|Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10 digital reflex camera
Panasonic's first digital SLR was a very nice camera. Strong build, Live View, nice optics and good quality. My first reaction was; nice of Panasonic to join the club of D-SLR manufacturers. And once the news was spread that an entry-level camera was about to see the light, I followed a wait-and-see policy. I wanted to see the invention of Panasonic with my own eyes before commenting on it. And I must admit; Panasonic highly surprised me with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10 for it is undoubtedly a very special DSLR camera. Maybe even more interesting as far as news value is concerned than the latest Nikon and Canon models. Not because the Panasonic Lumix L10 is capable of surpassing other cameras as far as quality or sales figures are concerned but simply because the L10 partially redefines the Digital SLR camera.
Panasonic L10 - White balance in artificial light
It is not the image quality of the Panasonic Lumix L10. For that is fine, not exceptional or exceeding competitors. Noise is reasonably well controlled which is not the case with the automatic white balance in artificial light. Panasonic could improve this part. And also the dynamic range should be enhanced. Certainly when the camera wants to overexposure. Fortunately the kit lens makes up for a lot since it is of an exceptional class. On top of that the film modes work excellently.
Panasonic Lumix DMC L10 - Menu structure
Nor is Panasonic redefining the SLR because of a logical structure of the menu or other settings. It might be wise for Panasonic to take a look at Olympus. Especially as far as quick scrolling through the settings is concerned. The possibility of changing the settings through buttons is more and more outdated. Pressing a button and scrolling through the settings on the screen by means of a four-way controller is the proper way of operating a camera in this time and age.
Panasonic Lumix L10 - Live View LCD screen
No, the Panasonic L10 redefines the SLR because of its Live View. And although Live View in itself is not that unique anymore, almost every DSLR is equipped with it nowadays, the way Panasonic applied it is unique and sensational. Especially the free-angle screen. We used to find the latter on compact cameras but they are disappearing from these cameras and Panasonic is bringing them back but then on the D-SLR cameras. This is really daring and also appreciative. Never before a digital SLR was this flexible in use, no matter the call of other manufactures that a free-angle screen is not necessary because of the large viewing angles. Those are just excuses to conceal the fact that they did not think of it or simply did not dare to apply a screen like this.
Panasonic L10 - Auto focus with contrast recognition
Not only the screen was borrowed from the compact camera, Panasonic also applied a number of compact camera functions on the Lumix L10. Such as the auto focus with contrast recognition. The auto focus is similar to the one we find on a compact camera. It works a tad slower but focussing all over the screen is enabled. And that may come in very handy even if it is not the best solution for every situation. Or what to think of face detection? I agree, Fujifilm has also enabled this on the S5Pro but it does not let you focus with it. And the good thing about it is that Panasonic's system works really well. A true surplus value!
Panasonic Lumix L10 - Exceptional SLR camera
If you had asked me five years ago if it would be possible what Panasonic is doing right now with the Panasonic Lumix L10, I would have shouted no very loudly. But we are all human and humans can be wrong, fortunately. Because I can now say that the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10 is a very exceptional D-SLR camera. It would be possible to get even more out of it with improved picture processing. But concerning possibilities and functionalities the Panasonic L10 stands lonely on the top. Certainly because it is an entry-level type of camera. I would say: competitors beware; because I think this is only the beginning of what Panasonic are capable of. Undoubtedly to be continued…
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"After attending the press conference of Panasonic at the IFA 2007 I received a pre-production sample of the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10 digital SLR. I was able to shoot some pictures with the Panasonic L10 in the centre of Berlin and I have to say that after my hands-on experience with Panasonic’s new SLR I am positive surprised!"
View our Panasonic Lumix L10 test photos.