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The Panasonic Lumix GX7 is the latest premium mirrorless camera from Panasonic and introduces a number of unique features, including a tilting EVF built into the body, a tilting 3 inch touch screen, a completely new Panasonic sensor, as well as in-body sensor shift image stabilisation, which will benefit anyone who shoots with lenses without built in IS, such as the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 or Olympus Micro Four Thirds lenses, as well as legacy lenses such as Leica lenses used with an adapter.
The GX7 features a new Panasonic sensor, with improved colour saturation, improved light sensitivity, and improved signal to noise performance, thanks to improvements made on the sensor, with larger on-chip lenses, a larger light receiving photo-diode, as well as improved low noise signal readout circuitry. Panasonic claim that this gives the new sensor better Signal to Noise performance, ie better low light / ISO performance than the Olympus OM-D E-M5.
The Panasonic Lumix GX7 features a magnesium body, and a metal mode dial on top, giving it the look and styling of a compact digital rangefinder. The body also features front and rear control wheels, with the front control wheel surrounding the shutter release button. The rear control wheel can be pushed in and used as an exposure compensation dial.
The electronic viewfinder is an LCD unit with 2764k dot resolution and 100% Adobe RGB colour reproduction, this gives more accurate colour reproduction, however it isn’t as fast at updating as the OLED viewfinders as used in the G6 and GH3.
- 16 megapixel live MOS sensor
- Micro Four Thirds lens mount
- Sensor shift image stabilisation
- 3inch 1040k dot tilting touch-screen
- 2764k dot tilting electronic viewfinder (EVF)
- Full HD Video 60/50p (in body IS not active)
- ISO200-25600, ISO125 extended mode
- -4 EV Focus
- 4.2fps continuous AF
- 9fps continuous shooting single AF
- 22 Creative Effects, HDR
- Panoramic mode, with filters
- NFC / Wi-Fi connectivity
The camera features a large rubber grip, this goes from the back of the camera, all the way around the front giving a good area to hold on to, although there is no lip or additional raised bit on the back for your thumb.
With a magnesium body and a good weight, the camera feels extremely well built, with the moving parts, such as the tilting EVF, screen as well as the pop-up flash feeling solidly constructed with metal hinges. To access the side sockets including HDMI, USB, and remote socket, you need to lift the rubber cover, and to do this you need to first tilt the screen out of the way.
There are a number of customisable function buttons and controls, with four function buttons on the rear, as well as "soft" function buttons on the touch screen. The front and rear dial operation can be customised, letting you set which controls shutter and aperture, and there are three custom positions on the mode dial where you can register your favourite setup. The buttons can seem a little small at times, particularly the LVF / Fn4 button.
When using Panasonic OIS lenses, the camera will prioritise lens based IS as this is better than the in camera stabilisation. Unfortunately, the in camera sensor-shift image stabilisation is not available while recording video.
Focus peaking is built in to assist manual focus, with options to set how sensitive it is, as well as change the highlight colour. Picture in picture (PIP) focusing is another new feature that lets zoom in up to 10x to aid manual focus. The focus area can be selected using the touch screen, and the magnified view can be moved around the screen, as shown in the video above. Focus peaking also works in movie mode, both before recording, as well as during recording of video, which would make it extremely useful for use with legacy lenses.
EVF: The electronic viewfinder, which Panasonic call the LVF (Live Viewfinder) is a 16:9 aspect ratio LCD unit with 100% AdobeRGB coverage, and 2764K dots or 2,764,800 dots to be exact. The tilting EVF is not very easy to accidentally knock out of place. It's easy to move, but it is also held in place firmly when in the down or closed position. If you use it with the left eye, the screen gets pretty smudged, and the EVF seems quite comfortable in both left or right eye use.
|EVF in Photo mode (4:3)||EVF in Video mode (16:9)|
The viewfinder is a 16:9 aspect ratio LCD - so in 4:3 photo mode, the image is on the right, and in 16:9 the whole LCD is used (for example video recording), as shown above.
The camera has a very good grip for your right hand, so when the EVF is used, it gives the camera another stabiliser, then with your left hand you can hold the lens, thus giving three points of contact so that you are holding the camera as steady as possible.
The screen works well, even outdoors in bright light, and tilted it has a reasonable amount of friction, so that it stays in place when using the touch screen so long as your touch isn't excessively forceful - it's responsive enough so that you shouldn't need to press too hard.
