Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Panasonic DMC-L1- Why is it Such Fun?

Panasonic DMC-L1- Why is it Such Fun?
October 2015, Carl Garrard
I've written two reviews and three articles about the Panasonic L1- and yet that doesn't seem to justify how I feel about this camera. I don't quite know how Panasonic managed to get such a joyful camera to market, but to this day I still love picking it up and shooting with it. I still make wonderful images with it and I love the sensor. But that's just part of it. I think perhaps the mix of having everything  you really need, but not more than you need, has something to do with the magic of shooting with it. Controls are plenty but they are well placed, menu diving is rare. Less focus on the camera means more focus on photography. In a way, that's sort of the metaphorical point of this short article.



Panasonic DMC-L1 Shop Used or New- Price Check


The sound of how it operates, the feel of it in hand, the simplistic but generously supplied controls design...and how it looks even, just grabs at my creative spirit and begs me to take it out. And every time I pick up this camera and do just that, I'm always pleased and rejuvenated with the photographic spirit again. Some cameras beg you to take them out, some just flat out unmotivate you. Sorry, that's how it is folks.

I know I'm not alone, and I know I don't speak for all who love the L1. We all have our reasons the L1 is a camera we like to shoot with. There are plenty of "silent" owners out there that never post anything online about this camera for one reason or another, but I'm still intrigued to hear why they like shooting with a camera that is a bit "outdated" technologically speaking. I'm willing to bet we all have a bit in common on how we feel about this camera.




But enough about the camera really, its shooting with it that I enjoy the most. I love being forced a bit to work with equipment that needs a little thought and care behind it, but still shoots fast enough to keep up with my pace. And that is what the L1 does. I'm rewarded with beautiful images in raw, and even the Jpegs in those images have a certain tone and special quality only this camera seems to possess. Why that is, I'll never know exactly -but I don't really care to find out or explain it anyhow.

What's important is that when I'm shooting with it, I forget I have a camera in hand. I just think about being creative, capturing moments, my exposure and other settings to fit the scene... all these things we look for and think about when we are shooting. And its nice that I have equipment that doesn't interfere with that process- its essential to not be interrupted. To keep your focus, and energy flowing- to be spontaneous and capitalize on moments as they present themselves is vital if you are going to make images you are proud of. I both love to shoot, and love the feeling of being outdoors and experiencing the world.




And when all that is done, I can look down at my faithful companion and smile, like a big thanks for letting me do what I need to do.


When I'm motivated to shoot, and enjoy the equipment, it's really what photography is all about. Finding that camera that excites you and bond with, is what I think most photographers should really seek most. Let it happen naturally, and don't be ashamed of whatever equipment you bond with. Embrace it, and be inspired. Smile at it, get excited, get out there and shoot.

Let your images tell your soul's story. You only live once.

-Carl






5 comments:

  1. thank you for your post. i have two 330s which have the processor i believe but yes having your dials vs menus are nice. and yes it is a brick if a camera but also helps with stability. have not owned one but still look on ebay once in awhile.
    thanks for sharing you post
    brad- kansas city

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  2. Wow ever since I got my L1 last year I had the same feeling with you and wanted to do a review too! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Great review. Feel the same here, rebought it a year ago and playing around with fast vintage lenses. Used to own 25mm olympus pankace which was a great combination but some old OM glass will do the job.'Hybrid' sensor delivers best colors ever.

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  4. I still have mine from all those years ago but had put it aside more or less unused till recently when I stumbled in a photo store upon a lens for it I had lusted over for a long time - the original Pana-Leica 25mm Summilux D f1.4 at a good price. It also came with an M4/3 adapter so it was too good a deal to pass up. I once again hauled out my L1 and mounted the lens and yes, it is every bit as much fun to use as you say. A fine camera.

    Now I am using it again it does remind me however of a few quirks. The AF can be a bit slow and buggy especially in low light. The finder is a bit small and dim (but by no means as bad as some would have you believe) and the shutter action / mirror return sometimes seems unreasonably slow. None of these are deal breakers however. By far its worst attribute in my view is that the battery life is poor and the photographer is well advised to keep a spare in his pocket. Even so its a fine and interesting camera to use and best of all it turns in damn nice images, in fact sometimes the color and rendering is superb. I am pleased I never was able to bring myself to sell it when I upgraded cameras and will keep using it again, especially with this new lens which really suits its rangefinder like feel in the hand and in this respect is much better than the kit zoom (as superb as it is) that comes with it. BTW another fine lens that works brilliantly on this camera is the Olympus 35mm f3.5 macro which is also very cheap to buy. Its sharp with nice rendering and is a good partner for that camera.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I still have mine from all those years ago but had put it aside more or less unused till recently when I stumbled in a photo store upon a lens for it I had lusted over for a long time - the original Pana-Leica 25mm Summilux D f1.4 at a good price. It also came with an M4/3 adapter so it was too good a deal to pass up. I once again hauled out my L1 and mounted the lens and yes, it is every bit as much fun to use as you say. A fine camera.

    Now I am using it again it does remind me however of a few quirks. The AF can be a bit slow and buggy especially in low light. The finder is a bit small and dim (but by no means as bad as some would have you believe) and the shutter action / mirror return sometimes seems unreasonably slow. None of these are deal breakers however. By far its worst attribute in my view is that the battery life is poor and the photographer is well advised to keep a spare in his pocket. Even so its a fine and interesting camera to use and best of all it turns in damn nice images, in fact sometimes the color and rendering is superb. I am pleased I never was able to bring myself to sell it when I upgraded cameras and will keep using it again, especially with this new lens which really suits its rangefinder like feel in the hand and in this respect is much better than the kit zoom (as superb as it is) that comes with it. BTW another fine lens that works brilliantly on this camera is the Olympus 35mm f3.5 macro which is also very cheap to buy. Its sharp with nice rendering and is a good partner for that camera.

    ReplyDelete