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Buying a camera is not a tough task but buying the right one based on your requirement can be tricky. You can find yourself in a tough spot seeing the myriad of options available in the market from leading brands like Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Sony, etc. Moreover, you also need to take into account the type of camera and its overall equipment ecosystem for a seamless photography experience to create the appropriate content.
Having said that, Panasonic's latest compact camera launch- the Lumix G7 is an interesting product. The mirrorless camera grabbed our attention in the year 2015 when it was first introduced to the world. After three years, the camera is now available in the Indian market at a starting price of Rs. 50,305 with 14-42mm MEGA O.I.S. Lens on Amazon.in. The timing cannot be more right as the Indian market is the emerging hub for content creators, the target audience of the Lumix G7.
The Lumix G7 is a compact mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with 4K video recording support. Powered by a 16MP Digital Live MOS sensor, the G7 is able to shoot at a maximum of ISO 25600 and comes with a fully articulating tilting touch-screen LCD. The other noteworthy features include Wi-Fi connectivity, 3.5mm Microphone Socket, Focus Peaking, Creative Control with 22 Filters, Time Lapse Shot / Stop Motion Animation, etc.
I tested the camera in my every day routine which involves product shots, videos and countless pictures of everything interesting that I find around me. Here's my review of the new Panasonic Lumix G7 mirrorless camera.
Body type- SLR-style mirrorless, Dimensions- 4.92 x 3.39 x 3.05 inch, Weight- 360 g (Body only)
Sensor- 16MP Live MOS Sensor with max resolution of 4592 x 3448, 7.3 x 13.0 mm (in 4:3 aspect ratio)
Color Space- sRGB, Adobe RGB,
ISO- Auto, 160, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600
File format- RAW, RAW + Fine, RAW + Standard, JPEG Fine, JPEG Standard, MPO + Fine, MPO + Standard
Manual Focus- Yes and 2X Focal length multiplier
Kit-Lens- 3.00x zoom, 14-42mm, (28-84mm eq.)
Display- Fully articulated tilting and touch-enabled 3-inch LCD
Viewfinder- Electronic Viewfinder with 2,360,000 resolution with Eye sensor
Connectivity- Wi-Fi, 3.5mm Microphone jack, USB 2.0 High-Speed Multi, micro HDMI TypeD
Flash- TTL Built-in Flashlight
Battery- Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 1200mAh, 8.7Wh) (Included)
Design and Controls- Compact and feature rich
Panasonic Lumix G7 is designed like a miniature DSLR and the compact camera fits very well in one hand. The angular body offers a good grip, making it easy to carry around the camera for long photography sessions and video shoots. The look and feel is premium and the camera also feels robust while handling. I completed a couple of video shoots on Lumix G7 without any discomfort in handling during still and pan shots, with and without the tripod. Even with the bundled 14-42mm kit lens, the camera felt very compact and usable.
There are plenty of switches and buttons for extended controls. The compact camera body houses five customizable function keys. The top deck of the camera has three dials. The left side holds the drive mode dial, which let you select specific positions for 4K capture such as Single, Burst, 4K photo, Time-Lapse, etc. The Mode dial is placed at the right side of the top deck and allows you to select various modes for different shooting scenarios. The power on/off switch sits just next to the mode dial.
Twin Dial Control
The Lumix G7 also has front/rear dual dials that can customize the allocation of functions as well as on the Fn buttons. The front dial also encircles the shutter button. The newly added fn1 function button lets you change the exposure compensation. The flash sits at the top of the viewfinder mount and the button to activate it is placed just next to the viewfinder on the left side along with Fn5 key. The stereo microphones are placed on the top, just next to the hot shoe cover.
The HDMI, Remote and AV Out/ Digital sockets sit under a flap on the right side. The left side holds the MIC socket. The bottom of the camera unit has the release lever, card battery door, and tripod mount.
Built-in Live Viewfinder with smart sensor
One of my favorite features of the Lumix G7 is its built-in 2,360k-dot High-Speed LVF. The viewfinder features a 2,360 K-dot OLED display for better contrast and visibility. It is very bright, clear and offers approx. 100 % coverage area for the comfortable viewing experience. And there's no change in the scene, user-interface, and functions while capturing a shot with the LCD or the viewfinder, as the camera is completely mirrorless. A smart sensor sits under the eye-cup that switches on the LVF in a jiffy when you bring camera closer to your eye.
Display: Free-angle touch-screen LCD panel
Panasonic Lumix G7 sports a 3-inch articulated LCD monitor, which is attached to a tilt/swivel mechanism for free angle viewing. The free angle touch-screen display comes quite handy while shooting videos and taking pictures in portrait or landscape mode. You can also tilt it to capture a selfie and us the on-screen controls. The LCD screen is bright, 50 % brighter as compared to G6's display if Panasonic is to be believed. The display also has improved color reproduction and clear visuals for outdoor use.
