However, my LX3 is showing it's age, and is long overdue for retirement. What to replace it with? I'll be frank, I'm biased. I loved the combination of Panasonic technology married to the Leica lens on the LX3. I don't think I can go wrong with the LX7 which brings an even faster (bigger aperture f/1.4 compared to f/2) lens compared to the LX3 and LX5. Cleverly, they have included a built-in ND (Neutral Density) filter in case you want to use a big aperture combined with a slow shutter speed in bright light. The ND filter is even more useful in video mode when you might want to use a big aperture for creative effect, but are limited to using a certain shutter speed. I also like what they have done with the control layout. The ergonomics look pretty good, better than the LX5, much better than the LX3.
Should you buy an LX7? This comes down to a few factors. Do you need a camera with interchangeable lenses? If so, one of the mirrorless M4/3 cameras like the Olympus Pens or Panasonic GX1 might be right for you. This would increase your creative choices with different lenses, but also increase the size, cost, and weight of your set-up.
If you don't need or want interchangeable lenses, then the LX7 looks pretty good. It's not the smallest premium compact. If you are really looking for the smallest premium compact, that honor might belong to the Canon S100. The small size comes with certain tradeoffs though. A slower (smaller maximum aperture) lens, possibly harder to grip and not feel as secure in the hand.
If I were undertaking some extreme adventure today, like climbing Mt. Everest (Err... no thank you. Once was enough!) where keeping it lightweight is of key importance, the LX7 would be at the top of my list. I'd wait for some pro reviews though, just to be sure that Panasonic haven't dropped the ball.
Just my 2 cents...
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