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The Panasonic Lumix LF1 is the latest "Serious compact" camera from Panasonic and features a bright f/2.0 Leica 7.1x optical zoom lens, 12 megapixel sensor, and rather uniquely for a compact camera, it has a built in electronic viewfinder.
Looking at the classic design, you can imagine that this compact camera could be picked up by Leica, for a Leica version. The lens is impressive with a bright f/2.0 aperture at the wide end, although at the telephoto end this reduces to f/5.9. The camera is quite compact, noticeably smaller than the nearest competitor, the Nikon Coolpix P7700, with a size more similar to the Olympus XZ-10.
Wi-Fi is built in, as well as NFC (Near-Field Communication) to allow setup of Wi-Fi connections with smartphones. The smartphone can be used as a remote shutter control, or setup for instant transfer so that photos will automatically transfer to the smartphone after shooting. Wi-Fi can also be used to setup auto backup of photos and video to your computer, or shown on a compatible TV.
- 12.1mp 1/1.7inch MOS sensor
- 7.1x optical zoom 28mm wide-angle - 200mm equivalent
- f/2.0-5.9 Leica DC Vario Summicron lens
- Optical image stabilisation
- 3inch screen
- Built in compact EVF with dioptre correction
- Control ring and composition guide
- P/A/S/M, raw
- Full HD video with stereo sound (AVCHD)
- ISO80 - ISO12800
- Wi-Fi built in
- 3cm macro
- 10fps continuous shooting
- Available in black or white
Handling - On the top of the camera is stereo microphones for video, the mode dial, with manual controls, two custom modes and panoramic shooting, as well as the shutter release surrounded by the zoom control and finally the on/off switch.
The rear of the camera has a soft touch finish that feels slightly rubberised giving the whole of the back of the camera an extra feeling of grip. Unfortunately the same can't be said for the front with the metal of the camera being smooth, giving very little resistance, and therefore we'd recommend use of the provided wrist strap.
The camera has a number of different grid overlays to aid composition, which can be seen above, with example photos showing you how to use the guide.
The electronic viewfinder has dioptre correction which should help those that wear glasses, particularly as the electronic viewfinder is quite small, so you will want to be as close to it as possible. There is a manual switch to switch between the rear screen and the EVF as there is no built in eye-detection feature.
Menus – The menus are well designed and easy to use, with settings split into four main screens: record, video, setup and Wi-Fi. The Q. Menu button gives quick access to settings on the screen so you don't always have to go into the menus to change settings, and there are a number of settings available using the rear buttons. The Fn (Function) button can be customised to one of 8 options, and the front lens ring can also be customised, or left on default settings - using this the function of the ring changes depending which shooting mode you are in, for example, if you are in aperture priority the ring is used to set the aperture.
|Panasonic LF1 Remote Control||Panasonic LF1 Remote View|
Wi-Fi connections can be made to iOS or Android smartphones using the Panasonic Image App which is available in the iOS or Android app store. The app is free to download and lets you control the camera, as well as enable touch shooting from the Smartphone. You can also transfer photos for uploading or sharing from the Smartphone. Setup of the Wi-Fi connection is quite straight-forward, however sharing directly from the camera to social network sites such as Facebook can be more difficult.
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 250 shots according to Panasonic / CIPA test results. You can find the battery and memory compartment under the camera, as well as a metal tripod thread. The camera uses a compact battery, and also features a small built in flash, and you can see from the design of this camera that Panasonic has really worked on keeping this camera as compact as possible.
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
|Panasonic Lumix LF1|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.25|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.3|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||1.5|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||0.5|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||1.1|
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
|10fps (12 shots)|
|Continuous Shooting - Flash||0.6s (Flash burst)|
|Continuous Shooting - RAW||10fps (10 shots)|
Focus speeds and shutter response are both very good, with the camera also having a very good shot to shot time. 10fps continuous shooting is available in JPEG, Raw, or JPEG + Raw, with a 23 second delay after shooting 10 raw images. 5fps continuous shooting is also available with continuous AF.
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Panasonic Lumix LF1 Sample Photos
Drive | 1/400 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
HDR Drive| 1/640 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 160
Hall | 1/1300 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
Jaguar Estate | 1/1300 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
Zoom | 1/250 sec | f/5.9 | 42.8 mm | ISO 80
Flash Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/4.4 | 16.0 mm | ISO 500
Sample Photos - Colour, exposure, and detail are all good, with the camera delivering reliable and consistent results. Flash performance appears to be quite good at lighting the subject, however red-eye was noticeable in a number of portrait shots, despite using the red-eye reduction flash.
