100 of 101 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2014
LF1 Review for Amazon
First of all, I am a professional photographer. I could easily write a long, detailed review and get technical but I'm going to keep it short as this is a relatively simple camera, and other pro websites have already gone into enough detail. Google it. My review is more about "in the field" performance and why I bought and love this camera. My pro rig is mostly Olympus based, and I shoot manually, including manual focus 99% of the time. I wanted a good tiny point and shoot camera that could fit in my pocket but also had some professional features. Not only the standards such as aperture priority etc., but also some tactile buttons and wheels to make these selections. A viewfinder was a must for me if possible (this is also the only camera in this size class that has one by the way). I shoot a lot of low light/no flash photography, so a wider aperture was a priority also. I looked into sticking with the Olympus options as naturally the menus were very familiar. Nothing really jumped out. I LOVE the Stylus 1, with it's floating 2.8 and amazing EVF, but it was just a little too big of a camera for this purpose. I used to shoot with a lot of Leica cameras and had many of the D-Lux series over the years as a backup (which is the same series as the Panasonic Lumix LMX series). Great cameras and I seriously looked into the new Leica D-Lux 6/Lumix LMX 7 when it came to this research. Again, I loved this camera too. Wide open lens at 1.4 and great viewfinder, but still too big for me, not to mention the viewfinder is an expensive optional extra that slides on in a slightly precarious way. I love Leica glass, and the Leica/Lumix menus are still comfortable to navigate for me given my past experience with their systems. I stumbled upon this model after looking at the new Leica C (same camera) and assumed that Panasonic had their own version. They did, so I played around with it and fell in love. The 2.0 aperture was wide enough for me, the size/weight were perfect and the buttons felt good. So here's the breakdown, and REMEMBER, this is a fairly simple point and shoot camera, so at the end of the day, don't expect a number of the bells and whistles they have sacrificed to achieve the compact size.
It's light, small and thin. Feels solid and the auto lens cover isn't too flimsy.
It has an electronic viewfinder with all of the same menu options as the main screen. The viewfinder is particularly useful in bright sunlight.
Battery life is good. I've heard people complain about only being able to charge the camera via a cable. I have no problem with this but it's also not true. There are plenty of additional batteries and external chargers for sale right here on Amazon.
The zoom is solid and provides good options.
The mode selection dial and zoom switch on the top of the camera are familiar to any long time shooter. Also, the ring around the lens is customizable to a variety of features from focus to aperture selection to zoom and others. Pretty cool.
Also, and worth mentioning as I usually can't stand "art scene" modes that recreate "looks" that everyone is presetting into cameras these days, these ones are actually pretty cool...
The image quality is fantastic in my opinion for a camera and sensor this small. Again, DON'T expect TOO much!:)
The viewfinder is pretty crappy. It really helps with bright sun and framing, and does have a diopter, but I do constantly feel that the focus is a little off. It's not, it's just the resolution is weak and the viewfinder is small. The technology is out there for a crisper EVF and it seems like a real oversight on the part of Panasonic/Leica to drop the ball on this. One company produces state of the art electronics and the other is world famous for it's optics. Their other viewfinders are great and being that this is the ONLY camera in this size class to have one, they could have stepped it up. It would be well worth spending an extra $50 to $100 to have it. That being said, using the EVF is optional, and many people won't care one way or the other. For me having the option was a big selling point, and despite it's flaws it still is.
The menu functions are a little clunky.I'm not going to go into too much detail but it seems like sometimes you have to press one too many buttons to get to a setting, not to mention that some of the features are hiding in unintuitive places. It's a minor gripe, and again anyone familiar with the Panasonic menu system won't have too much of a problem, but it feels a little awkward, especially for a camera of this size, which I feel should be able to really be flexible at a moments notice.
I know that I have already said that we shouldn't bitch about losing some of the more professional bells and whistles, because this is a pocket camera with great features and does feel pro, BUT I have to bitch about the loss of one of my favorite features that EVERY Panasonic/Leica model above this one has: The ability to dial the amount of flash up and down. I love this on the D-Lux/LMX series and it's gone from here. I shoot a lot of black and white, and rarely any flash ever, so this feature was something I would use as a moody, "noir" effect a lot in low light situations. Again, maybe not an issue for most people, but I wish it was still there.
