Panasonic releases digital SLR with traditional analog camera design
February 27, 2006 Panasonic moved confidently into the interchangeable-lens digital SLR camera market Sunday when it showed its first offering - the Lumix DMC-L1 – at the PMA Show in Florida. The DMC-L1 is clearly designed to appeal to traditional silver-halide enthusiasts as the controls and classic design are reminiscent of traditional analogue cameras – there’s a shutter speed control dial on the camera body and an aperture ring on the new Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50mm/F2.8-3.5 lens (with with Optical Image Stabilization). But all the normal digital bells and whistles are incorporated plus a few new ones such as a full-time Live View function through the 2.5" LCD, which offers a shooting style different from conventional digital SLRs that have only an optical viewfinder. The full-time Live View is made possible by the new 4/3-type 7.5 mpx Live MOS sensor.
The DMC-L1 also incorporates the Venus Engine III image processing LSI, which teams up with the Live MOS sensor to achieve stunning picture quality and responsive performance, with features such as rapid consecutive shooting. The DMC-L1 further incorporates a Supersonic Wave Filter that serves as a dust reduction system, so you don't have to worry about dust entering the camera during lens changes.
The Lumix DMC-L1 debuts as a state-of-the-art digital SLR camera that maintains the intuitive control and operability of familiar analogue cameras, unlike digital SLRs that simply offer extended functions and specifications. The DMC-L1 is a finely crafted, truly satisfying camera that makes it easy for people who have never even used a digital single lens reflex camera to take beautiful shots and gives professionals a powerful tool for creating photographic masterpieces that visually express the emotions of their subjects.
A shutter speed dial on the camera body and an aperture ring on the lens barrel
To enhance the sense of camera control, the DMC-L1 features a shutter speed dial on top of the camera body. The Leica D VARIO-ELMARIT 14-50mm/F2.8- 3.5 lens (also being introduced today) is equipped with an aperture ring, in addition to a focus ring and zoom ring, for easy, direct aperture setting.
Full-time Live View for a whole new style of digital SLR shooting
By combining the full-time image output function of the Live MOS sensor and a mirror-up mechanism, the DMC-L1 achieves a full-time Live View function that displays the image on the LCD directly from the sensor signal. This function can be selected in both Auto Focus and Manual Focus modes. In Manual Focus, it allows the user to enlarge an image within the frame and then select the area focusing. This makes it easy to check the focusing condition on the large 2.5-inch, high-resolution, 207,000-pixel LCD. The depth of field can also be easily checked by pressing the Aperture button.
High-image-quality, low-energy-consuming 4/3-type Live MOS sensor with 7.5 million pixels
The Live MOS sensor used in the DMC-L1 not only makes full-time Live View possible, it also helps capture the beautiful images of a CCD sensor with delicate gradation and a wide dynamic range. And it suppresses energy consumption as only a CMOS sensor can do. Noise is also minimized thanks to a special processing technology that runs on voltage as low as 5 V.
Venus Engine Ill LSI: High image quality, quick response, low energy consumption
The Venus Engine III is an image processing LSI that was newly developed to maximize the performance of the Live MOS sensor. While inheriting the earlier Venus Engine's high resolution, superior color reproduction and detailed gradation, the Venus Engine III also reduces noise to the level expected from a digital SLR camera, to help render smooth images. The Venus Engine III improves camera responsiveness too, supporting high-performance consecutive shooting and a short shutter interval. Despite the considerably higher performance, the Venus Engine III consumes only 80% as much power as the Venus Engine II. This combines with the Live MOS sensor's low energy consumption to provide longer battery life.
Dust reduction system to prevent annoying contaminants
The most critical and annoying problem with digital SLRs with interchangeable lenses is the possibility of dust getting inside the camera during lens changes, contaminating the image sensor. If this happens, professional cleaning is often required. The DMC-L1 takes care of this problem by incorporating a Supersonic Wave Filter dust reduction system. The system uses supersonic vibration to instantly shake off any dust that might otherwise affect the image.
Like all Lumix models, the DMC-L1 is compatible with the SD Memory Card. It also is compatible with the mass-storage SD standard based on FAT32, including the upcoming super-high-capacity SD Memory Cards of more than 2 GB (SDHC).
First Leica Interchangeable Lens with Optical Image Stabilization System
Featuring a focal length from 14mm to 50mm (35mm equivalent: 28mm to 100mm), the new Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50mm/F2.8-3.5 ASPH lens is the first interchangeable lens from Leica developed exclusively for digital SLR cameras. The "D" signifies that it is designed for the new digital system.
The Leica D Vario-Elmarit lens comprises 16 elements in 12 groups, including two aspherical lenses. It provides high definition image rendering that conveys even the finest details and nuances. It minimizes distortion and peripheral vignetting at the wide end. And to draw the best optical performance out of this compact lens, a large-diameter aspherical glass molded lens is also incorporated. With the Leica D Vario-Elmarit, users can now experience the unique performance of Leica optical technology in the world of digital photography.
For use in Panasonic's LUMIX cameras, the Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50mm/F2.8-3.5 ASPH lens incorporates MEGA O.I.S. Developed entirely by Panasonic, this advanced optical image stabilization system makes it possible -- without using a tripod -- to capture clear, beautiful images even in macro shooting or low-lit situations, giving users more shooting flexibility. And to assure precise control over the MEGA O.I.S., the Venus Engine is integrated into the lens unit. Together with the full-time Live View function, these two important features make the DMC-L1 (also being introduced) a digital SLR camera that offers an entirely new kind of photographic experience.
To improve operating ease, there is an aperture ring in addition to the focus ring and zoom ring, giving users more intuitive aperture adjustment. Another distinctive L1 feature is the shutter speed dial on the camera body. Thanks to features like these, the L1 offers a more comfortable and enjoyable shooting experience than conventional digital SLR cameras.
The Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50mm/F2.8-3.5 ASPH is not simply a standard interchangeable lens for digital SLR cameras, but rather an exclusive one with features such as MEGA O.I.S. and an aperture ring.