Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR

Last Update: Review & Sample Photos @ ImagingResource (added on 21 May’07)

Panasonic has announced the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR , a Digital SLR camera with 7.5 MP CCD sensor featuring a live MOS sensor, Supersonic Wave Filter system, a 2.5″ LCD Screen and MEGA O.I.S (Image Stabilisations). The camera is measuring 140 x 87 x 72 mm (5.5 x 3.4 x 2.8 in) and weighing 617 g (1.4 lb) with battery. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR will be available from 22nd July 2006 (Japan) and Early September (USA) for MSRP US $1,999 including the Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50mm f/2.8-3.5 OIS

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR Latest Price

>> REVIEWS (last updated: 21.05.07) | back to top

ImagingResource reviews the Sony CyberShot DSC-S700 and writes;
“Panasonic’s 7.5 megapixel sensor turns out good images. Our lab tests show good resolution and good color. Auto white balance had trouble with our indoor incandescent target, but it seems that few digital SLRs get that setting right… Overall, though the Panasonic L1 takes good pictures of objects at rest, the shutter lag, weight, size, and price make it less of a bargain. I can recommend it to photographers who shoot on a tripod frequently, and don’t take many shots of people, but those who do photograph people will find its Live View mode disappointing. The Panasonic L1 is beautiful, but not the best choice for most.”

Pocket-Lint reviews the Sony CyberShot DSC-S700 (rating: 8/10) and writes;
“The Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 is an attractive package but that Leica kit lens makes it an expensive looking one, so the value for money becomes a bit of an issue when you look at competing D-SLRs in that price bracket. The slightly retro handling and the image performance are great bonuses in my book even if the gloomy porro finder is not such a breeze, making focus confirmation quite difficult at times. However, good build and some unique features with cracking image quality combine here to make a great first DSLR from Panasonic, one well worth closer inspection.”

ComputerActive reviews the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR (rating: 3/5) and writes;
“Good points: Solidly built with sophisticated features, Previewed shots before capture, Built in image stabiliser. Bad points: Very expensive, Low light performance, Occasionally struggles to find focus in auto setting. Overall The prohibitive price, and its performance in low light, however, loses the L1 a couple of stars.”

ComputerActive reviewed the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR (rating: 3/5) and wrote;
“Although the L1 has built in noise reduction, grain was visible when selecting light sensitivity of ISO400 and above (maximum setting is ISO1600). Panasonic says this matches the level you’d expect from a DSLR, and we’d be inclined to agree if only it was a third of the price. The colours delivered are satisfying natural if the ‘standard’ film – yes, film – mode option is selected, the others being ‘dynamic’, ‘nature’ and ‘smooth’…Overall The prohibitive price, and its performance in low light, however, loses the L1 a couple of stars. “

PhotographyBlog reviewed the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR (rating: 3/5) and wrote;
“The Panasonic L1 isn’t a mass-market device, and deliberately so, therefore it feels a slightly odd choice of first DSLR for a major electronics manufacturer. In fact, it is hard to know just who the L1 would appeal to beyond the traditionalist who wants his or her DSLR to look like a ‘real’ camera, or the enthusiast who requires a plethora of dials and switches to twist and tweak and feel like they’re exerting more of an influence over the end result than they probably are. The thing is, such traditionalists will probably already own a set of Canon or Nikon lenses that they’d be better off allying to a D80 or 400D, rather than investing in a whole new set of Four Thirds optics. In terms of portability the Panasonic L1 is rather weighty and unwieldy, not to mention prohibitively costly, though that added heft – and to be fair, very nicely constructed build – somewhat cushions the blow. The L1 is certainly a high quality if slightly flawed product that I feel is more a way of Panasonic establishing itself as a premium brand among DSLRs than actually producing something it is going to sell in any great numbers. The fact that it feels not quite there yet is the reason for the rather average score; let’s hope that the Panasonic L2 builds on the positive points of this model. “

DCRP reviewed the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR and wrote;
“Photo quality is very good in JPEG mode, and excellent if you’re shooting RAW. In either case, photos were generally well-exposed, with pleasing colors and minimal purple fringing. JPEGs straight out of the camera are on the soft side, so you may want to turn up the in-camera sharpening a notch or two. Photos I took in RAW mode were much sharper and had more saturated colors to boot. Noise levels are low through ISO 400, but at ISO 800 you start to see noise reduction artifacting (in JPEG mode), and it gets even worse at ISO 1600, where I also noticed some color shifting. Results at both of these sensitivities were noticeably better in RAW mode. Even so, other D-SLRs in the L1’s class do better at high ISOs..”