In addition, I do highly recommend the purchase of a Flipbac Camera grip. The G3 or G4. They really make a difference in the field,and are only about $10. I wish they had built one into the body the way Sony and a number of other companies have, and it seems a small complaint until sweaty hands make you lose grip of a tiny camera....;)
Summation: I do love and recommend the camera, and I hope this review is helpful.
126 of 130 people found the following review helpful
Right off the bat, no, the Lumix DMC-LF1 does NOT produce images that rival the RX100. I've owned both and if image quality (resolution, sharpness, noise, shallow depth of field) is your ONLY priority, stop reading this review and go buy the RX100 or RX100 Mk II. The larger 1" sensor really does make a big difference.
But image quality isn't the be-all-and-end-all of cameras, otherwise I wouldn't have sold my Sony four months ago. So my review won't be comparing the two cameras, as that's already been done to death. No, I'll be focusing on why I chose the LF1 and what I see are the pros and cons.
- Size. The LF1 is surprisingly small, especially taking into account that it has a viewfinder.
- Connectivity. I love that I can easily connect to and control it or transfer images to my Nexus 7 and iPhone 5. If you have an NFC-compatible device, it pairs easily, without the need to manually input the SSID and password. It can be hit-or-miss at times and may take up to a minute to pair devices.
- Viewfinder. This is a pro and a con, actually. I love that it's there, but it's of VERY low-quality (washed out, low-resolution, tunnel-vision). Despite that, I use it regularly and it does have a diopter adjustment for users with glasses.
- Control. With the control ring on the lens, the wheel by the d-pad in the back, and the Fn and Q button, most users will have access to most controls they need quickly.
- RAW. Another pro and con. I like that I can shoot RAW, but I don't like that it's not the open DNG format. C'mon camera makers, just standardize DNG!! You also can't preview RAW photos in the iOS or Android apps--JPEG only.
- Zoom. My zoom lens for my "big-boy" camera is only about 3x, but the LF1 has a 7x zoom. If I'm getting a compact camera, I want something that goes farther than that, otherwise, what's the point? I'd have two cameras with almost the exact same focal length.
- Creative control. I love that if I shoot in JPEG, I can later add all the in-camera effects. For example, with all the other cameras I've used, if I wanted an in-camera B&W photo, I'd have to shoot in B&W and that's all I'd have. With the LF1, I can use any PASM mode and just convert the image later using any of the 13 effects.
- In-camera battery charging. Yes, I know some people hate it, but I actually love it. I don't like lugging extra chargers on vacation. Plus, I always have a USB battery pack with me, so I can charge the camera anywhere and not worry about swapping batteries. No dead batteries!
- Made in Japan. Checking the photography forums, I know this means something to others as well, so I wanted to put it out there.
- Excellent image stabilization. And I mean EXCELLENT. Because of the lens ring and viewfinder, I tend to hold the LF1 like a mini rangefinder, so even without stabilization, I could probably squeeze off a clear shot at 1/25 second. With Panasonic's IBIS, I fired off a surprisingly blur-free image at 1/4 sec.! Crazy!
- Poor customization. The control dials can only be set to a handful of preset modes, many of which aren't necessarily the modes I'd use or are outright redundant. I guess I'm spoiled from having used the Ricoh GRD4 for the past two years, but I like being able to assign any function I want to any button.
- No Auto High-ISO limits. Let's be honest, with a compact camera, you don't want to shoot higher than ISO800. Other enthusiast compacts allow users to put an ISO limit, but the LF1 does not, so I'd be wary of using AutoISO, lest you fire one off at ISO3200 and have a watercolor painting instead of a photo.
- Proprietary charging cable. Well, I don't know about proprietary, as I think I've seen the connection before, but if Sony can adopt microUSB (and they're notorious for proprietary everything), I don't see why other companies can't. It's just one more cable I have to carry and worry about losing.
- No grip. When a camera is this small, it needs one. The extra-smooth metal finish only exacerbates the "bar of soap" feeling.
- No in-camera RAW conversion. Some premium compacts offer this, so I was sad to learn that the LF1 does not. This is especially troublesome, as you can't view RAW files in either iOS or Android apps. So if you want to use your tablet or smartphone to preview your images, you'll have to shoot either completely in JPEG or in JPEG+RAW (which wastes memory card space).