Wi-Fi - The built in Wi-Fi gives the Panasonic Lumix GX7 a number of features, including the ability to connect it to a smartphone or tablet running Android or iOS. First you need to install the Panasonic Image App from the app store, and then you're able to connect to the camera via Wi-Fi, or using NFC to setup the connection if your phone has it. The app gives three main modes of operation, the first as a remote control for the camera, giving you access to a number of options and settings, including the Q. menu, touch focus and shutter release, as well as stop motion animation. The second mode is playback, and lets you view images, as well as transfer them to the phone or delete them. The third mode is the GPS logging option, to let you record your location, and then it's possible to add GPS location information to photos.
|Remote Shooting||Thumbs||View One Image|
Apart from the Panasonic Image App, there are also a number of other Wi-Fi features built in to the camera, letting you automatically transfer images to the smartphone after shooting, backup to your computer, or share to social network sites. Although sharing to social network sites requires setup of the Lumix gateway account, which does require some PC use to then enable the Facebook (or other website) connection.
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 320 shots according to Panasonic / CIPA test results, and it seemed reasonably good, for a days shooting, although if you regularly shoot a lot before charging the battery, then a 2nd battery may be a worthwhile investment.
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
|Panasonic Lumix GX7|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.175|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.175|
|Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 II ASPH.||0.5|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||1.1|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||0.4|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||1.0|
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
|5.3fps (63 shots)|
|Continuous Shooting - JPEG - Electronic Shutter||9fps (24 shots)|
|Continuous Shooting - Flash||N/A|
|Continuous Shooting - RAW||5fps (10 shots)|
Shutter response and focus speeds with the kit lens is excellent, with a quick switch on time, as well as fast continuous shooting. Although unfortunately the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 II lens was not as quick at focusing. Continuous shooting is quick at 5.3fps when shooting with the mechanical shutter, or 9fps when shooting with the electronic shutter. Focus speeds in low-light conditions are quite impressive, with the camera being able to focus quickly in conjunction with the AF-assist light.
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Panasonic Lumix GX7 Sample Photos
Thoresby Hall | 1/400 sec | f/9.0 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Structure | 1/400 sec | f/7.1 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
Macro 45mm | 1/15 sec | f/7.1 | 45.0 mm | ISO 200
Portrait Flash | 1/125 sec | f/5.4 | 34.0 mm | ISO 800
Sample Photos - There is no red-eye in the portrait photo with flash, and colour and detail are both very good. The camera gives reliable exposure and consistent white balance results shooting outdoors.
Panasonic Lumix GX7 Lens test images
Macro 60mm | 1/250 sec | f/2.8 | 60.0 mm | ISO 200
Lens Performance - Detail is very good from the kit lens at both ends of the lens, and regardless of which kit lens you choose with the camera, they generally perform well. Macro performance is a little disappointing, and for better macro shots a different lens is recommended, and we have used a dedicated macro lens here. Purple fringing and chromatic aberrations are low, with the camera correcting this in camera. Exposure is reliable, with the camera coping well in a variety of situations, and the provided deep petal shaped hood gives good protection against lens flare. HDR is available in JPEG only, not RAW.
Using the inbuilt sensor-shift image stabilisation, it was possible to take sharp shots at 1/20th of a second, with the 20mm f/1.7 II lens (40mm equivalent). With the inbuilt sensor-shift image stabilisation switched off, the shutter speed needed for a sharp shot was 1/40th of a second.
Panasonic Lumix GX7 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - The ISO range goes from ISO200 to ISO25600, and the lowest ISO setting can be extended to ISO125. Compared to the Olympus OM-D E-M5, the GX7 images at ISO125 and ISO200 show smoother results, with slightly less grain visible, although the E-M5 shows more fine detail. Noise results at ISO400, ISO800, and ISO1600 are very similar, however with the E-M5 retaining slightly more fine detail. This is the case at ISO3200, where noise results are very similar, although there is a slightly higher level of noise in mid greys from the GX7. Again at ISO6400 results are very similar, with both cameras smudging detail. At ISO12800 image quality from the E-M5 deteriorates, and at ISO25600 the images from the GX7 show better results, although the highest ISO setting on both cameras is best avoided if at all possible. Noise performance at high ISO settings of ISO12800 and ISO25600 are noticeably improved over the Panasonic Lumix G6. We have used manual white balance for these shots.
Panasonic Lumix GX7 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten light, with a slightly warm result. The tungsten preset gives a slightly more neutral image, and the AWB performs extremely well under fluorescent light. As with other Panasonic cameras, there is no fluorescent preset available.
Scenery Colour Pano | 1/640 sec | f/4.5 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Impressive Art Pano | 1/640 sec | f/5.6 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Panorama mode - The Panoramic mode does a good job of stitching the photos together automatically as you pan the camera, although movement of subjects, such as people walking, can result in ghosting. You can also use effects on panoramic photos.
Panasonic Lumix GX7 Outdoor images
iDynamic High | 1/320 sec | f/5.6 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
HDR | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
High Dynamic Creative Effect | 1/320 sec | f/6.3 | 14.0 mm | ISO 640
Examples above show iDynamic High, High Dynamic Creative mode and HDR - the HDR mode is not available when shooting raw. The built in HDR mode, or iDynamic option will help give better dynamic range if required.
