The Panasonic LF1 camera with a bag in the background

Panasonic DMC-LF1 camera review: An amazing pocket multi-tool

 The Panasonic LF1 is very much an underdog in my opinion, a hidden gem. The camera went pretty much unnoticed in the photography world, but it more than intrigued me. I am a firm believer that every photographer should have at least 2 cameras: A non pocketable one and a pocketable one. One should always be with you because pictures don't wait for you. When it comes to a pocket camera, the LF1 Lumix is not only a great contender for a pocket camera, but it's also a pretty amazing multi-tool. Here's my review.

 

What's so special?

Panasonic-LF1-Photography-8

The Panasonic LF1 is unique because it's the first camera of it's size to have an integrated electronic viewfinder. An amazing technological feat if you ask me because that camera has a lot to offer even without the viewfinder. Besides the finder the LF1 is an F2.0 Compact Camera with a sharp Leica f/2 lens and does video pretty well. The 10fps burst mode is pretty impressive for a camera that small. In a nutshell, it's just an all around pocket beast.

 

How's the handling?

Panasonic-LF1-vs-Ricoh-GRD-IV-1

When the postmaster arrived with a small box I was sure I would get my Panasonic LF1 the day after, but to my surprise, the LF1 was inside that small box! The Panasonic is small and sexy. It has an uber cool raised area for the viewfinder and wi-fi antenna that gives it a distinct look. The flash does not pop up and is discreet.

Panasonic-LF1-vs-Ricoh-GRD-IV-3

The LF1 is small when compared to other serious compact cameras, it's more in the Canon S100 series range than say Ricoh GRDIV or Panasonic LX7. The back is nice and the screen is gorgeously seamless with the camera (No raised bezel). The only small issue with the back is the Fn button and Playback buttons are not raised enough, they are too caved in, no biggie tough. The front of the camera has the control ring and no grip. The control ring has a nice feel to it, kind of an aperture ring feel. Since the ring almost touches the bottom of the camera you can use the control ring like you would hold a rangefinder with focus tab. A cool experience since this is a compact.

The LF1 does not have a grip. I am afraid of holding the camera because it's small and does not have anything in the font to hold the camera secure. When will someone learn that grips are essential? Good thing Just getting a flipbak G4 will resolve this issue. The back of the camera does have a thumbrest tough, so it does give you a non slippery feeling from the back, even if I wish it was raised a wee bit more.

 

Lens

The lens on the LF1 is a Leica Vario-Summicron zoom lens that goes from 28mm to 200mm. It's f2.0 on the 28mm end, f/5.9 on the longer end. In other words, it's fast on the wide angle end. The camera does allow you to step zoom and remember the last set focal length. But the only caveat is that the level on top near the shutter release will only allow smooth zoom, if you want step zoom you will need to use the lens ring.

Here's the step zoom focal lengths: 28-35-50-70-90-135-160-200. They are common focal lengths and I am sure you will be right at home with it. To go from say 28mm to 200mm, it only takes a quarter turn to do so, but if you go too fast, it will take a much broader turn of the lens ring. The lens ring is like the Canon S100 series but with less resistance.

 

Zoom Range
The Panasonic LF1 can go from 28mm to 200mm in 35mm terms. If the previous phrase sounds like gibberish, here's what it means:

LF1 at 28mm (Wide Angle)

It can go from as wide as above to as telephoto as below:

Panasonic-LF1-Zoom Range-2

And anywhere in between. Pretty useful.

Zoom Speed

A caveat with the zoom is that you drop from f/2 at 28mm to f/5.6 at 200mm, it's 3 stops slower. The fastest you can get at popular focal lenghts is:

28mm: f/2

35mm: f/2.4

50mm: f/3.3

 

 

Image Quality

The Panasonic LF1 has great image quality. The Leica lens and Panasonic sensor really hit the spot in this one, the images coming out of the camera are sharp and defined. There's no point saying it's awesome without showing. So here are sample LF1 sample shots at the extreme focal lengths so that you can judge for yourself. Below each image there is the full size sample and RAW file to download

 

Panasonic LF1 at 28mm
Panasonic LF1 at 28mm

Image above: Download JPG | Download Raw

 

Panasonic LF1 at 200mm
Panasonic LF1 at 200mm

Image above: Download JPG | Download Raw

 

Panasonic-LF1-Full-Size-Sample-4-preview
Panasonic LF1 at 28mm

Image above: Download JPG | Download Raw

Panasonic-LF1-Full-Size-Sample-5-preview

Image above: Download JPG | Download Raw

Here's the Image Quality of the Panasonic LF1 compared to the Ricoh GRD IV, a 1/1.7 inch sensor:

 

Panasonic LF1 vs Ricoh GRD IV at ISO 200
Panasonic LF1 vs Ricoh GRD IV at ISO 200

 

Panasonic LF1 vs Ricoh GRD IV at ISO 3200
Panasonic LF1 vs Ricoh GRD IV at ISO 3200

 

All I can say is that I am very impressed by the LF1's image quality. It's not made for really high ISOs (no compact really is) but that's why there's the fast lens and the flash. Speaking of Flash, there is no manual controls for flash and no Hotshoe. If you really need external flash, just get a bottom plate and a slave flash.

The Panasonic LF1 allows shooting in RAW mode, and yes it allows you to shoot in RAW mode while keeping your screen in BW, no need to add a JPG. The RAW files are great and can be twisted an turned at desire (Below with these presets applied):

Panasonic-Lf1-Processing

In other words it's a very capable camera, especially for enthusiasts and advanced photographers. There is definitely character to the images you get with the Panasonic LF1, when I look at them, there is a certain feel, a certain texture to them that I find very pleasing. I think it has a signature look. Unfortunately tough the camera does tend to fringe on the purple side. Nothing a little Lightroom won't fix but it must be stated.

 

Macro Mode

You can get so close to your subject in macro mode you will wonder if you won't hit the lens. If bugs and flowers are your thing, it's an amazing little camera. The macro is only for 28mm tough, at longer focal lengths there needs to be more and more distance between the lens and the subject. Before we get on to it, here's a full size sample of macro mode:

Panasonic-LF1-Full-Size-Sample-1-preview

Image above: Download JPG | Download Raw

The image above shows what I mean by “character”. The images from the camera just has a certain emotional resonance to it due to the way the Panasonic LF1 renders the images. Anyhow, the macro performance is sharp.

Here's two shots of flowers with my hand and fences for size reference (Second shot with these presets):

Panasonic-LF1-Macro-1
Panasonic LF1 at 28mm

 

Panasonic-LF1-Macro-2
Panasonic LF1 Macro at 28mm

 

Panasonic-LF1-Macro-4
Panasonic LF1 at 28mm

 

Panasonic-LF1-Macro-3
Panasonic LF1 Macro at 28mm

If you like your flower and bug shots, with this camera you can be a bug-flower paparazzi. The Bokeh (out of focus area) is very pleasing in Macro because it's very smooth and natural-looking. If you look at the pictures above, it the macro mode tends to compress everything in the center which I find pleasing. And again, look at the texture of the image, especially in BW, it has a nice feel to it….such nice rendering…. Yeah I'm in love.

 

Auto-Focus

Autofocus on the Panasonic LF1 can be summed up in one word: Real fast. That's two words, but who cares? The auto-focus on the LF1 is almost as instant as you half press the shutter release. It's impossibly fast and has 23 point AF areas. Or you can choose face detection or one point AF. With one point AF you can set the Fn button to select your Focus point.

 

Panasonic-LF1-Photography-4

The AF focus on Macro mode is slower tough, the camera basically resets the focus every-time you press the shutter release half way. I'm stating this in order for you not to leave the camera on macro focus mode for regular shooting…it's slower than regular AF mode which is fast.

