smashing my nose against the LCD.

Seriously, if this is the ‘worst’ critique of the LX3, then it MUST be good. And if that last pic of all the add-ons is meant to discourage/disgust, then second backfire made. I think it’s great there’s an abundance of extras to slap on the thing (if you so choose). Who cares if it adds bulk? It’s optional. Pick and choose the accessories. It’s a PAN AND SCAN, for crying out loud!

The only “self inflicted injuries,” as you put it, are the ones you just made to your own credibility, Mr. Windshield guy.

Posted by Sam - Mar 05, 2010 | 4:36 AM

Where is an electronic viewfinder mentioned? Not here.

Alas, if you had read the article, Sam, you would nowhere have found any reference to an electronic viewfinder. Nor do any of my digital single-lens reflexes have electronic viewfinders. Nor do I know of any digital single-lens reflex that has such a viewfinder — there would be no point, and it wouldn’t be a single-lens reflex. Did your D100? If so, it is a rare collectors item.

You seem to have missed the point, also, that the LX3 is a good camera which, with the addition of an optical viewfinder and the ability to accept lens accessories it would have been a great camera.

You’ve said much, though, about the kind of people who love the LX3. Methinks you’re now feeling the tiniest bit screwed, having blown half a grand on a camera that isn’t perfect. Bad idea, pinning your self-worth to a consumer product. But you have lots of company.

Posted by Dennis E. powell - Mar 05, 2010 | 7:04 PM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

A lot about the camera itself. Precious little about the great images it is capable of producing!

Posted by Alex - Mar 05, 2010 | 11:42 PM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

Viewfinder?!? Lens cap!? Do you have really used the lx3 before writing this “review”?

I can’t believe that these things may be a problem for many people!! I’ve also a Nikon DSLR (that i prefer over the lx3) and i use always the viewfinder with it,but i’ve never need a viewfinder with my LX3! It’s has a great screen that adjust luminosity by itself and it’s nicely visible also in very bright conditions.

If i were old probably i would wear glasses to use my LX3!!

I know that i’ve not a REAL Leica, i’m not interested about it and i think that LX3, shooting raw or not, has the ability and quality to give great pictures in many situations.

I think also that it’s not so smart call “idiots” anyone who thinks different from you.

Sorry for my poor English..i’m an idiot too probably!


Posted by Luca - Mar 05, 2010 | 11:45 PM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

I personally get very suprised by everyone going on about the NEED for a viewfinder in a compact camera (ok, I’ll probably get some stick for this statement). The same goes for the panasonic GF1, which many people have outright dismissed because they chose not to include a built-in viewfinder.

I think the LX3 is a great camera without a viewfinder for which I have little use. Plus, it can accept lens accessories - it just needs an adaptor, which is actually a sensible design decision, as stated below.

I use an LX3, sony W50 and a canon 450d and find all three cameras have their uses. I have also used a sony F828 and a V1. I mainly use the LX3 for carrying around town, the W50 for times when I don’t want to trash the other cameras, and the 450d for technical stuff (mainly macro) and when the LX3 is simply not enough (telephoto).

In terms of my use of a viewfinder, the F828 has an EVF and a tiltable LCD. Maybe because the quality of the EVF (refresh/resolution) wasn’t good enough, or simply because the LCD was easier, I learnt by using the main screen and actually enjoy the experience, being able to view the intended scene and maintain awareness with the environment.

I now find that using a viewfinder limits me to the tunnel view and whatever I can ‘glimpse’ though my squinting left eye, and then only on the left side of the frame - anything happening on the right is hidden by the camera.

Because of this, I have found that a sure way of disconnecting me from a scene is having to place a camera to the eye.

Try using the main LCD in a busy place and see how you feel, keeping watch on possible scenes all around the camera, not just straight in front of you. Then repeat this with only using a viewfinder. You may be suprised about how many shots you miss while the camera is stuck to your nose preparing for the next shot.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation where I actually thought I can’t use this LX3 because of the lack of a viewfinder. In fact, the screen is much more accurate for framing than a viewfinder can ever be on a compact P&S. I love the 100% frame cover of the LCD, and is something that occasionally upsets me with the 450d, coming back to find a tight macro shot needs slight cropping to meet my ‘visualization’ (maybe time to upgrade to a 7d?). Definitely something I wouldn’t trust a viewfinder on a compact for, even if it does have parallax correction markers.

At the end of the day, the LX3 has some great features that don’t seem to have been mentioned, such as the option to change aspect ratio, from 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 and now 1:1 with new firmware. A very fast, wide lens, that is great for landscapes, especially when coupled with the quick switch to 16:9 ratio, and pretty good picture quality. The 1:1 ratio may be fun and provide a novel perspective in a street enviroment - something I’ve yet to explore.

In terms of attaching extras, such as filters, I think the LX3 offers great potential. Yes, it requires a cumbersome adaptor tube, but attaching the filters (especially teleconverters) direct to a folding lens is a recipe for disaster - the added weight risks damaging the gearing and may affect zoom and ability to focus. The only other cameras I personally have had an opportunity to use that had a thread for filters was the 3.3 megapixel Sony P30 and the F828. Interestingly, both cameras used a detachable lens cap - but at least the lens cap can be fixed by string to the camera - no more lost lens caps.I also know several people who have experienced damage to the closing covers requiring repair or (sometimes cheaper) replacement.

