Once the hobby of the rich and the job of the professionals, photography is now everyone’s cup of tea. The advent of the digital camera that removed the need to develop and print film and the range of cameras available has made buying a camera and clicking away affordable to most people.
Camera manufacturers have introduced all levels of digital cameras in the market – entry level compact point and shoot digital cameras, premium digital cameras, super zoom compact digital cameras and of course the DSLR.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 is a premium compact digital camera; the next in the range after the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 5. Available in black or white, the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 has a few new features added to it as compared to its predecessor the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 5.
Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 Features
The Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 has a metal construction with a small grip. Though not large the grip is covered with a leather effect rubber padding that makes it comfortable to hold and prevents slipping. With body dimensions of 110.5 x 67.1 x 45.6 mm (4.35 x 2.64 x 1.80 inch), the camera is compact enough to fit into the back pocket of your denims. Carrying a weight of 298g (0.66lb) inclusive of the battery, the only fear I have is forgetting that I am carrying the camera in my back pocket and sitting on it.
A frontal view shows the lens and the AF assist. What is different about the lens and lens barrel though is the aperture ring surrounding the lens, a first in the LX series. Placed on top of the lens barrel is a switch for adjusting the picture ratio. The switch for swapping between auto, manual and macro focus is placed on the left side of the lens barrel.
The back of the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 hosts the 7.5 cm (3 inch) TFT Screen LCD Display with a 920K dots resolution. Although it does have an AR coating, you will find yourself cupping the screen in bright sunlight. The absence of a viewfinder has been offset by providing an accessory port below the flash hot shoe. The menu buttons, playback button and the stereo microphones complete the back of Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7.
The on / off switch, mode dial, movie recoding button, zoom lever and shutter are all placed on the top along with the flash hot shoe. The battery and memory card compartment are at the base of the camera.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 has a 3.8x (24 -90 mm on a 35mm), f/1.4 – 2.3 Leica DC Vario-Summilux lens with Nano coating on the surface. The zoom is further enhanced to 4.5x (4:3 / 7M), 5.4x (4:3 / 5M), 6.7x (under 3M) by the Extra Optical Zoom (EZ) and to 7.5x through the Intelligent Zoom function. The digital zoom is set to a maximum of 4x
The Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 has a new 1/1.7 inch 12.7 megapixel High Sensitivity MOS Sensor. Panasonic claims to have redesigned its sensor and the image processor to boost the dynamic range and low light performance.
The new MOS sensor also improves the burst shooting option on the camera, offering a maximum of 11 frames / second at full resolution and 60 frames / second at 2.5 megapixels.
Here we see the usual Lumix family regulars making an appearance. The Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 exposure modes include Intelligent Auto (iA), programme (P), aperture-priority (A), shutter-priority (S), full manual (M), C1 and C2. Also available are Creative Video, Creative Control and SCN.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 creative control mode offers options of Dynamic Monochrome, Expressive, Impressive Art, Retro, High and Low Key, Soft Focus, Sepia, High Dynamic, Toy Effect, Star Filter, Radial Defocus, Smooth Defocus, Cross Process, One point Colour and Miniature Effect.
The Still Image Scene mode offers 3D Photo, Portrait, Handheld Night Shot, HDR, Soft Skin, Scenery, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Panorama shot, Sports, Sunset, Glass Through Food, Baby1, Baby2, and Pet.
Motion picture recording is a pleasure with the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 as the creative movie mode allows access to all the modes as it does in shooting still pictures. The zoom, functions fully while recording movies and is quiet. Movie recording is available with AVCHD and MP4 modes.
A new feature in the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 is movie recording that can be done at 120fps (NTSC) / 100fps (PAL) in 720p MP4 format which provides a creative slow motion effect.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 white balance features Auto / Daylight / Color Tempareture / Shade / Flash / Incandescent / Cloudy /White Set1 / White Set2 settings allowing for nearly all types of conditions.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 has an ISO range of Auto / i.ISO / 80 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400 / 12800.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 has an aperture range of f/1.4 – 2.3.
Images can be taken in JPEG, RAW / RAW+Fine / RAW+Standard / Fine / Standard (3D Mode : MPO+Fine / MPO Standard) with the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7.
Storage on the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 is done on a SD / SDHC / SDXC card, Eye-Fi media card or in the internal memory.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 runs on a Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 1250mAh) good for 330 shots on a full charge.
Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 Price
The Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 is priced at $499.95 in the USA.
The design of the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 including the new aperture ring and ND filter button would definitely appeal to the more serious and experienced photographers. With its range of features the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 is definitely a good camera, but with other cameras offering better image quality at cheaper prices, the premium Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 will face stiff competition from others.
At the price of $499.95, the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 competes with other premium compact cameras and even some entry level DSLR cameras. Having said that, I find the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 interface and handling better than most, although the image quality could have been improved further.
Although the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX 7 does not have the stand out features of some of the other cameras in this range, it also does not have any weak features that would take away interest from the camera. The Panasonic Lumix DMC LX7 is a good camera but make sure that you check out other cameras in this price range before putting your money down.