Panasonic's Lumix DMC-L-10 Digital Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-L-10 camera

I like dark horses, or the underdogs if you will. In a highly competitive industry like digital SLR cameras, the mainstream producers have been narrowed down to really two major companies: Nikon and Canon. These two companies have such a large share in the digital SLR camera market that when you look at the gap of the nearest competitor, you get this feeling that despite efforts of other manufacturers catching up to the two leaders is next to impossible, or is it?

Panasonic has recently announced its second digital SLR, the Lumix DMC-L10. The new camera sports a 10MP Live MOS sensor and a lot of new features like a fully articulated screen and live view with sensor-based auto focus.

Panasonic lies 10th place in the digital camera market. But their decision to enter the digital SLR camera race two years ago has sure intensified the competition among manufacturers. Matsushita Electric Industrial, maker of Panasonic, and Olympus banded together in 2005 to develop a new digital SLR camera targeting amateurs and professional photographers.

The alliance of Panasonic and Olympus resulted to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1, the first interchangeable-lens digital SLR camera that carried the Panasonic brand. The Panasonic L1 incorporated a more classic design. The body looks more like a Leica rangefinder than a traditional SLR.

But for the new DMC-L10, Panasonic opted to adopt a more conventional design. The grip is more pronounced, more solid and all in all more comfortable.

Like the L1, however, the L10 use the open format of the Four Thirds system for its lens mount. The Four Thirds System is supported by Kodak, Fujifilm, and Sanyo and allows third-party companies to build lenses for cameras using the system.

The DMC-L10 comes in a kit with a Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-50mm/ F3.8-5.6 Aspherical/MEGA O.I.S. Lens. Other unique and strong features of the new Lumix are a free-angle 2.5-inch large LCD. This allows photographer for full-time live view. The free-angle LCD allows photographers to take photos without bending down on one knee, lie on the ground, or use a portable stair for shooting on a higher angle.

I have yet to see the full potential of the full-time live view on digital SLR cameras. It is a relatively new addition to higher models and could do more than just add to the shooting flexibility and convenience.

The L10 seems to be a better camera and a suitable upgrade from the L1. But probably the most important aspect of this new Lumix that would make it a lot better for Matsushita is the launching price. The L1 was sold at $2000 per kit unit. Panasonic couldn’t compete with manufacturers that were selling digital SLR cameras at half the price. The L10, however, was launched at $1200. Hopefully, the new features, design and price of the L10 would attract more sales for Panasonic.

Manufacturers are shifting to the SLR market because SLRs yield bigger profit margins than compact models. Even compact cameras are much easier to produce, the falling market prices due to the flooding of low-cost camera brands.

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