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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Digital Camera Review
panasonic20140701a.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Keith Parsons 

Panasonic’s latest G series camera, the Lumix GX7 has been hyped as a complete outfit and sits towards towards the top of Panasonic’s line up. Due to its range finder style the GX7 is significantly different from the other Lumix flagship, the GH3 (which is a bulkier DSLR competitor).

It is as though Panasonic has placed one foot in the traditional era and one in the future, as the GX7 oozes innovative features, despite its retro styling. The impressive electronic viewfinder (EVF), 3” high resolution touch screen, wifi connectivity, a pop out flash, time lapse and stop motion control are just the beginning. The GX7 is a serious contender on specs alone!
   

Appearance / Functionality


The GX7 is a classy looking camera with its retro styled aluminium body managing to combine a 3” screen, EVF, flash and a hot shoe all into a camera body smaller than many of its rivals. The rubber mould on the front of the camera is incredibly comfortable and really allows the body to be grasped in one hand comfortably for long periods of time. Manufacturers have often overlooked camera comfort and the possibility for fatigue by building incredibly small moulds however Panasonic have got this one spot on. A neck strap and lightweight body add further to the ergonomics of the GX7.

panasonic20140701b.jpgThe layout, size of the cameras buttons and dials are another positive design feature of the GX7, as the they lie exactly where you need them and allow you to leave your eye to the viewfinder at all times. A mode dial is placed next to the shutter button and you will find the usual modes (Auto/P/TV/AV/M) as well as space for three custom sets. The scene mode contains 24 different quick hit options to help you achieve good results under difficult  conditions. The more useful scene modes include the panorama shot, clear night portrait, nightscapes and sunset options. Further to the scene modes are a ridiculous number of colour filters that can be applied as part of the creative control menu. Examples include miniature effect, cross process and silky monochrome to name but a few. Then if you want even greater control, a set of contrast curves allow for highlight and shadow customisation.

The GX7's menus are very straightforward and navigating them is a breeze with the 3” high resolution touch screen. Included is a separate in camera editing menu which allows for the usual cropping, correcting and resizing options as well as the option to edit your previously shot time lapse and stop motion videos, a great addition.

The cameras lithium ion battery is rated at 320 shots per use. Whilst this sounds impressive we found that with extended use of the screen/EVF/video features that the battery did begin to drain rather quickly, which is not uncommon within other digital cameras. All of the fantastic features of the GX7 unfortunately take their toll on the batteries life.

panasonic20140701c.jpgWi-Fi is not a completely new function to Panasonic cameras with both the G6 and GF6 allowing files to be sent across Wi-Fi networks to your PC/Mac. The GX7 however goes a step further and allows you to connect the camera to a smartphone for easy file sharing or even for the camera to be remotely controlled by the smartphone, a nifty addition. Whilst it sounds great I have never found these systems to be particularly quick and the good old card reader is still the go to. The other thing to remember however is that the Wi-Fi will drain your battery if left on for to long

Image Quality


Sensor technology has come along way in the past few years since micro four thirds cameras began appearing on the market. The days of only having usable ISO's up to 800 are long gone and the 16 megapixel live MOS sensor on the GX7 is stunning. Paired with the newly developed Venus processor the GX7 delivers superb image quality right up to 3,200 ISO, at which point noise becomes visible in the shadow tones. The range extends up to 25,600 ISO although these images would only be useful for smaller outputs like web or postcard prints.

The Panasonic GX7 was tested using a SanDisk Extreme Pro SD  memory card, to test accurately both performance and speed. The camera offers a plethora of size and format options. Whilst we shoot our tests in JPEG the RAW files from the GX7 are stellar. The Image quality of the GX7 is broadly impressive, as it should be for a premium camera like the GX7.
 
View our street test images our via Buy-n-Shoot.com Facebook albums page  

Lens Quality


panasonic20140701d.jpgThe camera is available bundled with a 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 lens (RRP $1099) which we had for this test, as well as the rather fantastic 35-100mm F2.8. The 14-42mm lens offers a fairly standard 28-84mm (35mm equivalent) range and feels solidly built. The 35-105mm F2.8 (or 70-200mm 35mm equivalent) on the other hand is a great lens. The constant 2.8 and inbuilt 'extra' image stabiliser offer a professional level of quality in a lens and camera package that's half the size of any DSLR equivalent setup, though it will set you back almost as much as the camera body itself.

