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Panasonic Lumix LF1 Review

Panasonic Lumix LF1 Review - The Panasonic Lumix LF1 is the latest serious compact from Panasonic, and includes an electronic viewfinder.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Panasonic Lumix LF1
Price : £389
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Panasonic Lumix LF1 (1)

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.

Panasonic Lumix LF1 Features

Panasonic Lumix LF1 (2)

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.
Panasonic Lumix LF1 (3)

Key Features

  • 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

Panasonic Lumix LF1 Handling

Panasonic Lumix LF1 (4)

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.

Panasonic Lumix LF1 Camera (6) (Custom)

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.
Panasonic Lumix LF1 (5)

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 View1
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.

Panasonic Lumix LF1 (6)

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
Shutter Response <0.05
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.

Panasonic Lumix LF1 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Panasonic Lumix LF1 Sample Photos


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


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 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
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


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 Money

The 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.

Panasonic Lumix LF1 Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix LF1 delivers good images, with bright saturated colours, along with a whole host of features, including excellent Wi-Fi control and sharing. The compact body fits neatly into your pocket, and despite the small size feels well built with quick access to controls.

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.

 
  The Panasonic Lumix LF1 gives a lot of zoom in a compact camera with manual controls and high image quality.

Panasonic Lumix LF1 Pros

Extremely compact considering features
Wide-angle 7.1x optical zoom lens
Wi-Fi connectivity
Panoramic mode with effects
Dual-axis electronic level
10fps continuous shooting
Great screen

Panasonic Lumix LF1 Cons

Tiny electronic viewfinder
Red-eye in photos with flash
Short battery life

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Panasonic Lumix LF1 Specifications

ManufacturerPanasonic
Lens
Max Aperturef/2 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent28mm - 200mm
Optical Zoom7.1x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels12.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4000
Pixels (H)3000
Sensor TypeLive MOS Sensor
Sensor Size1/1.7 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
  • 3:2
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution920K dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Min Focus3cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest60sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Incandescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
Video FPS50i
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiYes
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium-Ion
CIPA Rating250
Box Contents
Box ContentsCamera, Battery Pack, AC adaptor, USB Cable, Hand Strap, CD-ROM
Dimensions
Weight170g
Width102.5mm
Height62.1mm
Depth27.9mm

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Photographs taken using the Panasonic Lumix LF1

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Comments


Niknut e2
4 644 63 United Kingdom
13 Jun 2013 5:11PM
Ooooooo....impressive !!

Small, very pocketable with a larger than normal sensor......darned good lens range
@28-200.....PASM control with RAW.....set the Fn button to ISO, & with a dedicated
exposure comp. button makes for easy & perfect controls (for me !)......

But with an EVF too, great stuff !!!

If the price drops below 300 then it'll be a cracking piece of kit....as a carry everywhere
camera...........

The only downside that I can see is the purple fringing, but I always shoot in RAW mode
so that's easily solved during processing........very, very tempting !!

Great review of this beauty !!!!

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26 Jun 2013 7:26PM
I'm impressed by the Panasonic LF1's connectivity features - also the built-in composition guide and image stabilizer feature.
10 Mar 2014 12:17AM
I wish Panasonic release new model : start from 24mm and faster lens on Tele. And better viewfinder.
And I wish Panasonic start using new sensor they develop with fuji

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