Panasonic LX7 Setup Guide
mpgxsvcd | Product Reviews & Previews | Published Jan 3, 2013
The Panasonic LX7 is one of the greatest compact cameras ever created and yet it has been on sale for as little as $270 lately. This video will attempt to show you how to set it up to get the most out of it.
For starters you should never ever use the intelligent auto mode. I know that everyone’s first instinct is to use this mode. However, the settings it will use are completely inappropriate for indoor shooting. The shutter speed will never be set fast enough to prevent subject motion blur.
In Auto mode you will be wanting to use the flash way too often and the real point of this camera is so that you won’t have to use the flash in low light situations.
Instead you need to setup the C1 custom mode to use Program Priority with a few adjustments to the settings.
First turn the camera dial to the “P” or Program Priority mode setting. Then click the Quick Menu button and that will enable you to select the color mode you like the best. This is really just a matter of opinion. I typically use standard color mode.
Then you can set what mode the camera uses for the flash, movie settings, still Resolution, JPG or RAW, Auto Focus, and Burst speed. I typically use the Auto Flash mode with Red Eye reduction.
I use the 1080p @ 30 FPS FHD MP4 mode for video. There is a 1080p @ 60 FPS AVC-HD movie mode that offers slightly better motion in video. However, the video files are not easy to find in that mode so I usually recommend using the FHD MP4 mode.
If you are looking for the best video quality and you are willing to look for the video files on the memory card use the PSH AVCHD mode.
You can either shoot in RAW or JPG mode. If you never plan on editing the files and you just want to upload them to the web then shoot jpg only.
I like to use the face detection auto focus mode. I would either set the burst rate to 5 frames per second with Auto Focus enabled or use the 11 frame per second mode if there is very fast motion.
Next click the center menu button. Here you can adjust a few settings that you could adjust in the quick menu and a few others that you can’t adjust anywhere else. For instance you can only dial down the noise reduction to -1 in this menu.
You can also set the Auto ISO upper limit to ISO 3200 instead of Auto. This is essential for making sure the camera selects a fast enough shutter speed to stop subject motion blur from happening when using the Auto ISO option.
You can also turn the extended ISO on here which is a nice option to have when you are in extremely low light situations.
The hardest setting to understand in the entire menu is the Program Diagram setting. Basically it controls how the ND filter is used.
If you want to manually control when the ND filter is used then select the standard option here, If you want the camera to use the widest aperture possible when using the ND filter select MAX, and if you want the camera to select the best aperture for sharpness while the ND filter is in use then select MTF.
I almost always select the MTF option here because I want the camera to decide when to use the ND filter and I want those pictures to be as sharp as possible. If you have no idea what an ND filter does then just select MTF and be happy that you can buy a camera for $270 that has one built in.
I usually turn I.Dynamic to high. You will rarely see the effects from it. However, it can be affective in certain very bright situations that also have a lot of shadow detail.
The Min Shutter Speed setting is the single most important setting in the entire camera. It allows you to set a minimum shutter speed when using the Auto ISO modes. I typically select 1/60th of a second or even 1/120th or 1/250th of a second here if there is significant subject motion. Never select the Auto mode here. It will always select too slow of a shutter speed if you select Auto.
Panasonic’s $1300 GH3 doesn’t even have this option and it is a real shame. Hopefully, they will be able to add this to the GH3 in a firmware update.
Set the Intelligent resolution to low and the intelligent zoom to on. Enabling the I.zoom features allows the camera to go out to a 7.5x zoom instead of just 3.8x. Please note this is not the same as a digital zoom. This mode uses interpolation to give the camera twice the zoom range. It is actually quite useful in my opinion.
If you turn the step zoom on then it will make the zoom non continuous. I don’t really like this option so I turn it off.
Don’t turn the optical viewfinder option on. It will black out the LCD if you do. You still can hit the menu button and turn it back off. It just isn’t a useful option unless you have purchased the optional viewfinder.
There is also a “function button set” option in the tools menu that will allow you to setup the quick FN button to control the color mode. If you shoot jpg images and like to change the color modes often then you should make this change. If not then you should select any of the other options.
The LX7 is superb at shooting macro or extremely close-up shots. There is a switch on the left hand side of the lens on the front of the camera. Set this switch to the picture of the flower if you want to take extremely close-up images.
I would turn the LCD mode off. If you select any of the Auto modes it will continuously change the LCD brightness and it is very distracting,
If you ever use manual focus with the LX7 then you should definitely turn on the Manual Focus assist. It gives you a nice chart to help you determine whether to focus in or out.
Once you have selected all of those options you can save the settings under the C1 option. Then just select the C1 setting on the dial and you will always have the best settings. If you accidentally change a setting you can always click the dial away from C1 and then back to C1 and it will revert to your saved settings.
The only real issue I had with the camera was the lens cap that it came with. I kept forgetting to take it off and it displays a warning message that prevents you from doing anything with the camera until you take the lens cap off.
Therefore, I bought this $15 Auto lens cap off of amazon. It automatically opens and closes when the camera is turned on and off. It is a little tricky to get it on the camera. You have to turn the outer ring around the lens counter clockwise.
It takes a little bit of force to get it off. However, the new lens cap goes on easily and it is a whole lot better to use. Here is a link to buy this lens cap on Amazon.