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Panasonic LF1 - Design and Performance

By Paul Nuttall

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic Lumix LF1

Summary

Our Score:

9

Panasonic LF1 - Design

The design of the LF1 is another area that sees a departure from the LX range in terms of an advanced compact from Panasonic.

The camera itself is far more sleek and unfussy in its styling, and has a lot more in common with compacts such as the popular Sony RX100 than its LX7 sibling, in both its dimensions and body weight.

Panasonic LF1 3

The LF1 also sees a host of the body controls found on the LX7 removed and generally kept to a minimum. The model’s top plate houses the power switch, mode dial and shutter release button encircled by the zoom control lever.

It’s not completely lacking in physical controls, however, and in fact it trumps the LX7 in one area. While the LX7 had a dedicated aperture control ring surrounding its lens, the ring on the LF1 is of the multifunctional variety and can thus be assigned to control aperture, shutter speed, ISO and so forth.

There’s also a selection of controls on the rear of the camera, including direct access to display modes, playback and video recording, while an assignable ‘Fn’ button also features.

A 4-way control dial also features – offering access to Focusing, Drive, Exposure Compensation and Flash control – while buttons offering direct access to Wi-Fi and the model’s EVF is also present.

Panasonic LF1 5

Panasonic LF1 - Performance

As you’d expect from a compact camera raised from Panasonic’s Lumix heritage, the LF1 offers an impressive level of performance with only a few elements that let it down.

One of these disappointing elements is the LCD screen. Although it’s by no means of poor quality, delivering a good level of crispness and clarity of images, it is lacking in the same level of performance found in some rival cameras, namely the Sony RX100.

But it’s the only serious disappointment. The control ring around the lens is a particular highlight. It can be assigned to exposure compensation, aperture or shutter control, amongst other functions, and when you combine it with the function button on the camera’s body, along with the several preset controls, you’ll have all the controls you need in use ready to hand.

Panasonic LF1 1

The presence of the EVF alone will likely make the LF1 a popular camera with those looking for an enthusiast compact. Far too many compacts don’t have them, despite the call from photographers for them to be included.

That said, the EVF is relatively small, while colours appear more muted than on the 3-inch rear display and the level of detail is also limited. It’s not enough to dampen our enthusiasm, however. It’s a unique feature for a camera of this type, and its presence in bright sunlight and over conditions is still most welcome.

The general level of performance of the camera’s AF system is good, only really struggling in low contrast scenes, as you’d expect from such a camera. The only real area of concern is the LF1’s subject tracking AF system, which struggles with fast moving subjects.

The LF1’s Wi-Fi functionality is also a welcome feature that is relatively simple to use. Once you’ve installed the relevant app, configuration is simple and affords both wireless transfer and control of the camera’s shooting settings.

Israel Magalit

April 25, 2013, 9:45 pm

"paucity of hardware controls"
Huh? The only things it loses out on versus the LX7 are the aperture ring, aspect ratio lever and focus mode lever, which most other compacts don't have either.

"You also miss out on manual zoom control"
Did you guys actually hold/use the camera??? That first photo within the article clearly shows a zoom toggle around the shutter release! Good grief!

Kym Crowley

May 12, 2013, 1:13 am

It says "manual". Not electronic. Good grief!

eug debleek

June 5, 2013, 8:04 pm

where is the GPS ,the handgrip and the touchscreen from the TZ40 ? what a mistake mister panny ! next time better ?

Jeremy

June 18, 2013, 11:02 pm

Wait, everyone, to see the lens resolution tests. All the official predistribution samples, and the single sample here, show subjects that only require critical sharpness at the centre. This alone suggested to me that there might be serious problems at the field corners, as there are with the Sony RX100 at full aperture. The standard test images on the Imaging Resource site www.imaging-resource.com appear to confirm this -- and they are not even taken at full aperture. Regardless of ISO levels, the centre sharpness is as good as that of competitors with similar sensors but the edges are really soft -- their comparometer allows direct comparisonswith other cameras. Look particularly at the circular slide-rule on the right with its gradually narrowing calibrations. Trusted Reviews, if you want to be trusted in future, please give us some field edge and corner test results for this model, to see whether it is a design problem, a quality control problem, or what.

Mangap

June 19, 2013, 3:38 am

Panasonic need to fix this: Slightly muted colours straight out of the camera. by Firmware update.

I wish they start from 24mm, maybe will be more people buy this camera

Tom Turek

July 25, 2013, 2:27 am

The Sony RX100 is fantastic, too..yes, but..
An expert put it's 'color' at 2nd-3rd tier.

MikeX

January 19, 2014, 8:15 pm

Given the very compact size of this camera, especially by comparison to the TZ40, a handgrip is not really required. Also a touchscreen on such a small camera can be a pain rather than a boon since it is too easy to touch the screen while holding and carrying it. As for GPS I suspect the additional drain on such a small battery was too great to allow its inclusion. Maybe also the space for the GPS aerial was used by the rather more useful viewfinder.

All cameras require some compromises to be made and Panasonic have got the balance about right with the LF1.

MikeX

January 19, 2014, 8:22 pm

To be honest the colours are quite natural and balanced straight out of the camera. I would rather have some room for tweaking than an over processed image you can do nothing with.

The difference between 24 and 28 mm is not much in real life unless you often take images in tight spaces. Better to have more magnification available when a compromise needs to be made. The 7.1x range Panasonic have managed to squeeze into this tiny body is ideal for most users who want a carry anywhere anytime camera.

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