Panasonic DMC-GX7

Delivering clarity with flexibility in a compact format

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Available in New Zealand in late September, the GX7 is the successor to the GX1, the top-of-the-line offering from Panasonic in the micro four-thirds category.

The new sensor is designed to deliver increased image quality as well as more saturation and increased sensitivity with less noise than the GX1. The 16-megapixel Live MOS Sensor and Venus Engine set a new benchmark for still image quality and also ensures excellent motion picture capture with smooth results from Full HD 1920×1080 50p recording in AVCHD Progressive and MP4 with stereo sound.

This camera is easy to use and very flexible. Unique to the GX7, the three-inch, high resolution touch screen LCD monitor is 100% colour accurate. In addition, it is tiltable for easy viewing, whether you want to work with it like a vintage waist-level finder, or angle it out so it can be viewed overhead.

When I took the rugged camera for a trial at the weekend markets, I could use the monitor as if I had a Rolleiflex, which made a glorious difference to creating candid street shots. I could also easily sling the camera over my shoulder and shoot from the hip. Between the compact camera format, flexible viewing angles and silent operation (when in silent mode), I felt more discreet in the busy street environment.

Unique to Panasonic is the highlight and shadow adjustment, which can be easily viewed through the monitor to show how adjusting the curves—either manually or with presets—affects the image. To ensure crisp focus when in manual mode, the camera has focus-peaking, highlighting fine detail when in focus—great for low light and when shooting using the monitor.

In addition to the monitor there is also a tiltable electronic viewfinder to the left of the body that activates when you put your eye to it.

While Panasonic has a comprehensive line up of lenses, including the clear and compact 14–42mm f/3.5-5.6 Lumix G Vario, the system is compatible with Olympus, Voigtlander and Samyang micro four-thirds lenses as well. For any lenses without in-lens optical stabilisation, the GX7 defaults to in-body stabilisation.

The GX7 ensures that you can send images from the field with in-camera Wi-Fi connectivity. In addition, both still and movie shooting can be controlled remotely from a smartphone screen over a wireless connection.

This camera is packed full of features; high definition video, audio recorded in stereo, a hotshoe mount for accessories, pop up flash, as well as panorama, time-lapse and stop-motion modes. The full magnesium alloy frame feels rugged and weighty, but not so heavy you can’t easily hold it with one hand. The ability to operate the shutter speed and aperture with your thumb and forefinger on the dual dials at the top of the camera makes quick, one-handed operation simple, and the set up perfect for anyone focused on travel or working on the street.

This is a micro four-thirds camera built around high performance image quality. It is a serious stills camera, especially for anyone trying to balance big-camera image quality with the portability and discretion of a compact format.

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