Panasonic DMC-L1

Latest Update: Added link to DPReview’s hands-on preview. The comparison table against the Olly doesn’t bode well, but there could be more to it than the numbers…

What Is It?

It’s Panasonic’s first SLR, based on the Four Thirds standard for sensors and lenses.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1

Features

  • Megapixels: 7.5
  • Optical Zoom: Depends on lens (Leica 14-50mm image stablized lens supplied.)
  • Size: Unknown so far, but looks small for an SLR, and Four Thirds cameras are usually quite compact.
  • Live LCD screen for framing.

Panasonic keep making some interesting cameras, and this looks to be no exception. There’s very little information around so far, as it’s just been announced, but they seem to be jumping in to the mid-range of SLRs to start with, as the L1 is going to retail for around $2000.

My Opinion

Joining in with the Four Thirds system seems like a smart move for Panasonic. It means that there’s a few lenses already available, without them having to rush to get new ones ready. There’s not many available, though, so you’re still going to have a limited choice compared to Canon or Nikon. The image stablizing is in the lens, not the camera, which is a bit of a shame – a camera body that can turn any lens into a stablized one could be quite a selling point (I think Konica are doing this).

My main impression of this so far, though, is just how damn pretty it is. They’ve managed to make it look like a classic old Leica rangefinder, rather than an SLR, and it looks much classier to me than any of the competition. If it was my money, I think I’d still be spending it on a Canon, but I’d spare a little drool for the L1.

Reviews

None so far, as it’s just been announced, but here’s the preview from Gizmodo (also where we pinched the picture above from – thanks Gizmodo), and a hands-on preview from DPReview…

And you gotta love that retro shape of the camera’s magnesium alloy body, harkening back to the old days of the coveted Leica rangefinder cameras. You pay for that privilege, though; it will retail for $2000.

Gizmodo Announcement

…and here is Panasonic’s press release announcing the camera.

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.

DPReview hands-on preview. The comparison table with the Olympus E-330 makes interesting reading. There’s very few areas where the Panasonic leads, and it’s around twice the price. Unless it’s got some nice tricks that don’t show up in the quick lists, it doesn’t look too promising.