Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Review

September 3, 2013 | Mark Goldstein | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 8Mb.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 produced images of outstanding quality during the review period. It produces noise-free images at ISO 100 to 1600, with limited noise starting to appear at ISO 3200. ISO 6400 exhibits quite visible noise and loss of fine detail, and the fastest settings of ISO 12800 and 25600 are even noisier but still usable for small prints and web use.

The images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpening level and ideally require further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting if you don't like the default results. The large number of Creative Controls and Photo Styles allow you to quickly and easily customise the look of the camera's JPEG images. The pop-up flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure.

The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 60 seconds allowing you to capture plenty of light. We struggled to see any differences between the Intelligent Resolution settings, but Intelligent D-range is an effective feature for capturing more detail in the shadows and highlights, as is the new HDR mode. The clever Panorama mode allows you to take panoramic images very easily by 'sweeping' with the camera, with the ability to apply one of 15 different creative filters.

Noise

There are 9 ISO settings available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with JPEG on the left and RAW on the right:

JPEG

RAW

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

iso125.jpg iso125raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg
   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg
   

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg

File Quality

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 has 2 different JPEG image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

Fine (7.17Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (3.24Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg
   

RAW (19.35Mb) (100% Crop)

 
quality_raw.jpg  

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting, and benefit from further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level by tweaking the Film Mode, with five different settings available.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced Flash On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction and Forced Flash Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off (28mm)

Flash On (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off (84mm)

Flash On (84mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On setting or the Red-Eye Reduction option caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Night

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 maximum shutter speed is 60 seconds and there's also a Bulb option for exposures up to 4 minutes long, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 125. The camera takes the same amount of time again to apply noise reduction, so for example at the 15 second setting the actual exposure takes 30 seconds.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Image Stabilisation

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7's 14-42mm kit lens has a built-in shake reduction mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, we took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length Image Stabilisation Off (100% Crop) Image Stabilisation On (100% Crop)
1/15 sec / 28mm antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg
     
1/8 sec / 84mm antishake2.jpg antishake2a.jpg

Intelligent Resolution

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7's Intelligent Resolution feature identifies outlines, texture areas and soft gradation areas of the image and then automatically optimizes the edges and detailed texture areas while using noise reduction to make the soft gradation areas smoother. There are three available strengths - low, standard and high.

Off

Low

intelligent_resolution_01.jpg intelligent_resolution_02.jpg
   

Standard

High

intelligent_resolution_03.jpg intelligent_resolution_04.jpg
   
Extended  
intelligent_resolution_05.jpg  

Intelligent Dynamic

The Panasonic Lumix GF6's Intelligent Dynamic mode adjusts the exposure setting to record more detail in the highlights and shadows, with three strengths available - low, standard and high.

Off

Low

intelligent_drange_01.jpg intelligent_drange_02.jpg
   

Standard

High

intelligent_drange_03.jpg intelligent_drange_04.jpg

HDR

In the HDR mode the Panasonic Lumix GX7 combines 3 frames taken at different exposures to create a single image with increased dynamic range.

Off

+1EV

hdr_01.jpg hdr_02.jpg
   

+2EV

+3EV

hdr_03.jpg hdr_04.jpg

Photo Styles

Panasonic's Photo Styles, similar to Nikon's Picture Styles, Canon's Picture Controls and Olympus' Picture Modes, are preset combinations of different sharpness, contrast, saturation and noise reduction settings. The six available Photo Styles are shown below in the following series, which demonstrates the differences. There is also a Custom option so that you can create your own look.

Standard

Vivid

photo_style_01.jpg photo_style_02.jpg
   

Natural

Monochrome

photo_style_03.jpg photo_style_04.jpg
   

Scenery

Portrait

photo_style_05.jpg photo_style_06.jpg

Creative Controls

The Panasonic Lumix GX7 has an extensive range of Creative Controls, denoted by an artist's palette on the shooting mode dial, with 22 different options on offer.

Expressive

Retro

creative_control_01.jpg creative_control_02.jpg
   

Old Days

High Key

creative_control_03.jpg creative_control_04.jpg
   

Low Key

Sepia

creative_control_05.jpg creative_control_06.jpg
   

Monochrome

Dynamic Monochrome

creative_control_07.jpg creative_control_08.jpg
   

Rough Monochrome

Silky Monochrome

creative_control_09.jpg creative_control_10.jpg
   

Impressive Art

High Dynamic

creative_control_11.jpg creative_control_12.jpg
   

Cross Process

Toy Effect

creative_control_13.jpg creative_control_14.jpg
   

Toy Pop

Bleach Bypass

creative_control_15.jpg creative_control_16.jpg
   

Miniature Effect

Soft Focus

creative_control_17.jpg creative_control_18.jpg
   

Fantasy

Star Filter

creative_control_19.jpg creative_control_20.jpg
   

One Point Color

Sunshine

creative_control_21.jpg creative_control_22.jpg

Panoramas

The Panasonic Lumix GX7 allows you to take panoramic images very easily by 'sweeping' with the camera. The camera does all the processing and stitching. In addition 15 of the Creative Filter effects can also be applied to panorama shots in the Creative Panorama mode.

Panorama
panorama1.jpg
 
Panorama with the Dynamic Monochrome Filter
panorama2.jpg