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Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 Review

Review Summary
Reader Score: 7.22 (out of 10)
Review: "As one realizes immediately when picking it up, the Panasonic DMC-L1 is a different type of camera. Alone in the current digital photography universe, it offers all the analogue controls of traditional SLR film cameras, as did the DMC-LC1 (or Leica Digilux 2) two years ago.

The Panasonic DMC-L1 is a camera designed for the experts, and for those who enjoy the process of photography as much as its results, for they are the ones that most likely will appreciate the analog controls of the L1, and its big stabilized Leica lens. The capabilities of the L1 are impressive, and the controls available to obtain specific results are excellent. All that the camera needs now is a greater range of stabilized Leica lenses."

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Other Reviews For This Model

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
CNET Reviews 8.50  11-21-06 Read Full Review
Review: "While Panasonic has been making digital cameras for a while now, the L1 seems to indicate they still have a lot to learn. Its design doesn't have the comfort of the advanced ergonomic bodies offered by more established camera makers. While the kit lens is nicer than many kit lenses out there, the extra cost associated with it puts Panasonic at a major disadvantage..

If Panasonic is really serious about building digital SLRs, it's going to have to invest heavily in effective noise reduction and start paying attention to the ergonomics of its body designs. Plus, it'd be nice of the company to realize that, while a nice kit lens is certainly welcomed, it also need to sell its bodies without a lens...

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
Camera Labs 8.25  10-26-06 Read Full Review
Review: "The Lumix DMC-L1 marks Panasonic’s debut into the digital SLR market. Officially announced back in February 2006, but only widely available now, the Lumix L1 is a significantly different proposition to the debut of rival consumer electronics giant Sony. For while the Sony Alpha A100 goes up against entry-level models like the Canon EOS 400D / Rebel XTi, Panasonic’s chosen to aim its debut at a higher-end market.

...the biggest issue facing the L1 is its perceived value. It may sport many unique features and come with by far the best kit lens so far, but still has a high cost of entry, especially for a camera with ‘only’ 7.5 Megapixels – it costs typically double that of, say, Canon’s EOS 400D / XTi kit which may have a far worse lens, but boasts higher resolution, lower noise at 1600 ISO, quicker operation and much superior AF. Here’s how it compares with a few key models."

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
DCResource 8.20  01-21-07 Read Full Review
Review: "The Lumix DMC-L1 marks Panasonic's entry into the crowded midrange digital SLR market. Co-developed with Olympus (whose E-330 is quite similar), the DMC-L1 packs a 7.5 Megapixel LiveMOS sensor, a FourThirds lens mount, a 2.5" LCD display with live view, full manual controls, dust reduction system, and a Leica-style body that's literally built like a brick.

The Lumix DMC-L1 is an intriguing product, and a good first digital SLR for Panasonic. It offers a lot of features, some of which are quite unique, though some of its frustrations (namely noise at high ISOs, so-so image processing, and poor ergonomics) really stick with you. The biggest problem I have with the L1 is its price: no matter how nice the lens is (and it IS nice), $1700 is a steep price to pay for a 7.5 Megapixel camera that's far from perfect."

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
Imaging-Resource 8.20  05-21-07 Read Full Review
Review (Summary): "To call the Panasonic Lumix L1 unconventional in design would be an understatement. Where other cameras try to trim away unnecessary elements, the Lumix L1 tries to be even more block-shaped than the Olympus EVOLT body it's based on. Panasonic is either trying to convey a rangefinder aesthetic on this Four-Thirds system SLR, or simply bowing to Leica's taste in camera body design, as the Leica Digilux 3 shares the same skin. ...

... I'm just not as impressed with the Lumix L1 as I wanted to be. I already knew it would have much of the guts of the Olympus E-330, which also left me disappointed. Though the L1 lacked the Live View A mode that caused so many problems with that camera, it's not significantly better without it. The optical viewfinder is still dim, and what was once the Live View B mode on the E-330, despite its enhancements, is slower than ever. This just isn't a camera for most types of photographers. ..."

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
DPReview 8.05  06-21-06 Read Full Review
Preview: "The DMC-L1 represents another first, it's the first non-Olympus Four Thirds digital SLR which has to be good news for the system which has up until now been an Olympus only affair. When it was announced many noted the resembelence to the E-330, this is no coincidence as the DMC-L1 shares its optical subsystem (lens mount, mirror box, viewfinder, auto focus and exposure sensors) with the Olympus E-330.

The L1 features the same 7.5 megapixel 'LiveMOS' sensor used in the E-330 (which we now know is manufacturered by Panasonic), this provides the camera with TTL live view capability in a similar manner to the E-330. Unlike the E-330 however the DMC-L1 does not have a secondary Live View CCD and so provides only one Live View mode, this is known as 'B mode' on the E-330 and utilizes the main image sensor. The downside to this is that although the DMC-L1 provides auto focus in Live View it requires the mirror to be lowered and raised again during focusing."

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
Photoxels 8.00  08-08-06 Read Full Review
Review: "Panasonic did not cut any corners when it introduced the Lumix DMC-L1, its first digital SLR. With an elegant body design reminiscent of the rangefinder cameras, the Panasonic L1 succeeds in re-introducing analogue-type controls that work flawlessly: a Shutter Speed Dial on the top of the camera and an Aperture Ring on the new made-specifically-for-digital LEICA lens work together to set exposure control and select shooting modes intuitively.

If you are thinking of moving up to a digital SLR, or are keen to return to enjoying a dSLR with excellent analogue handling and feel, then be sure to try out the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1. With Live View LCD, optical image stabilization in the lens, built-in bounce flash, built-in dust reduction system, and excellent image quality, you may find that photography is intuitive and fun again."

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
Photography Blog 7.75  03-20-07 Read Full Review
Review: "The Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 is the first foray by Panasonic into the digital SLR market, and the Japanese consumer electronics giant has certainly taken an interesting approach. Instead of starting off slowly with an entry-level, beginner's camera, Panasonic has attempted to make its long-term intentions clear by launching a much more serious and distinctive camera. With a background in electronics, it made sense for Panasonic to ally itself with two photographic veterans, and the DMC-L1 features Leica technology for the optical system, and is based on the Four Thirds sensor standard as championed primarily by Olympus.

...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."

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
Popular Photography 7.67  12-02-06 Read Full Review
Review: "It's not easy being the new kid on the block, but it helps to have friends who are well known in the neighborhood. Take Panasonic, new to digital SLRs, and veterans Olympus and Leica. With their help, Panasonic hopes its new 7.5MP Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR ($1,900, street, with lens) will stand tall against the big guys.

The super-sharp Leica lens helps explain why the Lumix's resolution test scores in our lab place it slightly ahead of the 8.2MP Canon EOS 30D in sharpness and help it achieve an Excellent resolution rating. The low power consumption of the sensor also helps the L1 achieve a CIPA battery life rating of more than 400 shots with its rechargeable Li-ion battery."

Web Site Review Score Date Added Go To Review
Digital Camera Info -----  11-15-06 Read Full Review
Review: "The Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 is a Four-Thirds format, 7.5-megapixel DSLR with live preview. It comes with an optically stabilized Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50mm, f/ 2.8-3.5 lens; the camera body and lens package is priced online at about $1,750, although the retail is $1,999. Panasonic and Leica have a close relationship - many lenses on compact Panasonic cameras are branded Leica, even though Panasonic builds them.

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..."

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