Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Review

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Review

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It seems to me that the fixed lens, compact camera game has spawned two sub species: ultra long zoom models and those with ultra fast lenses … to some they’re called ‘bright’.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 belongs in the latter category and a dazzling model it is too: compact, light in weight and full of power.

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The Leica Vario Summilux lens has a maximum aperture of f1.4, stopping down to only f2.3 when the 3.8x zoom is extended from its wide 24mm to the tele end of 90mm (35 SLR equivalent).

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Features

The 10.1 megapixel MOS sensor captures a maximum 3968×2736 pixel image: 34x23cm as a print.

Video? Full HD 1920×1080 pixel resolution, saved in either AVCHD or MPEG4. No, you cannot shoot stills while recording video.

One oddity: although the camera has 70MB of internal memory, in addition that provided by any loaded SD card, it will record video only in VGA (640×480) format to that internal memory.

In typical fashion I kicked on the power before reading the manual, selected Program as my exposure mode, then spent some time scratching my head as to how to alter the lens aperture. Voila! Twirl the lens ring! With the LX7 you get direct access to the f numbers. Simply ‘mazing!

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The camera’s top deck contains the mode dial (auto, Program, aperture and shutter priority, manual exposure, 15 scene modes (plus 3D), two custom modes and a creative video mode that offers manual control of shutter speed and lens aperture. Beside the mode dial are the shutter button and zoom lever, on/off switch, video record and flash button.
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Rear: a button for exposure lock, menu, display and replay. The four way jog dial offers access to ISO settings, a Function button, single or continuous shooting and white balance. But note: these tiny buttons have incised text on a silver background that is almost illegible in most ambient situations. Black mark!

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The side of the lens barrel has three settings: manual and two for auto focus (normal range and macro). Interestingly, to the rear of the lens is a direct control switch for the image aspect ratio (1:1 to 16:9).

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More: there is an internal neutral density filter equivalent to three f stops that allows you to reduce the incoming light and use a larger aperture for special effects. This is selectable via a tiny button behind the mode dial. The same button has a dual purpose: it can also control manual focus. Brilliant!
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Framing decisions are helped by the ever-increasingly seen level gauge. I hope this trend continues.

There are 16 Creative Control filters that include settings to capture images with an expressive look, high and low key, cross processing, sepia and others.

Other inclusions:

Time lapse, in which you can preset the camera to begin taking pictures at constant intervals for landscape scenes etc.

Photo Style gives you the ability to maximise the image quality to higher contrast, give a mono look, use a scenery setting and a ‘look’ for portraits etc.

The accessory shoe extends the LX7’s talents considerably. You can attach a live viewfinder, an optical finder and auxiliary flash.


None at either end of the zoom. Excellent!

Start Up

Two seconds from power in to first shot; follow-ons as fast I could hit the shutter button.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 ISO Tests

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The level of noise only became evident at ISO 3200. Even more so at ISO 6400.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Review Verdict

Quality: Excellent, especially at larger apertures.

Why you’d buy the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7: small, powerful camera.

Why you wouldn’t: no reason.

While this camera could easily serve as day-to-day snapshot camera, it would be wasted. It would be ideal as a companion shooter to a DSLR. IMHO it would not be ideal as a travel companion due to its limited zoom range.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Specifications

Image Sensor: 10.1 million effective pixels.
Metering: multi zone, centre-weighted, spot.
Lens: Leica DC Vario-Summilux f1.4-2.3/4.7-14.7mm (24-90mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Sensor Size: 15mm MOS.
Shutter Speed (stills): 60 to 1/4000 second.
Continuous Shooting: up to 11 fps.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC plus 70MB internal memory.
Image Sizes (pixels): Stills: 3968×2736 to 480×480.
Movies: 1920×1080, 1280×720, 1440×1080 and 640×480.
Viewfinder: 7.6cm LCD screen (920,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, RAW, JPEG+RAW, MPO (3D), AVCHD, MPEG4.
Colour Space: sRGB, Adobe RGB.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 80 to 12800 (with boost).
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 111x68x46 WHDmm.
Weight: 298 g (inc battery).
Price: get a price on the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX7 at Amazon.

