Support Cameralabs by shopping at my partner stores or buying me a coffee!
Buy me a coffee!

Follow my RSS feed at Camera Labs RSS Feed
  Latest camera reviews

Lumix G80 / G85
Olympus OMD EM1 II
Sony RX10 Mark III
Sony RX100 Mark V
Nikon COOLPIX B700
Sony A6500
Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500
Nikon COOLPIX B500
Lumix LX10 / LX15
Fujifilm XT2
Nikon D3400
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Ricoh GR II
Canon G7X Mark II
Canon SX720 HS
Canon EOS 80D
Olympus TG Tracker
Nikon D500 review
Canon EOS 1300D / T6
Lumix GX80 / GX85
Fujifilm X-Pro2
Fujifilm X70
Lumix TZ80 ZS60
Sony A6300
Canon PowerShot G5X
Lumix TZ100 ZS100
Sony A7s Mark II
Sony RX10 II
Lumix FZ330 / FZ300
Sony RX100 IV
Canon G9X
Fujifilm XT10
Nikon COOLPIX L840
Canon SX530 HS
Olympus OMD EM10 II
Canon SX410 IS
Panasonic Lumix GX8
Olympus TOUGH TG860
Sony A7r Mark II
Canon PowerShot D30
Olympus TOUGH TG4
Canon PowerShot G3X
Canon EOS 5Ds
Nikon COOLPIX S9900
Sony HX90V
Canon EOS T6s 760D
Panasonic Lumix G7
Panasonic Lumix SZ8
Canon EOS M3
Olympus EPL7
Samsung NX3000
Panasonic Lumix GM5
Nikon D5500
Panasonic Lumix GF7
Olympus OMD EM5 II
Nikon COOLPIX S9700
Canon SX710 HS
Panasonic TZ70 / ZS50
Sony Alpha A7 Mark II
Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Fujifilm X100T
Nikon COOLPIX S3600
Sony Alpha A5100
Sigma DP1 Quattro
Sony Cyber-shot W830
Nikon COOLPIX L830
Nikon D750
Canon SX400 IS
Sony Cyber-shot H400
Panasonic Lumix LX100
Canon SX60 HS
Canon ELPH 340 IXUS 265
Canon G7X
Nikon COOLPIX P530
Canon SX520 HS
Canon G1 X Mark II
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
Panasonic TZ60 / ZS40
Sony RX100 III review
Sony A3000 review
Canon EOS 1200D T5
Sony WX350
Nikon P600
Sony Alpha A5000
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V
Panasonic Lumix GH4
Panasonic TS5 FT5
Sony Alpha A6000
Canon SX700 HS
Canon SX600 HS
Olympus TOUGH TG2
Nikon AW1
Nikon D3300
Fujifilm XT1
Olympus STYLUS 1
Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Olympus OMD EM1
Panasonic Lumix GM1
Nikon D610
Sony Alpha A7
Nikon D5300
Canon PowerShot A2500
Sony Alpha A7r
Canon ELPH 130 IXUS 140
Nikon COOLPIX P520
Nikon COOLPIX L820
Canon PowerShot S120
Panasonic Lumix GX7
Canon SX510 HS
Canon PowerShot G16
Fujifilm X20
Panasonic FZ70 / FZ72
Canon EOS 70D
Sony RX100 II
Canon ELPH 330 IXUS 255
Panasonic Lumix GF6
Fujifilm XM1
Olympus EP5
Panasonic Lumix LF1
Panasonic TZ35 / ZS25
Olympus XZ2
Sony HX300
Panasonic Lumix G6
Sony HX50V
Fujifilm X100S
Canon SX280 HS
Canon EOS SL1 / 100D
Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30
Nikon D7100
Fujifilm X-E1
Canon EOS 6D
Nikon D5200
Panasonic Lumix GH3
Canon PowerShot S110
Panasonic Lumix G5
Sony NEX-6
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Nikon COOLPIX P7700
Olympus E-PL5
Canon EOS M
Panasonic TS20 / FT20
Canon PowerShot G15
Nikon D600
Nikon COOLPIX L810
Canon PowerShot D20
Sony RX100
Panasonic Lumix LX7
Canon SX500 IS
Fujifilm HS30 EXR
Sony HX200V
Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62
Canon 520HS / 500HS
Canon 110HS / 125HS
Nikon D800
Canon EOS T4i / 650D
Canon PowerShot A3400
Panasonic ZS15 / TZ25
Olympus E-M5
Nikon D3200
Fujifilm X-Pro1
Canon PowerShot A2300
Canon SX240 / SX260
Samsung NX200
Sony Alpha SLT-A77
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Panasonic ZS20 / TZ30
Canon PowerShot G1 X
Sony NEX-7
Panasonic GX1
Olympus E-PM1
Nikon V1
Sony NEX-5N
Canon EOS T3 / 1100D
Canon EOS 600D / T3i
Nikon D7000
Canon EOS 60D
Canon EOS 550D / T2i
Canon EOS 7D

All camera reviews
  Best Buys: our top models
  Best Canon lens
Best Nikon lens
Best Sony lens
Best budget DSLR
Best mid-range DSLR
Best semi-pro DSLR
Best point and shoot
Best superzoom
Best camera accessories

Camera Labs Forum

Any questions, comments or a great tip to share? Join my Camera forum and let everyone know!
  DSLR Tips

Free Shipping on ALL Products
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 Gordon Laing, October 2006

Lenses and viewfinder
/ Screen and menus / Sensor and processing / Anti dust
Support this site by shopping via these links


Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 anti dust

The Lumix L1 shares the same SuperSonic Wave Filter (SSWF) as the Olympus E-Series DSLRs for tackling the problem of dust on the sensor. This is another big selling point for the L1 as the SSWF is widely regarded as the most effective anti-dust system developed so far. As such we were keen to put it to the test.