Overall, I'm quite happy with the LF1. It offers many features I had wanted in a compact camera and with good image quality up to ISO800 (and even ISO1600, if you convert to B&W). The IBIS, f2.0 lens, and RAW all help to counteract the low-light woes of most compact cameras, allowing most photographers to keep noise to a minimum by shooting at ISO400 in most situations. It also excels in macro photography, with a 3cm minimum focus distance at full wide and bokeh looks quite pleasant.
The LF1 isn't for everyone, but if you want a viewfinder, longer zoom, and wireless connectivity with remote control, this is your only choice that will fit in your pocket and still be under $500. The number one reason to buy any camera--image quality--is certainly still there, but it's not perfect (no camera is), so for that, I'll give the Lumix LF1 a very solid four stars.
--Update 11/25/13: After taking the camera with me on vacation and using it extensively, I've noticed some things I didn't cover. The biggest being the poor placement of the power button. I can't even count how many times I accidentally turned it on when I was putting it into my camera pouch or even just holding it. Based on its position, it should be a switch instead of a button to prevent accidentally extending the lens while in a pouch.
This also pointed out another flaw: the power button can be unresponsive. There were times when I thought I had turned the camera on while in its pouch, but was mistaken. However, while this was helpful in not damaging the lens, it was a giant pain when I wanted to quickly take a shot and the camera wouldn't power on!
I would lower my rating to 3 stars because of these issues, but I found the handling and responsiveness (shot-to-shot and auto-focus speed) of this camera, combined with the excellent shake reduction exceeded my expectations, so I'll give it 3.5 stars.
87 of 93 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2013
As an owner of many Lumix cameras in the past including the DMC-FZ30, FZ50, FZ100 and the ZS3, I had always hated that I could not take good low-light pictures. Particularly I wanted to take pictures inside the home without a flash and be impressed. I did not want to buy a DSLR and have to learn how to be a photographer, I just wanted a point-n-shoot that would take good idiot-proof pictures. Finally, it looks like the DMC-LF1 is a winner in that category. For a small pocket camera that has an EVF (very helpful when shooting outdoors)I think the pictures look great. You can see a few sample pics at
I was worried that the 7x zoom may not be enough, but the 1st 4 sample pictures show that it is. Most of the sample pictures were taken with the iA mode.
Also like the option to control the camera from my smartphone. To position the camera across the room, sit down in my chair and take my own picture is nice.
I have yet to see how it does in trying to take pictures of bands in a nightclub setting. I don't give it much hope that a $500 pocket camera can do that justice, but I'm hopeful.
The only negative comment I can make is that the on/off button is in a bad spot. I find myself reaching for the shutter and accidently turning the camera off instead
Added a few more pics including some Hot Air Balloons.
Even video taken in a nightclub came out pretty good. However, the video recording apparently stops at 30 minutes or about 3.5gb. I uploaded a video clip, but since smugmug does not support the mt2s format, I had to convert it to mp4 which is much more compressed.
118 of 135 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2013
Just got my new LF1 and charged up the battery. So far, I'm glad I bought it.*
*See updates below--I'm still glad I bought it.
Background: I do mostly sports and action shooting, outdoors. I also do some candid shots of people, and some scenic shots. I exhibit in two online galleries (occasionally I make a sale) and I'm currently putting together a photo book. I like to do post processing, including special effects. But I don't want to do it to compensate for poor image quality out of the camera.
I have two other cameras, FZ150 and Pentax k-5. I've had a lot of others, from "tough" cams to other DSLRs, but I'm not a collector. My goal is one camera for each purpose: DSLR for high res and surfing from a fixed shooting spot, "bridge" superzoom for outdoor action shots when "walking around" (I don't always like toting the heavier camera). I also want to end up with a "tough" cam for water & surf shots; so far I have had the Canon D10 (sold it) and the TG-1 (returned it)--I'm still waiting for a "tough" cam with decent IQ and, hopefully RAW. The TG-1 was great in most other respects (although it lacked user control of shutter speed, etc.), so I'm hoping that one day Oly will decided to add a decent sensor. Finally, I want to have a small camera with a viewfinder (an absolute must; this is why I got rid of the otherwise excellent ZS15) and decent IQ, with RAW a highly desirable feature. Finally, I want some zoom and I absolutely require decent burst: absolute minimum 4fps (5-7fps is better) and enough burst depth for at least 3 seconds of action.