Panasonic Lumix GX7 Digital filters
Miniature | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 42.0 mm | ISO 200
Bleach Bypass | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Cross Process | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Dynamic Mono | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Expressive | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Fantasy | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
High Dynamic | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 20.0 mm | ISO 640
HiKey | 1/320 sec | f/2.8 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Impressive Art | 1/800 sec | f/4.5 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Low Key | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Mono | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Old | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
One Point Colour | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Retro | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Rough Mono | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Sepia | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Silky Mono | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Soft Focus | 1/400 sec | f/3.5 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Star Filter | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Sunshine | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Toy Effect | 1/400 sec | f/3.5 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Toy Pop | 1/400 sec | f/3.5 | 20.0 mm | ISO 200
Digital Filters -The GX7 has a total of 22 Creative Effects, with a number of additional black and white modes such as rough mono, and silky mono, that give the option of applying a black and white filter, such as Green, Red, Blue etc, to give the same effect as shooting black and white film with a filter attached. The camera records both the JPEG and raw file so you can go back to the original image if you don't like the effect.
Video - Options include AVCHD/MP4 compression, 50/25/24p and full HD, as well as filter effects and full manual controls. You can use 'Extra Tele Conv' that crops from the centre of the frame, giving you zoomed in full HD video without any image quality loss. If you want to be able to use optical zoom while recording, then a power zoom lens is recommended as it can be difficult to zoom smoothly with a manual zoom lens. In manual movie mode it's possible to change the shutter speed / aperture with the dials on the front and back of the camera. The built in image stabilisation is not active during video recording, so for best results a Panasonic lens with optical image stabilisation, or a tripod, is recommended. Focus peaking is available before recording as well as during recording, for manual focus. Additional GX7 videos can be seen on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel.
Value For MoneyThe Panasonic Lumix GX7 is priced at £819 body only, or £899 with 14-42mm OIS II lens, which puts it in the same price range as a number of other premium mirrorless cameras. It's also unique in that it is the only camera with a built in tilting electronic viewfinder. Alternatives to look at include the following:
Olympus OM-D E-M5, weather sealed, £795 body only, £949 with 12-50mm lens
Olympus PEN E-P5, no built in EVF, £848 body only, £979 with 14-42mm lens
Sony NEX-6, with Wi-Fi, EVF, £595 with 16-50mm power zoom lens.
Sony NEX-7, with EVF, £689 body only, £789 with 18-55mm lens.
Fujifilm X-E1, with EVF, £599 body only.
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
The GX7 offers an extremely compelling package, with excellent build quality, a stylish design, and a number of ways to customise the operation of the camera. In camera image stabilisation is an excellent addition, particularly for those who like to switch between different lens manufacturers, or for those that have lenses without optical image stabilisation built in. It's just a shame that the image stabilisation isn't available in movie mode, and while the electronic shutter does allow for silent operation, there is the risk of rolling shutter, a second battery may also be useful.
As the specifications, features, and technology available in mirrorless or compact system cameras increases, with continuing improvements in image quality and performance, it's becoming increasingly difficult to justify the purchase of a large and often bulky Digital SLR. The Panasonic Lumix GX7 introduces a truly unique experience thanks to the tilting electronic viewfinder, and with a new sensor the camera delivers excellent image quality, with particularly impressive noise performance beating the previous class leader at high ISO settings.
|The Panasonic Lumix GX7 delivers an abundance of features and backs it up with class leading image quality.|
Panasonic Lumix GX7 ProsImpressive noise performance
Focus peaking in photo and video mode
Wi-Fi built in - remote operation
Great image quality
Panoramic mode with effects
Lens hood provided with kit lens
Very high resolution tilting EVF
High resolution tilting touch-screen
Fast operation, focus, shot to shot
Access to a wide range of Micro Four Thirds lenses
In camera image stabilisation
Stop motion animation
Panasonic Lumix GX7 ConsElectronic / rolling shutter effect
Loud shutter compared to E-M5
Would be nice if Wi-Fi supported direct uploads to social media sites
Sensor-shift image stabilisation not effective in video mode
Battery life could be better
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Panasonic Lumix GX7 Specifications
|CCD pixels||16Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Type||Live MOS Sensor|
|Sensor Size||Micro / Four Thirds|
|Sensor Size (width)||17.3mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||13mm|
|Screen resolution||1040k dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/8000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||60sec|
|ISO sensitivity||125 - 25600|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2764k dots|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||Lithium-Ion Battery|
|Box Contents||Digital camera, Body cap, Lens, Lens hood, Lens Cap, Lens rear cap, Battery pack, Battery charger, USB connection cable, CD-ROM, Shoulder strap, Hot shoe cover, operating instructions.|