Test Review: Panasonic GX7

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September 26, 2013 at 10:30 am  •  Posted in New Products, News & Events, Review by  •  1 Comment

The Panasonic GX7

The Panasonic GX7

The Panasonic GX7 is a compact and stylish CSC based on the Micro Four Thirds standard. It offers 16-MP resolution, an electronic viewfinder with very high resolution, and WLAN and NFC modules. It is Panasonic’s first G-camera with an integrated image stabilizer.

Comments on Image Quality

The Panasonic GX7 showed a clear reproduction of the standard test box shot which shows very natural-looking colours. The automatic white-balance system worked well and caused the neutral grey background. The image is a little under exposed (taken in P-mode with ISO 200).

The Panasonic GX7 showed a clear reproduction of the standard test box shot which shows very natural-looking colours. The automatic white-balance system worked well and caused the neutral grey background. The image is a little under exposed (taken in P-mode with ISO 200).

Colour: The Panasonic GX7 had very good colour results. The automatic white-balance system showed very neutral images and, therefore, placed nearly all grey test patterns in the centre of the result chart. Only the brightest grey test pattern showed a shift into the yellow and green direction. The level of colour errors is very low, nearly all colours show only a little shift from their given values. Only some blue nuances have a mentionable aberration. The saturation is nearly perfect (104.5 percent) and the skin tones are reproduced very naturally.

Sharpness: The resolution results for the GX7 are very good. The Panasonic reproduced the ISO 12233 chart with 3057 lines in picture height, which is a very good result for a camera with a nominal resolution of 3448 lines per picture height. The good performance is partly a result of the electronic sharpening filters which cause an “overshoot” effect of 19.3 percent and is a little high for a system camera.

The standard test box shot shows a reproduction of this scene with a little softer character, but you can notice the overshot effects on the most extreme contrast lines (the black and white lines of the “stars”) due to its “halos” in respect to its thin double contour lines.

Noise: The camera performed very well in our noise and dynamic range tests. It shows very clean and crisp images in ISO modes 200 to 1600. In higher ISO speed settings like ISO 3200 and 6400, you will notice slight noise effects, but it gets really annoying in ISO 12800 and 25600 mode. In both highest modes the anti-noise filtering is really extreme and reduces image details and structures with its “impressionist filter look.” Colour noise artefacts aren’t really visible, but the filtering effect is extreme.  The luminance noise results are good up to ISO 1600. They show a nearly linear gain in higher ISO speed settings up to ISO 25,600. So it is helpful to use the ISO limit function, which can limit the maximum setting in ISO-AUTO mode.

The dynamic range maximum is 11.5 f-stops, which is very good. The camera reaches this maximum in ISO 200 mode and the dynamic range declines with higher ISO modes, but isn’t lower than 10 f-stops not before ISO 3200 mode, which is very good.

Comments on Handling

The Panasonic GX7 has a large mode dial which offers all standard modes, three user-defined settings (C1-C3), a “manual video” mode, scene modes and effect filters. Two set-up dials and many functions make for comfortable handling.

The Panasonic GX7 has a large mode dial which offers all standard modes, three user-defined settings (C1-C3), a “manual video” mode, scene modes and effect filters. Two set-up dials and many functions make for comfortable handling.

The new GX7 is the latest model of the Panasonic’s GX series and replaces the GX1. The new Micro Four Thirds camera has a new sensor with 16-MP resolution and a lot of modern features like WLAN system.

The camera design has a stylish, slightly retro look, but it offers many features that analogue cameras don’t. The electronic viewfinder, for example, has an extremely high resolution (2.76 million RGB dots) and is tiltable (upward by 90 degrees). This allows a comfortable and unobtrusive shooting style which can be important for street photography.

The most important feature of the GX7 for Panasonic’s CSCs and G-system is its image stabilizer. The GX7 is their first camera with a built-in stabilizer system based on a sensor shift system. While Olympus offered its MFT cameras with a built-in system right from the start of the digital PEN series, Panasonic applied its OIS technology in the Panasonic lens systems. The GX7 now offers both: when you use a Panasonic lens with OIS system, the GX7 will detect this lens and will deactivate the integrated stabilizer. When you use a lens system without a stabilizer, it will activate its own sensor shift system. This helps with the use of third party lenses and/or older lens systems which can be mounted to the GX7 with simple and cheap adapters.

The touch-sensitive LCD can be flipped up- and downward (80 degrees upward, 45 degrees downward). The viewfinder can be flipped upward which is very comfortable in many situations.

The touch-sensitive LCD can be flipped up- and downward (80 degrees upward, 45 degrees downward). The viewfinder can be flipped upward which is very comfortable in many situations.

