Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1
Since the 1980s camera manufacturers have been keen to make things ergonomic. By adapting a traditional look for the L1, Panasonic has reduced the ergonomics, especially when it comes to the shutter release button.
With modern SLR cameras, the shutter release button is usually placed forward on the hand grip, perfect for the forefinger. The L1’s is back on the shutter dial on the top plate, like in days of yore. At first, this is uncomfortable; your hand has to reach further back, and if you have a camera strap, you also have to negotiate with that. In all it’s a little uncomfortable, and at times I found myself searching for the shutter release button. Repeated handling cured it, but I still find it less comfortable than other cameras.
In other ways, though, the camera is nice. It has a rugged feel, helped by the rubberised coating on the body which is nicely non-slip.
Space on the back is slightly cramped thanks to the large screen, but there’s just enough room for the thumb to rest on the back command dial without knocking it.
The biggest handing issues concern the aperture ring and shutter, which is just like going back in time and simply fun! It didn’t take long at all to adapt my thoughts back ten years to using a camera like this one; it’s a system that worked for years so why did we change it?