Eighteen months after the L1 took PMA 2006 by storm Panasonic has announced its second digital SLR, the Lumix DMC-L10. As well as a more conventional design and a new 10MP LiveMOS sensor (which we presume is the same as that used in the Olympus E-410) the L10 features a wealth of new features including a fully articulated screen and live view with sensor-based (contrast detect) autofocus. Like the L1 the new camera is only available in kit for with a (new) Leica branded lens (for more about the lens, see below).
Click here for our detailed hands-on preview of the Panasonic DMC-L10
Simon: We've had a pre-production L10 for a couple of weeks in order to produce a detailed hands-on preview, available now. Full specs and many more images can be found after the link.
Panasonic’s New DMC-L10 Digital SLR
Featuring a 2.5-inch Large Free- Angle LCD for Full-time Live View
Panasonic, a leader in digital technology, is delighted to announce the launch of their second digital single-lens reflex camera (SLR) – the DMC-L10 with an interchangeable LEICA lens. The DMC-L10 features an advanced 2.5-inch free angle LCD for full time live view that offers 270 degree rotation and a versatile shooting style. A 10.1-megapixel Live MOS Sensor provides beautiful images with delicate gradation and wide dynamic range. Dust reduction with a Supersonic Wave Filter system prevents dust from attaching to the sensor to degrade the pictures. The superb image processor, Venus Engine III, boasts high quality image rendering and a high speed response.
Four Thirds System – Developed Exclusively for digital SLR
The DMC-L10 adopts the open format of the Four Thirds system for its lens mount – so the L10 can be used with lenses made by a variety of manufacturers, giving users a host of equipment options. Drawing on leading technologies while defying any stereotype ideas in SLR cameras, Panasonic’s DMC-L10 is designed to help you make the most of your photographic creativity.
One of the DMC-L10’s real talking points is the LEICA D VARIO-ELMAR 14-50mm / F3.8-5.6 / MEGA O.I.S. lens. Sold as a complete kit – the combination of the world renowned Leica lens, with Panasonic’s excellence in digital photography – makes an impressive proposition.
Full-time Live View for a New Digital SLR Shooting Style
The full-time live view function on the LCD proposes a dramatic change in the shooting style of digital SLR cameras. The DMC-L10’s 2.5-inch large LCD offers 270 degree rotation and a versatile shooting style even in situations when looking into the viewfinder is not easy – so you don’t need to get down on bended knee, or lie flat on the ground – you can see the subject even while holding the camera up high. This free angle LCD also features an Intelligent LCD function that offers an automatic brightness level control function according to the light condition, under the strong sunlight or in darkness, to secure clear view anytime.
The full-time live view gives users more shooting flexibility and greater convenience not previously achieved by conventional digital SLR cameras without live view capability. Not one to rest on its laurels, Panasonic introduces another first for a digital SLR camera by incorporating a Face Detection and Intelligent ISO Control function. The face detection system detects human faces (up to 15 human faces can be detected simultaneously) and sets a focus and appropriate exposure to capture a face clearly and beautifully lit. The Intelligent ISO Control function detects and meters the movement of the subject and sets the suitable ISO setting and the shutter speed according to the amount of the movement to suppress the generation of motion-blur in the picture.
The live view enables the user to check the outcome image in advance after compensating the exposure or adjusting the white balance. The white balance can be adjusted in the area of two-axis of coordinates precisely. Furthermore, the DMC-L10 provides options of picture taste with a function called Film Mode. Each analog film has its characteristics, for example colour, contrast, gradation and these effect the outcome of the picture, they are ways of expression. With the DMC-L10, the Film Mode allows you to choose the one that takes the best advantage of the scene or the subject you take out of a total of nine film modes including Standard, Dynamic, Nature, Smooth, Nostalgic, Vibrant, Standard B/W, Dynamic B/W and Smooth B/W, with the capability of fine adjustment of contrast, sharpness, saturation and noise reduction. All these settings can be confirmed before you take the picture.
Users can also change the aspect ratio (4:3, 3:2 and 16:9) according to the situation. As a leader in the flat panel market, Panasonic has been proposing further enjoyment of photography, by viewing the dynamic photos you take in HD (high-definition) 1920 x 1080 resolution image size on 16:9 wide screens.
In conventional digital SLR cameras, the live image could be seen only through the view finder and the LCD existed just for the playback of images once taken. But with the DMC-L10, any trials of setting, adjustment and effect can be checked beforehand, ensuring the picture will be just as the user intended.
A Fusion of Technologies – Advanced Hybrid AF System
Not only has Panasonic included a live view function on the new SLR – the DMC-L10 also adopts an advanced hybrid-type AF system – a first in any digital SLR. A TTL phase difference detection system works for shooting through a viewfinder while contrast AF system best supports the shooting using the live view. This is also the case with AE. A high speed, high precision TTL full aperture light metering by 49 zones multi-pattern sensing system is available for shooting through the viewfinder. For shooting with live view, exposure can be metered and set using the Live MOS sensor for light metering to take the whole picture information and evaluate it by 256 zones multi-pattern sensing system to give a well-balanced exposure as a whole image.
