Magazine Article


Panasonic Shoots for a 10
Digital Deal


The camera clickity-clacks as it does all this, but the process is peripheral to the user. Open the screen, you get Live View. Close the screen, get SLR. Open the screen, get Live View again. Could it be simpler?

There are additional smart tricks you can play with the L-10's Live View. With the screen open and activated, it's possible to switch instantaneously between the scene before the lens, and scenes already stored in the memory card. You can cut back and forth on the same screen to compare.

Why would someone? Well, sometimes you might want to see if a small change in a set-up improves the last picture you took. Sometimes you might want to see how the same place looks at different times of day, or week, or year. You might want to see how your street compares to a picture made of it a hundred years ago.

Any digital image, including scanned century-old streetscapes, can be written to an SD card. With that in the L-10, making an exact match between the two scenes, from the standpoint of position and perspective, would be quick work despite the century between them. It's sort of a latterday, digital, all-photographic rotoscope. Never before have SLR cameras allowed you to see the last picture you took and the next one, in the same viewfinder.

It's not the kind of thing customers do every day. But it is the kind of thing that pops up as an idea, something to take advantage of, when the potential to do it is present. A million other new ideas can also come to mind-lots of new tricks for old dogs.

As liberating a feature like the pivoting monitor may be, its uses shouldn't be overstated. We've read a few articles saying that the many different color looks the camera can deliver can be previewed on the screen, for both contrast and tint.

Well, maybe. Magazine writers say this, but Panasonic doesn't. You can evaluate composition perfectly on the L10's monitor, but as to color, the camera's manual says: "The brightness of the LCD monitor may differ from the brightness of the recorded pictures, especially when recording in dark places." Brightness, of course, has something to do with the way colors look.

Customer satisfaction relies on presenting a camera accurately, without setting up disappointments. It means there's a learning curve for what to say about all these new features, as much as for using them. But they're not gimmicks. They're truly useful. They don't have to be hyped or oversold. Just as they are, they could make a lot of thoughts for the future come true.