Plenty of Modes and Filters
If you like to experiment with the images and videos you capture, you are in for a treat. The Lumix G7 features a total of 22 creative filters that can be applied and customized with the flexible shutter speed and aperture settings. The list includes- Retro, Monochrome, Impressive art, High dynamic, Toy effect, Miniature effect, soft focus, etc.
Still Image Performance
Lumix G7 is an impressive mirrorless camera when it comes to everyday performance. The 16MP sensor works brilliantly in most of the situations and produces crisp shots. I have tested the camera with the bundled 14-42mm kit lens and the camera produces fairly natural-looking skin tones regardless of the fact that the image is shot in either Auto or Manual mode. There are very minor shifts in color hues, mostly while taking indoor shots of objects but nothing major to worry about. And at any point of time, you can change the camera settings, white balance, shutter speed and use several modes to tweak the image output as per your requirement. A little play around with exposure compensation will give you the desired shot.
Panasonic Lumix G7 captures fairly sharp and detailed images. The detailing in the above macro shot is brilliant. The camera also produces pleasing bokeh effect and the overall result is very balanced and pleasing to eyes. Even the highlights are very well managed and very little portions are blown away during a sunny day.
Good Dynamic Range
The photos shot by Lumix G7 in outdoors show good dynamic range and crisp shadows. The dynamic range is not very loud and not too subtle; it just hits the right spot. A little bit exposure compensation tweaking can do wonders in daylight shots. Moreover, you can also enable the HDR mode to bump up the dynamic range. The HDR mode takes multiple images with different exposures to boost up the dynamic range output.
Controlled Noise levels and Snappy Autofocus
The Jpeg images shot in low-light with ISO level up to 800 show good details and acceptable noise levels. Extend the ISO to1600 and noise levels increases but the details are still preserved. Switch to RAW format and you will manage to get even better detailing at same ISO levels with some good conversion softwares. The camera also maintains good sharpness and color reproduction in JPEG format with images captured through varied ISO settings.
For a mirrorless camera, the focus abilities of Lumix G7 are quite impressive. Whether you are video recording or just panning camera for a still shot, the continuous autofocus enables swift focus throughout the scene. You can also specify the subject to be tracked while taking a shot and the focus mechanism of Lumix G7 will ensure you get the desired shot.
Good Low-light Performance
Lumix G7 also performed well in low-light situations. The 16MP sensor brings out good information to deliver bright images. The shots are very well-exposed and noise levels are also controlled. The colors are also produced well; see the Blue sky in the above picture.
Video Recording Performance
Panasonic Lumix G7 is a winner when it comes to video recording in the Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) category. The mirrorless camera is capable of recording smooth, high-resolution QFHD 4K video in 3840x2160 at 25p (50Hz) or 24p in MP4. It can also capture Full-HD videos (60 fps with NTSC area/ 50 fps with PAL area). The high-resolution video output is smooth and the camera can also capture fast-moving objects with an ease. The 16MP Digital Live MOS sensor combined with quad-core CPU and Venus Engine produces smooth gradation, handles light very well and produces lifelike colors.
Besides, the Lumix G7 also comes equipped with focus peeking (for both photos and videos) to deliver accurate focusing while using manual focus mode. Moreover, the compact mirrorless camera also has zebra pattern to aid over-exposure. These features combined with the free-angle flip-out screen makes Lumix G7 a great camera to shoot good-quality 4K (UHD) or 1080 videos.
Whether it's a 1080p video or 4K shot, the video quality is crisp. The full exposure control comes handy while shooting a video and the autofocus also works well. However; manual focusing will yield better results.
The camera also possesses other features like easy wireless connectivity, which allows you to seamlessly transfer images to a smartphone.
Lumix G7 Battery Performance
Panasonic Lumix G7 draws its power from a rechargeable 7.2 V, 1,200 mAh lithium-ion battery pack. The package offers a single battery and a dedicated battery charger. Based on CIPA standards, the battery can last for 360 shots per charge while using LCD monitor or EVF. This is pretty average for a mirrorless camera and is not at par with a typical DSLRs. Make sure you carry a second battery if you are planning a weekend trip with Lumix G7.
Panasonic Lumix G7 is a one-of-its kind compact mirrorless camera that beautifully mimics a full-fledged mid-range DSLR. The camera brings 4K video recording, plenty of controls and switches, interchangeable lens support and a crisp fully articulated touch screen in a compact easy to carry body. The seamless Wi-Fi connectivity and MIC support also comes very handy in day-to-day routines.
These features make Lumix G7 an amazing overall package for aspiring photographers and content creators who have a tight budget and yet don't want to compromise on quality and features. Moreover, I also believe that Lumix G7 can also be a very capable secondary device for professionals who don't want to carry their bulky DSLR every time they are traveling for work or leisure.