I understand that these are limitations to some people, depending on your style of shooting, but there are other cameras that fit these needs, and the LX3 may not be one of them. Have a look at the Canon G11 and nikon P6000 (for example). But, are the viewfinders on these going to be large enough to use effectively and, more importantly, are they comfortable to use? Plus, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think any “compact” camera (not including those with EVFs) offers DSLR-like viewfinder information (e.g., aperture, ISO, shutter), meaning there is no option but to continually refer to the LCD anyway.

I do agree that the LX3 does have some limitations - the flash power is often not enough, and the barrel distortion, can be a nightmare to correct when post-processing some RAW files. At times, white balance can be a little off as well, but I’m not sure why these aren’t mentioned?

Overall, unless I win the lotto, there is no way I’m ever getting a Leica/medium format camera or a ferrari. But, I can buy a panasonic or a fiat—good performance and models to suit all budgets.

Posted by Nick - Mar 07, 2010 | 11:39 PM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

Hi browsing through this forum page and some of the rude and aggressive “shouting down of people who have valid, constructive criticisms about certain highly restrictive and incomprehensible developments on the photo market, I seriously wonder about “civilization.” I´m am not about to criticize removal of the viewfinder on compact cameras for the sake of criticizing otherwise super cameras. A decent LCD display is great for the bulk of normal point-and-shoot snapshotters who indeed make up the majority of the consumer market. These consumers are not idiots, and a great many have been misguided and have painfully discovered that LCD´s are not really any good in strong (or even quite strong)sunlight - you can´t see a damn thing. Most people enjoy going out on sunny days, not to mention go on vacation to the seaside or wherever. So they´ll all be hit by this serious problem. Some hi-end Compacts do however have a separate electronic viewfinder. The choice is limited, which means you cant avoid the other short-comings. I would like the Canon S90 - it does RAW, I can take on my innumerous mountain hikes -where for me -weight is an issue, or to a party, whatever. So please don´t get so angry at those who are not completely uncritical - that´s the job of advertising: highlight the hi-lights and suppress the downsides or drawbacks.

Posted by Anonymous - Mar 14, 2010 | 7:25 PM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

PS. I unfortnately will not buy the Canon S90 (a great pocket camera), because it has no viewfinder - so I can´t see to use all those neat features in strong sunlight - although I´m from central Europe where bright sunny days are not too abundant - I am a sunseeker. MacMecker

Posted by Anonymous - Mar 14, 2010 | 7:48 PM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

PPS. With the current plethora of digicams and rapidly expanding choice of new “cool and must-have” features (unfortunately the sensor advances are a lot slower), I´d like to suggest a braille display for the blind or those blinded by squinting at LCDs in bright sunlight

Posted by Anonymous - Mar 14, 2010 | 10:52 PM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

I have to agree with the author on this one. I too do not understand why they would take away the optical viewfinder. Just imagine a LX3 with a brightline viewfinder like in the Leica M series. Seeing as a Leica M9 costs £5,000, surely for an extra £500 they can produce an LX3 (4?) with such a view finder. That would make everyone happy and could be the best digital camera ever made?

I personally still shoot film mostly although I do have a few of the latest digital DSLRs and compacts which I enjoy using too.

Posted by Stephen B - Mar 16, 2010 | 5:24 PM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

I wonder why Mr. Powell is going to great lengths to point out this shortcoming of the camera. I have read many reviews from many websites about cameras in general, and rarely does any reviewer dwell for such a long time on ONE drawback of the camera.

Usually, an unbiased review does talk about many other aspects of the device as well. This article to me seems like nitpicking and really, more like a rant.

Wait a minute - wasn’t the LX3 announced by Panasonic on JULY 2008? That’s, gosh, almost like two years ago!

Posted by el_flynn - May 04, 2010 | 11:43 PM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

The Canon G10, G11 (not sure about the g12) have optical viewfinders that cover only 77% of the field of view and are very distorted. Many people find them useless and a complete waste of space. The G11 could have been a less bulky camera without it, or, on the other hand, the LX3 probably would have been a much bulkier camera with a quality built in optical viewfinder. Sure, it would be nice to have a nice viewfinder on the LX3, but the price would have gone up on an already expensive camera. The other points made by the author are simply ridiculous; a lot of extra, frivolous features…who cares? Just don’t use them. The LX3 interface makes it very easy to access just the tools you want to use and nothing more. The lens cap, while annoying, is just like those on most quality cameras, and offers much more protection than a delicate shutter mechanism. And how on earth is shooting with an LCD screen any “slower” than shooting with a viewfinder…than makes no sense whatsoever.

Posted by Scootah - Oct 23, 2010 | 3:24 AM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

And the photo labeled “The LX3 can become absurdly large very quickly” shows how sensational this article is. Who is going to use the optical viewfinder at the same time as the Clearviewer? And the wide angle adapter lens, though large, is probably only going to be on the camera for special occasions, as it provides an 18mm equivalent view. Show me a compact camera anywhere that can give you that kind of ultra wide angle without adding significant bulk.

Posted by Scootah - Oct 23, 2010 | 3:32 AM

Re: The View from Mudsock Heights: A Decent Camera is Eclipsed by the Great Camera It Might Have Been

I find myself eating a healthy helping on humble pie; I took my LX3 out the other day to do some shooting…it was cloudy…and I still couldn’t see a damn thing on the LCD screen due…and it was cloudy! God forbid if it had been a sunny day. I still think it is a beautifully made camera that does what it does very well, but I realized that a viewfinder really is a must for me personally. Also, the LX3 is a bit small for my hands. I decided to sell it, and I am going to give the G1 a try.

Posted by Scootah - Nov 02, 2010 | 4:48 PM