Panasonic L1 left hand view

At this point it’s important to note the evaluation of anti-dust dust systems can never be as controlled or consistent as other tests. After all, there’s no way of counting the number or type of dust particles which currently lie within a body, nor any way to introduce a consistent number of test particles for it to subsequently get rid off. As such it’s impossible to conclude one system is categorically better than another at eliminating dust.

Just because something can’t be scientifically measured though, doesn’t mean it should be glossed-over or ignored. Dust is the number-one complaint for many DSLR owners and anti-dust systems have become some of the most talked-about and desirable features in new bodies. As such even anecdotal evidence is valuable and by gathering it from a number of sources over time we can build up a picture of how effective, or ineffective a system performs. That’s our belief at Camera Labs, so for the record here’s what we found.

First things first: the Lumix L1 performs its SSWF anti-dust process every time the camera’s switched on and there’s no way to override it. Unlike the Olympus DSLRs though, there’s no animation advertising the process taking place. The L1 just starts up without any fuss, and also appears to do so quite quickly.

According to Panasonic’s engineers, the L1’s SSWF filter vibrates at 30KHz for 0.25 seconds, and it's ready for action pretty much straight afterwards - indeed we managed to go from a cold power up to focusing and firing-off a first shot in just over a second. This is in some contrast to the often infuriating period the Olympus DSLRs force you to wait as they power-up, even when their SSWF animation is disabled. At first we believed this delay was entirely due to the cleaning process, but Panasonic claims the L1 uses exactly the same system. We are currently investigating this and will report back with any updates, but the bottom line is the L1 doesn’t keep you waiting for long.

Panasonic L1 lens mount

Now onto the actual effectiveness of the system. During our initial test period we swapped lenses several times, but were quite careful when doing so. Our first sets of images showed no evidence of dust. We then took less care when swapping lenses, leaving the body open without a cap for several seconds at a time, but still no evidence of dust.

So far so good, but we wanted to really see what the L1 was capable of. So we removed the lens and left the body open for a whole ten minutes. We then took it outside and left it open for a further five minutes. We don’t believe anyone would actually do this in normal use, but wanted to push the L1 to its limits.

The best conditions for revealing dust are shots of plain white areas, like walls or cardboard photographed at close range with the focus manually set to infinity and the aperture fully closed. So after leaving the body opened we switched the camera off and on, then took a photo under the conditions described and carefully examined it at 100% using Photoshop on a calibrated Eizo CG210 monitor. At last we found the tell-tale signs of a single dust mark, but it was considerably fainter than those you’d find on other DSLRs – indeed it was virtually invisible on the CG210, and impossible to spot on standard PC monitors. To see if we could show it on a natural image we photographed an outdoor scene with blue sky positioned where we knew the dust mark resided (roughly halfway across the image near the top).

Panasonic Lumix DMC L1 dust example
Panasonic L1 dust example full image
Panasonic L1 dust example 100% crop
Full frame, reduced in size to 282x212 pixels
  100% crop measuring 282x212 pixels

We’ve included a shrunken image of the full shot above alongside a 100% crop of the area showing the dust mark – it’s in the middle (honestly!), but you’ll need a good screen to spot it. So in an almost CSI-style approach we’ve retaken this crop from a white-board shot and shown it below, alongside a version with the levels severely compressed in Photoshop until the mark reveals itself.

Panasonic Lumix DMC L1 dust example 2
Panasonic L1 dust example white board 100% crop
Panasonic L1 dust example white board 100% crop with Levels
100% crop measuring 282x212 pixels
  100% crop measuring 282x212 pixels with Levels

Scientific? Not really. Repeatable? Hardly. But effective? We’d say so. We may have managed to find a dust mark on the L1, but only under extreme conditions which it’s fair to say would never occur under normal use, and even then only on areas of flat colour at an aperture of f22 with the help of a high quality monitor and Photoshop’s Levels control.

Interestingly though, the L1’s resistance to dust could be as much to do with the distance between the SSWF filter and sensor as it is with the actual vibrating process itself. While rival anti-dust approaches tend to focus on the low pass filter which is close to the sensor’s surface, the SSWF in the L1 is a relatively massive 7mm away. Consequently any dust which may lay on it is generally beyond the optical depth-of-field. Indeed our single dust mark essentially disappeared when the aperture was opened even a stop beyond f22.

Ultimately it’s fair to say the L1, in our experience anyway, was either highly efficient at getting rid of dust or simply oblivious to most of it in general use. By additionally not compromising the startup time, we believe the L1 comfortably takes the lead in the battle against dust.

Panasonic Lumix L1 features

Lenses and viewfinder / Screen and menus / Sensor and processing / Anti dust

Support this site by checking prices below or shopping via our affiliate stores

USA readers

UK readers


All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ Best Cameras / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs