Many experienced photo enthusiasts believe that a good compact digital camera should have a few key features. It should have a good lens with a large maximum aperture, a larger sensor to allow for better light gathering ability, and a hot shoe for mounting an external flash unit. One of the reasons the LX-3 is so popular is because Panasonic has managed to incorporate all these key features into a reasonably small package.
The LX-3 is equipped with a Leica lens with a maximum aperture range of f/2 to f/2.8. This makes the camera ideal for low light shooting situations where the use of flash is not desired. The wide maximum aperture also gives the LX-3 the ability to produce images with a shallower depth of field than cameras with a smaller maximum aperture.
The sensor size of the LX-3 measures 1/1.63 inches making it one of the largest sensors built into a compact digital camera. This combined with Panasonic's decision to limit the megapixel count to 10.1 megapixels allows for larger pixels with better light gathering abilities. This translates to better high ISO performance. Of the reviews I have read, most find the high ISO performance of the LX-3 to be outstanding.
However, Panasonic not only wanted to make sure the LX-3 performed well in low light situations. They also provided photographers with the ability to mount an external flash on the camera by including a hot shoe. This helps to eliminate those unflattering portrait shots taken using the popup flash of most compact point-and-shoot cameras.
These three features are part of the reason the Panasonic Lumix LX-3 is such a great compact camera and why it continues to be so popular. To see a full list of specifications for the LX-3, please visit the Panasonic website.