On paper the LF1 fills the bill: decent-sized small sensor, reasonable pixel pitch, OK zoom, good burst, RAW, VF.
--Battery charging in camera is inconvenient, and made worse by the absurdly short USB cable supplied. C'mon, charge me 5 cents more and add a foot or so to the cable. Better yet, provide external charger. This is the first thing on my "to buy" list. I don't know how long it actually took to charge the battery, since I was at the dentist the whole time. The manual says 160 minutes, I don't think I was gone quite that long.
--White camera is not all white; the back is an ugly putty color. I'm not trying to make a fashion statement, but if you tell me it's white, sell me something that is white all over.
--Camera feels a little cheaper in terms of build than, say, the ZS15. Also doesn't have the same comfortable (pleasurable?) feel when operating buttons and dials.
--[Added after further use] The rear dial also has a "push in" function. Dual functions are nice, but in this case I have found that often when trying to turn the dial to change the shutter speed (Manual mode), I apply enough downward pressure to activate the "push in" function (Flash). My solution is to re-train myself to turn the dial on the other side, using a different finger. Maybe there's no way to design around this type of problem, but I have never has this type of thing (one control interfering, basically, with another) with any other camera I've owned.
--So far images are very acceptable. I haven't noticed the extreme fall-off in resolution at the corners reported by many users and reviewers. I made a point of taking some pictures of foliage at full zoom and the corners looked fine. In terms of overall image crispness, I think the FZ150 does better*, which is a bit disappointing since both have 12mp and in theory the larger sensor on the LF1 (1/1.7in vs. 1 / 2.3in for the FZ150) should mean larger pixels and hence better IQ. Maybe it's the lens, or the software, or the marriage of the sensor and the lens, but the LF1 is definitely not better, IQ-wise, than the FZ150 and might be a little weaker.
*[Added after further use] After comparison testing, I have to revise the above. In general, this LF1 generated marginally better images than the FZ150. Interestingly, I ended up using RAW with the FZ150 and accidentally had the LF1 set to JPEG, so the LF1 JPEGs held their own against the FZ150 RAW. I also took some more foliage shots and although there might have been a slight fall-off at the corners at full zoom, I don't think I would have seen it if I hadn't been looking for it. And I'm not sure it was really there--power of suggestion and all that.
--Good performance in bad light. I started shooting at 5PM on a gray day. First shots were hand held, indoors, no flash (I used burst mode, 5fps). I shot in a room poorly lit with only natural light from a window, at f/3.2, ISO80, 1/20th second (due to 5fps), no zoom. Hand held. Very, very nice results. Low noise (not visible unless you enlarged the image) and zero camera shake. At 1/20th sec.! I later took some single shots using P mode, hand held, no flash, only one floor lamp in the room, and was amazed. Great color, shading and clarity. The LF1 selected ISO 200 and went from there. This is really a nice indoor camera--too bad I never shoot indoors! ;-P
--Good performance in flat light. I shot some outdoor shots at various zoom lengths. Really a poor time for photography, overcast, late afternoon, very flat light. Pictures were just as good as anything else under these conditions. Clarity was good and it was easy to ramp up the contrast and colors in PhotoShop.
--Good burst in JPEG: I got 25 images at 5fps before the camera slowed. RAW wasn't so good: only 8 shots at 5fps. This is kind of a downer since I always shoot RAW, but...it's a pocket camera. BTW, I tried both a class 6 card and a class 10 card and there was NO difference at all. Same number of shots either way, and same speed.
--RW2 files via DNG or FastStone. I hate the Pany software and I don't like to load up my computer with a lot of junk, so I converted the files with Adobe DNG converter (free). I've been using this for years and it's very nice. Also reduces file size considerably in some cases. The version I had didn't recognize the newer RW2 files from the LF1, but it was a matter of a couple of minutes to download and install the necessary update (v 8.1). I also use FastStone Image Viewer (free) to preview images and do minor edits; FS reads everything, including RW2.
