Admittedly, Panasonic is among the best companies to offer the most compact cameras that act like the bigger ones a couple of years ago. Its line of the Lumix cameras are but impressive for more than a year now, and with models like TZ40 and GF6 as among the leading ones, we’d sure love to keep updated about what seems to be their latest offer. Today, I am proud to introduce you to the new LF1. The LF1 of the same Lumix series is said to promise a ton of features, excellent manual controls, plus a metal body all in one compact package. With its price of a relatively high $500, should you think this is the best compact for this quarter?
Measuring 4.0×2.4×1.1inches, the Panasonic Lumix LF1 is actually a little heavy to consider for its relative thinness at 192 grams (inclusive of the data card and the 950mAh battery). The whole body is picturesque of the company’s persistent effort to make everything compact, and though the parts do not look really crowded, you’d surely mistake this camera as more than simply a point-and-shoot. The metal case is a strong selling point to make the price more worth it, but the same metal body does not promise enough grip. There’s the rubbery grip, of course, and the rubbery coating for the control interface may look good, but I’d advise you use the included strap for total worry-free use.
Going around the camera, the front surface’s main attraction is the control ring, which as for me, is a bit shallow in depth for easier access. I am very glad of course that there’s one, more because its default function can be modified to control exposure meter, for example. Outside the ring, there’s the familiar Leica DC Vario-Summicron lens that does very well with the 7.1x optical zoom. On the top left of the lens barrel comes the small flash that delivers only a lesser-than-expected amount of artificial exposure, plus the AF-assist lamp that you can switch on or off.
Both sides of the camera support straps, but looking at the left side, there’s the flap covering the mini-HDMI port and the USB port; the right side supports the NFC (yes, this camera has). On the top surface, as expected, there’s the protruding area where the mechanisms for the EVF rests (again, yes, there’s a rarity of an EVF for this super compact), then, the stereo microphone for the left and right channels. The mode dial includes all manual controls plus one custom, then panorama and scene modes, and the zoom lever rings around the shutter button. The power button rests on a depressed area of the surface, and can be highly mistaken as the shutter button.
The interface comes with the usual D-pad, the direct video record button, the playback button, the customizable Fn button, the Wi-Fi toggle button, and the LVF button for switching between different views since there’s not a sensor for the viewfinder. However, there’s a dioptre adjustment knob for those who wear glasses, but the addition of the viewfinder does not practically add to the camera’s use: the colors are a bit too electronic or washed, and the viewfinder in general is small. On the bottom of the camera comes the thread for the tripod, and the door for the battery and storage card.
The Panasonic Lumix LF1 does speed very well especially when booting up and in handling lags between shots. Thankfully also, there’s the direct RAW support, and you can even shoot at RAW+Fine format simultaneously. ISO ranges from 80-6400, and the revamped 12.1MP MOS sensor plays very much better with the brighter (but not significantly bright) aperture that opens at F2.0 at its largest. Being capable of up to 200mm zoom in the 35mm tongue, it can be sad to many that the aperture can close up to 5.9, so it’s not really that bright at the telephoto end.
Photo quality is superb enough for this very compact camera, with fine details almost all over the field expect for those on the corners. Chromatic aberration happens oftentimes at situations under direct sunlight, and the brightest areas of the picture get a bit more exposed than expected. Noise is pretty well handled without mudding the sharp details, but as you rise to around ISO 800, grains will start to flood dramatically especially on colors. Colors are generally accurate enough, but in soft light and dimmer situations, photos can look a little gloomy or sad.
Other specs and details you’d love to know about the Panasonic Lumix LF1 are: POWER OIS for the image stabilization, 4x digital zoom, shutter speed of 1/4000sec, video formats of AVCHD and MP4, 15 creative filters, 16 scene modes, 10fps burst shooting that maxes out at around 10-12 shots, full HD video recording, remote shutter using Wi-Fi or NFC, a non-touch 920k-dot 3” display, and a mediocre 250-shot battery life.
Panasonic Lumix LF1 Compact Digital Camera Price in the Philippines: Approximately Php 22,500.00
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