 

[highlight] Low Light Performance[/highlight]

The Panasonic LF1 is equipped with a 1/1.7 inch sensor. Larger than most point and shoots but smaller than APSC sensors and micro 43. The smaller the sensor the lower the noise performance at higer ISOs. But the Panasonic LF1 is quite impressive for it's size at higher ISOs. I see acceptable results even at ISO 1600. The max ISO of the LF1 is 3200, but you can go in a menu and turn on High ISO and you will be able to go up to 6400. But there is one thing that the LF1 has that might keep the photographers using it going to higher ISO's: Stabilization.

Panasonic-LF1-High-ISO-1

 

Panasonic-LF1-High-ISO-2

 

Panasonic-LF1-High-ISO-3

 

Panasonic-LF1-High-ISO-4

 

Panasonic-LF1-High-ISO-5

 

As I stated before I find the images from the Panasonic LF1 to have a certain character to them. I also find this character more pronounced when it comes to higher ISOs in BW (below ISO 1600):

Panasonic-LF1-ISO-1600-1

 

Image Stabilization

Photographers are limited by the light that they have. The less light, the higher the ISO will need to be. Usually most folks can get away with 1/30th, maybe 1/15th of a second hand-held, but since the Panasonic LF1 has image stabilization, you can get  up to half a second reasonably sharp and have a usable photograph (look at the 100% crop on the left for sharpness reference):

Panasonic-LF1-Image Stabilization-1

Panasonic-LF1-Image Stabilization-2

Panasonic-LF1-Image Stabilization-3

Panasonic-LF1-Image Stabilization-4

So not only the ISO performance good for the format, the image stabilization also is. I'm mainly a small, compact camera shooter, that's my thing. I start sweating when the light drops because low light is to a small sensor camera what water is to a cat.

But I must admit that the Stabilization emboldened me, I found myself shooting at night, at ISO 400 (!!!) and still get a usable photograph thanks to the stabilization. Here's a random shot at night, ISO 400, 1/6th of a second:

Panasonic-LF1-Low-Light-1

So the stabilization does in fact change the ISO game because you can go slower and still have a sharp picture, without having to bump out the ISO. Wonder what they do in Woman's club?

 

Manual Focus

If you do not like the AF (who doesn't?), you can set your camera to manual focus. To focus you can use the front ring but it has to be left on default (the camera chooses what the ring does). By rotating the ring you will get to a zoomed in view to fine tune your focus.

Panasonic-LF1-Photography-1

The manual focus should not be used if you need to focus quick, AF will take care of that. In order to get from say 0.98ft to infinity, you have to twist the front lens quite a few time….alternatively you can use the ring on the back which is much quicker and easier. But the good thing is that Praise-the-Lord this thing has a visual focusing scale. Joy!.

When you pop to manual focus by pressing left on the directional button an start twisting the lens you get this: This is a representation of your depth of field. So the camera can focus from 0.98ft to infinity. The yellow thing shows what will be in focus. So here's what's going to be in focus at f/2 (At 28mm):

Panasonic-LF1-Manual-Focus-1

 

And now f/8 (at 28mm):

Panasonic-LF1-Manual-Focus-2

You can see a visual representation of your depth of field. You know what that means? It's a good street photography and landscape camera if you are into these things.

 

Hyperfocal, Baby

If you do not know what hyperfocal is, please skip this part. If you do know, I'm sure you've been waiting to know how you can set your focus! I'm pleased to tell you that hyperfocal setting is simple on this little camera. Here's how to do it:

Panasonic-LF1-Hyperfocal

Go to M mode (or A mode if you want the camera to have control of the Shutter speed), make sure you are at 28mm, press left on the D-pad in the back, select MF. Change your aperture to 5.6. Turn the lens ring so that the yellow part hits 3.3ft (about 1 meter) and infinity, you are at hyperfocal! Everything from 1 meter will be in acceptable focus.

Here's the hyperfocal table for the 3 most popular focal lengths:

28mm:  f5.6 at 1m (about 3.3 ft)

35mm: f8 at 1m (about 3.3 ft)

50mm:  f8 at 2m (about 3.3 ft)

You cannot set auto ISO in manual but you can in semi auto modes like Aperture priority. There is an iISO but it's not an auto ISO with a user defined limit, it's ISO based on light and subject movement. If you opt for a more automatic hyperfocal experience, all you have to do is point and shoot, a real trip when using the viewfinder.

 

Video

Above is a quick video with the Panasonic LF1 (Full HD Sample)

Like I said I consider the Panasonic LF1 to be a multi-tool than just a camera: One part it excels in is video. How do I say this? It can record AVCHD and 2 channel stereo! But the real icing on the cake for me is twofold: The ability to shoot stills while recording (9mpx, 15 pics max) and the stabilization. Oh the stabilization!

Say you are walking, you move and shake, but the brain compensates for it and you are not aware of it. But this is not so for the camera, it records every shake you make. Enter stabilization: Software technology that analyses the movements of the camera and compensates for it. Once you press the red button to record a movie, everything becomes smooth, you feel your hand moving but the camera only gently moves. It's such a pleasure to watch. Actually, heres a small video I shot with the Panasonic LF1, completely handheld:

It's me walking, notice how smooth the movement is. Without the stabilization the video would be so much more shakier. With two hands and not moving you can get pretty steady shots. I'm not a video wiz, a client pushed me into it because he loves my photography so much, but I know when I should be impressed and I am. Amazing, amazing video for such a small compact camera.

Autofocus is still fast in Video, and if you use MF, it will be locked in video mode. Here's a video of the AF speed:

 

[highlight] Audio[/highlight]

No, you cannot record audio alone, but the audio is so good it needs a section by itself. Video is only as good as the audio, if the audio sucks, it's going to detract from the video. The Panasonic LF1 has two amazing audio
features: Wind cut and stereo. The Panasonic LF1 has two microphones, giving you natural, spacial sound. But the really useful feature is the wind breaker. Ever recorded video only to hear FFFfffFffFFf? That's wind in your mic, to remediate you need a wind breaker over the mic. The Panasonic LF1 has technology to cut out the wind. Mighty impressive. In the video below, observe how you don't hear the wind and how much the sound is clear and natural:

 

Video (Conclusion)

It's clear from the features of this camera that video was not an aftertought, it's not poopooed like certain other manufacturers do. Great audio + great video = a great pocket video package. It's amazing how you can get such high quality video from this little gem. I like it so much, I expect myself to do more video on a personal level.

 

The viewfinder (How to be a badass 101)

Panasonic-LF1-Viewfinder-1
The viewfinder is one of the unique attributes of the Panasonic LF1…..well it's a small viewfinder, 2000.000 dots, it's not going to be as clear as a DSLR viewfinder but it's more than enough. Due to the shape of the optics in the viewfinder it always tends to pick up a wee bit of background light but that's negligible. Since it's a small viewfinder, you have to squint in order to see clearly the fame. I personally can't hold that much squinting and a lot of people are complaining about the viewfinder….but there's a better way.

Panasonic-LF1-Viewfinder-2

Ever seen the Disney movie “Pocahontas”? Remember when John Smith's partner was shooting with one eye closed and he remembered Smith's words “Both…eyes…open”? Well that's the trick. Just put the viewfinder to your eyes with both…eyes…open. There's much less eye fatigue that way and makes you look badass.

Panasonic-LF1-Viewfinder-3

Oh and if you want to be even more badass try this:

Panasonic-LF1-Viewfinder-4

The viewfinder is good enough, especially in bright sunlight, just don't squint and use both of your eyes. To use the viewfinder one must press the EVF button before. Well that might sound like an issue but it isn't because it's called a habit. Once you start getting used to pressing a button before an action, you will start doing it without thinking.

I know so because I had a camera that required you to press a button before using the EVF, after using it a while, you won't think about it at all.

 

Wi-fi connectivity

Panasonic-LF1-Camera-Wifi

Wifi-fi on the Panasonic LF1 is impressive. It also has NFC if you want to connect phone and camera without much setup. The reason why it's impressive it's because of the refresh rate between the phone and the camera. The lag between moving the camera and seeing the result on a phone screen is quick, I would eyeball it at 1/15th second.

