Panasonic has just announced a new member of its mirrorless system with Micro Four Thirds mount. Despite what the model name may suggest, Lumix GX7 is a successor to the popular GX1 camera that came out back in 2011. This time around, though, GX line-up seems to have moved up half a segment. With all the new advanced features, it is now a direct rival to the Sony NEX-6, and possibly even more so to the Olympus OM-D E-M5, E-P5 and Fujifilm X-E1.
1) What’s New?
There is quite a lot of new features to mention when talking about GX7. Starting off with a 16 megapixel m4/3 size sensor, Panasonic claims it is a completely new unit never used in any other camera before. Until we have a chance to thoroughly test the camera, it is difficult to say how good it is. Given Panasonic’s extensive expertise it is probably safe to assume it will be similar to the Sony sensor used in its distant relative, the E-M5, which we found to be spectacular. Also, for the first time in a Panasonic compact system camera, the sensor is now wrapped-up in a sensor-shift based stabilization system. Olympus and Sony have been doing that for a while, while Panasonic preferred lens-based image stabilization. Perhaps such a move is a sign they’ve changed their minds and will now focus on sensor-shift stabilization instead? After all, the most notable advantage of a sensor-shift image stabilization is that it will work with all lenses, even old legacy manual focus optics. Click here to read more about the differences between lens- and sensor-based image stabilization.
Sensor is not everything in a camera, of course. The Panasonic GX7 has a lot more to offer. There’s built-in Wi-Fi connectivity (allows you to control the camera with your smartphone, too), a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 of a second and an ISO sensitivity range of 200-25600. You may think it’s rather optimistic for such a small sensor, but then cameras rarely give good results at the very top of their advertised sensitivity. Knock two or three stops off and that is where the biggest improvements should be spotted. Again, until we review the camera, it is hard to say for sure.
In order to beat stiff competition from the likes of Sony NEX and E-M5, Panasonic, being an electronics giant, decided to go for more technological flexibility. For example, in addition to a tiltable LCD touchscreen on the back of the camera, you also get a tiltable EVF. You can flip the 1024×768 pixel electronic finder up to 90 degrees. Correct me if I’m wrong, but no other current camera with built-in EVF can do that. Some will find this feature gimmicky, others will probably love it. The viewfinder has a low-ish eye relief at less than 2 centimeters, though. It’s not the best implementation for those who wear glasses.
The camera itself is a little bigger than its predecessor, yet still smaller than the competing Fujifilm X-E1 and Olympus OM-D E-M5 (due to the DSLR-ish EVF hump on the latter). By no means is it a big, cumbersome camera. Head on to Camerasize.com to compare it against its main rivals or click this direct link to see how it stacks up against the X-E1 in terms of dimensions. The seemingly tough build (it is made out of lightweight magnesium alloy) is complimented by a rather large hand grip that, somehow, does not ruin its compact dimensions and balanced appearance. In fact, in silver-black body, GX7 is actually a rather handsome looking camera. You may notice that, despite Panasonic’s lack of film camera heritage, its looks are on the retro side, if a bit less than those of Olympus and Fujifilm cameras. Maximum burst speed is 5 frames per second (4.3 with continuous AF) and 40 frames per second with electronic shutter. There are two control dials for quick adjustments. Focus peaking, 1080p60 video, pop-up flash, 1/320s sync speed and a line of usual effects and modes complete the package.
2) List of Key Specifications
Here is a list of Panasonic Lumix GX7 key specifications:
- New 16 megapixel m4/3 sensor
- ISO sensitivity range of 200-25600
- Shutter speed up to 1/8000s with 1/320s flash sync speed
- Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC connectivity
- Tiltable LCD touchscreen
- EVF with 1024×768 pixels that tilts up to 90 degrees upwards
- Pop-up flash
- Magnesium alloy body
- Weighs 402g (0.89 lb/14.18 oz) with battery
- Measures 123 x 71 x 55 mm (4.83 x 2.78 x 2.15″)
3) Official Press Release
Here is the official press release for the new camera:
Change your Perspective with the New LUMIX DMC-GX7 DSLM (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless)
A Premium Flat Body Camera with a Host of Creative Functions for Photo Enthusiasts and Artisans
NEWARK, NJ (August 1, 2013) – Panasonic is pleased to announce a new addition of LUMIX G Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) Camera, the DMC-GX7, featuring high photographic performance and a sleek design which incorporates a tiltable LVF (Live View Finder).