--Viewfinder: despite all the online techno-griping based on specs, the fact is that the VF works just fine. It wasn't grainy or pixellated, the diopter is convenient, and you can use it while wearing glasses. You also can easily read the displayed settings (with or without your glasses). In bright light outdoors, any VF is better than none.
--Two control wheels. Just like the big dogs! One around the lens, the on the back. Very handy. I will have to get used to the way they are set up and located, but they will save a lot of menu digging. Very nice for quickly changing exposure settings and shutter speed. The indicator readout is very good.
--Two "hot buttons" may be assigned for shooting settings that you want to change quickly and/or often, using the Function button and the Quick Menu (/Trash) button. For example, I normally shoot RAW but sometimes want to change quickly. And I often need to change ISO in a hurry in changing light conditions (or when I need to turn toward or away from a light source to catch a subject). I've set the Function button to provide immediate access to the RAW/JPEG choices. The Quick Menu (/Trash) button is now set to open the ISO dial. One push to access the ISO dial, one quick turn of the dial, and I've changed ISO with a minimum of lost time. Both of these buttons will retain their settings with the power off.
--Shooting burst (5fps AF), the continuous AF was erratic. Of a 10-shot burst of flying birds, the 4th and 7th frames were out of focus. The birds (pelicans) were flying by about 80 yards away so there wasn't much change of distance. For situations like this I would prefer single AF but that isn't an option.
Not perfect, but with RAW, good burst, VF, decent zoom, small size, good control setup including two dials and two user-set control buttons, pretty good control setup, and acceptable IQ, it really is unique. I wish the ZS15 had a VF--if it did I would still have mine and I wouldn't need the LF1--but it didn't so here we are.
Now all I need is a nice sunny day with some extreme contrasts of white foam on a deep blue sea, with lots of action and movement, and I can find out if this camera really is a keeper or not. I'll report back when that happens.
One day later: still no really good light, but I've taken some more pictures and done some comparison mano a mano with an FZ150 (see above for details). So far, the LF1 is still a keeper; I don't seem to have the issues reported by other users and comparisons with the FZ150 (which consistently has gotten outstanding ratings by professionals and enthusiasts alike) are equal if not slightly better.
BTW, when I talk about IQ and clarity, I am talking about images viewed using at least 2x enlargement (about 24x18in at 300ppi).
Another day later: finally got some good sun. The images were very good--there's nothing like decent lighting. I normally try to underexpose (to avoid blown highlights) and then lighten up the image in PP. This camera, even shooting JPEG, is very good for that--the shaded areas preserve detail very well. I'll try to post a couple of samples on the product page, with the understanding that they have been lightened up in PP.
I'm still not wildly enthusiastic about this camera, but I'm happy with it. The IQ is very good for a small-sensor cam and it's all about taking pictures. This obviously can't match the FZ150 for zoom, and unfortunately can't match it for choices (single AF being one) or burst depth when shooting RAW. But the FZ150 is/was one of the most widely-praised bridge cameras of the past few years, so it is a tough act to follow. The LF1 is a very nice piece of equipment. And if the best camera there is, is the one you have with you, this makes it a lot easier to have one with me.
Update, 8/7/2013 (this is also in an exchange of comments)
I continue to have mixed feelings about this camera.
It is great for shooting any person-sized or detailed subject (like a charming Craftsman house) that is less than about 200-300 feet away; after that it has neither the zoom nor the resolution to end up with a good closeup. Of course, at greater distances it's still good for landscapes.
The burst is still an issue for me. Today I tried to catch tennis players making contact with the ball on serve. The 10fps setting, which only captures about 1 second of action, missed every time due to the slight lag after pressing the shutter button. Even when trying to start early to compensate, all I ended up with were shots of follow-through. I then tried 5fps; this allowed me to get shots throughout the entire serve, but unfortunately the images were all recorded before or after the moment of impact. Also when shooting some distant surf shots the AF seemed to interfere with the 5fps speed I had selected. I imagine that the problem was the distance; even though the focal length wasn't changing the camera might well have kept looking for something to focus on against an otherwise featureless sea. I use single-point focus, so unless I kept the moving subject pretty close to the center of the frame (not always easy at distance) the camera was picking up something else. (This problem can occur with DSLRs as well, especially on hazy days.)