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Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

Some Older Comments

  • starlinguk June 5, 2013 09:21 pm

    I'm baffled by the LX7's rave reviews. I've done many, many comparisons of sample images with similar cameras (Olympus XZ-2, Canon G15, Nikon P7700 etc) and the ones taken by the LX7 are always the worst. They're unsharp, grainy, and fully of chromatic aberrations when compared to the pictures the other cameras take and the lighting often seems off. They are better than your average little point and shoot, but definitely *not* better compared to the pictures taken by its competitors.

  • Diana April 21, 2013 02:50 am

    Just bought my lumix from Amazon and got an awesome deal. Anyone can use my promo code here:

  • scott March 17, 2013 05:25 pm

    I got this camera after studying and looking at the Sony RX and other competitors. IMHO this camera is easier to handle than the Sony. I think the Sony is too small for my big hands and the LX is just right. In fact it is the same camera as the Leica D Lux, except for the firmware. But if you use RAW, you can tweak the color any way that you want and frankly, I didn't think the color was bad on the Lx. In fact it was great. Sensor size is important, but without a good lens the sensor is worthless. And this lens is really good. And by the way, you can find this camera for $300 and IMHO, the extra you pay for the SONY isn't worth it.

  • Matt Sweadner March 4, 2013 12:22 pm

    Depends on what you mean by "small." I consider my X-E1 a great camera to travel with as I did my X100. The LX7 is a great camera with wonderful IQ that will even fit in your pocket unless you wear super skinny skater jeans.

  • Barrie Smith March 4, 2013 11:27 am

    I can recommend the Sony DSC-HX20V.
    20x zoom, excellent stills and video.
    Small, small!

  • Howard Brown March 3, 2013 05:23 pm

    What would be an excellent travel camera that is not too bulky? Thank you.

  • john February 24, 2013 03:39 am

    Chose the Leica D-Lux6 over this even though I've had lX3, and 5s. There is a definite difference in the truer colors due to Leica's tweaked firmware.

  • Paul Francia February 22, 2013 02:33 am

    Cheaper version of Leica D-lux 6. Exactly the same specs. Only difference is Leica has Lightroom 4 bundled software.

  • Matt Sweadner February 22, 2013 02:14 am

    I had a Leica D-Lux5 and loved it as an easy carry around camera. It saw a lot of time on the bench when I got an X100 but was invaluable for those events that prohibited cameras since it would fit in a pocket, even snug jeans.

    The LX7's 1.4-2.3 lens is simply amazing for a point and shoot and it's video is terrific. All the controls are quickly obtainable and I like being able to pop, or not pop up, the flash.

    I've even used it for small product photography in confined spaces with triggers attached. As a matter of fact, I like it better than the X100 or X-E1 for that purpose.

    A great camera that I've recommended to friends who want to jump up from cheap full auto point and shoots or camera phones.

  • Hannah February 20, 2013 11:52 pm

    Apart from internal memory, the above listed specifications makes it worth paying for. I wish they have larger internal memory. This would have eased the whole photography/videography experience.

  • Jason February 19, 2013 11:01 pm

    James, you can thank Sony for that technology. I have been enjoying it on my NEX for the last year and a half.

  • james February 18, 2013 11:37 am

    What I like about this camera, apart from its fast lens is the 'creative' modes. OK so really we should be manually operating our cameras instead of just switching them on and pressing the button, but...

    Try the handheld night shot mode. It works exceptionally well and is great for capturing things at night that you'd otherwise miss when trying to set your camera up. Point and shoot photos in the dark - with the images not looking blurry is quite novel.

  • Jason February 17, 2013 10:36 pm

    I think the zoom range is just fine to be using this as a travel camera. 24-90 is wide to mid tele and certainly capable enough unless you are going on safari.