Panasonic L1 vs Sony A58
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A58 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2006 and February 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (L1) and an APS-C (A58) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 7.4 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.8 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A58? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic L1 and the Sony A58. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A58 is somewhat smaller (4 percent) than the Panasonic L1. Moreover, the A58 is markedly lighter (19 percent) than the L1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the L1 nor the A58 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Panasonic L1||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||n||Feb 2006||999|
|2.||Sony A58||129 mm||95 mm||78 mm||492 g||690||n||Feb 2013||599|
|3.||Canon 350D||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|4.||Canon 300D||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|5.||Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499|
|6.||Leica V-LUX 1||141 mm||86 mm||142 mm||734 g||360||n||Sep 2006||849|
|7.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|8.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|9.||Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|10.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999|
|11.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599|
|12.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799|
|13.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|14.||Sony A68||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||610 g||540||n||Nov 2015||699|
|15.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|16.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|17.||Sony RX100||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||n||Jun 2012||649|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A58 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 40 percent) than the L1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic L1 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony A58 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A58 is 63 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the L1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A58 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 19.8MP, the A58 offers a higher resolution than the L1 (7.4MP), but the A58 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 5.51μm for the L1). Yet, the A58 is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 11 months) than the L1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A58 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A58 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.3 x 18.2 inches or 69.3 x 46.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.8 x 14.5 inches or 55.4 x 36.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.1 inches or 46.2 x 30.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic L1 are 15.7 x 11.8 inches or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inches or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inches or 26.6 x 19.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha SLT-A58 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|1.||Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Leica V-LUX 1||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|15.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The A58 indeed provides for movie recording, while the L1 does not. The highest resolution format that the A58 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A58 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the L1 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinder in the A58 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the L1 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the A58 has a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.47x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic L1, the Sony A58, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Panasonic L1||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|2.||Sony A58||1440||n||2.7 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon 350D||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 300D||optical||n||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|5.||Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|6.||Leica V-LUX 1||235||n||2.0 / 207||tilting||n||1/2000s||2.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D80||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0 / 130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n|
|10.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|11.||Olympus E-500||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|12.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|13.||Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5 / 207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|14.||Sony A68||1440||Y||2.7 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|16.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n|
|17.||Sony RX100||none||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
One feature that differentiates the A58 and the L1 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The A58 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the L1 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.
The L1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the A58 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.
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 Sony Alpha SLT-A58 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Panasonic L1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony A58||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 350D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon 300D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|5.||Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Leica V-LUX 1||Y||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D3300||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D80||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D70s||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-500||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic L10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony A68||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the L1 and the A58 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The L1 was replaced by the Panasonic L10, while the A58 was followed by the Sony A68. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic and Sony websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic L1 and the Sony A58? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2006).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha SLT-A58:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (19.8 vs 7.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 67%.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.47x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 207k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 114g or 19 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (40 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 6 years and 11 months of technical progress since the L1 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A58 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 2 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic L1 and the Sony A58 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the L1 or the A58 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Panasonic L1||..||85/100||..||+||..||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999|
|2.||Sony A58||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||599|
|3.||Canon 350D||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|4.||Canon 300D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899|
|5.||Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499|
|6.||Leica V-LUX 1||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||849|
|7.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|8.||Nikon D80||..||+||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|9.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|10.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999|
|11.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599|
|12.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799|
|13.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||..||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|14.||Sony A68||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Nov 2015||699|
|15.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|16.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|17.||Sony RX100||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1000D vs Panasonic L1
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Sony A58
- Canon 300D vs Sony A58
- Canon 400D vs Sony A58
- Canon D30 vs Sony A58
- Leica S Typ 007 vs Panasonic L1
- Nikon D1 vs Panasonic L1
- Nikon D60 vs Sony A58
- Nikon W150 vs Panasonic L1
- Panasonic L1 vs Panasonic TS7
- Panasonic L1 vs Sony RX1R
- Panasonic TZ90 vs Sony A58
Specifications: Panasonic L1 vs Sony A58
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Panasonic L1||Sony A58|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2006||February 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 999||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic L1||Sony A58|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||7.4 Megapixels||19.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3136 x 2352 pixels||5456 x 3632 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.51 μm||4.31 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.28 MP/cm2||5.41 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 16,000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||74|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||753|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic L1||Sony A58|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||207k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic L1||Sony A58|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic L1||Sony A58|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Panasonic L1||Sony A58|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||690 shots per charge|
146 x 87 x 64 mm
(5.7 x 3.4 x 2.5 in)
129 x 95 x 78 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||606 g (21.4 oz)||492 g (17.4 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.