Impressively the GX7 has the main image stabilisation built into the body. A great advantage that allows you to stabilise any number of old film lenses (legacy lenses) you may wish to use, though an after market adaptor is needed. The inclusion of focus peaking is another feather in the cap for the GX7, allowing extremely accurate manual focus confirmation.

LCD


panasonic20140701f.jpgTrue to the range finder style of old a viewfinder is positioned perfectly for the left eye to compose images. However the modern twist is that this viewfinder is now electronic (EVF), though if that's not your thing a 1.04 million dot resolution 3” tiltable touch screen sits just below. The EVF itself is a stand out feature of the GX7 and is a vast improvement on other competitors EVF's. Offering 100% image coverage, freedom to adjust the EVF's position and a whopping 2,764,800 dot resolution equivalent.

The 3” LCD touch screen is hard to fault in any way. The resolution is high and the clarity rather fantastic. The ability to tilt it away from the cameras body frees up the user to shoot at awkward angles such as above your head in a crowd or on the ground. The touch screen is responsive and the sensitivity can be set through the menus to the users liking.
 
For reference, when viewing and retouching images it's recommended to use EIZO monitors, for beautiful on screen clarity and quality colour representation. 

Video


It has now become commonplace to expect at a minimum 1080p in any stills camera and the GX7 delivers on this and a whole lot more in the video department. Many different recording formats and frame rates are available and the camera even ramps up to a full 1080p 50 frames per second interlaced output. Though in what is a bizarre oversight the camera doesn't allow for any external microphones to be plugged in, meaning you are stuck with the on board microphone. Which to most is fine as it is a decent stereo microphone which can be adjusted and features a wind cut option though for professional use it means an external recorder is required. Maybe we will see a wi fi connectible option in the future, though doubtful?

Panasonic also claims continuous video autofocus and while this worked well in brighter conditions or where the subject to background contrast level allowed the camera to clearly distinguish what to focus upon, it fell away in tighter shots

Not exactly a video feature, although I'll group it in here, is the ability to shoot timelapse and stop motion sequences in camera without the need for an external interlevometer. You simply dial in the desired start time (it can be delayed for late night shoots), interval and image count and away you go. When finished the sequence can then be edited in camera and rendered into a video file. Impressive to say the least.
 
   

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Conclusion


The Panasonic GX7 is a serious camera. Whilst it's not a cheap buy it certainly is quality. The GX7's features it manages to pack in are fantastic and it's incredibly hard to fault Panasonic on the build of the camera. The attention to detail both inside and out is nothing short of impressive and should one choose the GX7 then I can't see the purchaser being dissapointed in the slightest.

Recommendations 

 
Camera House Click Through
SanDisk Click Through
EIZO Click Through
   

Ratings

 
 
