Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 review
I have the camera since last summer. Now I have enough experience with it to make a rating. I simply love the camera. Its features comparing to the recent cameras may seem a bit few but if you started in the analogue film age than you can feel that this camera is a logical development. Simply perfect. It has very logical manual controls, focus and aperture rings shutter speed dial, very useful flash even for indirect lighting. Also has a very useful live view function that is excellent in night scenes with manual focus or in big crowd making overhead picture composition.
It is certainly value for money. Look to Nikon prices. Check for live view, sensor cleaning, calculate a good quality VR objective. These provided only by a recent midrange camera that may be confusingly overcomplicated and more expensive if you just like to make good nature photos.
I also have a Nikon D70 with a 18-200VR objective. The L1 picture quality is simply better. And I am a bit upset that the D70 built in flash can not be used since the large objective partially covering it not to mention how I miss the indirect mode.
Comparing the adjustment of parameters, than the L1 is much more user friendly.
Some says that the L1 view finder is dark. I found that the L1 view finder and the live view function gives you more possibility than you have with the D70.
So it is an excellent camera. You can produce amazing pictures but you have to be experienced and know what you want and how to do it. You can not select the settings from a scene menu and the camera will not detect faces or fast motion. Just like in the past. And its design emphasize it also. If you like the retro but still useful things than no better choice (of course there is the Leica M8 if you can afford it...)
A draw back is that the live view is too dark in low light condition so you need to focus on some light source. Fortunately the manual focusing supports high magnification and you can freely move the focusing area. (I still hope that Panasonic will release a firmware correction)