Canon T3i vs Panasonic LX5
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i (called Canon 600D in some regions) and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2011 and July 2010. The T3i is a DSLR, while the LX5 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (T3i) and a 1/1.7-inch (LX5) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 10 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel T3i and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon T3i and the Panasonic LX5. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The LX5 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the T3i is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic LX5 is considerably smaller (46 percent) than the Canon T3i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T3i nor the LX5 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LX5 has a lens built in, whereas the T3i is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the T3i and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|2.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|3.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|4.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|6.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|7.||Canon T5i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|8.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|9.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|10.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|11.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|12.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|13.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|14.||Olympus XZ-1||111 mm||65 mm||42 mm||275 g||320||n||Jan 2011||499|
|15.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|16.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|17.||Panasonic GF3||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The LX5 was launched at a lower price than the T3i, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon T3i features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic LX5 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the LX5 is 86 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 4.4. The sensor in the T3i has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the LX5 offers a 4:3 aspect. The LX5 has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.
With 17.9MP, the T3i offers a higher resolution than the LX5 (10MP), but the T3i nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 2.14μm for the LX5) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the T3i is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the LX5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon T3i implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the T3i for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic LX5 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the T3i provides substantially higher image quality than the LX5, with an overall score that is 24 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.5 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.6 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|17.||Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the T3i provides a higher video resolution than the LX5. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the Panasonic is limited to 720/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the T3i has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the LX5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the LX5 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon T3i and Panasonic LX5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the T3i and the LX5 write their files to SDXC cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS Rebel T3i and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the T3i has a microphone port, which is missing on the LX5. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the T3i and the LX5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The LX5 was replaced by the Panasonic LX7, while the T3i was followed by the Canon T4i. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Panasonic websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon T3i and the Panasonic LX5? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel T3i:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 10MP) with a 37% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (24 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.5 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (2.6 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/60p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.7 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 6 months after the LX5).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5:
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the T3i requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x65mm vs 133x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the T3i).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in July 2010).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the T3i is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon T3i and the Panasonic LX5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the T3i and the LX5 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon T3i||3/5||o||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|2.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|3.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|4.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|5.||Canon T5||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|6.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|7.||Canon T5i||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|8.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|9.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|10.||Canon T3||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|11.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|12.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|13.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|14.||Olympus XZ-1||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499|
|15.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|16.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|17.||Panasonic GF3||3/5||82/100||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon T3i vs Panasonic LX5
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon T3i||Panasonic LX5|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||24-90mm f/2.0-3.3|
|Launch Date||February 2011||July 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon T3i||Panasonic LX5|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||7.85 x 5.89 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||46.2365 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||9.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||2.14 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||21.59 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||720/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||Venus FHD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||65||41|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||19.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||10.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||793||132|
|Screen Specs||Canon T3i||Panasonic LX5|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon T3i||Panasonic LX5|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.7 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon T3i||Panasonic LX5|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon T3i||Panasonic LX5|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||440 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
133 x 100 x 80 mm
(5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
110 x 65 x 43 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||570 g (20.1 oz)||271 g (9.6 oz)|
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