View Full Version : Bodies / Media Panasonic DMC-L1 7.5 MP

07-31-2006, 12:33 AM
Product Features
7.5-megapixel Live MOS sensor captures enough detail for photo-quality 16 x 21-inch prints
2.5-inch LCD display with unique Live View functionality
Film-camera body layout, with shutter-speed dial and on-lens aperture adjustment
Leica 14-50mm Mega OIS lens included (equivalent to 28-100mm in 35mm photography) with 100 percent view-field coverage
Supersonic Wave Filter system for dust reduction; Venus Engine III processing engine
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Full Press release here (http://fourthirdsphoto.com/vbb/showpost.php?p=79306&postcount=1)
Tech spec's here (http://fourthirdsphoto.com/vbb/showpost.php?p=79310&postcount=2)
User Manual & Firmware info here (http://www2.panasonic.com/consumer-electronics/support/Cameras-Camcorders/Digital-Cameras/Lumix-Digital-Cameras/model.DMC-L1K)

Camera reviews:
Cameralabs review (http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/PanasonicL1/index.shtml)
DPreview (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmcl1/)
Luminous-landscape.com (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/Panasonic-L1.shtml)
Let's go digital (http://www.letsgodigital.org/en/camera/review/127/page_1.html)

roger h
03-02-2007, 07:49 AM
Now that I've had my L1 for a few weeks and had the opportunity to make some exposures with it, I thought I'd share my experience with the camera. I bought the kit for $1299 plus shipping from Costco on their special in late December '06. I had not handled the camera prior to purchasing it, but was primarily interested in the 14-50mm Mega OIS lens. I saw the body as a bonus.

The Panasonic DMC-L1 is eccentric. You either adapt to it or you won't like it at all. Obviously the goal of the designers was to make it feel VERY much like an M-series Leica and they did an amazing job. It DOES feel very much like an M-series Leica. Even thought the body is a little "thicker", the shutter release feels like its exactly in the same spot that you'd find it on an M body. If you're used to finding it there, it's great. If you're used to an ergonomic body like the E1, and expect that all new bodies will be "ergonomic", it's gonna drive you nuts.

The body feels rock-solid. The rubberized covering provides a solid grip and nice feel. As a "left-eye" shooter and eyeglass wearer, the eyepiece projects out over the body and does provide sufficient relief. The eyepiece protrudes about 1/2" from the back of the body though, which can make putting it into a camera bag a challenge. The body appears to be about 3/4" shorter top-to-base plate than the E1 which allows it to fit into my LowePro Omni Sport camera bag better.

The viewfinder is more dim than the E1, but is still bright enough that I don't have a problem with it. It is not a "quiet" camera. The internal mirrors and other things that move inside make for some distinctive sounds. Not necessarily loud enough to be disturbing, just loud enough that it's not "quiet".

Live View isn't a big feature for me, but it has some nice advantages and works well. Since I'm not a regular user of Live View, not having a tilt screen isn't a major drawback, but it may be for some. That said, it does have a feature that increases the pixel backlight for high angle viewing that actually works better than I'd expected.

The controls, dials, and buttons are all well laid-out and, except for a shutter speed dial on the top and the "Mode" buttons on the top, all of the controls are located on the back of the camera. They're easy to operate, the function is clear and easy to find, but they do require you to take the camera away from your eye to manipulate them. The camera uses SD cards for storage media. It has a battery very similar to the BP-1, but uses a proprietary contact system on the battery.

The built-in flash is interesting, and the "bounce" feature is nice. I'm personally OK without a built-in flash in my cameras, and prefer the FL36 and FL50, but for someone who uses flash only occasionally and under small-room conditions, the flash is competent and easy to use. For the average consumer, the built-in flash may be all they'll ever need.

Auto focus seems to be fast and on-point about 95&#37; of the time. I haven't taken time to play with the various focus point options yet, but they're placed fairly close in the viewfinder anyway.

This is not a "pro" camera in the sense that I'd be happy using it every day when the camera HAS to bring home the shots under all conditions, but I'd place it high on the list of "advanced amateur" equipment and will be great for vacations, snapshot shooting, and any situation where weather-resistance isn't an issue, and you have time to operate the controls before shooting. It has no PC sync cord connector, and has no provision for a battery grip. It was obviously not designed for a studio setting. The E1 is a much better choice for a studio camera; operating in hostile environments; when you need a solid hand grip on your equipment; or where the added power a grip battery provides is necessary. The E1 is definitely more "comfortable" to shoot for more than a few shots at a time. The DMC-L1 is an superb addition to any pro's bag though, especially with it's higher pixel count and live view feature. There are times when those features could be useful for a working pro.

