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Software

The DMC-L1 is supplied with a CD containing:

  • Lumix Simple Viewer 1.3 - As the name implies, a (very) simple JPEG viewer which also includes a 'trayicon mode' tool for automatically importing images from the camera as soon as it is attached to the computer.
     
  • PHOTOfun Studio Viewer 1.4 - A more advanced photo browser / editor, although with that said it does not support the DMC-L10's RAW files.
     
  • SilkyPix Developer Studio 2.1 SE - SilkyPix is a RAW conversion application developed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory which is probably better known in Japan. SilkyPix provides a wide range of advanced RAW conversion options including adjustable noise reduction, lens aberration correction and rotation / perspective correction, albeit in a rather counterintuitive and slightly confusing manner (due in part to some rather dodgy translations). You can find a little more detail about the software package supplied here in the Panasonic FZ18 review.

RAW conversion

As is normal in our digital SLR reviews I like to compare the supplied RAW conversion software, any optional manufacturer RAW conversion software and some third party RAW converter. In the case of the DMC-L1 we had the supplied SilkyPix Developer Studio and Adobe Camera RAW 3.6.

  • JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
  • SilkyPix - SilkyPix Developer Studio 2.1 SE (processing quality 99)
  • ACR - Adobe Camera RAW 4.2

Color reproduction

Place your mouse over the label below the image to see the color from a GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart produced using each RAW converter. Typically we are used to seeing almost no difference between in-camera JPEG and the supplied RAW converter as it is normally intended to exactly duplicate the color response of the camera. However in the case of the DMC-L10 the SilkyPix software was not developed by Panasonic and clearly has a completely different color map, this means that RAW images converted through SilkyPix will immediately have a different 'look' to them than the camera (they actually have a much more immediate, richer appeal). Interestingly ACR's output is almost identical.

Panasonic DMC-L10 Compare to:  
      
      
      
      
StandardDynamicNatureSmooth
NostalgicVibrantB&W StandardB&W Dynamic
B&W SmoothAdobe RGB

Sharpness and Detail

As you can see there is only the slightest improvement in sharpness and definition between JPEG and SilkyPix (which appears to be designed to mimic the in-camera processor). The overall best image however was from Adobe Camera RAW with very good sharpness and definition of texture. It's also worth noting that Silkypix has extensive noise reduction options - and most importantly can convert high ISO shots with as little NR as you want, so you don't have to live with the camera's over-zealous noise reduction, allowing you to pull more detail out of the scene if you're prepared to do a little post processing.

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Resolution

As we've seen elsewhere the L10's JPEG engine produces not only soft results, but results that don't reveal the sensor's true capabilities. Shooting raw lets you get a lot more resolution, and would seem to indicate that the new sensor has a very light anti-alias filter.

The downside of this is that moiré becomes an issue at very high frequencies - this is much more marked in the Silkypix converted file than the ACR version, though both are struggling with the demosaicing of our test chart once you get beyond about 2600 lines. You're unlikely to come across this kind of issue very often in the real world, but we suspect a desire to avoid moiré may be another reason for the L10's soft JPEGs.

JPEG from camera SilkyPix Developer Studio (RAW)
 
Adobe Camera RAW (RAW)  
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