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Panasonic Lumix GX7 - Design and Performance

By Phil Hall



Our Score:


Panasonic Lumix GX7: Design

The GX7 looks and feels like a very good camera: that much is obvious straightaway. It's not quite up to the same standard as the benchmark set by the Olympus PEN E-P5, but it's an eye-catching camera that handles well.

Panasonuc Lumix GX7 7

Veterans of the G series who have appreciated its compact nature may be disappointed to find the GX7 is noticeably larger than previous models – it's more akin to the Fujifilm X-E1 and Sony NEX-7 in size now – but we don't think that's a bad thing considering the extra, enthusiast inspired features on offer.

A fact signified by the proliferation of external controls on the camera. Despite having a touch-screen LCD, the body of the GX7 is littered with manual controls. These include four programmable function buttons based variously around the body, as well as a dedicated AF/AE lock button combined with an AF/MF switch.

Panasonuc Lumix GX7 29

The rear of the camera also features a 4-way set of controls that offer quick access to ISO, AF, Drive and White Balance, with a menu/set button sitting in the centre.

But the real highlight addition is the inclusion of dual control dials on the front of the camera and on the rear. These allow for quick control over imaging settings while shooting, and complete a comprehensive control set-up.

Panasonic Lumix GX7: Performance

Panasonic quotes some pretty impressive AF figures and the GX7 meets them. Indeed, not only does it match them, but it continues this impressive performance even in difficult and low light conditions – a level of performance that is at least as good as its rivals. It's incredibly fast and more than earns the 'Light Speed AF' tag it's been given.

The AF performance is further aided by a new 'Pin-point AF' mode features a magnified area around the AF cross-hair for extra precision.

Panasonuc Lumix GX7 27

And the screen is absolutely stunning. The 1040k-dot resolution delivers outstanding clarity, while colour rendition and fine detail is also impressive. The capacitive touchscreen is one of the finest, most accurate screens we've used on a CSC. It requires only the lightest of touches, and can be used to touch select your focus point and even activate the shutter. This, combined the plentiful manual controls, gives you ultimate flexibility to shoot as you please.

Our only minor gripe with the screen is its hinge mechanism. It's not as flexible as other cameras with vari-angle screens, while the 3:2 aspect ratio of the screen doesn't match the native 4:3 resolution of the cameras sensor. This means there are black bars down the side of images on-screen. The problem remains, albeit reduced, when shooting 16:9 aspect videos. It's more of a grumble than a genuine cause for alarm, but Panasonic seems to have settled for a halfway house between the two that satisfies neither.

However, the GX7 operates at its best when you combine the touchscreen functionality with the dual control dials and the numerous programmable ‘Fn’ buttons around the body. The combination of all of these controls makes the GX7 a very refined camera to shoot with.

Panasonuc Lumix GX7

Click on the photo above to see the full test shot gallery

A fact helped no end by the impressive built-in EVF. Like the LCD screen, it's both bright and clear, offering a crisp rendition of the images you're both looking to capture and then review. The fact that the EVF can be tilted at 90 degrees for an unconventional shooting angle is no doubt a pleasing features as well.

Michael Kehm

August 2, 2013, 10:08 am

Looks EXACTLY like Sony NEX6... I hope Sony is not Apple...;-)

alex mason

August 2, 2013, 11:46 am

It does! I have an NEX6 as well and I didn't notice until you said that. It definitely does from the rear. The layout is almost identical. I do like the titling EVF though, that is a nice touch, as is the inbuilt 5-axis IS. This is something I wish Sony had done instead of going lens based because when you use the E to A mount adapters, A mount lenses aren't optically stabilised because the Alpha SLRs have inbuilt IS.

Just noticed the mechanical AF/MF switch. Again a nice inclusion and something Sony should have kept on the NEX-6 from the NEX-7

Hamish Campbell

August 4, 2013, 6:52 pm

what happens when you put a stabilising lens on a body with built in stabilisation?


August 8, 2013, 1:31 am

NEX 6 and NEX 7 has a bigger sensor than GX7 and NEX 7 has internally 3.5 mm audio input for external microphone. I wish the GX7 has an option to attach external audio input


August 11, 2013, 3:55 am

It's a key point
of difference from other cameras in the range, which don't normally have
it built into the body?? OLYMPUS has done along century ago man...


August 12, 2013, 7:57 am

In Panasonic's range.

Graham Culleton

August 13, 2013, 11:08 am

Lens takes priority and cameras stabilisation is switched off.


August 19, 2013, 3:09 pm

A score of 1 out of 10, and still recommended?? What do Panasonic have to do NOT to get a recommendation I wonder?!


August 19, 2013, 3:31 pm

The 3:2 aspect screen ratio is photographer-friendly. Agreed, the sensor is 4:3 but the former is more pleasing.


August 19, 2013, 3:46 pm

Sorry, that's an error. It should update with the correct shortly, which is 9/10.


August 19, 2013, 7:36 pm

How does the EVF compare to this of the OM-D or VF-4?

Javier Alvarez

August 19, 2013, 7:53 pm

does the image stabilization for during video recording? Also, are you able to switch aperture settings during video recording, as well?


August 19, 2013, 8:18 pm

One more early review listing an image quality section and completely failing to make any comments about dynamic range in comparison to other cameras in the same market space? Hmmm?


