I've had this camera for almost two weeks now. I already have a ZS20, so there will be some comparisons.
The LF1 is the blackest, most stealthy camera I've ever owned. No chrome. Just the "Lumix" on the front. See the picture above.
The ZS20 has a longer zoom range.
The LF1 has:
A viewfinder (Yay!)
A function button, which can be programmed to be an AF/AE lock. (Yay!)
Both of these are lacking on the ZS20 and, at times, made it difficult to use.
There's a control ring around the lens. I have it programmed for exposure adjust.
There's also a control ring around the cursor buttons on the back of the camera. Of the two, this one will turn out to be more interesting.
The tripod mount thread is way off to the side. You can put the camera on a tabletop tripod and still be able to open the battery/card door. Haven't tried it with a larger tripod yet.
The camera is very fast. Probably less than a second from pressing the on-off button to being ready for the first shot.
I hooked up the camera to my smartphone (Galaxy S4) over Wi-Fi and was able to control the camera remotely. The image above is what you see on your smartphone. The DMC-LF1 and DMC-ZS30 are the only cameras of this class to offer full Wi-Fi tethering with remote control. I can see doing some interesting things with this capability.
Note: You have to install the Panasonic Image App on your smartphone. Setup and use are both easy. There are a zillion pages in the LF1's user manual on how to use the Wi-Fi features, but I skipped this and was able to figure things out without a problem. There's also NFC capability if your smartphone supports this.
When using the Wi-Fi connection, the camera looks like an access point to the smartphone. You can also remotely view pictures and videos that are currently on the camera, and you can transfer pictures over the Wi-Fi connection.
Like some recent models, the LF1 has a 2-axis level which you bring up by using the Display button. We'll see if this helps my notorious tilting horizons.
About the EVF -- It's not the greatest one I've ever used, but you get used to it.
For me, it's easier to compose, frame, and follow the subject using the EVF than with the LCD. And it makes the camera usable outdoors.
The EVF has good eye relief. You can use it while wearing glasses.
Here's my main gripe (so far) with the DMC-LF1. The on-off button takes some getting used to. It's right next to the shutter release button and I keep pressing it by accident. They should have exchanged the positions of the shutter button and the on/off button, but there may have been design constraints. (Personally, I prefer the On/Off slide switch of the DMC-ZS20.)
You can also turn the camera on by pressing the Playback button. This is a useful shortcut if you just want to review your pictures.
Like similar Panasonic models, no external battery charger is provided. You charge the camera through the USB connector, sort of like a smartphone. Since the DMC-LF1 uses a brand new battery type (Stop that, Panasonic!), it will be a while before you can get extra batteries and an external charger.
The shorter 28-200mm focal range of the LF1 is exactly the same range I used from 1958 to 1965. But it took five separate lenses then.
The lens seems pretty good. Image quality okay, too. I will leave the evaluation of these items to the official testing sites. In the meantime, I'll just take pictures.
It will take some time to get used to the control layout on the LF1. It's very different from the ZS20.
It's an entirely new breed of camera -- Compact, go everywhere, but now with an EVF.
For me, it's definitely a keeper.
These are just some of my initial impressions of the DMC-LF1. I will expand upon them in future posts.