Summary: The electronic viewfinder is the LF1's trump card, offering an alternative means of composition without compromising the body size or cost. Before you get too excited though, the LF1's viewfinder delivers a fairly small and low resolution image that's a world apart from the size and detail offered by the viewfinders in top-end system cameras or accessories for higher-end compacts.
Pros: Genuinely pocketable body., Built-in electronic viewfinder., Decent 7.1x zoom range with f2.0 at wide-end., Built-in Wifi & NFC for wireless control and image transfer.
Cons: Viewfinder image is small and low resolution., No 1080p video, only 1080i., No touchscreen., No multiple exposures or timelapse mode., No built-in GPS - have to use app on smartphone.
Conclusion: That said, if you're looking for a compact camera to use as an everyday backup to your main, heavier, camera, then it is a very good option with very good image quality and some fun features, such as digital filters and panoramic mode. We'd have liked to have seen a touchscreen, though.
Summary: Panasonic's Lumix DMC-LF1 is certainly a good camera but it is up against many excellent advanced compact cameras, so it may struggle to find its own place in the market. Obviously, the 7.1x zoom lens and electronic viewfinder are the defining features, but while an EVF is something I hope to see in more cameras, the resolution of this one is very low and the viewfinder window small.
Excerpt: This 12 megapixel compact camera has a 7X (28—200mm) optically stabilised zoom lens. It is built around the sensor and processor of the excellent LX7 but with a slower, longer lens. It has all the manual controls for the serious photographer, including a customisable selector ring around the lens. The 75mm LCD is supplemented with a tiny, but useful, electronic viewfinder. Like the LX7 images can be captured RAW.
Excerpt: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 was our favourite compact camera of 2012, with a long list of talents including exceptional photo and video quality, lightning fast performance and lots of physical controls. The LF1 is best seen as a sister product to the LX7. It costs roughly the same, and it uses the same-sized 1/1.7in sensor. That's roughly twice the surface area of the 1/2.3in sensors in most compact cameras, which bodes well for image quality, especially in low light.
Conclusion: The Panasonic Lumix LF1 sounds like a dream on paper, but its wide-ranging feature set overreaches and, therefore, the camera fails to meet its maximum potential. It's got its heart in the right place, but cramming all this tech into the small body sees it slip away from being the truly high-end compact it could have been.
Pros: Small size (particularly considering feature set), lens control ring, built-in viewfinder has its appeal, bright aperture at wide-angle, raw & JPEG, 1/1.7-inch sensor size better than many standard compacts, manual focus and focus-distance indicator
Cons: Poor quality viewfinder isn't of much use, limited battery life, lens dips to f/5.9 at 200mm equivalent, stubby lens control ring, pricier than LX7, images a little flat, overexposure common in bright conditions, no touchscreen