Panasonic LX5 vs Sony A58
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A58 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2010 and February 2013. The LX5 is a fixed lens compact, while the A58 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (LX5) and an APS-C (A58) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.8 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A58? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic LX5 and the Sony A58 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The LX5 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the A58 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 Sony A58 is considerably larger (71 percent) than the Panasonic LX5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the LX5 nor the A58 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 A58 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.||Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||499||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony A58||129 mm||95 mm||78 mm||492 g||690||n||Feb 2013||599||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon G12||112 mm||76 mm||48 mm||401 g||370||n||Sep 2010||499||ebay.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599||ebay.com|
|5.||Leica D-LUX 5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Sep 2010||699||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D3200||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599||ebay.com|
|7.||Olympus XZ-1||111 mm||65 mm||42 mm||275 g||320||n||Jan 2011||499||ebay.com|
|8.||Panasonic ZS70||112 mm||67 mm||41 mm||322 g||380||n||Apr 2017||449||ebay.com|
|9.||Panasonic FZ200||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|10.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499||ebay.com|
|11.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499||ebay.com|
|12.||Panasonic GF3||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||n||Jun 2011||549||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic GF2||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony A68||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||610 g||540||n||Nov 2015||699||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The LX5 was launched at a lower price than the A58, 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.
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 generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the 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 Panasonic LX5 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Sony A58 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A58 is 698 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.4 and 1.5. The sensor in the LX5 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A58 offers a 3:2 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 19.8MP, the A58 offers a higher resolution than the LX5 (10MP), but the A58 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 2.14μm for the LX5) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A58 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 7 months) than the LX5, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A58 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A58 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.3 x 18.2 inches or 69.3 x 46.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.8 x 14.5 inches or 55.4 x 36.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.1 inches or 46.2 x 30.8 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 80-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha SLT-A58 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
In terms of underlying technology, the LX5 is build around a CCD sensor, while the A58 uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 consideration, the A58 offers substantially better image quality than the LX5 (overall score 33 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.7 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|5.||Leica D-LUX 5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||19.5||10.4||-583||39|
|12.||Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
|13.||Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A58 provides a better video resolution than the LX5. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Panasonic is limited to 720/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A58 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful 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 Panasonic LX5 and Sony A58 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Panasonic LX5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony A58||1440||n||2.7 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G12||optical||n||2.8 / 461||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.1/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Fujifilm X10||optical||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Leica D-LUX 5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Nikon D3200||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Olympus XZ-1||optional||n||3.0 / 614||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Panasonic ZS70||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Panasonic FZ200||1312||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Panasonic FZ150||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Panasonic GF3||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.2/s||Y||n|
|13.||Panasonic GF2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||2.6/s||Y||n|
|14.||Sony A68||1440||Y||2.7 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A5100||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Sony A3000||202||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The LX5 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A58 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 and Sony Alpha SLT-A58 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Panasonic LX5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony A58||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G12||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Fujifilm X10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Leica D-LUX 5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Nikon D3200||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Olympus XZ-1||Y||mono / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Panasonic ZS70||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Panasonic FZ200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic FZ150||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic GF3||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic GF2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony A68||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Sony A5100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony A3000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the A58 has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The LX5 does not feature such a mic input.
Both the LX5 and the A58 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The LX5 was replaced by the Panasonic LX7, while the A58 was followed by the Sony A68. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic and Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic LX5 or the Sony A58 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5:
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the A58 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x65mm vs 129x95mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A58).
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in July 2010).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha SLT-A58:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (19.8 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 44%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (33 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/60p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (690 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the LX5 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A58 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 Panasonic LX5 and the Sony A58 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the LX5 or the A58. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.||Panasonic LX5||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony A58||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||599||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon G12||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499||ebay.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599||ebay.com|
|5.||Leica D-LUX 5||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||699||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D3200||5/5||+ +||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599||ebay.com|
|7.||Olympus XZ-1||4/5||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499||ebay.com|
|8.||Panasonic ZS70||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||449||ebay.com|
|9.||Panasonic FZ200||3/5||+ +||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|10.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499||ebay.com|
|11.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499||ebay.com|
|12.||Panasonic GF3||3/5||82/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic GF2||3/5||82/100||..||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony A68||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Nov 2015||699||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A5100||4.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A3000||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Sony A58
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Panasonic LX5
- Canon 300D vs Panasonic LX5
- Canon 5DS vs Sony A58
- Fujifilm X-T200 vs Sony A58
- Fujifilm XQ2 vs Panasonic LX5
- Nikon D80 vs Panasonic LX5
- Olympus TG-5 vs Panasonic LX5
- Panasonic LX5 vs Sony HX400V
- Sony A58 vs Sony A7 IV
- Sony A58 vs Sony H200
- Sony A58 vs Sony NEX-5
Specifications: Panasonic LX5 vs Sony A58
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||Panasonic LX5||Sony A58|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||24-90mm f/2.0-3.3||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2010||February 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic LX5||Sony A58|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.85 x 5.89 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||46.2365 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.8 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||19.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||5456 x 3632 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.14 μm||4.31 μm|
|Pixel Density||21.59 MP/cm2||5.41 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/60p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 16,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus FHD||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||41||74|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||19.6||23.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||132||753|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic LX5||Sony A58|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic LX5||Sony A58|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic LX5||Sony A58|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Panasonic LX5||Sony A58|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||690 shots per charge|
110 x 65 x 43 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
129 x 95 x 78 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||271 g (9.6 oz)||492 g (17.4 oz)|
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