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Panasonic LF1 review

Premium compact camera with EVF and Wi-Fi

Having been impressed with the performance of Panasonic Lumix compacts before, especially those in the LX and TZ ranges, we had high hopes for the Panasonic LF1.

Happily, on the whole, we've been pretty happy with the images produced by the camera. Colours are very well saturated, without being overly vibrant.

The Panasonic LF1's 12.1 million-pixel sensor is capable of resolving a good amount of detail, although there is some degree of image smoothing evident throughout the sensitivity range if you examine images at 100%.

Panasonic LF1 review

Despite the fact that the sensor is only a 1/1.7-inch device, the camera's f/2.0 maximum aperture enables creative shallow depth of field effects to be enjoyed. Drop off in focus is smooth and attractive, while out of focus areas are rendered well. The Leica lens also produces some beautiful bokehs, too.

As with the Panasonic TZ40, autofocusing speeds are generally pretty quick, having the ability to latch on to the subject accurately in the majority of situations. Activating macro focusing enables you to get very close to the subject and is ideal for capturing frame-filling shots, such as flowers.

General purpose metering does a good job most of the time to help produce accurate exposures, even if the scene has some high contrast areas. If there are areas of very high contrast, such as a backlit building, the camera can struggle slightly, and you'll probably find that switching to spot metering helps to produce a more accurate exposure.

Panasonic LF1 review

Similarly, automatic white balance is an excellent performer, even when the lighting is mixed or artificial. It tends to err very slightly towards warmer tones under tungsten lighting, but this can be easily combated by selecting a specific white balance setting, or setting a custom white balance.

Noise under low light conditions is one area that compact cameras with smaller sensors such as the Panasonic LF1's tend to struggle with, so it's hard to deny that it was a touch disappointing to see Panasonic plump for a small sensor in its latest premium camera.

Noise performance is pretty much as we'd expect for a small sensored compact camera, being good at lower sensitivities, but with noise and smudging starting to creep in at around the ISO 400 mark.

Panasonic LF1 review

At ISO 1600, images start to become even noisier, and if you examine them at 100% you'll find there's a loss of detail. That said, the fact that the Leica lens stops down to f/2.0 should mean that you don't need to use higher sensitivities as often as you would on other cameras with a much narrower maximum aperture (including the Sony RX100).

As with other cameras in both Panasonic's compact and compact system camera ranges, a number of fun features are included on the Panasonic LF1.

The panoramic function is particularly impressive if you're shooting holiday or travel pictures. However, if you do examine images shot using this setting closely you'll notice evidence of movement and loss of detail where the camera has been swept across the scene. If you're keeping the images to small web sizes (such as on Facebook) though, they're still pretty useable.

Panasonic LF1 review

There's quite a wide range of digital filters available on the Panasonic LF1, which is welcome news. Some of these have been brought across from the range of Lumix CSC cameras, and are certainly worth experimenting with. We particularly enjoyed using Old Days and Dynamic Monochrome, but of course that's all down to a matter of taste.

The camera's 920-dot TFT LCD screen copes well in fairly bright light, except for perhaps if the sun is shining directly on it. It displays images very crisply, while text in menus and so on is rendered very nicely.

Tech Specs

Product TypeBridge Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
TouchscreenNo
Effective Camera Resolution12.1 Megapixel
GPSNo
USBYes
Wide AngleYes
PictBridgeYes
Product FamilyLumix
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourBlack
Optical Zoom7.1x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NamePanasonic
FeaturesContinuous Shooting Mode, Face Detection, Live View
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsAVCHD, MP4
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Weight (Approximate)170 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Flash Memory Capacity87 MB
Minimum Focus Distance30 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4000 x 3000
Maximum Frame Rate60 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeMOS
Total Camera Resolution12.8 Megapixel
HDMIYes
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height62.1 mm
Width102.5 mm
Depth27.9 mm
Autofocus Points23
Focal Length6 mm to 42.80 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW, MPO
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelDMC-LF1
Product NameDMC-LF1 Digital Camera
Product LineLumix
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDMCLF1EBK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

A Pocket-Size Premium Compact Digital Camera with High Image Quality and the Joy of Composing Shots

The DMC-LF1 is equipped with new 28mm wide angle LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens with 7.1x optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent: 28-200mm). This supreme lens features F2.0 high speed, which boasts approx. 2x higher speed of F2.8 lens, itself generally considered a fast lens. The extraordinarily rich amount of light allows not only using higher shutter speed to capture stunningly clear, sharp, blur-free images in lower lighting situation, but also giving impressive expression to the image by reproducing exquisite gradation and mellow defocus.

1/1.7-inch, 12.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS Sensor is larger in size than standard digital compact cameras. Thanks to the extensive light receiving area of each cell, the performance of high sensitivity image recording in low light is obviously superior with its excellent S/N ratio and wide dynamic range. The result is a high resolution image with stunning clarity not only in high sensitivity recording but also in low ISO setting reproducing rich gradation with the exquisitely wide dynamic range even when the situation is highly contrasted.

1/1.7-inch, 12.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS Sensor is larger in size than standard digital compact cameras. Thanks to the extensive light receiving area of each cell, the performance of high sensitivity image recording in low light is obviously superior with its excellent S/N ratio and wide dynamic range. The result is a high resolution image with stunning clarity not only in high sensitivity recording but also in low ISO setting reproducing rich gradation with the exquisitely wide dynamic range even when the situation is highly contrasted.

Manual control is easy to try thanks to the Control Ring, which enables direct, intuitive control over frequently-used settings - zooming, aperture, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity and filter of Creative Control / Creative Panorama. To assist learning photography, Composition Guide is also available in DMC-LF1. It is easy to shoot a photo in good composition by just choosing most suitable pattern of composition from and framing the subjects along the guided lines. Well-composed image has a stunning perspective and dramatically look refined.

Battery Life250 Shot
Package Contents
  • DMC-LF1 Digital Camera
  • Battery Pack
  • AC Adaptor
  • USB Cable
  • Hand Strap
  • Software CD-ROM
Display Resolution920000 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year
Built-in DevicesSpeaker, Microphone