Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 review

The GX7 pushes the limits of the Micro Four Thirds format and crams in enough extras to deliver Panasonic’s best yet

The GX7 is not only Panasonic’s newest compact system camera, but in topping its compact ‘G’ series it might just be its maker’s best effort yet. It’s not actually the headline specification that impresses, which in offering 16 megapixels from a Four Thirds (4/3-inch) sensor is in truth no better or worse than most, but rather enthusiast-enticing extras. For example the world’s first body integral electronic viewfinder (EVF) to flip up through 90°, so we could compose shots looking down on it, as well as with the camera held at eye level. Previously Panasonic only offered an EVF as a clip-on extra for its non-DSLR styled G models. Here the EVF is equipped with an eye sensor for automatic activation too, which is very cool. Read more Camera reviews

This addition has in part delivered a camera more boxier in appearance than we’re used to from the electronics giant, which it is – like Olympus, Fuji and Pentax before it – referring to as being more deliberately retro styled. It also means the GX7 more directly competes with the pricier end of the CSC spectrum and models like the OM-D and obviously E-P5, Fuji X-Pro1, plus older Sony NEX-7 and Nikon V2. Viewfinder aside, Panasonic further spoils us by including a tilting touch screen LCD with high 1,040k resolution, plus plenty of ‘hard keys’ including a couple of DSLR-like command dials also found on the E-P5, 11 option shooting mode dial, and the latest must have of built-in Wi-Fi, here activated via its own backplate button.

OUR VERDICT

Whilst not cheap at £819 body only, or £899 with a 14-42mm kit zoom comparable to the one provided with the Olympus E-P5 – not just in size and reach but with regard also to the swiftness and quietness of its auto focus performance – the Panasonic does appear better value overall. We also preferred the look of its images, largely due to the well saturated colours delivered. If we’ve a moan it’s that the GX7’s backplate buttons are small and fiddly, requiring fingertip precision, and the same is true of some of the smaller on-screen icons. Still, having two visual methods of composing and reviewing stills and Full HD video goes some way to placating us, as does the fact that we could call up a on-screen spirit level to make sure our horizons were straight and true when shooting handheld. In short the Lumix DMC-GX7 is hands down the best G-series model its maker has produced to date.

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