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Panasonic LF1 review

Premium compact camera with EVF and Wi-Fi

The Panasonic LF1 occupies the same space as a number of other premium compact cameras already on the market, and while it looks good, it's not really offering anything that the others already out there don't do in terms of image quality. What it does have, however, is an electronic viewfinder, which really makes it stand out from the crowd.

We're a little disappointed to see that Panasonic has stuck with the relatively small 1/1.7-inch sensor instead of opting for something larger, such as the 1-inch device found in the Sony RX100, which is still king of the current premium compacts.

That said, there are a few worthwhile points that make up for the compromise that is a smaller sensor. First of all the physical size of the overall camera can be kept smaller, making it a much sleeker pocket snapper.

Secondly, it's easier - or perhaps we should say cheaper - to produce a lens with a more extensive zoom range to pair with a smaller sensor. So, while the RX100 has a relatively short 3.6x optical zoom, the Panasonic LF1 manages to house a 7.1x zoom optic, making this the more flexible option overall.

In terms of its specs, the Panasonic LF1 compares reasonably closely with the Olympus XZ-2, which is considerably more bulky (although it does also have a tilting screen), making it impressive that it houses similar specifications in a much smaller body.

Images produced by the Panasonic LF1 are good, but they're not amazing. While colours are bright and punchy, and detail is good at lower sensitivities, there's more noise and loss of detail than we'd ideally like to see at mid-range ISO sensitivities, so you'll be wanting to avoid those if possible.

That said, if you're intending to use the camera mainly in good light (such as for travelling) then you'll likely be very happy with the quality.

One of the big bonuses of this camera is its inbuilt Wi-Fi capability. Made all the better if you have an NFC-enabled device (bad luck Apple users), it's pretty neat to be able to control the camera via your smartphone, along with saving images from the camera onto your device for sharing to social networks.

It's unfortunate that Panasonic's direct upload system is much clunkier, because this really lets it down compared with the likes of Samsung's much easier methods on its range of smart cameras, such as the Samsung Galaxy Camera.

We liked

With a stylish and sleek exterior, this is an ideal pocket camera for those looking for something that still gives them full manual control. Traditional photographers will no doubt also appreciate a viewfinder, while the fact that it's a high resolution electronic device makes it much more useful than the very basic optical device found on the Canon G15.

We disliked

There's a little too much noise at higher sensitivities, so it's best to avoid using this camera for too much low-light work if you can avoid it.

Final verdict

Although Panasonic has undoubtedly created a very likeable and capable camera in the Panasonic LF1, we can't help but be a little underwhelmed by it overall. Aside from the electronic viewfinder, it doesn't offer anything too different from those that are already on the market.

That said, if you're looking for a compact camera to use as an everyday backup to your main, heavier, camera, then it is a very good option with very good image quality and some fun features, such as digital filters and panoramic mode. We'd have liked to have seen a touchscreen, though.

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
Flash ModesAuto Flash, Flash ON, Flash OFF, Slow Sync, Red-eye Reduction, Red-eye Fix
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