On the other hand, I have gotten decent, focused shots of flying gulls and pelicans using 5fps and literally shooting from the hip (no time to get set up).
I realize that I'm spoiled by the K-5 and the FZ150, both outstanding cameras in their respective classes and both with more zoom (I keep a 55-300mm on the K-5 most of the time) and better burst depth. I keep reminding myself that on days like today, I just didn't feel like lugging a larger camera around; I put the LF1 in my pocket, got on my bike and cruised around looking for things to shoot. I have done this with the other cameras, and it works well, but they are heavier and more cumbersome. So it all comes down to what one feels like giving up to get convenience. The LF1 has obvious limitations, but it certainly is convenient, and you can get good results. At various zoom ranges, I got some great pictures of seals on a rock, a Craftsman beach house, an installation sculpture at the local MOCA, etc. (Nothing moving very fast, and nothing very far away.) Also some flowering trees and a closeup of flower bed. They aren't Great Art, but they would print out nicely at 12x16 and they look very nice on a monitor.
The price is a bit high for what you get, but in bright sunlight an LCD is useless and this is perhaps the only real "pocket" cam with a VF.
I have gotten rid of the LF1; the issues with AF in burst mode, plus limited zoom range, made me quit using it.
Re: my earlier comment: "this is perhaps the only real "pocket" cam with a VF"--no longer. I'm going to get the ZS40, which has the same basic feature set, plus much more zoom, much deeper burst at 5fps (100 frames) and better video (1080p60, etc.). I'm not keen on the massive megapixel count on this small sensor, but the megapixel wars seem to have started up again. (I have become an all-Pany shooter, with a GH3, my trusty FZ150, and next the ZS40--I hope.) So far Panasonic seems to have the best combination of still IQ and good video options, plus useful lenses for interchangeable lens models).
58 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2013
EVF Viewfinder - meh.
It is very small.
I thought it would rescue me from those times the big screen washed out in bright sunlight.
It has not been much help in these situations.
(The optical viewfinder in my Canon A1200 is much brighter, and was very helpful in this situation.)
No Printed Manual:
Other than the auto IA mode, you'll likely need more than a little time with the 265 page manual, which comes only on a CD and not a printed paper copy.
Otherwise the Camera Okay but Pricey.
I expect the other camera makers to quickly match these features somewhere in their product lines in the next round of new cameras.
Might want to wait and see before taking a jump into an LF1.
On/OFF Button easily mistaken for the shutter button.
More than once I have turned the camera "OFF" rather than triggering a photo.
Not good ergonomics to have both buttons side by side.
Bought this Panasonic Lumix LF1 as part of the Holy Grail Search to find THE camera to fill the void between my iPhone and my DSLR.
But- Outdoors morning sunlight wiped out the display in the LCD screen. Different day, and different location, afternoon sunlight wiped out the display in the LCD screen Both times, when I really needed it, the EVF was useless for seeing my subject and framing my shot. It is time-consuming and fidgety to access the EVF, you'll need to engage a switch to make it illuminate, and since it is small, you'll need to get your eyeball *right*in*there* to see the display. Having accomplished this, it does not provide anything useful enough to represent an improvement over what you can see of the sunlight-compromised LCD display. (As a kid, did you play the game of looking backwards through a pair of binoculars? It feels a lot like that.)
I like the Panasonic Lumix camera series in general, and the LF1 *is* a very nice pocket-able camera. (I am carrying it around in my pocket where ever I go.) The 7 to 1 zoom is nice enough. The video is nice enough. The ability to set the controls manually is nice enough. There are many genuinely helpful unique features like the artificial horizon display to show when the camera is honestly horizontal.
After two months of trying to adapt my habits to the features of the camera, I am still looking for a useful, viewfinder-equipped pocket camera.
I have been *very* pleased by the quality of the video from this camera.
Looks great even when played back on a large screen tv.
The price has dropped by a hunrded dollars since I bought mine.
And Consumer Reports is carrying it favorably on their "advanced camera" short list for the people doing holiday shopping research.
++ After over a year ++
I carry this camera everywhere in my pocket.
Panasonic great job cleaning dirt off the internal sensor while under warranty.
