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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £899
inc VAT

Stylish, highly accomplished and brimming with features, the DMC-GX7 is a stunning CSC


17.3x13mm 15.8-megapixel sensor, 3.0x zoom (28-84mm equivalent), 515g


Lumix G cameras are renowned for their superior video modes, and the GX7 is no exception. Details were impeccably sharp and noise was barely visible at ISO 3200 – the highest sensitivity available for videos. Autofocus worked quickly and smoothly while recording, with touchscreen control over the autofocus point.

1080p capture is at 24, 25 or 50fps, and there’s a 1080-50i option too. It lacks the high bit rates and slow-motion modes offered by the GH3, though, and there’s no microphone input. Admittedly, there isn’t much room for one, but Panasonic has found room for a wired remote input. Previous Lumix G cameras combined the remote and microphone inputs to a single socket. However, keen videographers are compensated by a peaking manual focus mode, whereby sharply focused lines are highlighted on the screen and viewfinder, making it far easier to focus manually. This is something that’s notably absent from the GH3. It also works perfectly when shooting stills in manual mode.

Photo quality is extremely impressive too, but the competition here is much stiffer. We tested the GX7 alongside the Fujifilm X-M1, which sets a new benchmark for image quality from a CSC. The GX7 is actually closer to the Fujifilm X-E1 in terms of features and price, but because the X-E1 and X-M1 use the same sensor and image processing, comparisons should also apply to the X-E1.

Both cameras have 16-megapixel sensors but the X-M1 tended to deliver slightly sharper, cleaner details in brightly lit shots. The difference was extremely subtle, though, and certainly wouldn’t affect our buying decision. Noise levels in low light showed a bigger difference. The X-M1 took the lead here once again, with the GX7 at ISO 1600 broadly equivalent to the X-M1 at ISO 3200.

Even so, it’s hard to imagine a situation where the GX7’s output would be not up to scratch and the X-M1’s advantage would become critical – shooting at ISO 6400 and printing A3 enlargements, perhaps. The GX7’s newly designed sensor exhibited lower noise than previous G-series cameras, including the flagship GH3. It also came very close to matching the superb NEX-6 for noise levels.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 sample shot It’s hard to find fault with this photo – details are pin sharp, colours are rich and the highlights on the swan’s back are handled well

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 sample shot This shot is impressively sharp too, but there’s a hint of noise in the blurred background, even at the lowest ISO 200 setting

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 sample shot This one is better – the wisps of fog are silky smooth and there’s crisp definition to the various hedgerows

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 sample shot The GX7 has no problem with skin textures when shooting indoors in ambient sunlight

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 sample shot Subdued artificial light is a tougher test. Details are scrappy at ISO 12800 but this shot is good enough to share on the web

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 sample shot Direct comparisons with the Fujifilm X-M1 (left) reveal that the Fujifilm tends to produce slightly sharper and cleaner shots in bright light. The difference is pretty subtle, though

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 sample shot The X-M1 extends its advantage with remarkably low noise at fast ISO speeds. The GX7 is excellent in low light but the X-M1 is even better


There’s no doubt that the GX7 is a superb camera. At £899 at launch, anything less would have been a disaster. The crux is whether it’s the best compact system camera at this price. It’s more appealing than the Olympus E-P5 (review coming soon), which cost around £100 more, or £350 more if you add the optional VF-4 viewfinder. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 is a stronger rival, and now costs around £920 for the 12-50mm kit (from a reputable UK supplier). It’s weather-sealed and has faster burst shooting, but it’s bulkier, lacks built-in Wi-Fi and we prefer the GX7’s controls. The Fujifilm X-E1 costs the same as the GX7, and although we haven’t reviewed it, based on our experience of the Fujifilm X-M1 and Fujifilm X100S it looks extremely compelling.

Then there’s the Sony NEX-6. The two cameras are virtually neck and neck for features and image quality, but the Sony costs significantly less at around £600. If you can find it for a good price, that would certainly outweigh any criticisms mentioned above.

Still, the GX7 has its own strengths. None of the others can match the quality or capabilities of its video mode, and Sony and Fujifilm fall well short of the Micro Four Thirds system for the number of compatible lenses. So while it’s not quite strong enough to warrant another five-star review, the GX7 is yet another superb addition to the Lumix G family.

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Basic Specifications

CCD effective megapixels15.8 megapixels
CCD size17.3x13mm
Viewfinderelectronic (2,764,800 dots)
Viewfinder magnification, coverage1.39x, 100%
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution1,040,000 pixels
Articulated screenYes
Live viewYes
Optical zoom3.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent28-84mm
Image stabilisationoptical, sensor shift and in kit lens
Maximum image resolution4,592×3,448
File formatsJPEG, RAW; AVCHD, MP4 (AVC)


Memory slotSDXC
Mermory suppliednone
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)350 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV, mini HDMI, wired remote, Wi-Fi
Body materialmagnesium alloy
Lens mountMicro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier2.0x
Kit lens model namePanasonic H-FS1442A
AccessoriesUSB cable, neck strap

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB

Camera Controls

Exposure modesprogram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed60 to 1/8,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/3.5-22 (wide), f/5.6-22 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution)200 to 25,600
Exposure compensation+/-5 EV
White balanceauto, 5 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
Additional image controlscontrast, saturation, sharpness, noise reduction, i.Dynamic, highlight, shadow, colour space
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus20cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, flexible spot, pinpoint, face detect, tracking
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket, HDR, panorama, time lapse, stop motion