Manual focusing with the new GX7 is very easy. Thanks to the very high resolution of the electronic viewfinder, you will see a very clear and crisp image. The camera offers two additional features for manual focusing: the first is a magnified area in the viewfinder (“focus loupe”) which helps to see even very small details. In contrast to most other digital cameras with an electronic viewfinder, you can change the position of this magnified area by using the touch screen (simply touch on the desired area). This is very helpful if you wish to focus on an object which isn’t located directly in the centre of the image (the eyes in a portrait shot, for example). The second helpful feature is focus peaking, which shows blue overlay lines on contrast lines when these area gets into focus.

The camera offers a built-in pop-up flash and an accessory shoe for external flash or a studio setting. The interfaces are located on the left-hand side of the body and covered by a rubber cap.

The camera offers a built-in pop-up flash and an accessory shoe for external flash or a studio setting. The interfaces are located on the left-hand side of the body and covered by a rubber cap.

The automatic AF system is very fast and very reliable even in low-light situations. The camera offers 23 focus areas, AF tracking and face detection.

The camera has a lot of real and virtual function buttons. The user can define the four “real” FN buttons on the body of the camera and FN buttons 5 to 9, which are activated on the touch screen for direct access to the most important parameters. The touch screen is also fully integrated into the GX7’s operational concept and goes one step further than the Olympus E-P5, for example, where it is a kind of an additional feature. Two set-up dials (one directly at the shutter-release button, the other on the body’s back and accessible with the thumb of the right hand) allow for changing aperture size and shutter speed directly or for navigating through the menu).

Pros
+ high resolution images
+ compact and very handy camera
+ swivel LCD and very high resolution viewfinder (can be flipped upward by 90 degrees)
+ all manual settings (focusing, exposure set-ups and more) can be done in a very comfortable way
+ first Panasonic G-camera with built-in image stabilizer
+ classy finish
+ Wi-Fi module and NFC system
+ very good video results

Cons
- expensive for a compact-system camera
- swivel LCD is not fully articulated

This review is based on precise lab tests conducted by BetterNet GmbH and provided by the Technical Imaging Press Association (TIPA). TIPA is the largest family of independent photo and imaging magazines worldwide. Photo Life is an active member of TIPA.

SPEC SHEET: Panasonic GX7
BASIC TECHNICAL DATA:
Resolution 4592 x 3448
Resolution sensor 16.8
Size of sensor (in Inches) 0/0.00
Size of sensor (in mm) 17.3 x 13.0
LENSES:
Focal length (wide angle; 35 mm equivalent; in mm) 24
Focal length (tele; 35 mm equivalent; KB in mm) 84
Focal length (wide angle; real; in mm) 14.0
Focal length (tele; real; KB in mm) 42.0
Speed 3.5 – 5.6
Macro 20 – 30
Manual focus, controlled by function elements no
Manual focus, controlled with lens ring yes
TAKING PICTURES:
Startup time (in sec) 0.60
Shutter delay (in sec) without pre-focusing 0.21
Shutter delay (in sec) with pre-focusing 0.01
Continuous shooting speed (frames per second) 9.0
Max. burst during continuous shooting speed 999.0
Fastest shutter speed (in sec) 1/8000
Long time exposure/shutter speed (in sec) 60
Self timer yes
Exposure Settings:
Aperture pre-setting, shutter speed pre-setting, manual exposure settings
Automatic bracketing, time lapse photography
Exposure programs 24
White balance:
Auto yes
White balance settings 5
Individual white balance yes
ISO:
ISO min 200
ISO max 25600
ISO steps 0
manual ISO control no
FLASH:
Integrated flash yes
Flash mode:
On, off, automatic flash, slow sync, anti-red-eye, rear curtain sync
External Flash:
X-Sync no
Accessory shoe yes
FILE FORMATS:
Standard file formats JPEG, RAW, DCF
JPEG compression grades 30
LCD AND PREVIEW:
Size (in inches) 3.0
Resolution of LCD (in pixels) 1040
Zoom mode during preview yes
Index during preview yes
Slideshow during preview yes
VIDEO:
Video available yes
Max. width 1920
Max. height 1080
Picture frequency 50
POWER SOURCE:
Rechargeable battery yes
Battery type Li-Ion
Battery charger included yes
Power connector no
Power supply unit no
STORAGE SYSTEM:
Supported memory cards SD card, SDHC card, SDXC card
PC CONNECTION:
PC connection USB, HDMI, WLAN
TV out PAL/NTSC + HDMI
DIMENSIONS:
Dimensions (width x height x depth; in mm) 122 x 70 x 43
Weight (body without battery and memory card; in g) 402
ACCESSORIES:
Docking station no
Printed manual yes
Manual on CD yes
Bag no
Remote control no

One Comment

  1. Mitch / September 26, 2013 at 10:22 pm / Reply

    Accurate and thorough review, excellent job! Can’t wait to get mine!

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