Here's what the video means: The camera is recording the phone that is controlling the camera. That little lag you see is the time it takes for the camera to transfer the data from camera to phone over wifi. Impressive. Zooming takes about twice as long but it's still fast operation. Speaking of witch, the phone application is pretty darn complete, including geotagging the images, manual focus, change settings like ISO, focus mode, etc.

You can even playback your images on your phone. Impressive. All you need is a phone with the Panasonic Image app, sync with wifi and you are good to go. To get the devices going again beyond the original setup, it takes about 5 seconds. You can view your pics but not videos from phone.

 

Remote Viewfinder

But what's the point of the remote viewfinder? Well there's a few uses, first of all of you have a bloated ego this is for you! Who needs others to take a picture when you have yourself? Seriously tough, it's good for remote release without a cable, landscapes (Pressing down on the button will produce micro vibrations that may affect your pictures with longer shutter speeds), doing videos by yourself (you have the viewfinder in your hands!), family pics with you included….It has it uses….

Actually I found one use yesterday: A Baby monitor. I let my wife sleep in the morning, and yesterday I had two toddlers to watch by myself. But Duty was calling me on the throne. Well, why do I have a Panasonic LF1 for? I put on a cartoon show for them, placed the LF1 so that I can see them and went to the bathroom with my phone. Who said Remote viewfinder can't be useful?

 

Image Playback

Panasonic -Image-App-1

Image Playback on smartphone Just like shooting from the smartphone is snappy, image playback is also snappy, about 3/4th of a second to stream the full resolution from camera to phone. When loading the Panasonic Image app, you can choose directly to view mode where the lens will retract and the back screen of the camera will go black. To transfer an image to your phone, there's an unintuitive interface to go through. You have to press for a second on the image you want and it will give you this weird box thing to go through.

Panasonic Image App Sharing Mode
Panasonic Image App Sharing Mode

Basically you are allowed to select 3 applications to be able to share to and set them to 3 directions. When you long press on an image you can drop them to one of these applications and it will act as a regulare image to be shared. Or you can just select Save to “SmartPH”, your smartphone. It takes 10-15 seconds to copy a full rez JPG to your phone (No Raw). Impressive once more.

 

Other Wi-Fi features

Panasonic-LF1-Photography-5

With Wifi you can offload your pictures, but you will still need a cable because it can only transfer files from camera to your computer while charging. I'd like to see a dock for this I guess. You can also directly upload to the cloud and post to your social networks. But the real useful wi-fi feature in my opinion is being able to download the pics to your phone.

So you will be able to edit your pics right from the phone, pretty cool. I occasionally do Instagram, sometimes I want to put pictures taken with my point and shoot, that means offloading them on computer and then putting them on my phone. The wifi in the camera removes this step and allows sharing almost instantly from your phone.

 

Image effects

The Panasonic LF1 allows you to select a Image effects to be applied on your images like contrasty BW, Cross Process, etc. For most folks the fact that your mode dial has to be in the “Creative effects” mode is fine. But for those who want to use say manual mode with said creative effects won't be able to. You can turn your screen in an average BW, Sepia, Vivid or normal color. But you can use the Creative effects on video (Except a few) and you can have a certain degree of control over them, like the amount of contrast in High Contrast BW.

 

Street Photography Settings

The camera's autofocus is fast, and is good for street photography, but for photographers who don't do anything but Hyperfocal, this camera is also great. Say you setup your camera to be at hyperfocal on A mode, if you opt for Auto ISO, you are pretty much set for the whole day, everything will be in focus from 1m to infinity.

If you opt for manual operation, it's also easy. When you want to change your exposure, simply roll your hands on the wheel in the back. To change your ISO, press the quick menu (the trash button) and you will be able to change it with the same wheel. You can also do all of these things right from the viewfinder. Hum…impressive?

This is the sort of camera where if manual operations are your thing you can simply set-it-and-forget it. A joy to use once you get used to it. To jump back to regular AF all you need is to press right, up, up and enter. So you can jump from MF to AF in a second or so. Once you remove all of the beeps from the camera, the Panasonic LF1 is definitely a silent camera. The shutter click is also very discreet.

 

[highlight]Composition Help[/highlight]

The Panasonic LF1 allows you to overlay some compositional guidelines over your images. You can have the rule of thirds, diagonals, S shape. All good stuff if you need a little guidelines for your photos, my only issue is the lack of a golden rectangle overlay.

Panasonic-LF1-Photography-7

 

Front Focus Ring

The front focus ring with the viewfinder in my opinion transforms the Panasonic LF1 into a sort of the smallest digital rangefinder. Rangefinders are an experience, the way you use them. The LF1 is the closest you are going to get on such a small camera. The front focus ring can do many things: Manual Focus, Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, etc. At least on paper. Truth is, not all of these are available for the user to set up. I'm on Manual mode, here's my options:

-Default -Step zoom -Exp compensation -Aspect Ratio -ISO -White Balance

As you can see manual focus, Aperture, Shutter speed are not available to me. But if I leave the front ring to Default, I can control my Aperture with it (The ring in the back will control the Shutter speed). Now if I go to Manual Focus, the lens ring will not be able to change my aperture but will now control the manual focus. You can still change Aperture and Shutter speed with the wheel on the back tough.

You can still step zoom and change your ISO by pressing the quick menu (trash can button) and use the lens ring to go back and forth. Leaving the lens ring on default will change it's function depending on the mode you are in. Just like any camera, it will take some getting used to, but every crucial setting is not too far away, so the camera can offer quick operation.

Panasonic-LF1-Photography-9

 

Custom Modes

The Panasonic LF1 has two user set modes that you can switch to as you please. There's C1 and C2. Simply change all the settings you want and save them to one of these modes. Useful if you juggle multiple types of photography.

 

Other Features

One feature I find useful is the Travel feature, you can setup your travel date and if you want the camera to stamp the location. Useful for travels because the camera will adjust to the destination time when you go there. There's also the features you have on other cameras like send to TV, etc.

Panasonic-LF1-Photography-10

 

Conclusion

For enthusiasts:

This camera has a lot to offer for those who are enthusiasts. First is the fact that the LF1 is just a darn good camera. Perfect for travel because of the zoom range, and with the wifi connectivity, you can backup your images and send to social media where you have connection. For video it's just impressive and will capture great colors at full HD mp4.

For Advanced Shooters:

This camera is good for the consumer market, but it's also great for photographers looking for a serious compact. It's highly versatile and does many things very well. I personally trust my LF1, the meter is great, dynamic range and RAW files are good and offer good wiggle room. This camera simply packs a serious punch that photographers should look into.

An Amazing pocket multi-tool:

The Panasonic LF1 is a great still camera, it does video well, it's light, records great audio, allows wireless connections, has stabilization, windcutter, has a fast lens….It's just a versatile camera, a multi-tool in an unbelievably small package. Panasonic really did well with their DMC-LF1 and comes highly recommended.

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137 thoughts on “Panasonic DMC-LF1 camera review: An amazing pocket multi-tool”

  1. Pingback: Panasonic LF1 camera review - Olivier "F8" Duong | Documentary & Street Photography

  2. Nice review Olivier – impressive little camera. Great to see a camera review with actual RAW files to download and a good round up of 100% crops, ISO and HD video examples. Short, sharp and to the point.

  3. I just bought one of these, purely on the basis of three things:

    1. It is truly pocket sized

    2. It has a decent zoom range ( I often photograph wildlife)

    3. It has a VIEWFINDER! (I am an old guy and we ALL have terrible trouble seeing LCDs in sunlight, its just point and hope without one. When will the Dumbkopf camera makers obsessed with LCD size realise this? Thank you Panasonic!)

    Olivier, I just walked in Guernsey Cameras and asked “have you got a small pocket camera with a decent zoom and a viewfinder”. Top marks to them. They showed me the LF1, and others but this camera met my very basic requirements. Its other features (you never even mentioned the superb panoramas) are mind boggling.

