Saturday, November 24, 2012

Trail Running with the Panasonic LX5 Camera

Bend in the Trail by Wayne-K
Bend in the Trail, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

I went for an early morning run on the Pleasanton Ridge with my new Panasonic LX5 camera and learned something…I’m out of shape. I also confirmed the LX5 is a wonderful camera for trail running. In the past, I carried my Nikon D80 DSLR and 35mm f/1.8 lens in a Lowe Alpine fanny pack. While this was a very manageable kit for the trails, I found it bit bulky for running, especially when carrying a water bottle and other necessities. I also longed for a wide angle lens for trail runs, but unfortunately Nikon doesn’t make a compact, lightweight, wide angle prime for APS-C “crop-sensor” cameras. My 12-24mm f/4 DX zoom lens is great for hiking, but adds too much bulk and weight to my running kit.

The Panasonic LX5 was on sale for $250, so I decided to purchase one. I wanted a compact “carry around everywhere” camera, but didn’t want an “idiot camera” with no manual controls. The LX5 is like a mini-SLR, offering the photographer a lot of creative control. It includes aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual shooting modes. One can even set the hyper focal distance in manual focus mode, which I didn’t realize was possible on these compact cameras. The LX5 also saves the files in raw format, which provides a lot of creative options in post-processing. I’m not an excessive post-processor, but I do enjoy black and white conversions, and the ability to adjust the saturation, contrast, etc.

The LX5 is an ideal trail running camera. It sports a sharp 24-90mm Leica lens (35mm equiv) and the 24mm is perfect for capturing landscapes on the trails. I also love the compact size and low weight. I am able to fit it into a small Case Logic case, which slides onto the belt of my Nathan water bottle holder. While the Panasonic LX5 won’t replace my digital or film SLR cameras, it’s a great addition to my photography toolbox. It enables “better than cell phone camera” image quality, with the manual controls of an SLR, but without the bulk and weight of an SLR.

Here are a few photos from my run this morning on the Pleasanton Ridge.

Pleasanton Ridge


Trail Runner (Self Portrait)

No comments:

Post a Comment