ad stars
ad Bestseller
A potelyt.com – Photography & Imaging Resources
PW

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.

Headline Specifications
Panasonic L1
versus
Sony A58
Panasonic L1   Sony A58
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Four Thirds lenses Sony A mount lenses
7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 19.8 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-16,000 (100 - 25,600)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
2.5 LCD, 207k dots 2.7 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
750 shots per battery charge690 shots per battery charge
146 x 87 x 64 mm, 606 g 129 x 95 x 78 mm, 492 g

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.

Body comparison

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.

Size Panasonic L1 vs Sony A58
Compare L1 versus A58 top
Comparison L1 or A58 rear

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.

scroll hint
Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Panasonic L1 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 n Feb 2006 999i
2.
 
Sony A58 129 mm 95 mm 78 mm 492 g 690 n Feb 2013 599i
3.
 
Canon 350D 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
4.
 
Canon 300D 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899i
5.
 
Leica Digilux 3 146 mm 87 mm 77 mm 606 g 750 n Sep 2006 1,499i
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 1 141 mm 86 mm 142 mm 734 g 360 n Sep 2006 849i
7.
 
Nikon D3300 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499i
8.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
9.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
10.
 
Olympus E-330 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999i
11.
 
Olympus E-500 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599i
12.
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799i
13.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599i
14.
 
Sony A68 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 610 g 540 n Nov 2015 699i
15.
 
Sony A7 II 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 599 g 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999i
16.
 
Sony A6000 120 mm 67 mm 45 mm 344 g 360 n Feb 2014 599i
17.
 
Sony RX100 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 240 g 330 n Jun 2012 649i
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.

Sensor comparison

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.

Panasonic L1 and Sony A58 sensor measures

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.

L1 versus A58 MP

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.

scroll hint
Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Panasonic L1 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
2.
 
Sony A58 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.312.575374
3.
 
Canon 350D APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
4.
 
Canon 300D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
5.
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 1 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p........
7.
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
8.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
9.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
10.
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
11.
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
12.
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
13.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
14.
 
Sony A68 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.570179
15.
 
Sony A7 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990
16.
 
Sony A6000 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
17.
 
Sony RX100 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066

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.

Feature comparison

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.

scroll hint
Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Panasonic L1optical n2.5 / 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
2.
 
Sony A581440 n2.7 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon 350Doptical n1.8 / 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon 300Doptical n1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
5.
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n2.5 / 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 1235 n2.0 / 207 tilting n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y
7.
 
Nikon D3300optical n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Olympus E-330optical n2.5 / 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Olympus E-500optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
12.
 
Olympus E-300optical n1.8 / 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
13.
 
Panasonic L10optical n2.5 / 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Sony A681440 Y2.7 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
15.
 
Sony A7 II2400 n3.0 / 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
16.
 
Sony A60001440 n3.0 / 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n
17.
 
Sony RX100none n3.0 / 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.

Connectivity comparison

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.

scroll hint
Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Panasonic L1Y- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Sony A58Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon 350DY- / ----2.0---
4.
 
Canon 300DY- / ----1.1---
5.
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereo / mono---2.0---
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 1Ymono / mono---2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D3300Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Olympus E-330Y- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-500Y- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-300Y- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Panasonic L10Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Sony A68Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0---
15.
 
Sony A7 IIYstereo / monoYYmicro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony A6000Ystereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
17.
 
Sony RX100-stereo / mono--micro2.0---

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.

Review summary

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.

ilogo

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).

ilogo

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.

L1 02:17 A58

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.

Expert reviews

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.

scroll hint
Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Panasonic L1..85/100..+..3.5/5 Feb 2006 999i
2.
 
Sony A583/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 599i
3.
 
Canon 350D..80/100..+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
4.
 
Canon 300D......+ +.... Aug 2003 899i
5.
 
Leica Digilux 3............ Sep 2006 1,499i
6.
 
Leica V-LUX 1............ Sep 2006 849i
7.
 
Nikon D33003/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
8.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
9.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899i
10.
 
Olympus E-330......+o.. Jan 2006 999i
11.
 
Olympus E-500..76/100..+ +.... Sep 2005 599i
12.
 
Olympus E-300......+o4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
13.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100..+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599i
14.
 
Sony A683/5......4/54/5 Nov 2015 699i
15.
 
Sony A7 II5/5+4/582/1004.5/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999i
16.
 
Sony A60005/5+4.5/580/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2014 599i
17.
 
Sony RX1005/5+ +..78/1004/55/5 Jun 2012 649i
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.

Panasonic L1:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A58:
Check Ebay offers

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.

~
    loader

    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 Specifications
    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 Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 2.0x 1.5x
    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
    Image Processor Venus BIONZ
    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 Magnification 0.47x 0.57x
    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 Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-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
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 Type CGR-S602 NP-FM500H
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge690 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 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.

    You are here Home  »  CAM-parator  »  Panasonic L1 vs Sony A58

    Thanks for your vote!

    You rated this page 4 out of 5.


    Rating

    Any additional comment or suggestion for improvement would be welcome.


    If you like it, make sure you share it:

    • Mention this page to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
    • Bookmark it in your browser for future reference by pressing "Crtl" + "D".
    • Create a hyperlink by copying the text below into your web-project or discussion forum entry.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to provide feedback. I appreciate it.