    Thank you for your review, its by far the best on the web because its obviously written by an expert, free of technical jargon, and you put it to real world tests in a way that the layman can easily understand.

  4. I think there are two main reasons no one talks about this camera, including Panasonic. One is because it’s not a particularly special item. Is it even sold in the USA outside of a couple of stores like Adorama/B&H? I don’t think so. Canon’s S120, which sells for the same price (or the S110 which sells for $100 less), goes wider (24mm equivalent), is smaller, and offers the same image quality. and the Canons are available everywhere.

    The other reason is that these high-priced compacts aren’t selling very well these days. In fact sales are cratering around the world as people either use their smartphones + clever apps, or they migrate up to interchangeable-lens cameras.

    1. Well I think it’s special at least because of the viewfinder 🙂 But it’s true that it’s not out there compared to the much more famous Canon S.
      True, there is the smartphone market eating up the compact, but I think there’s still a market there, especially with the connectivity features of cameras like the LF1. With the Wi-fi features, you can transfer your files to the phone and use the apps you love, win-win in my opinion!

  5. Olivier, this has to be one of the best camera reviews I’ve ever seen; it really cuts through the chaff and gets to the heart of each point. The technical performance is covered in a reald-world way, not lost in comparison chart numbers. I’m sorry that I haven’t followed you before.

    I’ve been strongly considering this camera because it does so much at such a small size, and I really need a viewfinder — though I know the LF1 finder is marginal. I hope they sell enough of these to consider continuing the line with just a little more oomph in the viewfinder department.

    I will subscribe right now. Thanks again.

    1. Hi Joel,
      You are making it hard being modest after comments like this!!! Thanks so much for the boost in camera review confidence 🙂
      It’s really a great compact, pretty powerful for it’s size. The viewfinder is ok, it works, simply open both eyes and don’t squint, the eye gets used to it. They will probably upgrade the eyepiece in a new version.
      I’m pushing it tough, it’s a great little cam, some features like the Depth of field scale are like icing on the cake!

      Thanks so much for your consideration on the mag 🙂

  6. Fantastic review Olivier. Ive been thinking about buying a second camera (I currently have a wonderful iPhone camera) for a little while and this review is very timely. I was looking at the Panasonic LX7 (this seems very similar) or a Sony camera RX100. I’ll keep reading reviews for the moment as my little iPhone is doing a good job for a beginner like myself. Could you tell me though, does the lens automatically extend when you shoot or just if zooming in on things.

    Thanks

    Lee

    1. Thanks Lee,
      I understand with the phone, but I think that’s where the wi-fi features come in. You can shoot with the LF1 and then transfer the pics to the phone then edit and share from there. So it won’t be such a drastic change.
      LX7 or RX100 are great choices too, but the LF1 is a true pocket camera, the other two are pocketable but bigger.
      The lens extends automatically, as soon as it is turned on.
      Thanks and take care 🙂

  7. Thanks so much for the thorough real life review Olivier.

    For street shooting I’m currently using a Canon s95 whos main let down is the shot-to-shot speed which with autofusing seems like around one shot every 3 seconds (RAW shooting). Also the image quality is not as good as I’d like these days and hi ISO picture quality isn’t good. Would you say the LF1 is reasonably quick when taking one single shot after another?

    I’m so happy you found this camera. I don’t know how its gone under the radar it looks so impressive.

    Thanks again !

    1. Thanks man,
      You don’t need to worry about the AF in the LF1, it’s really fast, and if you use the Depth of Field thing, you don’t even need to worry about focusing. Shot to Shot it’s about 1 second, class 10 card.
      The Image Quality is great in the LF1 when it comes to low light, but like I said, you will be able to shoot without going to higher ISOs because there is a pretty impressive stabilization system in it.
      Under the radar indeed, don’t know why, I’m impressed!

      1. Thanks again Olivier,

        Can’t say how much I appreciate people like yourself with passion and heart putting yourself out there and also finding reward in helping people. I’m just getting to know your site which is full of gems and thank you for sharing them.

        Yes I’ve grown to depend on that huge depth of field I have with the canon s95 and like you wrote in your workflow article I like to be able to selectively pull out the parts of the photo I want in Lightroom rather than being dictated to by a shallow depth of field shot.

        I’d love a ricoh gr camera but will have to think hard if it will suit me because I shoot on the move and without image stabilization and with the gr’s larger sensor I think my ISO’s would be through the roof trying to get in-focus shots with good depth of field. Perhaps the challenge would be worth it though, including the challeng of learning how to quickly and discretely set up snap focus settings for different shooting distances.

        Best wishes and thank you again,

        Nigel

        1. Thanks man
          You ain’t seen nothing yet, got two free video workshops coming up!!!
          The problem with the GR, it’s really the auto ISO, it’s bonkers man. I knew there was a problem when it chose 3200 in daylight. Besides that, it’s a fine camera.
          The LF1 might not have snap focus, but it has a depth of field scale, so if you leave the camera at it’s hyperfocal settings, and choose a generous ISO for daylight, say ISO 400 and leave the SS on auto, I think you can do things relatively fast….

          1. Thanks for the tips on shooting LF1 Olivier. Looking forward to video workshops. Have been enjoying your site a lot. Your workflow article gave me a great basis for processing from a different starting point – thank you !

    1. Hey there,
      You can’t compare with the Ricoh GR, it’s a different class of camera. But you can compare it to the Ricoh GRD IV. Short answer is that it’s not made as an alternative to the Ricoh GRD IV.
      Long answer is that in Image Quality and Features, it beats the GRD IV. Look at the comparison images and you will see. The LF1 is more advanced and can do more than the GRD IV.

      But, what the GRD IV has, it’s the controls. It has a dial in the front and a lever in the back that can change your Shutter Speed and Aperture. It’s easy to change the settings on the fly then. You can’t set up the LF1’s front ring the way you want it, it’s defined by firmware, to change your SS or Aperture, you need to use the dial in the back.

      But if you use the LF1 like I suggest in the post, in Hyperfocal and Auto ISO, it’s as fast as the GRD IV because all you need to worry about is the Shutter Speed. But the LF1 is smaller than the GRD IV but the GRD IV has the easier controls, while the LF1 has the Canon S type of controls.

      So in the end, it’s what you need that defines what you buy. You can’t beat the controls and handling of the GRD IV, but the LF1 is beyond the GRD IV in terms of IQ and Features.

  8. Thanks for an excellent & comprehensive review. I was thinking about an LF1 but had decided to wait and read up on it as many reviews don’t rate it very well, but yours…..it tells it like it is !
    Is it superior to my own and much loved LX5 and therefore worth saving up for ? I know the zoom length is better, what other important features make it better in your opinion ?

    Thanks once again, Oliver.

    PS- I can’t seem to download my ‘free’ copy of issue 1, how do I achieve this ? I’d really like to read your magazine.

    Kustom48, Norfolk, UK.

    1. I think that many reviewers rate it down because they judge it by it’s price point.
      I took the camera for what it was without bringing in judgment.

      I don’t have the LX5, but there’s some comparison shots that are floating online with the LX7 vs LF1:
      http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Panasonic_Lumix_DMC_LF1/outdoor_resolution.shtml

      When compared to the LX7 (the LX5’s successor) what I see in broad terms, without having the LX7 at hand, is that the LX7 has better image quality, but the LF1 is much smaller. Your needs determine your choice!

      PS: Check your SPAM folder for the email with the link inside it, or send me an email by clicking the contact tab on top, thanks!!