I never,ever use the viewfinder.
I still have this camera because every new camera with another more desirable feature (more pixels, better viewfinder, longer zoom)is physically larger and / or at a significantly higher price point.
It is not the ultimate camera.
I might have been equally happy with something like a Canon S120, which remains significantly more expensive.
It is a very nice camera, much better than my cellphone, and almost always with me.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2013
I bought the Lumix DMC-LF1 to replace a couple of Canon Powershots I have been using as pocket and travel cameras for a few years now. For that purpose I have found it to be very good especially in indoor situations with natural light. I chose this model after many years of being a Canon user for two main reasons. Firstly I have trouble seeing LCD screens outdoors and wanted a viewfinder but still have a pocket sized camera. The viewfinder is small but I have not had any problems using it and I like having shooting information right there in the viewfinder, unlike some others that have optical as opposed to electronic finders. Try using it with both eyes open if squinting is an issue for you. Secondly I wanted WIFI capability built in. The Panasonic app you need for your device (phone, tablet, etc.) is very easy to use, great for controlling the camera on a tripod or uploading photos to a tablet. Just be sure to download the correct app for this camera (you need the Panasonic Image App). Low light performance is very good and images are pretty clean to ISO 800 but not so much past there. I don't use the flash except for fill in, it isn't very powerful and casts too warm a color for indoors, like an incandescent bulb. I have found the lens to be very sharp except at the longest focal length, but still acceptable for snapshots even there. If you are someone who makes prints exceeding 8X10 you likely should be looking for a camera with a larger sensor like the new Sony RX100. For me the compactness of this camera outweighed that consideration. The small size and and lack of a front grip can make getting clear pictures a little difficult even with the image stabilization turned on. I find I get better hand held shots using the self timer, but I have large fingers. Two other things to consider are that the smallest possible aperture is f8 and f2 is only possible at the widest angle. Also it isn't possible to shift exposure on P mode which I find annoying at times. It is a little on the expensive side compared to some others but at $349 for the white model, with the EVF, fast lens, compact size, and WIFI going for it I think it has the best balance of cost and features available at the moment.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2014
Replacing a broken Canon S100, looked at this, the RX100 Sony and the newer S120. Having dealt with the defective lens-error of death on the Canon, it came down to the others. The Sony is obviously the best of the bunch, but much thicker (don't think I could comfortably pocket it) and could have almost bought both other cameras for the price. I haven't used the EVF on the LF1 but made a few adjustments to the color and found it to be a fantastic point and shoot. Photo quality was better than what I had with S100 and color accuracy comes close to my Nikon D7000. If stopped all the way down, you get a bit of softness in the corners but 2 seconds in CS6 and that solved it for the few shots where that comes in to play. Battery goes fast so buy a spare, but the same was true with my Canon. Size, ergonomics and looks are top notch (I chose the white version). I process the photos through Aperture and the quality is stunning for the sensor size. I only used the RX100 in store so never got to download to the computer to compare, but honestly I'm 100% happy with the output of the LF1. Outdoors, it truly shines. Took some very nice wide angle landscapes and love being able to use the focus ring for functions. Looking now for a good screen protector for the back glass. Very satisifed.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2013
i wasn't sure at first. i have an LX7 which i love. but when i saw it was $300 cheaper tha the same camera,the Leica C,i thought i'd give it a try. i i\didn't need a $300 copy of light room .
so what really sold me is the view finder and the panorama mode. The regular images seem fine for what i do. email and 4x6 prints that i send out as postcards.Actually if ind the images very good. I did by the lvf2 for the lx7 but hate putting it on and off and very bulky to put in a shoulder bag for traveling so i sent it back.
I hate using the lcd screen.i'm 64 years old and have been using nikons and Leica for40 years. i love having a view finder. this one is great. it works for me. plus i can get the info for the shot in it. i like the feature and a lot of camera makers just don't care to build one in their cameras.
NOw as to the panorama mode. I love panorama shots and it couldn't be easier and faster thatn with the lF1.
there are many creative setting.but i like B&W ones. so that's easy too.
