Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 Review
Color reproduction is a new addition to our in-depth reviews and provides a quick overview of the general look of images from the camera as well as an ability to compare this to other cameras. Here you can see a generated GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart, place your mouse over any of the labels below it to see the color reproduction in that mode. Select a camera/setting combination from the 'Compared to' drop-down to comparative boxes inside each patch.
The DMC-L1's default color reproduction (Standard) is fairly close in hue and saturation to the Canon EOS 30D's Neutral setting meaning that Panasonic has chosen the sensible, conservative approach to color saturation, obviously if you prefer more punch you can choose Dynamic or create a custom set.
|Panasonic DMC-L1||Compare to:|
|Standard B&W||Dynamic B&W||Smooth B&W||Adobe RGB|
Artificial light White Balance
Some Kudos to Panasonic for delivering very good automatic white balance in artificial light, both incandescent and fluorescent. This is considerably better than most digital SLR's. We were slightly surprised to find that the L1 doesn't have a white balance preset for fluorescent light but it compensates for this by delivering great automatic results anyway.
|Incandescent - Auto WB
Red: 2.3%, Blue: -1.3%, Good
|Incandescent - Incandescent preset WB
Red: 3.4%, Blue: -5.0%, Average
|Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red: -0.2%, Blue: -1.4%, Excellent
Long Exposure noise reduction / Night shots
As is the norm with most digital cameras these days the DMC-L1 features optional Long Exposure Noise Reduction, this works by taking a second exposure with the mirror down immediately after the main exposure and then subtracting this noise pattern from it. We found that with Long Exposure NR switched off there were virtually no hot pixels, the only advantage of using it is to remove a slight electronics induced 'amplifier glow' that appears in the top and bottom right corners (most noticeable in the 60 second exposure, below). One other slight oddity was that with Noise Reduction enabled the image was shifted vertically by approximately twelve pixels.
30 second exposure
|Noise reduction Off||Noise reduction On|
|ISO 100, 30 sec, F8||ISO 100, 30 sec, F8|
60 second exposure
|Noise reduction Off||Noise reduction On|
|ISO 100, 60 sec, F13||ISO 100, 60 sec, F13|
The DMC-L1 is unique among digital SLR's by having a flash which can be used either straight ahead (aimed directly at the subject) or upwards at around 75° providing a 'bounce flash' which often results in softer more natural looking flash shots. We found that while the bounce flash can deliver much 'nicer' images because of its soft lighting the unit itself didn't really have enough power to cope with high ceilings hence often bounce shots looked under-exposed.
|Built-in flash (direct)||Built-in flash (bounced)|
|Built-in flash (direct)||Built-in flash (bounced)|
Overall Image Quality / Specifics
For a first attempt at a digital SLR I think it's fair to say that Panasonic has done a good job, they've managed to squeeze better high ISO performance out of the same sensor than Olympus did with the E-330. Panasonic's noise reduction algorithm tuned to clean up chroma noise but leave as much luminance detail available as possible (the E-330 delivering almost opposite results at ISO 1600). I'd be quite comfortable shooting the DMC-L1 up to ISO 800 and know that while there would be some noise visible at ISO 1600 it would at least have a 'film grain' look rather than the digital chroma noise effect.
Color balance was also good with a surprisingly mature, conservative approach which avoids over-saturating images while delivering natural looking images (no Disney blues or reds here). If you want your images a bit punchier (from a color point of view) you can always opt to turn up saturation in the Film Mode menu. The L1 also delivered good reliable automatic white balance performance, something often 'skipped' when considering a camera but something which can make a real (and often difficult to reverse) impact on your snapshot type photos.
The only criticism I could have of the image processor is that (a) the default sharpness level is a little too conservative which is a great way to avoid 'enhancing' noise and (b) it doesn't really do justice to how much detail that excellent lens is delivering to the sensor (as can be clearly demonstrated by comparing a JPEG to a converted RAW).
RF interference at high sensitivities
We did observe one slight oddity in a particular circumstance; radio frequency interference at high sensitivities. This occurred when at high sensitivity (ISO 1600 in this case) with a mobile phone in a jacket pocket (which would have been 'in proximity') to the camera. In the image this appears as banding (in the vertical direction, although obviously in these portrait shots that's rotated by 90 degrees). These bands aren't visible in the first shot below but are in the second (presumably due to the on/off nature of GSM connectivity). Note that there is also a slight brightness difference between these two images because the camera metered them slightly differently, they are both 1/80 sec but the first is F5 and the second F5.6.
|scrum break away by al booth|
from Sport competition
|Chinese Acrobat by lim yau tong|
|Parking Deck by Olaf R|
from Your City - Parking Garage
|Communication Tech by alberto_b|
|With & without by OBellini|
from Empty - Full
In this weeks' Throwback Thursday article, Simon raises a toast to the Sony Digital Mavica FD71 - a little camera which used really big memory cards.