  9. Iv been looking everywhere for some real world reviews on this cam, and you have given one of the most in depth reviews on a camera, period. Great job!
    Iv have been contemplating on getting a Ricoh GRD IV for a while now, then I stumbled upon your review. While im still leaning towards the Ricoh, the LF1 is tempting. Iv used a LX3 for a while and loved the IQ from that camera, but it isnt that pocketable considering it needs a lens cap. So im stuck trying to decide between these two. A couple things concern me about the LF1 though that you can perhaps clarify for me.
    How is the battery life and the build quality compared to the Ricoh? The shape of the Ricohs shutter buttons always looked uncomfortable and weird to me (compared to the Lumix), and some say it feels ‘mushy’, is that the case with the GRD IV? Also, if i were to take a photo on the Ricoh, can I edit it directly on the camera, or change it to Black and white? Lastly, which has the faster AF, and is the LF1 set up to zone focus as quick as the Ricoh with Snap Focus?
    Thanks in Advance, and again, Great review!

  10. Hey Josh,
    The GRD IV and LF1 are really not comparable, they are very distant cameras. Your needs and priorities decide what you need to get.
    The LF1 beats the GRD IV in the Image Quality area, it can go to higher ISOs and can have you shoot hand-held at impressive slower speeds. The amount of features in the LF1 overtake the GRD IV: Good video, Stabilization, Wi-Fi, etc. The GRD IV on the other hand was built to take pictures.

    The Ricoh’s shutter button is smart because it allows you to twist and turn the camera and still press the button without much effort. Don’t know about mushy, if it is, you’ll get used to it. When it comes to build quality, nothing comes close to the GRD IV. It’s bigger than the LF1 tough, but you have a dedicated dial for Aperture and Shutter Speed. ISO is just one button away.

    In all honesty, I have yet to find a camera that got handling down than the GRD cameras. If I am not mistaking, you cannot apply effects afterwards on the GRD IV, you have to shoot with the effects (BW, Retro, etc).

    When you set up the LF1 in MF at the settings I suggested, you are doing the same thing as the snap focus of the GRD IV, only manually. BUT the Ricoh GRD IV has a feature called Full Press Snap, where you can use the AF normally where you half press to focus and then take a picture. But with that feature, you can simply press firmly on the shutter release (without half pressing) and it will snap the focus at 1m or whatever distance you set it. Making the switch between AF or Snap a breeze.

    So setting up the LF1 correctly has the same speed as the snap focus, because it’s essentially the same thing. But the GRD IV can let you use snap or AF just with your finger…..you have to fiddle with the menus on the LF1 and focus manually to a set distance. But the GRD IV is inferior in IQ and lacks features of the LF1…..only you know what you need!

  11. Don’t use the zoom, stay with f/2.0, and you’re good.
    So-called EVF is for badassery only.
    It’s a “tool,” as you said, with its strengths and weaknesses. But as a “compact, pocketable tool,” it is not the only one, not even the most compelling one.
    It’s your new toy/tool, Olivier — you deserve to be excited, for now.

    1. The Zoom is like any other compact unfortunately, maybe save the Olympus XZ line. EVF is ok, I do use it from time to time tough.
      Of course it’s not the only camera in town 🙂
      I still use it and I still find it a great camera. Have one? Don’t like it much? Let the readers have another point of view.

  12. I don’t want to talk about gear. I want to see great photographs.
    You find it a great camera? Then let use it to create photographs, and don’t heap praises on it.
    At one time, you seemed to claim that the Ricoh GR IV is “the one” for street photography.
    When this Panasonic “hidden gem” breaks, I propose you use a “smart phone” for a year. Why not? 🙂

    1. Well you are confusing two intents here.
      This is the gear section of the Inspired Eye website, it’s where there’s going to be camera reviews and user Impressions. So this section IS about gear. Click on the “Submit Images” and you will see all photography, the Mag and the rest of the website is photography.

      Since this is a review, I have to talk about the LF1, and it’s a great camera. I’ll have to talk about other cameras too, no matter what my opinion about the GRD IV is. If you don’t want to talk about gear, this is the only section that is not for you, the rest of the website is 🙂

      I do think the GRD IV is still “The one”, I’ll claim that as an opinion on my website (thef8blog). But on this section of the Inspired Eye website, I have to be a reviewer and give less opinion. So expect more gear stuff on THIS SECTION only, the rest is mainly photography. I hope to get people to photography and images through the gear.

      The Pansonic is a great camera, whatever I think of the GRD IV 🙂 I don’t really like smartphones, I like my shutter button and controls 🙂

  13. Very nice review. Not boring at all, unlike most reviews!

    Having bought a LF1 recently I agree with most of your conclusions, it is a very nice little camera. It is hard to ask for more in a camera so small. If Panasonic manages to squeeze a better EVF on the sucessor then I won`t have any complaint (sure, a larger aperture at the long end would be very nice, but I doubt it is physically possible to do it in such a small lens with such a long zoom). The EVF although not very good, is not nearly has bad as some make it out to be. It is quite usable (but I understand that for folks with older eyes or bad eyesight it might be kind of useless).

    1. Thanks Filipe!
      I was starting to worry a bit, I was wondering if I missed something for me to like the camera so much while other reviews put it down. For the successor of the LF1, a better viewfinder and faster zoom on the long end would be ideal, but like you said it’s hard to ask from such a small camera.

      Yes I agree, the EVF is not horrible like other reviews seem to say, it’s just ok and does the job. For older folks, I wouldn’t use the viewfinder of any camera, just the LCD 🙂

      Thanks for your kind comments, take care

  14. Pingback: An amazing pocket multi-tool | Lumix LF1 | DmartienJ Space

  15. A nice camera with a lens that is unfortunately soft in the corners and when stopped down even worse,losing any advantage to aperture control or other options to conrol depth of field. Perhaps limiting the zoom range to a more moderate level,e.g. 24 to 90mm, would have delivered the kind of image quality one has come to expect from Leica formula lens design as executed by Panasonic, but then one would have an LX 7 with a viewfinder. Not such a bad thing. No?

  16. Awesome review Olivier. One of the best written reviews EVER. Informative, entertaining, and with photos that actually illustrate the capabilities of the camera. Well done. I hope you write MANY more reviews!

    I was nearly set on the RX100ii as my backup to a Fuji equipped with a 14mm and a 27mm lens for a Paris and Rome trip. Now, you’ve got me thinking about picking up a LF1 instead with its much more versatile zoom range. Any thoughts on the RX100ii vs. LF1 for European travels would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Thanks man! I’m trying to get my hands on other cameras to give them the same treatment 🙂
      Well, you can’t really compare the two cameras, LF1 has a much smaller sensor than the RX100. But it’s also more pocketable for a fraction of the cost.

      If Image Quality is your top priority, the RX100 would be your choice. But if portability and zoom range is, the LF1 is a great choice 🙂

  17. Thanks for the quick reply. You answered my question by throwing the question back at me! 😉

    I believe BH gives out loaners for people writing reviews! It’d be great to see more reviews from you.

  18. Yours is the best review I have seen on this camera — I expect to get mine in the mail today as a gift to my wife. She has used a Canon SD800is for years and just lately has been coveting my camera because it will do so much more. I figured this would be a good camera for her, because she has become accustomed to using the viewfinder on the Canon and doesn’t want to leave home without it. It’s nice to see someone who just tells you what the camera will do and doesn’t make all kinds of comments about things that don’t matter, just to show what wonderful writers they are. My only grip about your review was your use of “tough” several times instead of “Though” which you obviously meant. Good work!!!

    !!!

    1. Thanks man,
      I think she will like it coming from the Canon SD800is, it should be different but good 🙂
      Gotta work on my english 🙂 One of the perks of not having english as primary language 🙂

    2. Great useful comments & review that help people be better informed, unlike many reviews that don’t actually tell it ‘like it is’.
      Keep up the good work & more reviews please !

  19. I enjoyed reading your review. I appreciate that you talk about how you use the features and which ones are important to you. I have a Canon S100 and it’s the first time I have used “step zoom.” I like that feature. I think it is easier to compose using step zoom.

    I have a question about your review. You said something to the effect that you could shoot RAW in black and white. The Canon S100 will not let me choose black and white if I am shooting RAW, or even when I’m shooting RAW + JPEG.

    Can you tell me if the LF-1 saves the RAW files in color when you choose B&W in the camera settings? I had a Nikon J1 camera that would do this. I found it very helpful to compose in BW in the camera and then have color images in Lightroom on the computer.

