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Mini-Review of the Panasonic LF1

Discussion in 'Panasonic/Leica Forum' started by carlb, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. carlb

    carlb SC Regular

    101
    Jun 3, 2013
    Thanks much to Mitch/Lumix' posts on this camera, drew my attention to a camera I've been looking for a long time for. Here are my thoughts on the LF1 now that I have it:

    More pocketable than an RX100. Fits nicely in pants or shirt pocket. It really is as pocketable as an S110, but it's definitely aimed at enthusiasts.

    It's great to operate without a lot of menu-diving:

    In the "Aperture Priority" top dial setting (no menu diving here), the lens ring changes to aperture, and the value shows up in a very analog way: the extents are shown at the present zoom with the present aperture between them. Perfect for depth of field (which surprisingly comes into play for such a small sensor) versus light gathering choices. I used that for much of last night - the light was sure fading and I wanted control over a wide depth of field, but not at the expense of pushing ISO too hard. Or, to see just how shallow a depth of field could get (surprisingly for a camera this small, there is a bit).

    In "Shutter Priority" (again, no menu diving), the lens ring lets you choose the shutter speed - perfect for freezing any action versus pushing ISO too hard in low-light. You choose, quick and simple.

    Has a nice level indicator in one of the view settings, again with no menu-diving to get it.

    EVF works fine to frame the scene, it's no award winner in low light but can help steady a full-out zoom shot in low light with slower shutter. Nice rabbit shot last night that came in very handy for. I haven't shot it yet in full sun (which will wash out the best of screens) but I'm just waiting for the chance to use the EVF for that. Like a kid with new mud-boots waiting for a good rain and mud-puddles.

    The IBIS is not bad. Can't touch the E-M5 of course, but with the EVF in close and camera steadied by hands and forehead, it walks away from small cameras that don't have the EVF (or don't have superb IBIS like the E-P5).

    I've yet to crack the manual on it, yet I'm feeling much more in control than when I want to change things quickly with the E-PM1 (get the bends from excessive deep menu-diving), or even the X-E1 when I press something inadvertently and end up in some wonky mode and the shot passes by while I look at the camera in amazement. Of course the LF1 isn't quite up to the E-PM1 for IQ and can't touch the X-E1 for IQ, but it's not too bad, even in low-ish light.

    Heck, there isn't even menu-diving to get to a panorama shot - that's right on the up-top dial too.

    Add to this an equivalent zoom range of 28 to 200mm (14 to 100mm for us mu43-types) on something that's truly pocketable.

    Some "what the heck?" things though. Sucks that they don't give you a charger, just a charging cable and a USB 5V wall-wart. Also the charging cable has a weird "almost" micro-usb end on it - why not make it micro-usb? Lose that or break it on a trip and you're done shooting the LF1!

    Although the rear thumb grip helps, the front almost feels too slippery for secure one-hand shooting. I'm hoping Aki-Asahi will make some textured coverings for the LF1.

    I'm sure there are more annoyances, but that's all I've bumped into yet.

    So do I recommend this to enthusiasts who want a really small, really pocketable, pretty-darned-good-IQ'd (almost remarkable for its size), really fun controllable camera to take along anytime? Heck yes.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    820
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    great review. i'm definitely rooting for this camera. the only thing holding me back from trading in my oly xz-2 is the lack of touch screen 'focus and fire' that makes the oly invaluable to me for street shooting. add this and i'm there!
     
  3. Olivier Duong

    Olivier Duong SC Regular

    61
    Jul 16, 2012
    rbelyell,
    The LF1 has visual depth of field indication....street is a breeze, 5.6 at 1meter, 28mm and you are set!
     
  4. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Thanks for the review Carl!