Panasonic Lumix LF1 Lens test images
Wide | 1/1000 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
Zoom | 1/320 sec | f/5.9 | 42.8 mm | ISO 80
Trees | 1/100 sec | f/2.2 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
Macro | 1/5 sec | f/5.6 | 6.0 mm | ISO 400
Lens Performance - Dynamic range is good and can be enhanced by using the iDynamic option, or alternatively the HDR shot will combine three shots at full resolution. There is quite strong purple fringing in the trees shot, however this was mostly noticed at the wide end of the lens. There is good levels of detail into the corners at the wide setting, although images appear slightly softer when using full telephoto zoom. Macro performance is quite good, allowing you to focus on subjects that are 3cm away from the camera. Distortion was very minimal, with the camera doing a very good job correcting this automatically.
Panasonic Lumix LF1 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO80, with a very slight increase at ISO100 and ISO200. At ISO400 there is another slight increase in noise, although detail is still good. At ISO800 noise increases and detail is slightly lost. Again at ISO1600 noise increases again and detail drops again, but results are still good. At ISO3200 there is a noticeable drop in detail. Noise gets quite destructive at ISO6400 and this setting is best avoided. As expected ISO12800 shows the most noise, and lowest amount of detail, so is best avoided.
Panasonic Lumix LF1 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under the incandescent lights, as does the incandescent preset. The AWB also takes a good picture under the fluorescent lighting, there isn't a fluorescent preset on the camera, but that's OK because you shouldn't need one due to AWB performing well.
Pano 1 | 1/160 sec | f/8.0 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
Pano Effect | 1/200 sec | f/8.0 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
Panorama mode - The panoramic mode automatically stitches the photo together as you pan the camera from one side to another. You also have the choice of filter effects, an example of "High contrast mono" is shown above.
Panasonic Lumix LF1 Digital filters
Miniature | 1/160 sec | f/5.6 | 34.2 mm | ISO 80
Cross Process | 1/1000 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
Dynamic Mono | 1/1000 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
Expressive | 1/800 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
High Dynamic | 1/1600 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 400
High Key | 1/400 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
Impressive Art | 1/1300 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 125
Low Key | 1/1600 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
Old Days | 1/1000 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
One Point Colour Green | 1/1000 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
Retro | 1/800 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
Sepia | 1/1000 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
Soft Focus | 1/640 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
Star Filter | 1/1000 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
Toy Effect | 1/640 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 125
Digital Filters - There are a vast number of digital filters available, with a number of them customisable. The camera records both the JPEG and raw file so you can go back to the original image if you don't like the effect. There are also a number of colour styles.
Video - Video quality is good with the camera recording full HD video with stereo sound, as well as optical zoom. The camera focuses quickly, and optical image stabilisation helps to keep the image steady, although for perfectly stable video a tripod is recommended, particularly if using the zoom.
Value For MoneyThe Panasonic Lumix LF1 is available for £389 which makes it more expensive than some of the competitors, however it is one of the cheapest serious compacts available with a viewfinder. Alternatives to consider with a compact body, manual controls, and a similar level of zoom, or an optical viewfinder, can be found below, although only the first two are similar in size to the LF1:
Nikon Coolpix P330 (5x optical zoom), £267
Olympus XZ-10 (5x optical zoom), £299
Nikon Coolpix P7700 (7.1x optical zoom), £322
Canon Powershot G15 (5x optical zoom, optical viewfinder), £409
Fujifilm X20 (4x optical zoom, optical viewfinder), £455
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
The Panasonic Lumix LF1 gives a good zoom range in a very compact camera, with full manual controls and raw shooting. In addition to this the camera manages to squeeze in an electronic viewfinder, in a camera not much bigger than other models without any kind of viewfinder.
The screen is very good, working well outdoors, even in bright sunlight when brightness is increased, leaving us wondering if the electronic viewfinder (EVF) is absolutely necessary. The extremely small size of the EVF makes it difficult to use. The nearest competitor with the same amount of optical zoom is noticeably larger than this camera, and for those that are looking for a small compact with a lot of control, the Panasonic Lumix LF1 is recommended.
Buy Online Now
|The Panasonic Lumix LF1 gives a lot of zoom in a compact camera with manual controls and high image quality.|
Panasonic Lumix LF1 ProsExtremely compact considering features
Wide-angle 7.1x optical zoom lens
Panoramic mode with effects
Dual-axis electronic level
10fps continuous shooting
Panasonic Lumix LF1 ConsTiny electronic viewfinder
Red-eye in photos with flash
Short battery life
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Panasonic Lumix LF1 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/2 - f/5.9|
|35mm equivalent||28mm - 200mm|
|CCD pixels||12.1Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Type||Live MOS Sensor|
|Sensor Size||1/1.7 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Screen resolution||920K dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/4000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||60sec|
|ISO sensitivity||80 - 12800|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Box Contents||Camera, Battery Pack, AC adaptor, USB Cable, Hand Strap, CD-ROM|