    1. Thanks Bruce!
      Basically the LF1 allows you to put the screen in BW even if you are shooting RAW. Some cameras force you to be in RAW+JPG to do so.
      RAW files are always in color but you can always convert to BW afterwards. Hope I answered your question 🙂

  20. Yes you did answer the question, thank you. I find that seeing black and white on the camera screen helps me compose, even when I want the final image to be in color. I was talking to a friend about this and he said that oil painters often start their work with charcoal and add color later. That made me feel better about the way I like to work. 🙂

    1. It’s the same thing for graphic designers too, logos start in Black and White first, then the color comes after. BW strips away the fluff and you get to see the essentials. It’s a great way to work 🙂

  21. Thanks for the review. The tips on the alternative to snap focus is certainly welcome. I was contemplating on the Ricoh GR IV before but ended up snapping the Panasonic LF1. The EVF looks the same as the LVF-1 on the GF1 and I never complained about it in ’09, though it is many years later now. I have been looking for a pocket-size compact camera with manual controls that I can take with me everywhere and this fits the bill. If only Panasonic crammed just a little bit bigger sensor ie. the Nikon 1.
    Also Panasonic is selling it for $349 on their website for the Black Friday sale for those interested.

  22. Thanks Olivier for the informative, readable, sensible review. Been looking at the LF1 and the Canon G15 (both now at $299 USD) as travel cameras. The Canon’s a bit bigger, but seems to have more intuitive controls, but no connectivity, and a faster tho bit shorter lens. Any other thoughts? Thanks.

    1. Thanks Ivan!
      I will have a user impressions of the G15 shortly. What you really want out of a camera determines what camera you need! You can’t beat the LF1 for portability, the G15 is a chunky cam. Control wise you will have better handling with the G15. Connectivity-> Are you a phone user, or do you always process is Lightroom?

      The connectivity of the LF1 allows you do dump some jpgs on the phone, edit them there with Snapseed or so and upload right on the device. You can do the same with the G15 if you buy an Eye-fi SD card. For the focal lenght, do you tend to shoot telephoto?

      The decision will be clear when you put down what you really want out of the purchase. If you look at Helio Tomita’s work: https://www.theinspiredeye.net/street-photography-in-maragogipe-brazil/ it’s mainly done with the G15.

  23. Will look forward to your G15 impressions. Yeah, I think I’ll have to go handle both to see how much bulk I want to carry. Moving from a 5-year old Canon Rebel SLR, so either will be much lighter/smaller. For me, the G15’s relative bulk may be worth it for easier handling and bigger viewfinder. And I rarely shoot telephoto now that my kids are out of sports. If necessary I’ll pull out the SLR for that. The G15’s 140mm equiv. is probably more than enough for the travel shooting I intend.
    I haven’t had time for post processing or media, so those aren’t big issues for me, at least for now. But it’s good to know there’s an SD card connectivity option, thanks!
    And thanks for sharing Tomita’s work. Inspiring stuff and confidence building for the G15. Yep, want to be less burdened by the equipment, and less obtrusive a shooter. So I’ll go handle the goods, and look for your G15 review. Thanks for the good advice!

    1. Well I think the G15 would be the one for you. You can’t beat a dedicated EV dial to change your exposure quickly, and you can’t beat a front dial. But the viewfinder does not have any info in it though. ….

    1. Hey Peter, not really understanding the question. The LF1 has no hotshoe. To use an external it should be able to be triggered by another flash (the one on the lf1), does that answer your question?

  24. Yes I want to trigger my external flash optically (wireless/remote). The problem is that some cameras tend to do a “pre-flash” before taking the exposure in order to measure light level. So in this case the pre-flash triggers the ext.flash instead of the “real” flashlight thus the exposure and the ext.flash light will not be in synchron and the light level will be inproper.
    So the question is that LF1 does pre-flash or not? It could be tested if you have an external flash (saddly, specs doesnt say anything)
    thanx!

    1. Good to know, I never deal with optical triggers 🙂 I believe it does, two equal bursts of flash go out. Can’t test I don’t have a flash capable to be tripped by another.

  25. Thank you for the review.
    I was going to buy the LF1 but the seller advised me not to buy this camera. He said that there are much better cameras for sale in this segment and advised Olympus xz10. I bought nothing…….. A few months later, I asked for advice in another store. This seller also advised me not to buy the LF1 He said the Sony RX100 is much better.
    Now I do not know yet. I am looking for a small camera that makes great pictures in auto mode and that if I’m going to like it can set manually.
    I like the sony and read a lot revies about this camera, but the LF1 is smaller and that’s what I like. For me it is important to have a small, easy to use camera and ofcourse good pictures, a bit better than a simple point-and-shoot-camera.
    I like the way that you have written the review. Thanks a lot. Please, can you give me a good advice, which camera to buy, the sony rx100 or de lf1?

    from the Netherlands,
    Nettie

    1. Hi Nettie, thanks for the compliments!
      If I were you I would make a list of what’s your most needed feature and narrow it down. It seems what you want is a pocket camera.

      How small do you want it? They can both fit in your pocket but the LF1 is much smaller, its the size of most small consumer cameras. Tue RX100 is small but larger than the LF1.

      You can’t compare the two cameras for Image Quality because the RX100 has a much larger sensor, so the photos will look better.

      Let’s not forget the price too, the RX100 is much more expensive. I recommended the LF1 to a family member and he ended up selling his slr gear. Many LF1 owners love their LF1s……they are both great cameras but only you know what your deal breakers and deal makers are. Hope I helped 🙂

  26. Hi Olivier,

    I’m an amateur, just want pretty pictures that are easy to make. I’ve made my choice. Thank you very, very much. I go for the Panasonic. Easy, small and good pictures.
    You have helped me very much. Thanks.

  27. Thx for the review, very helpful! I was leaning towards the Lf1, but saw it otherwise not highly recommended on many of the review websites. Can’t decide between the Canon S110 (am considering the older one because it is so much cheaper than the latest) and the Lf1. I want to to some macro, flowers, plants, jewelry, and otherwise take pics while traveling, of family, landscapes etc. I know it is partially a decision between a so-so viewfinder or a touchscreen … but aside from these 2 aspects, which one should I go with??????? Thank you!

    1. Thanks for the compliments 🙂
      The other reviews on this camera were mainly with people who didn’t use it except for testing. I DID use it and love it.
      They are similar cameras for sure and you did point your finger to the deciding factor: Viewfinder or Touchscreen? So I really cannot tell you which one! Both are great and will be a matter of taste…..decisions decisions…

  28. Hi again, thx so much! I do really appreciate that you used the camera for really great and artistic shots, totally love the video as well. Makes me want to do the same. Do you think a “normal” consumer without special pro background can achieve such wonderful photos and video as well with the LF1, or would special training be needed? In other words, how easy is it to use the LF1 so beautifully for a non-pro?

    1. Hi Saskia,
      See it like this, a great musician can make music on great gear but can also do the same just by whistling. I don’t want to tell you that you will get shots like that because well, I took them! But it’s an easy to use camera that will also allow you to grow because it allows you to change the settings so that you can control your shots. I had the camera mostly on semi automatic and processed them with the presets that are sold here. I just wanted to show what could be done with the camera.

      Stick around and I’ll have videos up explaining everything you need to know on controlling the camera.

      If you don’t have lightroom, you can use your ipad or phone to edit the shot on there. Just transfer the files by wifi and edit away. There’s preset filters in the camera that will give you options without even having to edit anything.

      For the videos, to be frank, it’s my first try, the stabilization makes this thing KILLER. I mean, I know my hand is moving but the image on the screen is just smooth, it’s like I’m flying 🙂

      Hope that answers your questions 🙂

  29. I was considering this camera as I was looking for a versatile, affordable yet powerful enough p&s. Your review Oliver convinced me to jump on this little camera. I absolutley love it ! Your review was truly spot-on on this camera’s abilities and where it’s few short comings are. It’s an excellent carry around everywhere, travel camera.

