Quality v. Weight
I normally use a Canon DSLR but am now looking for a lightweight camera for use on longer walks which is still capable of producing good quality landscape images. I have used an Olympus E-420 with its lightweight 14-42mm kit lens but have been disappointed with the results, which lack sharpness. Upgrading to a higher quality lens would increase the weight significantly.
I am wondering what quality is achievable with compact or hybrid cameras for landscapes, and am considering the Canon G11, Panasonic LX3, Leica D-Lux 4 or the Panasonic hybrids. Can anyone offer any advice?
TBH there is not much wrong with the Oly 14-42 kit lens and it should be capable of very sharp results. I have one and use it when I do not want to carry a large lens around and I have never complained about the results. No kit lens is likely to give better results.
That said I think that there may be several possible reasons for the lack of sharpness you experienced
1. A bad sample, and if that's the case the owner should get it replaced / repaired.
2. The camera might not be focusing correctly - again this is fixable
3 You might be using it in low light and be losing definition due to camera movement. I think that the E420 is the only Oly that does not have in-body image stabilization (IS)
I think that 3 is by far the most likely - if so any camera without IS is likely to have the same problem. Perhaps you should make a new short list with just cameras offering IS, either in body or in the lens you should still have plenty of choice.
I'd probably edge you towards the G11 of the three you mentioned, simply because it's the most versatile in terms of zoom length, but the LX3 is just as good optically. The Leica is touch overpriced even though it's up to thier usual high standards.
Thanks for your suggestions. I am still considering the Canon G11 and Panasonic Lumix LX3 as lightweight options. I am now also wondering whether the larger sensor of the Panasonic Lumix GF1 would result in a better image quality than that possible with an advanced compact, particularly since the 14-45mm lens seems to have received a very good review.
Any further comments would be welcome.