Frank B wrote:
P.S. I note some have mentioned the TZ5. Gordon's actual rating for the LX3 was one point higher. Personally I would not Highly Recommend the TZ5 due to its lack of manual control. Also, Gordon ranked its image quality1 point lower than the LX3.
I, too, noticed that Gordon gave the TZ5 a Highly Recommended rating while giving the LX3 only a Recommended rating. I think this is appropriate, though, because I believe Gordon rates the cameras relative to other cameras in the same class. Gordon does not use one sweeping set of standards to judge all cameras, and that's what I like about Camera Labs -- it makes the reviews more fair and ultimately a lot more useful to prospective camera buyers.
Before I came to Camera Labs, I was demoralized by all the extremely negative reviews of consumer-grade cameras by professional camera reviewers. When I read Gordon's reviews, I realized there was nothing wrong with the cameras -- there was something wrong with the way they were being reviewed on other websites! Other reviewers seemed to have unreasonable expectations for the features and performance of consumer-grade cameras, probably because they have been spoiled by the advanced features and superior performance or semi-pro or pro gear.
It seems to me that economics simply do not allow a moderately-priced consumer-grade camera like the TZ5 to have the same advanced features and high performance as a semi-professional camera like the LX3, which costs almost twice as much. The LX3 offers full manual control, a flash hot shoe, a fast lens, and a larger sensor -- all features appropriate for a camera in this class. The TZ5 has none of these features -- but then again it is in a very different class of cameras. Because the two cameras are meant for two very different kinds of photographers, it would actually be unfair to judge the TZ5 by LX3 standards. That's my philosophy, and it appears to be Gordon's as well.
In the end, I think the TZ5 got a Highly Recommended rating here because it was the best automatic compact available at the time of the review. I think the LX3 got only a Recommended rating because it was very good, but not the clear leader among high-end compacts; the Canon G9 is better in some ways, and the Canon G10 may yet emerge as the winner in this class.
I don't speak for Gordon, but these are my impressions based on the philosophy I've observed in his reviews.
Gordon, do you want to comment on this?