Panasonic LF1 : extra-small large sensor camera with 28-200mm lens

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Look at this interesting little piece of camera ! The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 is really small, but yet, it embarks a large format sensor, 1/1.7″, a 12-megapixel backlit CMOS. This small compact camera also receives WiFi with the great addition of the NFC for ease of setting and an electronic viewfinder.

As mentioned, the Panasonic LF1 is extremely compact (170 / 192 Grs). Still, it gets a sensor that is typically found in bulkier cameras, a 1/1.7″ as the popular Lumix DMC-LX7. This sensor will be many times more convincing at high ISO and under low-light circumstances than small sensors 1/2.3″, which are commonly found in compact digital cameras (and some wonder why they don’t sell anymore ?….). It allows the LF1 to provide a sensibility range that extends from ISO 80 to ISO 12,800. It seems that the Canon Powershot S100 / S110 has found a challenger …

panasonic lf1
The Panasonic LF1 gets a 3″ / 921,000 dots rear LCD.

 

So yes, the Panasonic LF is very compact, its sensor is however large, but it is not it. It is also equipped with a 7.1x optical zoom lens, very versatile, as it covers the 28-200 mm! Yes, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 is also a great travel pocket camera … If you look at the front camera face, you will notice that it offers a generous aperture in wide-angle (Leica DC Summicron-Vario lens) since it offers a  maximum aperture of f /2.0 in wide-angle. This will facilitate taking photos indoors without using the flash and give your photos a little more bokeh thanks to the synergy on the depth of field between large sensor and wide aperture. This lens is naturally stabilized. I say “Naturally” as Panasonic has since 2005 decided of stabilizing ALL compact cameras. (By the way, strangely, their mirrorless Lumix G cameras aren’t….while their Olympus equivalents offer embedded Image sensor shift stabilization.)

On the video side, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 is getting the most of the CMOS sensor which allows to record video in Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels at a frame rate of 50i/60p. We can save either in AVCHD or MP4.

I had a chance to use the LF1 for a few minutes at the european press event of Pana. I have looked inside the viewfinder of the Panasonic LF1 during his presentation to the press … Clearly, this viewfinder has no other merit than that to exist : it is really poor quality, narrow, not well defined … This small electronic viewfinder 0.2″ is what can be worse in this regard. But before I criticize it, maybe should I put in perspective its presence, which can help out in many situations, and the extreme compactness of the camera. I am impressed that Panasonic has arrange to place an EVF (even a bad one) in such a small camera.

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The Panasonic LF1 will not be a cheap camera. It is expected to be sold in June 2013 for €429.

 

The LF1 is equipped with a 1/1.7″ sensor . As is customary on cameras segment, I will most certainly sell to advanced users. Consequently, PASM modes are here to please this audience and the camera has a well thought-out manual control ring around the lens, which can also be used to control the shutter speed or zoom. It is a physical ring located around the lens barrel (like on the Casio ZR1000 I am testing right now). Neat.

The Lumix LF1 offers a full range of creative filters that can be applied both when shooting and in view mode. Photographers have 15 creative filters among which 13 can also be applied to panoramic photos the camera can capture (swipe pano).

This month, Panasonic has announced three new cameras: the GF6, the GF6, and this tiny little LF1. These three cameras have one thing in common: they are equipped with WiFi connectivity and with NFC technology that allows them to connect to a smartphone or tablet itself equipped with NFC technology simply gently shocking the two devices. Using the Panasonic mobile application, we can control the camera, see what it sees, fire the shutter, zooming…. Naturally, the main use of wireless connectivity on the LF1 will be for the keenest on sharing photos and videos on social networks via tablets or smartphones…

 

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