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Top of camera controls

The top right of the camera is dominated by the large shutter speed dial with the shutter release button at its center. Traditional SLR users may find the position of the shutter release a little odd but it takes no time at all to get used to. The ability to change shutter speed by simply turning this dial is really convenient, the 'A' position indicates automatic shutter speed, simply turn to select a shutter speed. The position of this dial and the aperture ring (on the kit lens) define the exposure mode, see the table below.

Exposure mode depending on aperture ring and shutter speed dial

  Aperture ring position
 A  Other

Shutter
speed
dial
position

 A  P
Program auto exposure
A
Aperture Priority auto exposure
Other S
Shutter Priority auto exposure
M
Manual exposure

Set just around the shutter speed dial are the drive and metering mode levers. Lastly there are two 'FUNC' customizable buttons, by default FUNC.1 selects image size/quality and FUNC.2 is used to change exposure compensation but you can reprogram these via the camera menu.

Shutter speed dial

Position
 
Function
 
 A 

Auto shutter speed

If the aperture ring is also at the A position then the camera is in Program auto exposure mode. If the aperture ring is at any other position then the camera is in Aperture Priority auto exposure mode.

B/
2-60s

Long exposure / Bulb

This position allows you to manually select shutter speeds between 1/2 second and 60 seconds (in 1/3 EV steps) as well as Bulb (B) exposure. Selects Shutter Priority auto exposure if the aperture ring is set to A, otherwise selects Manual exposure mode.

(others)

1/2.5 - 1/800 second

The main area of the dial is taken up by shutter speeds of 1/2.5 to 1/800 second which you can select by simply turning the dial (there is a definite click for each speed). Selects Shutter Priority auto exposure if the aperture ring is set to A, otherwise selects Manual exposure mode.

1000-
4000

1/1000 - 1/4000 second

This position allows you to manually select shutter speeds between 1/1000 and 1/4000 second (in 1/3 EV steps). Selects Shutter Priority auto exposure if the aperture ring is set to A, otherwise selects Manual exposure mode.

Levers

Personally I found the Metering mode and Drive mode levers to be too lose, all too easy to accidentally knock and put the camera into a different mode (especially the Metering lever). These should be either very stiff or have some form of locking button to avoid accidental change. Despite assurances that they would be stiffer in the final camera we found there to be very little difference.

Lever
 
Options
 
Metering Metering mode

 • Spot
 • Digital ESP
 • Center-Weighted Average
Drive Drive mode

 • Single shot
 • Continuous drive
 • Bracketing
 • Self-timer

Buttons

Button
 
Function (default)
 
FUNC.1 Picture Size (Image size / quality, JPEG only)

 • Size: Large, Medium, Small
 • Quality: Level 1, Level 2, Level 3
FUNC.2 Exposure compensation

 • -2.0 EV to +2.0 EV
 • 1/3 EV steps

Customizable FUNC buttons

The FUNC.1 and FUNC.2 buttons can be customized to change any of these camera settings:

  • Exposure comp.
  • Film mode
  • Picture size
  • RAW record
  • OIS mode
  • Burst rate
  • Flash sync.
  • Custom set

Lens barrel controls

Just like the Panasonic DMC-LC1 (AKA the Leica Digilux 2) the L1 relies on the function of the dedicated aperture ring on the kit lens. In the A position aperture is selected automatically, hold the unlock button and turn the dial to select an aperture (either Aperture priority or Manual mode). See the table above to see how the exposure mode depends on the position of the aperture ring and shutter speed dial. Also found on the side of the lens is the OIS on/off switch.

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