    I’m looking for a suitable mini tri-pod for it and I was considering the gorilla pod mini. Would you have any other recommendations?

    Thx,
    Bryan

  30. Great review Olivier. I just noticed a typo in your first photo heh You seem to have some experience with the Canon S series. Would you say, if using the main LCD only and sticking in the same focal length, that the LF1 performs equally to something like the Canon S120 in terms of image quality and lens speed? Cheers.

    1. Uhoh Me an typos! I do have experience with the S series but I have not compared them head to head. I would predict both being about the same, manufacturers tend to create cameras based on established competition 🙂

  31. Plenty been said in previous comments about quality of review and I agree with all positive opinions.
    I’ve just bought this LF-1 (as a replacement for my Ricoh GX100 which had an accident with a vacuum cleaner). I’m looking forward to using it, first impressions from 10 minutes find-your-way-round it look good – quick and versatile , EVF is a little small, but it’ll do for what I want – taking shots in bright sunshine, and access to white balance adjustment not quite so rapid, but that’s probably me needing to learn more.

    I went out to a local park just recently which showed signs of recent floods and saw many folks taking pictures. Most young people were using smartphones, while men in their 40s and onwards were using superzoom bridge or dSLR cameras, now us 60 somethings are progressing back to sharp little compacts.
    (My wife, at 68, has just bought a Canon G16)

  32. Hey, I read on the article of Ricoh GRD alternatives, that you can set the Lumix LX7 to remember the manual focus distance (zone focus) last used, even if you switch between shooting modes ( from Manual to Auto for example). Is that possible with the LF1?

    1. Just checked, won’t allow manual focus on auto, but if I set it on MF and have a hyper-focal setting, it will move from setting to setting like M-A-S. Hope that helps 🙂

      1. So, if i were to zone focus on M mode, and i happen to accidentally switch shooting modes then go back to M mode, would i have to re set my zone focus distance? Will it save my hyper-focal setting if i turn the camera on and off? thanks

  33. Best review I have read on any camera. Found you through an Amazon customer review of the LF1.

    My wife and I are not photographers but enjoy taking pictures when traveling or at family gatherings, the more automatic the better. I was looking for a camera as a gift for my wife and had decided on the Nikon P340 because it is pocket size and takes great pictures without fussing with a lot of settings. But like the others in this category it lacks a view finder and she gets frustrated with LCD screens in bright conditions. I didn’t think a quality camera with an EVF existed until I came across the LF1 and yours seems to be the only in depth review.

    While I enjoy reading about all the special features, I know we will never use them without some sort of tutorial. So first of all I need to be certain that it is very easy to use: just pull it out of pocket or purse – turn it on – point and shoot. I can see us using macro mode on occasion but that seems fully automatic as well. If this is the case I’ll order one from B&H. Secondly, you mentioned in one of your responses that you will have a lesson available to help us understand more about the camera. Will this be something even a novice will find useful?

    Thanks again for such a well constructed review. Your pictures and descriptions of the camera’s capabilities inspire me to learn how to use them to create images like yours. As a musician it is rewarding to know I have inspired someone to go further. As artists we tend to take our talent for granted. You are a departure from the stiff and elevated point of view projected by most reviewers. I intend to look deeper into your website and hope it isn’t too far over my head.

    1. Amazon huh? Wow I gotta check that out 🙂
      The LF1 is fully automatic. Since I believe that was a given, I just went through the more complex stuff.
      If You are buying from B&H, please consider using the link at the bottom of the article 🙂
      The email course will be for complete beginners, so you’re in! Join the Newsletter and you will be notified
      when it comes out 🙂
      I’m glad I inspired you, but you must learn the camera so that you can create images….that resonate the most with you 🙂
      Thanks so much and take care

      1. Amazon customer review that references your review is from C. Lee on March 2, 2014. I can’t wait to get it. B&H online is closed today but I will order tomorrow from the link below. Thanks again.

        1. Thanks for that! Got the snippet ” Still a little undecided on this under-rated camera, I came upon a review from a real photographer, Olivier Duong on The inspired eye, period net . It is a real world review with examples of what the Lf1 camera can do by the average user. I quickly decided to purchase this camera and am happy I did”
          http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A34FRGEOTKESH4/ref=cm_cr_pr_pdp

          Real cool! I love this little cam, dunno why it’s getting shunned 🙂

  34. As soon as the “lense error” message flashed on my Canon S100 camera LCD screen with a serial no. 44xxxxxxx I hit the internet superhighway to find a new one as a replacement to my one and half year old s100 and swear to myself not to buy another Canon brand anymore. Luckily I found your website as concise, simple and direct without the blah blah and blah. And. I decided right up to buy this camera Lumix LF1 and why not? It got more usable feature than s100 and with an EVF as a bonus and a lot priced lower than my Canon S100 which I bought here in Guam for $500 US dollars no sd included. Another door stop courtesy of Canon.

  35. Hi Oliver,thank you for this review,this is the best I have read for any camera.I think to buy LF1 or LX7.I do pictures to my family,for travel,nothing special.What is your opinion please? Wich one will deliver better photos in print 11/8 inches? Is there will be diference i the pictures this size big? I will wait for your answer. Thanks in advance! Best Regards:Angel

    1. Thanks Angel,
      Both are great cameras, you can’t go wrong with either and both would do great at that size. The LF1 is smaller though, and has a longer zoom (up to 200mm, the lX7 is up to 90mm). And of course the LF1 has a viewfinder 🙂
      Let me know! Thanks and take care

      1. Hi Olivier,I bought Panasonic LF1 and I am so so so happy! This is amazing ,great camera!In my opinion better than LX7 Very sharp cristal clean pictures even in dark conditions! Thank you very much that you share with us your experience! Best Regards!

  36. Salut Olivier,

    Being in the market for a new camera I read your great review.
    The contenders are the Sony RX 100 , Canon G16 and of course the LF1.

    A fair share of my photos are taken inside of monuments or religious buildings where light is low and flash are unsualy forbiden .

    Any experience of how the LF1 behaves in those sort of conditions ?

    thanks VM,
    yves

    1. Salut Yves.
      Low light will require better ISO quality. The RX100 has a larger sensor hence handles the low light situations better. But it’s not as small as the LF1 and does not have a viewfinder. So I’d go with the RX100 because of that 🙂

  37. Hello Olivier,
    Thanks for the excellent advice about the LF1 camera.
    Went out and bought one and then it blew me away. So now I am selling my heavier gear
    and really enjoying myself and even when I am having a quiet Pint in the pub.
    Thanks again Olivier, Peter.

  38. Hey Olivier – considering this camera for concerts…. I love my Panny FZ35 for concerts but sometimes it’s just too large….I also have a Panny ZS6 that does just ‘ok’….do you think the LF1 do markedly better than the LF1?

  39. Olivier,
    Thank you for your intelligent, inspired and accomplished review of the Lumix LF-1. Your review tipped the scales for me to order this camera. I appreciate your real-world photography experience, not just quoting facts and figures — and showing some dynamic well-composed images. There are some awesome features are a number of other cameras in the Sony, Nikon, Canon, Ricoh and Panasonic lines, but the size and price of these just left me cold. I’ve been shooting with Canon A630 and A650 – both great cameras (with that fabulous variangle screen), but kinda bulky, no wifi and limited zoom. I also have a Pentax Kr, but for business travel to trade shows, just too bulky to cart around. I’ve been doing a lot of trade show photography with my phone, but you know, I really kinda like to use a CAMERA. Now I can do so and still connect and upload to social sites via my phone. Thanks so much for your great review!

  40. Oh, btw, I don’t JUST do trade show photography – I love capturing the beauty ,stunning angles and colors of all environments. I’ve just been trying to lighten my load a little over the last few years but I don’t want to solely rely on my phone for pics when traveling. So again, thanks so much!

