The second digital SLR from Panasonic is out, and looks good.
The Panasonic DMC-L1 left its mark on the digital SLR world, although sales were bellow expected. Now, short for two years after that moment, Panasonic brings us the DMC-L10, and much more is expected from it.
Panasonic DMC-L10: Highlights
- Live MOS 10.1 Megapixel sensor (3648 x 2736 pixels)
- Lightweight body
- Kit Lens: LEICA D VARIO-ELMAR 14–50mm/ F3.8–5.6/ASPH
- Articulating screen
- Live View
- Dust Removal System
- Four Thirds Lens Mount
Panasonic DMC-L10: Sensor and Processor
The 10 Megapixel Live MOS sensor place this camera in the middle-high places in sensor resolution and it is a good choice for serious hobbyists. While not top of the top, the majority of amateur photographers will not come across the need for increased resolution.
The Venus Engine III is an image processing LSI made to maximize the quality of the photos captured by the sensor. One of the main highlights of the processor is its ability to distinguish between luminance noise and chromatic noise, increasing image quality.
Panasonic DMC-L10: Live View and Articulating Screen
The Live View, together with a 2.5″ articulated LCD screen, take dSLR photography to a new dimension. No more bending and twisting to be able to look through the viewfinder and no more “blind” shots. Twist the LCD your way and see how the photo looks before you press the shutter button.
The Live View and articulated screen make for a much easier transition from a P&S to this SLR.
Panasonic DMC-L10: Leica… what more to say
Leica is one of the most known lens makers prized for the quality of the lens and, of course, the images they produce. So, having a Leica lens attached to this camera is definitely a plus, and the LEICA D VARIO-ELMAR 14-50mm/F3.8-5.6 ASPH (15 glass elements) is sure to meet the highest standards. Also, the Venus Engine III processor was developed with this lens in mind. This might be the reason why this camera is only sold, so far, as a kit with the lens.
The Four Thirds Lens mount is another plus with this camera, since there is the possibility to use lenses from a much more wide range of sources and brands.
Panasonic DMC-L10: Price might be an obstacle
The lens is probably also the reason why the price for this camera is so high. At around $1300, the DMC-L10 is on the same price range as other, more feature rich, cameras. So, there is a tough choice to be made here. While having such a quality lens is attractive, if you are transitioning from a P&S, probably you will not yet appreciate the lens quality. If you have a more established photographic knowledge and are capable of appreciating the lens, you’d probably want to go for a better camera on the same price range. It’s all a matter of balance that I’m not sure that Panasonic was able to achieve.
Panasonic DMC-L10: Overall
This camera was released to target a booming market: consumers who want to expand their photo capacities from the P&S. While the camera features are more than enough to satisfy those customers, the jump from a $300 P&S to a $1300 SLR might be too much for many. If consumers think that having a very high quality lens is indispensable, then this camera is recommendable. Otherwise, there are other cameras on the market that, although possibly harder to handle for someone without the know-how, are a better value for the same money.
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