News: Panasonic/Leica DSLR with 4/3 system interchangeable lenses announced!

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PanasonicDMC-L1.jpgAt the PMA convention, Panasonic has announced their formal entry into the interchangeable lens DSLR category with the Lumix DMC-L1. It uses the interchangeable 4/3 (four-thirds) system lens mount, so technically it should be able to mount lenses from any other manufacturer who is participating.

Although it looks like a rangefinder, it's actually a DSLR (none of the holes above the lens mount are for viewfinders). The body styling, though, is reminiscent of the Konica Hexar RF. In any case, the Lumix DMC-L1 has the following features:

  • 7.5 megapixels
  • Live viewfinder
  • MOS sensor
  • Supersonic sensor cleaner
  • Mega OIS - optical image stabilization (built into lens)
  • SD memory card
  • Pricing is rumoured to be around US$3000 which is too much.
  • Shipping is rumoured to be Q4 2006 which is too late.

Leica has announced its first 4/3 system lens, the Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50mm f/2.8-3.5 ASPH, which will be the standard lens for the DMC-L1, but could be used with any other 4/3 camera.

For more information:


For a moment a thought this could be the harbinger of the digital M Leica, but no. Have you looked at the way the flash shoe is attached to this body? Not recessed into the top plate as one would expect on a $ 3000 camera, but added as an afterthought after the investment in tooling had already been made. The chrome flash shoe on a matt black body sticks out like a sore thumb. It spoils the lines of an otherwise nice design and makes the body look cheap. What were they thinking of? BTW: love your site and waiting for you to add some cameras or comments.

A DSLR with an electronic viewfinder? I don't understand.

Anyway, looks like Leica arrived in the 21st century, which is good news! Unfortunately I never liked the handling of the Lumix series much [FZ-30 is the last I tried out], but that's good for my finances I suppose.

Would be nice to not just have Canon and Nikon cameras, but also some alternatives. Exciting times for anyone interested in photography.

I'm not sure why it's a Single-Lens Reflex either. It does have a single-lens but I don't know if there is a reflex mirror since the MOS sensor is always "on" for the live preview. I think people are calling it a DSLR because it has interchangeable lenses (not knowing that some rangefinders can have interchangeable lenses).

I agree that the flash mount looks like a cheap riveted graft-on. Panasonic could have borrowed more styling cues from Leica.


The L1 system is identical to the Olympus E330 one... works on two modes, and yes, it has a main reflex mirror... (more info here)

The lack of a tilting screen on the L1 seems to me to detract from the functionality of the live sensor. To me, the live screen is only useful if it allows for waistlevel shooting. DPreview reports that Panasonic opted for no tilting screen to keep the camera as thin as possible. Perhaps it's not too late to find an engineering solution around this trade-off.

The "Live MOS" sensor used on DMC-L1 reputedly has an excellent ability to handle light striking at very steep angles, much steeper than any other type of sensor on the market today. If this is true, this feature may well make Live MOS acceptable as a full-size sensor in the M-digital, in conjunction with existing "film type" M-lenses.

marko: "full-size sensor"? I don't understand. It's a 4/3s sensor, which is smaller than APS, which is smaller than ful-frame, etc. Quite frankly, I like the concept of the E330's tilting screen, but wonder if the L1's sensor/software might be better.

I agree that if the rumoured price of $3k (w/kit lens) holds true, it is too much, and the price will drop quickly. For that money, I'd rather have an R-D1s. I'd give up image stabilisation. But if I had an E-(x) already, this lens would be tempting.

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This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on February 27, 2006 7:00 AM.

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