TrustedReviews reviewed the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR where they rated the camera 5/10 and wrote;
“It’s the quality of that lens that is the main selling point of the camera, and while it is good, it’s not as good as I’d hoped. I found corner softness, slight chromatic aberration and noticeable barrel distortion, none to an alarming degree but certainly more than I’d expect from such an expensive lens. I took the same sample shots with it as I have taken with several other mid-range DSLRs, including the £400, 6-megapixel Pentax K100D, and to be honest I thought the Pentax produced better pictures…Although the Panasonic DMC-L1 is an interesting first SLR and the retro styling will no doubt appeal to some, and while its performance and build quality are excellent, the uncomfortable handling, dark viewfinder and fiddly controls are a handicap. It suffers from the usual Panasonic image noise problems, and the optical quality of the Leica-branded lens isn’t all its cracked up to be. There are better DSLRs with better lenses for a lot less money.”

Let’sGoDigital reviewed the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR where they wrote;
“Once you have gotten acquainted with the camera, the Panasonic L1 will allow you to capture striking, well-balanced shots. The image quality is excellent, even though the sensor remains a tad on the small side. The colour rendition proves a little too saturated, but this can easily be fixed when shooting in RAW. Up to and including ISO 400, noise does not play a part, although it quickly increases with higher values. Fortunately, MEGA O.I.S. enables extensive hand-held shooting, so that you do not easily end up above ISO 400…Panasonic DMC L1 – Recommended DSLR camera: All in all, I took quite a liking to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1. It certainly is a cheeky camera with a number of equally cheeky quirks. If Panasonic manage to deal with these small issues, they will without question have a winner in hands. The challenge that Panasonic face is that they are yet to build their reputation as a DSLR manufacturer. However, the combination of the Panasonic L1 and the superior standard lens provides Panasonic with an impressive business card, which is always a great starting point. We have certainly gotten a taste for more!”

PopPhotoMag reviewed and tested the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR where they wrote;
“This camera is built tough enough to take a beating, with a magnesium alloy casing and top panel, plus a stainless steel lensmount. In the hand, the camera is well balanced, and feels solid — although it’s a bit heavy with the Leica lens attached…Bottom Line: With its excellent stabilized zoom lens, live preview, and bright-image DOF capability, the L1 offers some significant benefits over most other DSLRs. Is it worth the $1,900 price tag? If you subtract the value of the Leica 14-50mm stabilized lens, you’re getting a well-built DSLR with a dual-position pop-up flash, tons of controls, and Extremely High image quality at most ISO speeds for only about $600. Try to beat that!”

DigitalCameraReview reviewed the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR where they wrote;
“The Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 is an impressive camera that, frankly, is going to have a hard time contending with the competition. Image quality is excellent and the camera operates well. The included “kit” lens is far and away the best kit lens that you can get, with a fast maximum aperture of f/2.8. As far as ergonomics and styling, my opinion is that people are going to be split over whether they’re good or bad. Personally, I enjoyed the styling since it gave a more “mechanical” feel to operating the camera. Pushing levers and turning rings was more fun than just pressing buttons to make a menu choice. Overall, I liked the camera, but the only purchase option is a relatively expensive kit. I’m also not sure that the camera has enough added value to compare against similarly (and cheaper) priced kits, like the Nikon D80 and Canon EOS 30D.”

CNET reviewed the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR where they rated the camera 7.5/10 and wrote;
“Despite my complaints about design, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 can create very nice images under the right conditions. With its kit lens, we saw virtually no colored fringing, and images were very sharp, with accurate, well-saturated, colors (but not overly so) and a decent dynamic range. The automatic white balance produced overly warm images with our lab’s tungsten lights, thought the camera’s tungsten preset produced much more neutral results. The manual white balance we set provided the most neutral results. Exposures were generally very good when relying on the camera’s automatic exposure system. The camera did a decent but not excellent job of balancing fill flash from its built-in flash with light from the lamp in our test scene. “

DigitalCameraInfo reviewed the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR and wrote;
“The Panasonic L1 is more fun than the other Four-Thirds cameras we’ve tested. The interface is appealing – it’s not simply nostalgic to use an aperture ring, it’s quick and comfortable too. We’re delighted that someone – anyone – is including a fast, well-built kit lens. Panasonic’s image stabilization continues to be a big advantage for the company. On the downside, DSLRs should have flexible, fast auto focus, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 does not have it. We’re not sure what market can ignore that drawback – landscape photographers who avoid twilight? The 7.5-megapixel L1 is one of a small handful of live view DSLRs, although its viewing options aren’t fabulous. The Panasonic L1 is pricey at $1,999 retail, but the quality of the lens and the camera can’t be denied. “