The Leica lens is the showpiece of the kit. The Mega OIS optical stabilization is worth the dollars for the kit, even if you never use the body! I'll try to do an evaluation on the lens and subjective comparison with the 14-54mm Olympus lens later, and in the appropriate forum.

All-in-all, I'm very pleased with the L1 and it's kit lens. It has become my regular "lightweight out and about camera" in a kit with the 14-50, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, a Zuiko 18-180 zoom, and the FL36 in the Omni Sport bag. This combo will be accompanying me to Australia and several other shorter trips this summer.


05-04-2007, 03:44 PM
I am the proud owner of a Panasonic DMC-L1 w/ a Leica 14-50mm f2.8-3.5. The is one fine kit. I enjoy the traditional controls. I tried many other DSLR's and this is the one for me. Because I am an old timer, I picked up a 4/3 to Nikon adapter. Now my old Nikon F lenses work great. Using my old Nikkor 50mm gives me at 100mm at f1.4. Wow head shots in the dark!

06-20-2007, 05:36 AM
I have had my L1 for 3 months now and have taken over 1000 pics with it. I too tried a lot of cameras before deciding on the L1. The analog-like controls, the metal body, the fact that the viewfinder is far left so I don't get "nose grease" all over the lcd. I found I could see the best through this camera over the Canon, Nikon, Or Pentax 10 mp cameras.
My kit includes
Panasonic L1 and Leica 14-50 lens
Sigma 55-200
MC Rokkor 24mm 2.8,50mm 1.4, 100mm2.5, 300mm 5.6 and others
Vivitar 285 flash
I had a problem with the zoom "catching" slightly between 18 and 24 mm. Panasonic exchanged the lens immediately no questions asked. And the Leica lens is simply amazing.
The live view is great for photographing static objects, and gives the camera a view camera feel. I guess this camera sort of appeals to us older folks who learned on view cameras, TLR cameras, and manual SLR's.

10-28-2008, 03:18 PM
I've owned my L1 for 15 months now... decided to make a stab at the review.
This is my first dslr camera, so a purely subjective take on the DMC-L1

Pros: Kit lens is extremely sharp, fast and well built, with built in lens image stabilization... nothing better in its class (14-50mm f/2.8-3.5)

Aperture ring on lens functions with L1 camera body for all Panasonic and Leica lenses.

Dedicated buttons for flash adj, ISO, white balance, live view... two customizeable buttons on top of camera.

Shutter speed dial on top of camera, with exposure adj. switch and frame rate adj. switch beside it.

Thumb wheel adj. for easy adjustment of dedicated button designations, as well as easy menu navigation.

Two position built in flash, bounce flash.

Menus are easy to find and 'just make sense' so the manual is almost an unnecessary accesory.

SDHC memory card

Long battery life, 600 clicks without live view use.

Cons: Noise at high ISO 800 and above, occasional banding issues.

some color noise even at ISO 200

Very dark viewfinder, hard to see settings in vf (on the right of frame) especially with glasses on. The ME-1 magnifier does not help much and makes it impossible to see camera settings without looking in vf at an angle.
Extremely difficult, impossible for me, to manual focus in low light even with an f/2.8 lens, and the camera can't auto focus well either in poor light.

Price paid: US$500 for kit, nib (Craigslist);)

This L1 is built like a tank. It fits my large hands perfectly, and its weight is well balanced for use with the kit or other larger lenses. Very high quality construction, magnesium alloy body. I have had zero issues with performance or durability... even a few bouts in the rain and then buckets of sand also. I have used it exclusively in all my excursions in the high heat and humidity of Florida and constantly exposed it to salt air, direct sunlight, and the other usual beach elements. Am just about to roll over 25,000 actuations, with no diminishment in shutter functions. I have been able to print 16" by 20" for happy customers with this 7.5 Mp camera. If they were to upgrade the guts to more recent standards for sensor size and performance, with a larger, brighter viewfinder while keeping everything else the same, I would happily own the next body in series!

Here is a sample image taken with the kit lens, a masterpiece of Leica engineering.:D


10-28-2008, 06:50 PM
Had mine for over a year and a half now (late Oct 2008). Couple ten thousand photos later, it's one of my favorite cameras and has produced some of the best photos I've made with a digital SLR camera.

The standard 14-50/2.8-3.5 lens is super. A bit of barrel distortion at the wide end but it is overall sharp and contrasty, with good bokeh, across the board.

The L1 is not the fastest responding camera in the world, neither is it the fastest to write files to storage, but neither of these things get in my way. It's got good ergonomics and is easy to setup and use. Most functions that you use do not require dipping into the menu system once you have the camera configured to your preferences. The bounce flash and overall build quality are exceptionally good. The Live View works nicely, if a little slow and clunky on autofocus.

I rate the image quality as excellent up to ISO 800, but even ISO 1600 can be used for some subjects with care taken in exposure.