Appearance rating 5 stars
Functionality rating 5 stars
Image quality
5 stars
Video quality
3.5 stars
Lens quality
4.5 stars
LCD screen 5 stars
Value for money 4 star
Street Price - Kit 1
$1,049 (AUD) (With 5-15mm Lens)
Street Price - Kit 2
$1,849 (AUD) (With 5-15mm & 15-45mm Lenses)
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 16 megapixels
Sensor Type
Live MOS Sensor / 17.3 x 13.0 mm (in 4:3 aspect ratio)
Image Sizes 16 Sizes / 3 Aspect
Lens Interchangeable
Lens Mount
Micro Four Thirds mount
Resolution Settings - Stills [4:3] 4592x3448(L) / 3232x2424(M) / 2272x1704(S) / 1824x1368(When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Third System standard)
[3:2] 4592x3064(L) / 3232x2160(M) / 2272x1520(S) / 1824x1216(When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Third System standard)
[16:9] 4592x2584(L) / 3232x1824(M) / 1920x1080(S) / 1824x1024(When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Third System standard)
[1:1] 3424x3424(L) / 2416x2416(M) / 1712x1712(S) / 1712x1712(When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Third System standard)
Resolution Settings - Video [Full HD]1920×1080, 60fps (sensor output is 60p, 28Mbps)
[Full HD]1920x1080, 30fps (sensor output is 30p, 20Mbps)
[HD]1280x720, 30fps (sensor output is 30p, 10Mbps)
[VGA] 640x480, 30fps (sensor output is 30p, 4Mbps)
[Full HD] 1920×1080, 50fps (sensor output is 50p, 28Mbps)
[Full HD]1920x1080, 25fps (sensor output is 25p, 20Mbps)
[HD] 1280x720, 25fps (sensor output is 25p, 10Mbps)
[VGA] 640x480, 25fps (sensor output is 25p, 4Mbps)
[Full HD]1920×1080, 60p (sensor output is 60p, 28Mbps)
[Full HD] 1920×1080, 50p (sensor output is 50p, 28Mbps)
[Full HD] 1920x1080, 60i (sensor output is 60p, 17Mbps)
[Full HD] 1920×1080, 60i (sensor output is 30p, 24Mbps)
[Full HD] 1920×1080, 24p (sensor output is 24p, 24Mbps)
[HD] 1280 x 720, 60p (sensor output is 60p, 17Mbps)
[Full HD] 1920x1080, 50i (sensor output is 50p, 17Mbps)
[Full HD] 1920x1080, 50i (sensor output is 25p, 24Mbps)
[Full HD] 1920x1080, 24p (sensor output is 24p, 24Mbps)
[HD] 1280 x 720, 50p (sensor output is 50p, 17Mbps)
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds Still Images: Bulb (Max.2min), 1/8000 ~ 60
Motion image: 1/16000 ~ 1/25 (NTSC area/PAL area)
Shutter Priority Yes
ISO Auto / Intelligent ISO / 125(Extended) / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400 / 12800 / 25600 (Changeable to 1/3 EV step)
LCD Monitor Tilt Static LCD with Touch Monitor, 3.0inch (7.5cm)/ 3:2 Aspect / Wide-viewing angle, 1040K pixels, 100% field of view, Monitor adjustment: Brightness/ Contrast/ Saturation/ Red tint/ Blue tint
Viewfinder LCD Live View Finder (2,764,800 dots equivalent), Approx. 1.39x / 0.7x (35mm camera equivalent) with 50mm lens at infinity; -1.0 m -1
Flash TTL Built-in Flash, GN7.0 equivalent (ISO 200 ·m), GN5.0 equivalent (ISO 100 ·m), Built-in Pop-up
Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync., Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
Less than 1/320 second (Built-in Flash)
Less than 1/250 second (External Flash)
Hot Shoe Yes
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / Flash / White Set 1, 2 / Colour temperature setting
Blue/amber bias, Magenta/green bias
Colour temperature setting: 2500-10000K in 100K
White balance bracket: 3 exposures in blue/ amber axis or in magenta/ green axis
Self Timer 10sec, 3 images/ 2sec / 10sec
Stills Format/s
JPEG (DCF, Exif 2.3), RAW, MPO (When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Thirds standard)
Video Format/s AVCHD (Audio format: Dolby Digital 2ch) / MP4 (Audio format AAC 2ch)
Video Recording Time/s -
Storage Type - External SD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card (Compatible with UHS-I standard SDHC/SDXC memory cards)
Storage Type - Internal
-
Connectivity USB: 2.0 High Speed Multi
HDMI: miniHDMI TypeC / VIERA Link
HDMI: Video: Auto / 1080p / 1080i / 720p / 480p (576p in PAL system)
HDMI: Audio: Stereo
Audio video output: Monaural Type, NTSC/PAL, NTSC only for North America
Audio video output: *Check the website of the Panasonic sales company in your country or region for details on the products that are available in your market.
Remote input: f2.5mm for Remote
External microphone input: No
Microphone: Stereo
Speaker: Monaural
Power Source Battery charger
Battery Options Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 1025mAh) (Included)
Battery Life Approx. 320 images with H-H020A
Approx. 350 images with H-FS1442A
Dimensions 122.6 mm (W) x 70.7mm (H) x 54.6mm (D)
Weight Approx. 489g / 1.08 lb (SD card, Battery, H-H020A lens included)
Approx. 512g / 1.13 lb (SD card, Battery, H-FS1442A lens included)
















 


 

 

 

About Panasonic

 

Panasonic Australia is a proud member of the Australian corporate community. With long standing links to local manufacturing and with hundreds of employees, Panasonic Australia is committed to fostering good relationships with consumers, businesses and governments alike.

 

On both a Local and International basis Panasonic is deploying long term strategies related to stable economic growth, responsible use of resources and being friendly to the environment.

 

The pages contained within the 'About Us' area will give you an insight into how Panasonic Australia operates and an overview of our companies history.

 

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