Panasonic L10 14-150mm Zoom and Olympus by Thom Hogan.

Panasonic L10 Leica D 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar Zoom


Since I bought this camera I think I've only taken it out three times. After yesterday that is going to change. 

Panasonic L10 Leica D 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar Zoom

I've been wondering what to do with it almost since I bought it. I originally bought it in a second hand kit with the 14-50mm f3.8-5.6 Vario-Elmar Lens. My plan was to keep the lens and sell the camera on. However last week I sold the lens as a kit with my somewhat battered GH1. I've had this camera on and off ebay for as long as I've had it. I keep changing my mind about it constantly. The rare times I've used it I've been very impressed. 

Panasonic L10 Leica D 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar Zoom

It has very poor dynamic range, poor high ISO performance, the viewfinder is like looking down a long tunnel and its not terribly fast to use. It is after all a 2007 camera. However at 100 ISO, with careful exposure and shooting with the Leica D 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens it produces stunning results. Really stunning results. 

Panasonic L10 Leica D 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar Zoom

The 10MP files it produces are so good that they are easily capable of interpolation up to twice their size. Sharp and with great colour. The 14-150mm lens was designed for this camera and it shows. Its a lens I love and have written about constantly and with this camera it really excels. There's no chance of Panasonic (or anyone else it seems) ever making another 4/3 camera, so its really the only opportunity to use this lens on a body where it doesn't struggle with AF. 

Panasonic L10 Leica D 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar Zoom

I've finally made up my mind concerning this and its going to be staying. Its very light for a DSLR and it cost me very little. I'm never going to use it in anything other than good light at 100 ISO but it does that so well, its crazy for me to sell it. 

Panasonic L10 Leica D 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar Zoom

Panasonic L10 Leica D 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar Zoom


This has caused a bit of a stir. Written after Olympus posted financial results which shows the Imaging (Camera) division is loosing money. 

See threads at:- 

Some of the points made:-

- The imaging division is continually loosing money while the whole company is doing good (see medical division). Thom: “The problem in imaging is progressive: they’ve lost more money in each successive quarter during the past year. This, too, is not a good sign without anything in sight that would reverse that trend. Neither the E-PL2 nor XZ-1 are going to change that overall trend. I’ll get to the problem in a moment.

After putting a lot of energy into developing some great 4/3 lenses we now have only one 4/3 body being sold that uses them, and we’ve been told that might be the last 4/3 body. Great, so what did that do to 4/3 lens sales? Zonk. Meanwhile, it’s unclear where Olympus is going with m4/3. So far we seem to be back-pedaling to catering to the lowest end (E-P2 -> E-PL1 -> E-PL2, plus the lenses are catering more mass market, too). 

But I’m going to be much more critical here: in the now 20 months we’ve had m4/3 bodies from Olympus, we’ve gotten four iterations of the same thing. This does not look like progress on a clear direction. It looks like “trying to figure out how to make it more cheaply.” That Panasonic is now doing the same thing is not a hugely reassuring thought. What we haven’t seen yet is PARALLEL development pushing m4/3 forward. Okay, I’ll stand slightly corrected, the GH2 does push forward from the GH1 in a number of clear ways. But Olympus isn’t there yet. The longer the time between the four look-alikes and something significantly new, the bigger the problem for Olympus.

Oh, one more thing. Olympus seems to think (along with Panny) that one of their key customers is the so-called Camera Girl (young Japanese woman). If so, they’ve failed to deliver (so far) the one thing that customer would want, which is no-brainer workflow to social sharing of images. The bluetooth module may be targeted at that, but it’s not here yet and I’m not convinced that they got the “no-brainer” part right, either.

THOM HOGANS website is at:-

Those who read here regularly will know my regular pieces despairing at what Olympus do, or rather don't do. I've always been a bit of an Olympus fanboy. Anyone who make a camera as pretty as the E-P2 must have something going for them.

However their recent history of releases is very frustrating for myself, as a consumer who is interested in buying their products. 

When will Olympus, and Panasonic to a certain extent, realise what people want from m4/3. Does this positioning of it somewhere between a compact camera and a DSLR really work?Shouldn't they be looking at two different lines? One being a compact camera upgrade, along the lines of a simplified and cheaper GF2 and the other a full-on alternative to a DSLR including "professional" grade construction, features, accessories and lenses. Like a "souped-up" GH2. Those of us who are enthusiastic for m4/3 and there are more and more of us all the time, see it very much as an alternative to the heavy, bulky DSLR. But we want it to do what a DSLR can do. We want well-made, fast lenses, we want fast operation, we want weather-sealing, "we want the world and we want it now!!"

Instead Olympus gives us the E-PL2 In White and a "mock-up"!! 

One of Thom Hogans possible scenarios is that Panasonic buy the Olympus imaging division, and that makes good sense. Olympus design plus Panasonic engineering, sounds perfect to me.

My theory is that a product that has nothing to do with either company will determine the future direction for m4/3. That is the success or failure (or something in-between) of the Fuji X100.

Fuji's marketing for this camera is entirely different to both Olympus and Panasonic.

Just look at how they market it.

Professional, Craftsmanship, Sexy, Retro, Technology, Style, Up-Market, Exclusive etc. etc.
I'm drooling already!!

Since nobody's used one, we have no idea of how good it is, and it could be a huge anticlimax, but the publicity is amazing. High-grade "Camera Porn" maybe, but it gets the attention of serious photographers.

If this camera is a roaring success both in terms of performance and sales expect a shift in where m4/3 goes and some of the things that I and others are clamouring for may appear. If it is a failure or achieves just reasonable results then expect an E-PL3, in Pink.

Voigtlander apparently sold out the first production run of their expensive and specialist 25mm f/0.95 Nokton in weeks. What does this tell us? It tells me that people are serious about a DSLR alternative and they want serious products. 

Thom Hogan talks about Japanese "Camera Girl" and I really have no idea what he's talking about but if he's referring to people who take pictures primarily to document their lives and post to sites like facebook, then don't they use mobile phones? Is this market really going to buy expensive m4/3 cameras to do this when an iPhone does it quicker? Who exactly thinks its a good idea to make cameras that connect with phones, so that you can then upload the picture you took on the camera to Twitter using your phone? Why not just take the picture on your phone in the first place? Next time you see someone photographing a group of friends out on the town saying "Oh hang on a moment, I need to get my camera out and use aperture priority, because I'm looking to get a nice bokeh effect for the buildings behind you" let me know!!

I know nothing about running a camera company, but I do know that I'm currently not interested in what Olympus have to offer. I did have a couple of their cameras and lenses, but after using them for a while, I decided I liked working with, and the results from my Panasonic cameras and lenses more. I'm just one consumer admittedly, but so far in all the forums debates I've seen on this so far, I've yet to see someone leap to the defence of Olympus and say yes they are definitely on the right track. It would be sad if they follow Konica Minolta into anonymity and assimilation, but if they don't come up with something soon then I fear thats where they are headed.

Words - David
Images - David and Ann