by Ian Burley
Panasonic introduces Live View AF and metering plus host of other new features in the Lumix DMC-L10 launched today
Below this summary of the new Panasonic DMC-L10 highlights you will find a 31 image gallery of views of the new camera, plus feedback to this article on the FTU forum.
Here are the key highlights of the DMC-L10
- The L10 is not a high-end, high-price, replacement for the original DMC-L1. The L10 is aimed at squarely at the volume market, though its specifications are quite high, suggesting it will compete with the value-added Pentax K10D, for example, rather than the cheaper entry-level K100-series Pentax.
- Live View in a DSLR is for the first time displayed via a widely three dimensionally articulating 2.5 inch 207,000 dot colour LCD.
- A hybrid autofocus and metering system that is fully optimised for full time Live View as well as conventional optical reflex viewing through the lens. In conventional mode, the familiar three AF points near the centre of the frame are linked to a fast phase detection AF system via the reflex viewfinder system. In Live View mode, the ten megapixel Live MOS sensor functions both as AF sensor (using slower contrast detection) with up to 11 AF points and a 256 zone exposure meter, so there is no need to interrupt viewing any more in Live View mode. Panasonic says this is a world's first, though Nikon last week stated that its new D300 and D3 models would feature Live View AF. Panasonic may be referring to the fact that Nikon doesn't have Live View metering as well.
- Face detection and intelligent ISO control are included. The former will assist the autofocus and exposure control systems to ensure that faces have priority and the system can manage up to 15 human faces at one time. Intelligent ISO complements image stabilisation for neutralising camera shake by dynamically detecting subject movement and transiently upping sensor ISO sensitivity so that a faster shutter speed can be used to freeze action.
- User-selectable frame aspect ratio. You can choose between the usual 4:3 aspect ratio for Four Thirds cameras to-date, or more traditional 3:2 aspect ratio, like 35mm film used to be, or 16:9 Widescreen TV mode. There is also a shooting mode optimised for full HD TV display.
- Panasonic is saying that the L10's sensor is a new Panasonic part, using 2.2μm pixel technology, meaning that despite having one third more pixels than the original 7.5 megapixel Panasonic MOS sensor seen in the DMC-L1, Leica Digilux 3 and Olympus E-330, its sensitivity is the same. What isn't clear is whether this is in fact the same sensor already used in the Olympys E-410 and E-510, but we will endeavour to find out. Panasonic's Venus Engine III custom chip is used for image processing and related control functions and is the same generation chip already featured in some Panasonic Lumix bridge camera models, like the new FZ-18.
- There is a new matching 14-50mm (28-100) Leica Vario Elmar branded standard zoom kit lens made by Panasonic. It features the same Mega OIS optical stabiliser found in the original 14-50mm f/2.8-3.5 Vario Elmarit that partners the L1 and Leica Digilux III. The big change in specification is a narrowing of the aperture to f/3.8 (wide end) and f/5.6 (long end). No less than 15 elements are featured and the aperture iris has a commendable seven blades, for good quality defocused areas, suggesting this is no cheapie kit lens.
- Video clip recording? It doesn't look like this is featured and if not, we'll be asking why.
Now check out the product views gallery we have for you, plus FTU forum feedback:
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