After months of speculation, Panasonic has finally announced details of its first digital SLR camera. The DMC-L1 will go on sale from 22nd July in Japan and arrive on UK shores at the beginning of September.

After months of speculation, Panasonic has finally announced details of its first digital SLR camera. The DMC-L1 will go on sale from 22nd July in Japan and arrive on UK shores at the beginning of September. Panasonic promises that the SLR will ?combine the operating feel of an analogue camera with innovative features unique to digital cameras – such as the aperture ring and shutter dial.?

SUMMARY OF KEY FEATURES

Leica D Lens

The DMC-L1 will initially go on sale with a new Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50mm F2.8-3.5 kit lens, equipped with aperture, focus and zoom rings. The lens also provides a 29cm minimum shooting distance (0.32x maximum magnification, 35mm equivalent) across the entire zoom range.

MEGA O.I.S

Panasonic has equipped the DMC-L1 with its Optical Image Stabiliser feature. Thanks to internal gyrosensors and Panasonic?s Venus Engine Plus LSI built into the lens, the system detects camera movement at a rate of 4,000 times per second.

O.I.S features two corrective modes to help minimise camera movement. Mode one constantly detects and follows movements and continuously compensates for them – to keep the LCD and viewfinder clear – while mode two stabilises only when the shutter button is pressed. Both modes work in tandem within the DMC-L1. Mode one will also be available for Olympus users if they are using the new Leica D lens.

Complies with Four Thirds Standard

The DMC-L1 incorporates a live MOS sensor that conforms to the Four Thirds standard and offers 7.5MP resolution.

The power of the Venus Engine III LSI

The Venus Engine III is an image processing LSI, newly developed to maximise the performance of the Live MOS sensor. Panasonic promises that this technology will offer ?high resolution, superior colour reproduction and detailed gradation?, as well as reducing noise. The Venus Engine III consumes 20 per cent less power than its predecessor, the Venus Engine II.

Full-time Live View

At the heart of the L1 is a mirror box unit, which integrates a quick-return mirror, viewfinder, and AE sensor. This, combined with the full-time image output function of the Live MOS sensor, achieves a full-time Live View function that displays the image on the LCD directly from the sensor signal. This function can be selected in both Auto Focus and Manual Focus modes. In Manual Focus, photographers can enlarge an image within the frame and then select the area focusing. It is also possible to check the depth of field by pressing the Aperture button.

Supersonic Wave Filter system

The DMC-L1 incorporates Supersonic Wave Filter dust reduction, which uses supersonic vibration to shake off dust from the sensor.

Home networking capabilities

Consistent with all Panasonic Lumix cameras, the DMC-L1 is compatible with the SD memory card. It is also compatible with mass-storage SD standard based on FAT32, including the upcoming super-high-capacity SD Memory Cards of more than 2GB

Pricing details of the new camera will be announced nearer to the L1?s on sale date. In the meantime readers can find out more info by ringing 08705 357 357 or visiting www.panasonic.co.uk