Monday, September 16, 2013

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC1: When Will I Ever Learn?

What a looker.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC1: When Will I Ever Learn? As a reviewer, cameras come in and out of my hands often faster than I have time to review them- that is just the nature of the game. My digital experience goes back to 2001, when digital cameras were just really starting to make head way into the camera market and film was making a gracious exit from the saloon. In all this time, there are few cameras that I've used, even reviewed, and in this case owned twice or three times that no matter what I try to do- cannot shake them from my fond memories. And in the case of the Panasonic DMC-LC1, I can't shake my desire to use it- no matter how many times I've owned it (counting it's twin brother, the Digilux 2 as well here).



Panasonic DMC-LC1 Availability and Price Check


My only conclusion here is that the LC1 (abbreviated for the rest of this article) and its twin, the Digilux 2, offer up a unique experience that other cameras can't quite match. Being a slow and dated camera (it came out in 2003), and the specs rather underwhelming (on paper at least) you'd think that it simply makes no sense for veteran pro that has just about any camera available to him at any time to want to use this camera any longer. And in 95% of circumstances, I'd say you're right.

Panasonic DMC-LC1 Availability and Price Check

Everything you need prioritized, and in a beautiful package. That's a real Leica lens, and one I say is unequaled by any manufacturer including Leica itself.


But in the case of the LC1 (and D2), I cannot stress just  how important using a camera in hand is, and how it has almost everything to do with whether you'll like using it or not. Specs clearly don't matter in this case. Cameras like these, end up becoming classics (real ones, not claimed ones). They also end up becoming collector's items, but ones that people like to use- like taking a Shelby Cobra out for a spin on a Sunday morning.

Panasonic DMC-LC1 Availability and Price Check


Roomy, but plenty of controls. Beautiful, but purposeful. Simple, but for its day, leading edge technology.


Whatever the magic the LC1 has, I can't escape its power. I mean, I know what it does well (and what it doesn't), but there's this intangible quality to it that I cannot describe or escape. It's got to be personal, even though I've seen similar comments from other owners about this camera (and the D2). And even though buying this camera makes no sense (I often have too many free/loaner cameras around), I went and got one again.

The business. That Leica lens. Nowhere else on earth except the LC1 and Digilux 2 does a lens like this exist. A 28-90mm f/2-2.4 lens? Yep. Try finding that in a DSLR brand, or any brand for that matter that has a sensor this size.


I'm not quite sure what the "love" affair is with this camera, not sure how to describe it. And for all LC1 and D2 owners out there that have held on to theirs, I'm sure they feel the same way. For those who wish it, I'm not even so sure that if an update were made of either camera that they would have the same magic or not.  LC1 and D2 owners know that this package is truly unique, and yes it is sad that an update hasn't been seen, but that just gives them a status and unique place in our digital camera market that only a few rare and coveted cameras can truly claim.

I've written a full review on the LC1 (now gone off the net with alphamountworld.com), and the Digilux 2 (here on this site), but I just can't seem to stop talking about this design. And maybe, just maybe, I won't till the day I make my exit from the saloon.

Cheers camera lovers!

-Carl Garrard

Panasonic DMC-LC1 Availability and Price Check

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes, Carl. My love affair with the LC1 and D2 (I have them both) started with your review of the LC1 (all your fault). That wonderful Leica lens and the look and feel of these cameras haunt me, just as they haunt you. I now have a preorder for the GX7, but I will never give up my 5 MP beauties. Their unique IQ signature can't be beat.

- Chuck

September 23, 2013 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger palinode said...

I remember when I bought a Panasonic FZ-20. It was a big chunk of plastic with a 5 megapixel sensor, but the lens was phenomenal. I loved using that thing.

September 24, 2013 at 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one of the best camera designs ever, you think with all the talk about this and the digi-2 they'd make another one just like it but with an upgrade

September 26, 2013 at 1:31 PM  
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October 1, 2013 at 4:35 AM  
Blogger C.GARRARD said...

LOL on spam comments, this one above I had to publish (no links).

Carl

October 1, 2013 at 5:35 AM  
Anonymous Gerald W said...

A local photographer used one of these for several years, and his portfolio of shots was most impressive. He later bought a Canon G7 and used both for a while; but eventually sold the LC1 and continued on with the G7. I've had the chance to look over his letter sized prints from both cameras, and the G7 had just a tiny edge at that print size - but the G7 has twice the pixel count, and also has a very good lens (better than the G10, 11, & 12). But the LC-1 scores on handling and feel.

Had several LC-1's? I've had the same relationship with the Canon Pro 1. I'm now on my 6th. I'll probably keep this one, as it's late production and a very good example. Great picture taker! Some cameras just have that elusive - can't put your finger on it - quality that makes you want to pick it up and use it. Other cameras, not so much. Had two Nikon D90's, hated them both.

October 26, 2013 at 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My LC1 electronically died several years ago. Do you know of any way to rescue it's lens to use with another camera?

July 5, 2014 at 6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even with a bag full of current Nikon Lenses and Bodies (2015)- Many of my favorite images are still made on this old Panasonic DMC LC-1... I too just can't seem to leave it home. Making prints up to 11 x 14 is still a Joy!! I can't believe I still mess around with a 5mgp... I can't stand the thought that when the camera dies... there will still be such a great Lens that I can do nothing with.

April 17, 2015 at 8:34 PM  
Blogger Angus MacDonald said...

Hi Carl,

I just recently purchased my second LC1, after regretfully having sold my first some ten years ago. I always loved the images from that camera and just had to have another!!
Would you be so kind as to send me a link to your reviews of the D2 and LC1?
I just found your blog and photo site - lovely work indeed.
Thanks so much in advance if you can.

Best regards,

Angus

April 4, 2016 at 1:48 PM  

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