Dressed in magnesium alloy full diecast frame in black and silver the new LUMIX GX7 allows photographers to change their viewing perspective with a newly integrated 90-degree tiltable LVF. The new LVF features 2764K-dot high resolution and 100% color reproduction based on a Field Sequential Color Accuracy method**. This 16:9 Wide Screen LVF boasts approx.1.39x / 0.7x (35mm camera equiv.) magnification and 100% field of view. The tiltable LVF offers extraordinary angle of view with unique shooting style – looking down into the viewfinder to level the camera straight on the subject. It comes with an Eye Sensor that automatically turns ON/OFF according to the photographer’s action. The Eye Sensor AF (Auto Focus) automatically begins to focus when a user looks into the LVF, so no shooting opportunity is missed. An Eye Cup, DMW-EC1GU, made of elastic material is sold separately to enhance comfort in viewing either with the naked eye or glasses.
The LUMIX GX7 is a new breed of digital camera suitable for the Hybrid Photographer. It’s capable of recording full HD 1920 x 1080, 60p (60 Hz) / 50p (50 Hz) smooth, high quality video recording in AVCHD Progressive and MP4 with stereo sound. The practical full-time AF and tracking AF is also available in video recording mode. The cinema-like 24p video with the bit rate of max. 24Mbps or P/A/S/M mode provides richly expressive afterimage with exquisite image quality. The Digital Live MOS Sensor greatly improves motion picture quality.
The LUMIX GX7 incorporates Creative Panorama, Time Lapse Shot, Stop Motion Animation or Clear Retouch in addition to the popular Creative Control mode with a total of 22 fascinating filter effects
A new in-body Image Stabilizer is nearly as effective as the MEGA O.I.S. found in Panasonic’s conventional DSLM lenses, which makes it easier to take clear photos with mounted non-stabilized and classic lenses. The LUMIX GX7 is also compatible with Focus Peaking for more precise control of focusing. In Silent Mode, the camera switches the shutter from mechanical to electronic and turns all sound (AF operation) off while suppressing emission of AF assist lamp and flash with just a single setting for special shooting occasions. Furthermore, the LUMIX GX7 allows photographers to use a max. 1/8000 shutter speed for more impressive expression with high speed lens options.
Panasonic developed a new 16.00-megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor for LUMIX GX7 that achieves both high resolution and high sensitivity image recording with minimum noise by utilizing cutting-edge Semiconductor Fine Technology to improve color saturation by approx. 10% and a redesigned on-chip lens that enhances light condensation to achieve approx. 10% higher sensitivity. Noise generation is minimized in both pixel circuit and digital signal readout circuit for better S/N ratio by approx. 25% and detail reproduction by approx.10% compared to the LUMIX DMC-GX1, making it possible to capture clear images even in low lit situations. The image processor Venus Engine features advanced noise reduction systems, including Multi-process NR (Noise Reduction) and Detail Reproduction Filter Process, which enhances the limit resolution. The combination of the digital Live MOS Sensor and the Venus Engine achieves max. ISO 25,600.
The Contrast AF System of the LUMIX GX7 excels in both speed and accuracy by exchanging digital signals between the camera and the lens at max. 240 fps. A variety of extensive AF functions including Low Light AF (-4EV), Pin-point AF and One-shot AF enhances usability to comply with a wide-range of shooting situations. In Pinpoint AF, picture-in-picture display is available and the magnification ratio of in-frame picture is selectable from 3x to 6x. The One Shot AF function can be allocated to the AF/AE Lock Button (AF/MF Switch Lever) for more flexible control over focusing.
The LUMIX GX7 incorporates high speed response desired for the digital single lens mirrorless camera, taking only approx. 0.5 sec* to get ready to shoot after startup. The LUMIX GX7 also realizes the high speed burst shooting at 5 fps and max. 40 fps using an electronic shutter. Also, AF Tracking enables consecutive shooting to capture moving subject in sharp focus at 4.3 fps.
At the same time, Panasonic designed ease of operation into the LUMIX GX7. Two separate dials on front and back offer direct control over aperture, shutter speed or exposure, which achieves smooth manual shooting. The Live View function is also digitally advanced, making it possible to adjust highlight / shadow separately with the front/rear dial. Three patterns of settings can be customized in addition to three patterns of presets. In addition, the Fn (Function) tab is newly integrated into the menu, which means a total of nine functions can be assigned (five in tab and four with the button).
The LUMIX GX7 integrates Wi-Fi® connectivity (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n) with NFC (Near Field Communication) technology to offer a more flexible shooting experience and seamless instant image sharing. All of these flexible shooting, browsing, and sharing styles are made possible with the LUMIX GX7 and Panasonic’s dedicated application software and the Panasonic Image App for iOS / Android smartphones/tablets.
DMC-GX7KS (with lens) = http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/DMC-GX7KS
DMC-GX7SBODY (no lens) = http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/DMC-GX7SBODY
* With H-FS1442A, based on the CIPA standard.
**Based on Adobe RGB color space, Panasonic in-house comparison based on the CIE 1931 x, y color space.