CameraLabs reviewed the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR and wrote;
“But if you’re the kind of photographer who’s liked the look of the L1 since it was first announced, you won’t be disappointed. Sure the viewfinder’s relatively small and dim and the operation a little quirky at times, but in its favour the L1’s analogue controls are quick to learn and use, the Live View genuinely useful, the anti-dust system unrivalled, and the Leica zoom the best kit lens around. It may not be best-suited to fast action or very high ISO work, but if you prefer a slower, more considered style of photography, it offers compelling benefits. As manufacturers increasingly converge on style and features, it’s also refreshing to find a camera which can truly be described as unique.”

Luminous Landscape reviewed the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR and wrote;
“I’m of two minds about the Panasonic L1. Part of me really would like to like it. I’m pleased to see Panasonic entering the DSLR marketplace at around the same time as Sony with its A100. Since the camera business has very much become driven by the electronic giants, especially those that OEM sensors the way the both Sony and Panasonic do, having them each marketing a full featured DSLR is no bad thing. In the case of Panasonic what I find very attractive is the partnering with Leica. The Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50mm f/2.8-3.5 that comes bundled with the L1 is almost worth the price of admission by itself, and I wouldn’t doubt that there will be Olympus owners who see it that way as well, since there’s no telling when or if Panasonic will sell this lens by itself.”

Photoxels reviewed the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR and wrote;
“We find the overall image quality of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 to be excellent with good details in the shadows and highlights. Colours come out with very good depth of tonality…The Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 handles superbly with intuitive controls and interface. Build quality is excellent and has a distinct feel of professionalism. It is obvious that a lot of thought and attentive care went into designing this camera. The three rings on the Leica lens (Zoom, Focus and Aperture) also contribute to the pleasure of using this camera. Analogue-like controls are very well implemented.”

Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR User Opinions @ Amazon

>> SAMPLE PHOTOS (last updated: 21.05.07) | back to top

Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR Sample Photos posted @ ImagingResource
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR Sample Photos posted @ Pocket-Lint
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR Sample Photos posted @ PhotographyBlog
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR Sample Photos posted @ DCRP
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR Sample Photos posted @ TrustedReviews
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR Sample Photos posted @ CameraLabs
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR Sample Photos posted @ Photoxels
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR Sample Photos posted @ DPNow
– Download Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR Product Shot: 1,2 and 3

>> VIDEOS | back to top

Panasonic DMC-L1 and DMC-FZ50 digital cameras – interview – by PixInfo

Panasonic Lumix DMC L1 video tour by CameraLabs

>> FIRMWARES & SPECIFICATIONS (last updated: 07.04.07) | back to top

Download Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR Specifications (PDF)
– Download Panasonic DMC-L1 DSLR Firmware Ver 2.0 (added on 07.04.07)
1. Added a multiple exposure function.
2. Added “panning mode”(MODE3) to the optical image stabilizer.
3. Added a “low-angle” viewing mode that makes it easier to view the LCD display when the camera is held below eye level.
4. Added feature that simplifies setting the aperture when using a lens without an aperture ring.
5. Added two manual white balance settings to GUI. GUI design uses navigational cursor to easily select, and set, white balance (WB) to change the color temperature, or set the ISO sensitivity or flash.
Time restriction for making changes was removed.
6. Added “HOLD” option to Auto Review time, enabling continuous viewing.
7. Added feature to allow zoomed playback of photos. It’s now possible to move back to the preceding images or forward to the next images while the image is still zoomed.
8. Added [AUTO] for the ISO sensitivity in the aperture-priority AE mode [A] and shutter speed-priority AE mode [S].
9. Added GUI option to easily check the firmware version.
10. Improved the performance of AE(Auto Exposure) and AWB(Auto White Balance).

>> USER MANUAL | back to top

– Download Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR User Manual (English/Spanish)


Introducing the LUMIX DMC-L1—Panasonic’s First Digital SLR Camera with Interchangeable Lens. After much anticipated interest, Panasonic is pleased to announce that its first digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera with interchangeable lens, the DMC-L1, will be on sale from 22nd July 2006, in Japan. Delivering superb photographic rendering capabilities as well as ease of use, the DMC-L1 is set to be a firm favourite.

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