Sunday, November 15, 2015

On the street with the Panasonic Lumix GX7



The Panasonic Lumix GX7 digital camera was marketed more than two years ago and has been already replaced by the newest model GX8. But the GX7 is still used by many photographers as an everyday camera. It is a very handy camera designed first for still photography despite its own video ability.

Table Top Wall Stripes
Digital compact camera offers handling advantages in term of small dimensions and low weight. But because of the multiple function buttons seen on many very diminutive models like the Lumix GM1 or GM5 we have reached a point that the compactness is inducing a lot of involuntary finger touch manipulations. The Panasonic Lumix GX7 can be classified as a mid-size compact camera with interchange lens option. It is not a subcompact (GM5 class) but combined with many Lumix G lenses it stays a small package.

With user experiences you can memorize most of the main function buttons and operating reels. As usual I have found there is too many options available to really mastermind their utility on picture taking situations with fast rate shooting. By keeping it simple you will better optimize your photographic results.


The display fonction button can be too easily involuntary activated and the rear adjusting dial edge is located too far to get a confortable reach from you thumb. Those two design flaws can be annoying in particular when you are using more manual setting.




The viewing system that offers a LCD screen and an electronic viewfinder (EVF) is very distinctive of camera design inspired by the ancient rangefinder cameras. It is a compact camera but not as a subcompact or a miniature like the Panasonic Lumix GM5. In that sense the handling of the GX7 is more secure partly because of the larger dimension of the body of the camera. Face strong front day lighting the EVF will generate a more contrast picture that doesn’t really help to evaluate the fine details of your composition. In those cases you have to guess first and check the result over the LCD screen.

Fifteen before six: Very good B&W gray tonal graduation even in using high ISO setting
The images preserved from the fine quality JPEG file option are generally very exploitable for web uses and mid-sized printout. As usual a basic RAW file will give the full opportunity to more deeply post-treat the taken image. The default contrast rendering is on the high side and you may have to use some of the softer rendering picture taking options to counteract this effect. The color rendering is mainly natural but artificial lightning can generate some misinterpretation of the white balance auto setting function.

Native JPEG Outdoor color rendering is very accurate

Onboard flash
To have an onboard flash option is liberation. The flash of the Lumix GX7 is easily reachable by a mechanical switch on the backside of the camera. As a fill flash it work very nicely but it can be advisable to power down a bit the flash output especially with nearby subjects. As a commander flash it is a perfect tool. And Panasonic designers preserve the possibility to add a more powerful unit via the hot shoe.


The EVF viewfinder as waist (sternum !) level finder
Many reviewers were sceptical about the use of the partly moveable viewfinder of the Panasonic Lumix GX7. Looking down to a camera viewfinder is not a real novelty. You can go back to the ancient twin lens reflex or to the very first reflex mirror cameras to find the same way of viewing your picture. A complete generation of amateur and professional photographs can easily remember the glorious days of the various Hasselblades and Rolleiflexes. The “waist level “ view option allows the photographer to better control the linear rendering of the lens by facilitating the positioning of the camera which respect parallel lines better than tilting up or down your point of view. It is remarkable that so many photo experts have missed that point.


Spontaneous close-up photography is easy by using larger aperture prime lenses such as the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f1.7
As I have pointed out with many other camera models of the same features like EVF, it is very recommendable to bring extra batteries to prevent abrupt photo session finales.

Overall the Panasonic Lumix GX7 camera has been and still is a very competent picture-taking companion. It generate very interesting image results, the overall handling is on the good side, the Panasonic lens offering is correctly extended (and can be completed with the Olympus M4/3 counterpart lenses), the camera-lens combination is discrete, the operating system cost is reasonable and you can manage to overcome the few design flaws of the camera. 


BNC Tower over De la Commune, Old-Montreal