August 19, 2013, 8:35 pm

The GX1's heritage is much more related to the LC-1 than any NEX. There are some similarities in the silhouette but when you start to compare part by part, there are much more differences than similarities.

alex mason

August 19, 2013, 10:19 pm

Lovely looking item. Very similar to the NEX-6 in shape and layout. Perhaps this is convergence in action, that this is a pretty good general layout. Where it bests the NEX is surely the titling EVF and the mechanical switch for AF/MF, something Sony should have left on the NEX-6 from the 7. Power switch placement looks better, so too does the movie button and the second control wheel around the shutter button would be much preferable to the wheel in the d-pad location on my NEX-6.

My only reservation then lies with the 4/3rds sensor. They can talk all day about how they have repackaged the sensor and improved the processing, but at the end of the day my gut feeling is physics will win out. That the larger APS-C sensor in the NEX cameras will ultimately lead to better IQ, especially with RAW files.

Still 4/3rds absolutely steals the show when it comes to lens choice. SONY need to get their act together in that regard (and also on menu design which is generally convoluted and awful).

and i just realised the comments from the preview are also here and so I have commented twice on the same points. Oh well, I ain't turning back now!


August 20, 2013, 9:26 am

I wonder... Did you bother to read the review?


August 20, 2013, 11:29 am

I thought the same of the M43 sensor vs. APS-C but then I bought an Olympus E-PM1 as a small backup camera a little over a year ago. Fast forward to today & I've sold both my APS-C & the little E-PM1 in favour of an all M43 kit that includes an Olympus E-PL5 & a Panasonic GX1. While understanding how personal these decisions are, I find that I've now always got a "good" camera with me & I struggle to tell the difference between the results from either format. I really like the GX7 package, especially now that it uses the Olympus wireless flash system & it has a very useful silent shutter mode. It's a definite contender to replace my GX1.


August 20, 2013, 12:17 pm

the APS-C sensor of the nex will not give you better IQ, since the IQ is not driven only by the sensor, but it does include the processing chip and the lens you mount on it.
on the other hand it will give you for sure bigger lens.
so if the size is not a problem for you, you should go for a full frame sensor, and enjoy the real advantages of a bigger sensor, if you are stayin in the smaller sensor area, the difference between APS-C and 4/3 is really not an issue anymore.

Hamish Campbell

August 20, 2013, 1:30 pm

I was thinking it looks not much different from my Panasonic GF1, in terms of button layout and body shape.


August 20, 2013, 6:16 pm

I'm interested on this one also ;-)

alex mason

August 20, 2013, 10:02 pm

Lenses are probably the biggest factor IMO. I have never been too enamoured with my NEX results. However, having used it with a CZ 24-70mm I was rather taken aback at the results. Probably the sharpest things I have ever seen come from a camera under my control. Similarly, stick a cheap lens on a full frame and you'll just waste the advantages.

I did compare the NEX 6 to the OMD and I felt the NEX had the edge on noise at the higher ISOs and slightly better when it came to depth of field. Some people don't notice these things, I do. So the sensor does make a difference in my opinion (given similar grade glass and by passing processing) with regards to photo site size. Physically larger photo sites are an advantage, so long as you can feed them correctly.

Still we are talking about the NEX-6 and the OMD here. These cameras are not the cutting edge anymore. Things improve, tech converges. Perhaps you are right.

I tell you what, one good reason to go for a m4/3 camera would be to get away from SONY's awful user interfaces. Christ, I'd like to meet the man who did the UI on the NEX-6 and I'd like to smack him. Its ruddy awful; clunky, slow and seemingly all jumbled together. It seems to be a common trait amongst a lot of SONY products.

alex mason

August 20, 2013, 10:10 pm

I don't think I'd go lower than APS-C for the moment. A key feature really of the APSC sony's was the fact you can buy any number of adapters and use what ever lenses from which ever manufacturer rather easily. The sensor size being the same as most mainstream DSLR's means you just have to make the stand-off distance and it should work.

In other words I wanted to downsize because I hate carrying all that weight associated with a big SLR, but I am not ready to give up the access to some great, high quality DSLR glass. I can hire a good lens and the required adapter when I need the performance, and I get to keep a relatively compact and light set up for the rest of the time.

lets face it most of SONY's e-mount lenses are not particularly amazing in the IQ stakes...a partial side effect of trying to make them smaller... so being able to get hold of proper glass is big tick in the box for me.

Eric Zachary Ryder

August 25, 2013, 12:48 am

TOTALLY agree on the Sony UI. It was so bad I sold my NEX-6 on eBay not long after I got it. Took a bath on it and waited for the Panny G6. I like the G6 a lot, but I'm selling it for the GX7 for the tilting LCD and the newer sensor - though, really, I kind of doubt I'd be able to tell any real difference between the two. My ONLY gripe on the GX7 is the LCD doesn't flip out like the G6. But its not a deal breaker.


September 1, 2013, 2:04 pm

If you do the math (sensor area divided by the number of pixels), NEX pixels are just 7% larger, IMO not enough to provide any significant quality increase, just take a look at http://www.dpreview.com/articl... ...there's a bit of an advantage in number of pixels though since it helps to "average out" the noise if you down-sample. But this is assuming all other things being equal, which is not the case, especially when it comes to lenses. I would personally choose a full-frame camera in a professional setting where low-light performance is critical. Otherwise I would favor overall usability where lighting conditions are acceptable.


September 12, 2013, 9:24 pm

LUMIX G, IR Converted, 14-40 kit lens - I'm pretty pleased with the overall quality although I think for non-IR I would prefer a better lens.

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