|Panasonic Lumix DMC L1 DSLR review : Panasonic have been making digital compact cameras for years. Remarkable features include MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilisation) and lenses that sport the Leica name. However, it seems that Panasonic are eager for more. The Japanese brand wants to be regarded as a full-fledged camera manufacturer. To achieve this, they need a DSLR, which is still considered the showpiece in the world of photography. Panasonic decided to join forces with Olympus. Olympus possess many years of SLR experience, whilst Panasonic know more than a thing or two about electronics. The result of this cooperation is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1. An interesting camera, which clearly shows Panasonic intend to take things seriously.
Panasonic Lumix L1 - FourThrids system
With the announcement of the Panasonic L1 early this year, the FourThirds System finally has a fellow manufacturer that works according to this system. At the Photokina, Leica introduced a virtually identical camera, so now there are even three brands. One of the advantages of the FourThirds System is the standardisation. Lenses can be interchanged regardless of the actual brand. This makes it significantly easier for the user to decide on a system. Moreover, the FourThirds System enables you to choose exceptionally compact housings and equally compact lenses.
Panasonic L1 - Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50mm lens
Besides Olympus, Panasonic have also cooperated with Leica. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that the lens sports the Leica name. However, this does not necessarily mean Leica have actually designed or built the lens. In this case, it means the lens meets the design requirements set by Leica, which are very high indeed. The lens, a Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50mm f/2.8-3.5, is thus quite large and solid as a rock. All in all, this gives the Panasonic Lumix L1 plenty of allure. You are clearly not dealing with a plain or simple camera, the photographer knows exactly what he's doing. That is the impression given by both the camera and the lens. Simply wonderful!
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 SLR - Live View
One of the remarkable features of the Panasonic L1 is of course Live View, which we have already seen on the Olympus E-330 digital SLR. Both cameras use the LiveMOS designed by Panasonic. Live View enables you to capture your images via the LCD screen instead of through the viewfinder. This certainly has its advantages, especially if you are a keen macro photographer. The Live View can be used both with and without auto focus. Contrary to the Olympus camera, however, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 features only one Live View mode, and lacks the adjustable screen. The LiveMOS sensor offers a total of 7.5 million pixels. A very decent number, although it may seem somewhat outdated from a psychological point of view, especially considering the ongoing "pixel war". Don't let this distract you, however, because pixel quality far outweighs the actual number. The sensor is based on CMOS technology, which is becoming an increasingly common feature in cameras. A major advantage of this is, among other things, the lower power consumption.
Panasonic L1 LiveMOS - Venus Engine III
The signals from the LiveMOS are converted to visible images by a new Venus Engine III. The processor plays a main role when it comes to deciding the actual colour rendition and the signal/noise ratio of the photos, and should thus be seen as an important part of the photographic chain. In fact, you can compare it to the film developer. In addition to this, the Venus Engine III is responsible for rapidly transporting the photos to the memory card. The new processor is a significantly improved version of the Venus Engine II. Panasonic have succeeded in lowering the processor's power consumption to 80%, compared to the previous version. All in all, you will thus get more for less.
Panasonic L1 DSLR - SuperSonic Wave Filter
One of the main obstacles that users of DSLR cameras encounter is the presence of dust on the sensor, which causes annoying black spots in the photo. More and more manufacturers are developing systems to deal with this irksome issue. Panasonic apply a vibrating filter in front of the sensor. This SuperSonic Wave Filter literally shakes the dust from the sensor. The dust is then caught by a form of adhesive strip located below, which ensures it will no longer be roaming free inside the camera. This system is in fact identical to that of Olympus, which doesn't come as a surprise, considering their close cooperation. And why break your brain over something that has already been invented?
Panasonic DMC L1 SLR camera review
The Panasonic Lumix L1 is a very interesting camera indeed, especially as it clearly indicates the path Panasonic intend to take. Moreover, it is only the first DSLR by the brand, and we will undoubtedly see more in the future. We received a so-called full-production model to test extensively over a considerable period of time. Our findings of this remarkable camera can be read in the following Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 review.