  41. Fantastic review…thanks so much! Do you have any suggestions as to the best case for this camera? I’ve been researching it and it seems that some like a snug case like those from Case Logic (although still can’t figure out which would be right size – reports of internal dimensions vary), others like the LowePro wrap, which I like in concept but am not sure if it provides enough padding. There is also a nifty leather one on amazon made it fit camera exactly, but has no padding and not sure if it will accommodate added grip. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! 🙂

    1. Thanks Bonnie, I can’t tell you really, I don’t use one, I just put it in my pocket. But there are those Leica type C 112 cases that will be more or less the same fit, cuz it’s essentially the same camera. Do you research beforehand though, I never tried them!

  42. thanks so much for this great and honest review. on the basis of this I have today bought an lf1 as a replacement for my ageing grd lll. perhaps I will miss snap focus and that grip you mentioned I have had to import into the uk, but I’ll report back after putting the lf1 through its paces on the london streets. cheers!

  43. Hey Olivier, great review, but it seems you didn’t touch on one thing…battery life.
    How’s the battery life on this thing?

    Also, is the viewfinder laggy or pixelated? I plan to set this on hyperfocal distance and just shut off the screen and use the viewfinder. Do you think I can get quick shots like this using just the viewfinder, or is there too much ‘lag’ or a slow refresh rate for this type of shooting?

    1. Hello (again). Would really appreciate a reply Olivier about this. Very interested in this camera but still wondered about the issues I posted above. Hope you get this, thanks.

      1. Battery life..dunno, normal I guess, never paid attention. Just get an extra battery, that’s what I do anyways!

        Viewfinder is on the pixelated side, with some lag. Yes I think you can get quick shots like that thanks to hyperfocal 🙂

        Open both eyes and pay attention to the streets and the viewfinder 🙂
        Let me know if that satisfies you 🙂

  44. Olivier, enjoyed reading your review and learnt bits from it, bought a LF1, 6 weeks ago still getting used to it (like you do) but the best camera in the world is the one you have in your pocket/bag when you see a picture. I’m delighted with mine carry it every where (sad but true). Keep up your good work.
    Robin in Russia or are we Ukraine now?

  45. Hi Olivier, brilliant review. I’m off to China shortly and was thinking my Nikon D7000 plus lens/lenses would be a bit of a hindrance for the tour I’m on. Been thinking about the LF1 and your review has swayed me. So I’ve bought one. I’m a believer in enjoying where you are and not getting stuck behind a camera and missing the experience so the LF1 should be the best of both worlds. Again, brilliant review! Thanks.

  46. I was comparing the LF1 to the S110 and this review helped me to pick this camera over the Canon. At $298 through B&H, there is only a $50 difference between the Panasonic and the Canon. I rarely use the referral links on website to make my purchases, but you provided such a great first-hand review of this camera, I figured you deserve the credit. Thanks for the in-depth review!

    1. Sadly, I had to return my LF1. I tried a ton of settings, both manual and automatic, and there was just no getting over the tremendous amount of softness in the lens around the edges, especially at the wide end. I’m still in the market for a compact enthusiast camera for when I travel somewhere that it is unsafe or unreasonable to travel with my larger setup. I’m going to give the P340 a try as I have read its lens is sharp as a tack.

      Nonetheless, thanks for the in-depth review Olivier. You have a great site here and I’m glad this review led me here.

  47. I read your blog and decided on the LF1. I must say it is a great camera. I was wondering if you have any problems viewing the videos on a PC though? I see the videos in the camera, but when I view the SD card on my PC, only pictures are viewable and videos are not appearing in the explorer. I know this is not a place for questions, but seeing that you are a user, I was wondering if you are able to help. Much appreciated.

    1. Hey there, they might be recorded in a format that your laptop can’t view. If I am not mistaking, they are also saved in another folder than the images. Did you check other folders?

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  49. Thanks for the great reivew.
    Even though this camera has been out about a year I only recently found out about it after looking for a Leica-C. I can’t see spending an extra $200 or more for the Leica name. I was looking for an affordable and good pocket camera for a short-notice trip to Europe. I bought the LF1 based on a few articles I read. Now I am glad I bought it based on your review. I like your non biased looke at the camrea from a photographer’s point of view rather than a sales person or the general public reviews posted by others. Now I need to order one of the grips you mentoned.

      1. Thanks for your review on the Panasonic LF1. I’ve had one of these since December and have enjoyed using it alongside a GM1 and GX7 as a camera I can take anywhere and get decent quality photos (limited only by my ability.) I would be interested to know if you have have any hands-on experience with the ZS40 and ZS50 which are not much bigger but have a much longer zoom. But how does the picture quality compare with the LF1?

        1. Thanks! I do not have those so I wouldn’t know, but on paper they look like a refresh of the LF1. The one thing to see is the grip on the side of the ZS50, that means that Panasonic listened and added a grip because the LF1 didn’t feel right without one. If they listened about that part, I am sure these are like upgraded LF1s, but I wouldn’t know for sure as I don’t have these cameras!

  50. Thank you for the great review.

    Is there any other camera for about the same price (~300 EUR) with similar capabilities?

    I’m looking for a “work horse” camera with equally good photo and video quality, and with long battery life or at least with possibility to charge it directly through USB, and preferably it would be great to be able to charge while camera is working.

    I can sacrifice compactness of the camera – I’d agree with something larger, but I really would like to have the features and quality of LF1 or its new reincarnation DMC-ZS40 (TZ60, as it is called here in Europe). I have seen many disturbing comments about this camera being in some means worse than alternatives for the same price, and some people are reporting blurry corners of their photos, and some people have problems with charging it, and some others are disappointed by Panasocinc support services. I haven’t yet found any alternative with better set of features/quality/price. If you know of any, please give me some hints, which models should I look at.
    I have already heard of Sony RX100 (older model can be found for 330 EUR), Canon S100, Nikon Coolpix P340, Samsung NX1000 / NX1100 and even Sony Alpha A5000 which is not that compact, but still I’d go for it, if it delivers good photos/videos, manual controls and battery life (or charging while shooting). But I’ve heard that some compact cameras have better built-in lens than A5000, so again I’m not sure which one I should buy.

    Thanks for ideas.

    1. Hey Martin, the Sony RX100 would be a good option or even the Canon S100 cameras. The RX100 will deliver better looking images because of the larger one inch sensor, I’d go with that =)

  51. I currently have a Canon EOSM 1 but still find it too bulky especially with an adaptor and 50mm lens attached. I need a lighter camera that still delivers the 50mm effect or one that can produce good bokeh. Which would you recommend? Should I go with a lighter mirrorless or just a point and shoot? Im not a photographer. I mainly take family travel pics but love portrait shots too.
    I’m intrigued by the Leicas but they are too pricey for me that’s why I’m considering the cheaper C however your post has made me interested in LUMIX too. Point and shoot or GM1 or a Leica. Or is there another camera I should consider? Thanks!!

    1. Hey there, the LF1 / Leica C will not produce that Bokeh effect you are after. The GM1 could do well, especially with the pancake lenses like the 20mm 1.7 (and let’s not forget the Body cap lens is FUN), as an alternative, I would really take a look at the Panasonic LX100. Compact and has pretty much all the lens you need, can do some nice Bokeh too, just not as much as a 50 1.8 on an APSC (like the Canon EOS M…). Perfect for travel and highly versatile. The alternative would be the Sony RX100, smaller but will not be able to do the Bokeh as you would like it. Let me know 🙂

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  55. Hi Olivier
    I read your excellent review of this little camera earlier this year, at the time I was looking for a replacement for my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS15 (that took great photos). I managed to get hold of one for £130 as it was by now (March 2016) a discontinued model – bargain. The LF1 is proving to be a fantastic little “pocket cam” that gives me crisp monochrome photos, in fact I’m finding that my Canon DSLR is being left at home most of the time! Here’s one of the first photos I took with it:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisg35mm/25751797776/in/album-72157663253756614/

    Thanks
    Chris

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