I do love my LX7 as i loves my LX5.i thought they were the best point and shoot cameras on the market and told many friends to but one.
now i have the dilemma of keeping or selling the LX7. this litle camera about the size of a regular iPod is a wonderfull tool. i highly recommend it
if you need the red Leica dot go ahead and buythe Leica C,but you're wasting $300
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2013
After about a month's use I like this camera; it fits in my pocket and takes good pictures. That isn't much of a review so let me get a little technical. I am an experienced photographer with a lot of high end camera gear. It turns out I take most of my pictures with my pocket camera - just because it is the camera I always have with me.
Here's what I like. Reasonable pixel density to match the current technology for image stabilization (IS) and zoom range. Here's how it works: The light enters the lens, travels past the iris, past the shutter and to the sensor. Within the sensor there are millions of pixels; tiny, tiny solar cells - each with electrical circuitry. A twelve megapixel camera has twelve million pixels. If you were to cram more pixels into the sensor each pixel would be smaller - which means it would capture less light. Less light makes it harder for the camera to focus and get a good picture. Additionally, more pixels makes the camera more susceptible camera shake. Studies have shown that most blurry pictures got that way not by being out of focus but by camera shake. The LF1 gives the pixels extra room by using a comparatively large sensor for a pocket camera. The image stabilization of the Panasonic pocket cameras is, in my opinion, far ahead of the competition.
A curious thing happens when you zoom out - to a more telephoto view. The camera stops down (reduces the aperture size) letting in less light. The camera maker can offset this by increasing the lens size but then it would be too big to fit in the pocket. A case in point is the excellent Panasonic FZ200 which also has 12 megapixels. On that camera the aperture stays wide when zooming - but the lens is quite large. The LF1 designers recognized the limits of current technology and limited the pixel count to 12 megapixels and the zoom to 200mm equivalent. Usually more is better - but it is good to recognize the limits of current technology.
When a digital camera takes a picture the raw information from the pixels is sent to a small computer and processed into a JPG image. The user has the ability to adjust the processing, controlling things like contrast and saturation. I like the vivid setting - it brightens the picture up so it appears more like what I thought I was seeing. In the normal setting pictures look like scientific evidence - accurate but boring. Some high end cameras (like the LF1) give the user the option to capture and process the RAW data in a PC, rather than in the built-in computer in the camera. With this option you can tease out a little extra detail and dynamic range in a picture. Having the ability to capture a scene in RAW (as well as JPG) gives me the option of using the camera for that surprise, once in a lifetime shot when I want the best possible.
The LF1 is quite capable as a video camera offering high definition video. I only use 720HD because it is easier to process in my PC and I can't see the difference when I view 720 or 1080HD. Because the camera produces video at 60P (60 frames per second) it is possible - in the PC, during post processing, to slow down the picture to half speed without loss of detail. I have even experimented with quarter speed and find it OK.
All in all this is the best pocket camera I have ever owned. I recommend it highly.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2013
Even more compact than the ZS15 that it replaced in this role, and more capable in everything but long zoom. More zoom would be appreciated, but 7x (equals 200mm equiv) is long enough so you don't have that "is that all there is?" feeling that you get from 3x or 4x. I put a flipbac G2 camera grip on the front: Perfect to curl my middle finger around for a secure one-handed hold on the camera, although I do have to go to a two-hand hold to clear the flash window in the rare cases I want flash. Lowepro Volta 20 case fits the camera perfectly, and can be used on its belt loop, loose in a jacket pocket, or with the camera's wrist strap hanging out. Design of the case makes it easy to get the camera out and in quickly and safely.
The EVF is good enough, not wonderful, but a lifesaver when the sun is behind you. Put time in to get the diopter setting right and then be sure not to move it: It is hard to get your nose, your finger and your eye all in the right places to adjust it, and it does make a difference when you are composing with the EVF.
My work mostly goes on websites, so my image quality standards may not be as high as yours, but even when I have used cropping to get the rest of the zoom range that Canon sx30 and now Panasonic fz200 have spoiled me for, I have not seen obvious flaws.
I was very pleased with the in-camera panorama setting: Could not be easier, and does a very respectable job. Also usable without even reading the manual is leaving the camera on the mantlepiece or on a tripod near the bird-feeder and controlling the camera, including zoom, via wireless smartphone.
Not an inexpensive camera, but I call it good value for its feature set and I look forward to what it pushes other makers into doing to catch up.