For any LX3 owner, Laurence Kim’s 3 part review is a must read. In it, he describes the incredible JPEG results of the LX3. They are truly amazing, and, unless you know you’re going to be doing a lot of processing, I recommend JPEG as well. I’ve had success shooting handheld 3 exposure shots to use later with Photomatix to create an HDR image. This was my plan going into Oaxaca to capture the doors and windows. Because of the post processing involved in these images, I convinced myself to shoot RAW. It’s easy enough to shoot handheld JPEG in good light, but RAW files take far longer to write onto an SD card, even a Class 6 card. Due to the longer write times, I was unable to handhold 3 consecutive shots with minimal movement. As a result, most of my handheld HDR shots didn’t turn out.
The second issue, Intelligent Auto vs. manual control. Again, we’re dealing with an incredibly intelligent engine. The LX3 knows its business. The only real downfall on IA mode, is that it will push the ISO to 400, which in many instances has too much noise. But Panasonic addressed this issue by giving you an ISO limit option. IA is great, but in instances of long exposure, depth of field, etc., you will obviously want manual control. If there’s plenty of light and DOF isn’t an issue? IA is a great choice. I still find myself stuck on manual as I feel like it’s making me a better photographer. When you hear the likes of Scott Bourne say that he uses IA on his LX3, you gotta think there’s something there!