Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 review
Exceptional photo and video quality, nippy performance and lots of creative control – as close to perfect as we've seen from a compact camera
Review Date: 4 Sep 2012
Price when reviewed: £399
Reviewed By: Ben Pitt
AE/AF lock, ISO speed, white balance and drive mode have dedicated buttons. There's a customisable Fn button that controls autofocus area by default, and pushing the command dial accesses exposure compensation. Meanwhile, a Q.Menu button gives quick access to other key settings. Rival cameras have even more buttons and dials but the LX7 delivers comprehensive, efficient control.
There's no shortage of creative effects and advanced shooting modes, including automatic panorama stitching and 3D capture. The high-dynamic-range (HDR) scene preset combines three shots at different exposure settings to capture high-contrast scenes. Although there's no control over the process, the results looked more natural than other cameras' HDR modes.
This is a fast camera, taking just 1.2 seconds to power up and shoot, and 0.7 seconds between subsequent shots, even in raw mode. Full-power flash shots were 3.8 seconds apart. The plethora of continuous shooting modes includes the ability to shoot eleven shots at 10-megapixels or forty shots at 5-megapixels, in a second. Best of all is the ability to shoot at 5fps with continuous autofocus. This lasted for 23 frames before slowing to 2.3fps – still an impressive pace.
Panasonic has cut no corners with the LX7's video mode. 1,920x1,080 capture is at a choice of 50p, 50i or 25p frame rates, and there's a 100fps 720p mode that plays back at 25fps for quarter-speed slow motion. It's great to have slow-motion footage at such a high resolution. The video setting on the mode dial offers priority and manual exposure control, with the ability to adjust the aperture and shutter speed while recording. The autofocus point can't be moved, though – the camera appears to switch to multi-AF mode as recording commences. Video quality was outstanding, with rich colours, crisp details, a clear stereo soundtrack and a smooth, virtually silent zooming action.
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