Panasonic L1 Comparison Review
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was revealed to the public in February 2006 and is equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. It offers a resolution of 7.4 megapixel.
Is the Panasonic L1 a good camera? The L1 has a Camera Elo of 904. This rating puts the L1 below average of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (Four Thirds cameras), the L1 also ranks below average. – Well, the Panasonic L1 is more than 14 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2006.
|Digital single lens reflex|
|Four Thirds lenses|
|7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 1 600|
|2.5 LCD, 207k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second|
|750 shots per battery charge|
|146 x 87 x 64 mm, 606 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
The physical dimensions of the Panasonic L1 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Panasonic L1 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|Panasonic L1||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||n||Feb 2006||999|
|Canon 350D||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|Canon 300D||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499|
|Leica V-LUX 1||141 mm||86 mm||142 mm||734 g||360||n||Sep 2006||849|
|Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999|
|Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599|
|Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799|
|Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Panasonic L1 was launched in the US market at a price of $999. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
The Panasonic L1 features a Four Thirds sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Panasonic L1 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|Leica V-LUX 1||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
It should be noted that unlike many modern cameras, the L1 does not provide the possibility to capture videos.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the L1 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 95% and a magnification of 0.47x. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic L1 and comparable cameras.
|Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5||207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|Leica V-LUX 1||235||n||2.0||207||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.0||Y||Y|
One convenient feature of the L1 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica V-LUX 1||Y||mono||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
While the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the L1 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).
|Panasonic L1||85/100||+||..||o||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999|
|Canon 350D||80/100||+ +||o||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|Canon 300D||..||+ +||..||o||..||Aug 2003||899|
|Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499|
|Leica V-LUX 1||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||849|
|Nikon D80||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|Nikon D70s||..||..||..||o||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|Olympus E-330||..||+||o||3.5/5||..||Jan 2006||999|
|Olympus E-500||76/100||+ +||..||..||..||Sep 2005||599|
|Olympus E-300||..||+||o||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799|
|Panasonic L10||85/100||+||3.5/5||o||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Panasonic L1 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the L1.
What technology is the imaging sensor in the L1 based on?
The camera is build around a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.
Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Panasonic equipped the L1 with the Venus image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the L1?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1?
Panasonic does not publish a shutter rating for the L1. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.
Does the Panasonic L1 feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The L1's flash sync speed is 1/160 sec.
Which battery does the L1 use?
The camera gets its power from the CGR-S602, which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.
Camera to camera comparisons
In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
|Camera Model||Panasonic L1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 999|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||225 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||7.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3 136 x 2 352 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.51 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.28 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1 600 ISO|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||207k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Battery Type||CGR-S602 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge|
146 x 87 x 64 mm
(5.7 x 3.4 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||606 g (21.4 oz)|
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