Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Review

4.5
August 13, 2012 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4Mb.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 produced images of very good quality during the review period. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 dealt extremely well with chromatic aberrations, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The pop-up flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate exposure. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 60 seconds allowing you to capture plenty of light.

Anti-shake is a feature that sets this camera apart from its competitors and one that works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. Macro performance is amazing, allowing you to focus as close as 1 cm away from the subject (although it's difficult to get the lighting correct at such a close distance). The images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpening setting 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.

And then we come to the LX7's low light performance. Up to ISO 1600 images are clean and relatively noise free. Indeed we'd suggest that performance at ISO 1600 is the equivalent of ISO 800 on lesser compacts, including Lumix models lower down the manufacturer's own range. Stray above this and, perhaps inevitably, we start to run into problems, noise noticeably intruding at ISO 3200 and 6400 and, as mentioned in the main body of the review, resolution falling off at the fastest 12800 setting.

Noise

There are 9 ISO settings available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting for both JPEG and RAW file formats:

JPEG RAW

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

 
N/A

Focal Range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7's 3.8x zoom lens offers a fairly versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples.

24mm

90mm

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. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 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 (4.24Mb) (100% Crop)

Standard (2.43Mb) (100% Crop)

   

RAW (11.7Mb) (100% Crop)

 
 

Chromatic Aberrations

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review. There's very slight purple fringing between areas of high contrast, but it's only noticeable on really close inspection, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 offers a macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 1cm away from the camera when the lens is set to 24mm wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off, and Flash Synchro. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (90mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (90mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. Neither the Forced On or Auto/Red-eye Reduction options caused any amount of red-eye.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
   

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7's maximum shutter speed is 60 seconds in the Manual shooting mode and the Starry Sky Mode scene mode, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 200.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Image Stabilisation

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 has an antishake mechanism which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with the stabilizer turned off, the second with it turned on. As you can see, with image stabilisation turned on, the images are sharper than when it's turned off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Image Stabilisation Off (100% Crop)

Image Stabilisation On (100% Crop)

1/13th / 24mm
     
1/10th / 90mm

Intelligent Resolution

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7's Intelligent Resolution feature e makes a standard image look like a higher resolution one by processing the contour areas, texture areas and smooth areas individually, with three different strengths available.

Off

Low

   

Standard

High

Intelligent D-Range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7's Intelligent D-range setting adjusts the exposure setting to record more detail in the highlights and shadows, with three strengths available - low, standard and high.

Off

Low

   

Standard

High

Aspect Ratios

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 offers four different aspect ratios.

1:1

4:3

   

3:2

16:9

Multiple Exposure

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7's Multiple Exposure mode combines two or three different pictures to create one composite image.

Multiple Exposure

Photo Styles

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 has 6 preset Photo Styles, with Standard as the default setting. The contrast, sharpness, saturation and noise reduction can be individually set for each picture style, and there is also a Custom style so that you can create your own look.

Standard

Vivid

   

Natural

Monochrome

   

Scenery

Portrait

Creative Controls

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 has an extensive range of Creative Controls, denoted by an artist's palette on the shooting mode dial, with 16 different options on offer.

Expressive

Retro

   

High Key

Low Key

   

Sepia

Dynamic Monochrome

   

Impressive Art

High Dynamic

   

Cross Process

Toy Effect

   

Miniature Effect

Soft Focus

   

Star Filter

One Point Color

   

Smooth Defocus

Radial Defocus

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, compact, 1080p, wide-angle, hdmi, manual, RAW, lumix, 10 megapixel, prosumer, panasonic, professional, premium, 3.8x zoom, dmc-lx7, lx7, lx7 review, dmc lx7, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Review

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