Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 Review

June 13, 2013 | Mark Goldstein | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4.5Mb.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 produced images of very good quality during the review period. The LF1's low light performance is excellent for a compact camera. Up to ISO 1600 images are clean and relatively noise free. Indeed we'd suggest that performance at ISO 1600 is the equivalent of ISO 800 on lesser compacts. Stray above this and, perhaps inevitably, we start to run into problems, noise noticeably intruding at ISO 3200 and 6400, while the fastest 12800 setting should be avoided at all costs.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 dealt well with chromatic aberrations, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The pop-up flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate exposure. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 60 seconds allowing you to capture plenty of light.

Anti-shake is a feature that sets this camera apart from its competitors and one that works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. Macro performance is very good, allowing you to focus as close as 3cm away from the subject. The images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpening setting and ideally require further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting if you don't like the default results. The extensive range of Creative Controls make it easy to change the look of still and panorama images, with the Sony-eque sweep panorama mode proving easy to use and effective too.

Noise

There are 9 ISO settings available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting for both JPEG and RAW file formats:

JPEG RAW

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso80raw.jpg
   

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg
   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg

Focal Range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1's 7.1x zoom lens offers a versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples.

28mm

200mm

focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. Unfortunately you can't change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

File Quality

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 has 2 different JPEG image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

Fine (4.48Mb) (100% Crop)

Standard (2.93Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_fine.jpg quality_standard.jpg
   

RAW (14.2Mb) (100% Crop)

 
quality_raw.jpg  

Chromatic Aberrations

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 handled chromatic aberrations well during the review. There's some slight purple fringing between areas of high contrast, but it's only noticeable on close inspection, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Macro

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 offers a macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 3cm away from the camera when the lens is set to 28mm wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off, and Flash Synchro. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (200mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (200mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. Neither the Forced On or Auto/Red-eye Reduction options caused any amount of red-eye.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Night

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1's maximum shutter speed is 60 seconds in the Manual shooting mode and the Starry Sky Mode scene mode, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 80.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Image Stabilisation

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 has an antishake mechanism which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, we took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with the stabilizer turned off, the second with it turned on. As you can see, with image stabilisation turned on, the images are sharper than when it's turned off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Image Stabilisation Off (100% Crop)

Image Stabilisation On (100% Crop)

1/25th / 28mm antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg
     
1/4th / 200mm antishake2.jpg antishake2a.jpg

Intelligent Resolution

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1's Intelligent Resolution feature makes a standard image look like a higher resolution one by processing the contour areas, texture areas and smooth areas individually.

Off

On

intelligent_resolution_off.jpg intelligent_resolution_on.jpg

Aspect Ratios

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 offers four different aspect ratios.

4:3

3:2

aspect_ratio_1.jpg aspect_ratio_2.jpg
   

16:9

1:1

aspect_ratio_3.jpg aspect_ratio_4.jpg

Creative Controls

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 has an extensive range of Creative Controls, denoted by an artist's palette on the shooting mode dial, with 15 different options on offer.

Expressive

Retro

creative_control_01.jpg creative_control_02.jpg
   

Old Days

High Key

creative_control_03.jpg creative_control_04.jpg
   

Low Key

Sepia

creative_control_05.jpg creative_control_06.jpg
   

Dynamic Monochrome

Impressive Art

creative_control_07.jpg creative_control_08.jpg
   

High Dynamic

Cross Process

creative_control_09.jpg creative_control_10.jpg
   

Toy Effect

Miniature Effect

creative_control_11.jpg creative_control_12.jpg
   

Soft Focus

Star Filter

creative_control_13.jpg creative_control_14.jpg
   

One Point Color

 
creative_control_15.jpg  

Panorama

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 allows you to take panoramic images very easily by 'sweeping' with the camera. The camera does all the processing and stitching. In addition 13 of the Creative Filter effects can also be applied to panorama shots in the Creative Panorama mode.

Panorama
panorama1.jpg
 
Panorama with the Impressive Art Filter
panorama2.jpg