It's been half a decade since Canon first debuted the original 6D and finally its successor is here. So what does five years of innovation look like?
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II brings more resolution, better autofocus and faster continuous shooting to Canon's entry-level full-frame camera. And we've had the opportunity to shoot with one.
The Canon 6D Mark II will ship to consumers in August, but we've been able to do some shooting with a pre-production unit well in advance.
Rumors have been swirling around for a while, and Canon has just unveiled the long-awaited successor to the popular and long-serving EOS 6D. Read all about it in our hands-on preview.
Canon's latest entry-level DSLR is here. The new Rebel SL2 (EOS 200D) is the belated successor to 2013's Rebel SL1, billed at the time as the smallest and lightest DSLR on the market.
Nearly five years after the announcement of the EOS 6D, Canon has finally replaced it with the EOS 6D Mark II. The Mark II features an all-new 26.2MP Dual Pixel AF full-frame sensor, 6.5 fps burst shooting, a fully articulating touchscreen, 1080/60p video and much more.
Canon has announced the EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D), which replaces the aging SL1. This ultra-compact DSLR features a 24MP sensor, DIGIC 7 processor, Dual Pixel AF system and a 3" fully articulating touchscreen LCD.
When one of his friends got a filter stuck on his $1,700 Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L, former MythBuster Adam Savage removed it using an unlikely, terrifying tool: a band saw.
The New Yorker asked Magnum's famed photographers, in town for the agency's 70th anniversary, to go out and capture 'the fleeting beauty of New York City's golden hour.' This is what they shot.
Roger Cicala is a difficult man to impress, but he's been waxing lyrical over at Lensrentals about Sony's new 12-24mm wide zoom.
Glassware is one of the most challenging subjects to photograph, especially against a white background. This tutorial shows you how to do it with hardly any gear.
Handevision is now shipping its all-metal Iberit 90mm F2.4 short telephoto lens for Leica M-mount 35mm and full-frame cameras.
Isocell comprises four sub-brands: Bright, Fast, Slim and Dual which are tailored to specific mobile device market demands.
The new store will be located at the Fotografiska center for contemporary photography in Stockhom, Sweden and carry the full range of Hasselblad products.
A recent vacation gave Richard a chance to think about the needs of travel photography – and how our reviews might recognize the perfect travel camera.
Need more evidence that 2017 is the year analog begins its comeback? Well, welcome another new film stock to the world.
The winners of the 10th annual iPhone Photography Awards have been announced, and they're striking.
If you were disappointed by reports that the Sony a9 struggles with adapted Canon glass, you might be able to take some comfort from Metabones' latest update.
Blackmagic Design has dropped the prices of its Video Assist external monitor/recorders for a limited time. Prices of the SD card-based recorders will be reduced in all markets, while supplies last.
Instagram has started testing a new feature called 'favorites' that enables users to share photos with only certain people. Only a small number of users have access to the feature at this time, though it may roll out to everyone in the future.
Lensbaby has announced the Velvet 85 F1.8 for interchangeable lens cameras. The lens is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony E, Sony A, Pentax K, Samsung NX, Fuji X and Micro 4/3 mounts.
It's the end of an era. Parent company Micron has announced that they are discontinuing the Lexar retail brand. This includes 'memory cards, USB flash drives, readers, and storage drives.'
Youthful trainspotter turned adult photographer, John Sanderson has traveled across the United States, documenting the country's railroads. But you won't find any trains in his pictures.
Sony's new CMOS sensor is backside-illuminated and offers an all-pixel global reset function which should drastically reduce rolling shutter effect when panning.
Shoulderpod has converted its offerings into a lego-like modular system by offering all individual parts of existing products separately, allowing users to build exactly the rig they need for a specific project or simply replace a damaged part.
Photographer Felix AAA has spent the past ten years touring the world with a variety of musicians, capturing behind the scenes shots and portraits. He talks about some of his favorite images on the FujiFilm Blog.
A roll of film discovered in an Argus C2 from an Oregon Goodwill turned out to contain some incredible images – and has been re-united with the original owner's family.
Nikon's 28mm F1.4E ED appears to roundly complete the company's updated lineup of fast, professional prime lenses. We've already seen some initial images from a Nikon ambassador, but we've worked through a gallery of our own, with a lens of our own over the past week. Take a look.
Google is holding a competition that could see your Pixel photos gracing millions of screens.