To match the shooting situation and subject's position, the user can select from six auto-focusing methods: Face Detection, 9-point, Multi, 3-point, 1-point and Spot. With the 1-point AF or spot AF method, the auto-focusing area can be chosen from as many as 11 points. Various group area patterns can also be selected in the new Multi method.
For your convenience, in manual focus, you can enlarge the specific part of the subject on the LCD and also freely move the magnified area for easy framing, which is especially useful when using a tripod.
The New 10.1-Megapixel Live MOS Sensor and the Venus Engine III for Superior Picture Quality
The Live MOS sensor used in the DMC-L10 provides beautiful images with delicate gradation and wide dynamic range that only a CCD image sensor can provide while achieving low energy consumption which is a feature of CMOS sensors. By incorporating the 2.2μm pixel technology, Panasonic is first in the industry to succeed in the mass production of a miniaturized circuit that sustains the same light receiving area as the sensor of 7.5-megapixel. In addition, the efficiency of light reception is raised at the same time, to keep the sensitivity as high as that of 7.5-megapixel despite the decreased pixel area. Also, photodiodes embedded deeply in the silicon layer create a structure that suppresses noise generated on the substrate surface. As a result, the white-spot pixel defects and textual roughness that often characterize images captured in shooting at higher ISO are minimized thanks to the incorporation of newly developed noise reduction circuit, so the pictures are clear and beautiful.
The Venus Engine III is an image processing LSI developed by Panasonic to maximise the performance of the Leica D lens and Live MOS sensor. This advanced LSI not only helps reproduce images with outstanding resolution, superior colour and detailed gradation, it also distinguishes chromatic noise from luminance noise and selectively reduces the chromatic noise, one of the chief sources of image quality problems. This helps the DMC-L10 deliver the superb image rendering one expects from a quality SLR camera.
Dust Reduction System
One of the most critical issues with digital SLR cameras with interchangeable lenses is the possibility of dust entering the camera body during lens changes. This dust can adhere to the image sensor and show up as spots on photos. Panasonic has solved this problem by equipping the DMC-L10 with a Supersonic Wave Filter system that uses supersonic vibration to shake off any dust clinging to the sensor. This simplifies camera maintenance and eliminates worries about dust entering the camera body when lenses are being changed outdoors or the dust that may be generated by the movement of mirror or shutter, so users can enjoy themselves and simply concentrate on shooting.
Inherently User Friendly
Panasonic drew on its cutting-edge lens technology to invent Mega O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabiliser), a system that prevents blurring from shaky hands and has been incorporated in all Lumix compact cameras. This high-precision image stabilising lens system is now incorporated into the LEICA D VARIO-ELMAR 14-50mm/F3.8-5.6/MEGA O.I.S. With Mega O.I.S., it is easier than ever to capture clear, sharp, beautiful images when shooting indoor portraits, illuminated night scenes or even the scenery you see from a train window. Another problem is the motion blur that can occur when a subject moves as the shot is being snapped but the DMC-L10 detects whether or not the subject is moving with the Intelligent ISO Control function.
A total of nine scene modes also support the pursuit of usability for any photographer to enjoy taking beautiful pictures with ease, while more advanced photographers can make finer adjustments with the Advanced Scene Mode and with frequently-used Portrait, Sports, Landscape and Night portrait being directly activated via the mode dial. Select the Portrait or Sports mode and you’ll have further options to define whether it is in outdoor or indoor. Selecting Landscape mode gives you the option to specify if you’re going to take nature or architecture - thus more suitable compensation for the scene will be available on the picture to get the best results. Alternatively you can simply select the original mode without any further adjustment, or select Creative mode that even allows manual controls over an aperture or a shutter speed.
Spinning the Mode Dial on top of the camera directly points you to the frequently used settings including Auto mode, each P/A/S/M mode, and five frequently-used scene modes and one custom mode that you can pre-set for your own preference. The DMC-L10 incorporates a variety of functions that build a bridge for the potential user of digital SLR to take a first step in a world of real creative photography or for existing users who have not been able to take best advantage of their conventional digital SLR cameras. The DMC-L10 will be available from October 2007.
Leica is a trademark of Leica Microsystems IR GmbH. ELMARIT is a registered trademark of Leica Camera AG. The LEICA DC-VARIO-ELMARIT lens is manufactured using measurement instruments and a quality assurance system that have been certified by Leica Camera AG based on the company’s quality standards.
Contrast AF is supported with the use of LEICA D VARIO-ELMAR 14-50mm/F3.8-5.6/MEGA O.I.S. and LEICA D VARIO-ELMAR 14-150mm/ F3.5-5.6 ASPH./ MEGA O.I.S. as of August 30, 2007.
Click here for our detailed hands-on preview of the Panasonic DMC-L10