Canon S90 vs. Panasonic LX5

by Mike on August 2, 2010

UPDATE: Check out my Panasonic LX5 Review

I received a couple of emails asking which camera I’d prefer – the Canon S90 or the Panasonic LX5.

Put a gun to my head, and I’d recommend that the average person go with the Canon S90.

Here’s why:

The LX5 goes 24mm at its widest vs. 28mm for the S90, and the hotshoe gives the ability to add an accessory flash or viewfinder. The LX5 might also have superior image quality given that it’s newer and has a fancy Leica-labeled lens).

But here some issues that may turn off potential LX5 buyers:

1) It’s $150 more expensive than the S90

2) It’s not even out yet (late August is current release date)

3) It’s bigger and heavier

4) It requires the use of a lens cap (LAME!)

5) It will be very hard to get at launch unless you pre-order

So overall, the S90 is a better camera for 95% of the picture-taking population. The S90 is also widely available right now from major retailers like Amazon, and it’s received rave reviews from everyone from Ken Rockwell to DPReview.

I may go for an LX5 because I’d like the hotshoe to experiment with external flashes, but the S90 is likely the better choice for you.

Read about the Canon S90 on Amazon

Read about the Panasonic LX5 on Amazon

FYI – The soon to be phased-out Panasonic LX3 (a truly excellent camera) is discounted at Amazon.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike August 5, 2010 at 6:04 am

That’s a little disingenuous, really – you ignore the existence of the LX3, which is both currently available and presumably going to be available at bargain prices until stocks run out.

Mike August 5, 2010 at 9:29 am

Mike, I added a reference, but the discount on the LX3 isn’t that big just yet. It’s still $389 (as I’m writing this). For that much, one might as well just wait for the LX5.

Besides, the S90 is still cheaper and more practical than the LX3 for most people.

Mike August 7, 2010 at 5:26 am

You would go for the LX5 but you recommend others to buy the S90? Sorry, that just doesn’t make any sense.

Mike August 10, 2010 at 10:02 am

I love this – a debate between two Mikes!

To answer your question. Yes, absolutely. The S90 is far more practical for the average person. The average person probably doesn’t care about the viewfinder option or playing with external flashes via the hotshoe.

Max August 13, 2010 at 3:51 pm

I found LX3 to be too flat unprocessed. I would recommend S90 for those not friendly with Lightroom.

Pollmak October 7, 2010 at 4:46 pm

The s90 leans more toward point and shoot and compact-ability, the LX5 leans more toward DSLR functionality (in a compact form factor).
The s90 takes excellent point and shoot pictures, the LX5 does as well, but by it’s design it encourages you to learn more about photography and use the typical DSLR functions, thus becoming a better photographer. (although it can be argued that a good eye for taking pictures makes a good photographer and not a good camera.)
The average person will choose the s90 and will associate the term RAW to uncooked meat.
The photo enthusiast, gadget geek and photographers will choose the LX5, most like only shoot RAW, and associate s90 to the term average.

The s90 comes across as lean with a pretty simile and perhaps a little inexperienced. The leanest high spec compact in it’s class.

The Lx5 is voluptuous, mature and experienced and rewards the photographer that takes the time learn and use all it’s features. The most balanced high spec compact in it’s class.
The LX5 is arguably the coolest looking practical, retro looking, high spec, compact camera on the market today.

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