The MILC models keep rolling out Panasonic’s door. Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras still appear to have flavour of the month gloss, so Panasonic as well as Olympus are keen to milk every drop from the technology.
This one is especially attractive, although it does appear you will have to pay for the ‘smarts’ in the camera as it leads the G Series in imaging capability.
The review camera was fitted with the G Vario f3.5/14-42mm kit lens. The body is made from magnesium alloy and the camera is available in silver+black or black.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Features
There’s a whole heap of attractive features on the Panasonic Lumix GX7.
- A 16.00-megapixel Live MOS sensor.
- Shutter speeds run to 1/8000 second.
- The rear 7.6cm LCD screen tilts and swivels in a vertical plane, tilting up by 80 degrees and down by 45 degrees.
- For the first time in a digicam the top Live View viewfinder rotates through 90 degrees, so you can view downwards.
- The AF system has functions including Low Light AF, Pinpoint AF and One-shot AF.
- Focus peaking can be monitored in Live View. This shows the focus peak of focus in MF and AF+MF mode.
- The camera has Wi-Fi connectivity (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n) with NFC (Near Field Communication), supported by the Panasonic Image App for iOS/Android smart devices.
- Touch screen AF to focus and lock on the subject and release the shutter.
The GX7’s maximum image size is 4592×3448 pixels, sufficient to make a 39x29cm print.
Video? It can shoot in AVCHD or MPEG4 format, recording Full HD 1920×1080 pixels. I was able to record video and shoot stills mid recording.
But the big news for those who may have been tossing up between Olympus and Panasonic in the quest for a MILC camera is that the GX7 now has an internal stabiliser. Up to now only Olympus offered an internal stabiliser, while Panasonic’s G series had to rely on specific lenses to keep the camera image steady.
In Panasonic’s own words: ‘The DMC-GX7 is Panasonic’s first G Series camera to offer an in-body optical image stabilisation system. Now blur-free photography can be enjoyed with classic non-digital lenses and digital interchangeable lenses without image stabilisation.’
Mind you, there always was a degree of noise from some Olympus owners that ‘Image stabilisers in Olympus cameras are mostly useless, claiming only the OM-D E-M5 as being acceptable.’
Wasn’t me that said it!
The camera is comfortable in the hand, thanks to a well-defined speed grip, nobbly surface texture and good balance. The lensless camera body is pocketable.
No surprises as we find the top deck relatively uncluttered. Rightwards we find the on/off lever; nearby is the red video record button.
The mode dial has positions for auto, PASM, creative video (you can manually set aperture and shutter speed), three custom modes, scene guide mode (24 settings from clear portrait to sunset glow to panorama) and creative control mode (eight settings, from expressive to retro, high and low key etc).
The shutter button is encircled by the front command dial. A second command dial is placed just behind the on/off switch. Nearby is the AF/MF lever.
Rear panel: three function buttons, replay and trash, display options plus the four way jog dial offering access to ISO, white balance, continuous shooting, self timer and AF mode options.
Overall, the control geography is well designed, with no devious buttons or mysterious options.
And then I fell upon a neat scheme where you can adjust the highlight and shadow curves of an image pre-shoot. Simply tap the function 2 button and you sight a series of preset curves. Alternatively, you can adjust the highlight and/or shadow section of the curves by rolling the forward or rear command dial.
The menu setup is well-designed and not overpowering.
One feature that should tug the heart strings of video shooters is the option to completely suppress camera sounds, you know those bumps and clicks from operating the camera, rolling the lens’ zoom etc. The camera also switches the shutter from mechanical to electronic, turning off any operating sounds, and suppresses the AF assist lamp and flash. Good news.
The sad news is that there is no input for an external mic for video work.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 ISO Tests
Good quality all the way up to ISO 6400. Only at ISO 12800 is a slight appearance of noise visible. At ISO 25600 noise is up further but images are useable.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Review Verdict
Quality: above average.
Why buy the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7: enthusiast features; compact size.
Why not buy the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7: no reason.
An ideal camera for the enthusiast who wants the benefits of an internal stabiliser and ability to use a wide range of lenses.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Review Rating: 4 Stars out of 5.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Specifications
Image Sensor: 16 million effective pixels.
Metering: Multiple, centre-weighted and spot.
Effective Sensor Size: Four Thirds 17.3×13.0mm CMOS.
Lens Factor: 2x.
Compatible lenses: Micro Four Thirds.
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Shutter Speed: Bulb, 60 to 1/8000 second; flash sync 1/320 sec.
Burst Speed: 5 fps.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4592×3448 to 1712×1712. Movies: 1920×1080, 1280x720p, 640×480.
Viewfinders: Turret finder: 2,764,800 pixels. 7.6cm LCD screen: 1,040,000 pixels.
File Formats: JPEG, RAW, JPEG+RAW, AVCHD/MPEG4, MPO (3D).
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 125 to 25600 (25,600 with boost).
Interface: USB 2.0, AV, HDMI mini, WiFi, DC input.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, AC adaptor.
Dimensions: 123x71x55 WHDmm.
Weight: Approx. 402 (inc card and battery).
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Price: Get a price on the Panasonic LUMIX GX7 Body Only or Panasonic LUMIX GX7 with LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm II Lens or Panasonic LUMIX GX7 with LUMIX G 20mm F1.7 II ASPH Lens.