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Just Posted: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 review

By dpreview staff on Oct 15, 2012 at 22:08 GMT

Just Posted: Our Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 review. The latest of our collaborative reviews with Jeff Keller of The Digital Camera Resource Page is of Panasonic's enthusiast compact. The LX7 retains the bright lens and small body that have become the hallmarks of the series but adds more direct control than its forebears, including a dedicated aperture ring. Underpinning it all is a new 10MP CMOS sensor - moving on from the CCDs used in the LX5 and 3. Do all these changes help restore the Lumix to the top of the enthusiast compact pile? Read our review to find out.

Comments

Total comments: 187
12
jack24
By jack24 (Oct 16, 2012)

finally the review is here 3 months after it was launched!! wooo!

6 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Oct 16, 2012)

I knew there was something about the huge glass from the pic above. From the comparison tool, the lens has improved on the corners which now as good as from the Olympus XZ-1. The RX100 has a small lens with big sensor, corners are not as good from these two. The review lacked testing wide apertures. I wanted to see how it performs.

I feel Pana and Oly are holding back their products in which I think we could probably see one inch sensors using the same optics in the future. I rather less max aperture with a larger sensor.

0 upvotes
RogerCooke
By RogerCooke (Oct 16, 2012)

should mention that the LX7 currently goes for $449. I played with the RX100 in the store, and it felt ... flakey. I bought the LX7 and am very satisfied. The review gets it right.

7 upvotes
Stephen_C
By Stephen_C (Oct 16, 2012)

Before the RX100 this would have been a great camera.

14 upvotes
ptox
By ptox (Oct 16, 2012)

Assuming you actually like the act of taking photos, it still is--the RX100 gives you slightly better low-light IQ, less flexibility, and much worse handling.

5 upvotes
Stephen_C
By Stephen_C (Oct 16, 2012)

My RX100 handles just fine. I really like the bounce flash on such a small camera.

6 upvotes
Ryan_Valiente
By Ryan_Valiente (Oct 16, 2012)

Only advantage of the LX7 is the price man.

9 upvotes
ptox
By ptox (Oct 16, 2012)

I don't know. I see more pixels in the RX100 shots, but I don't see more detail. Particularly at the edges of the frame. Of course, above ISO400 the RX100 advantage becomes more dramatic... but then again, you can use a much lower ISO at the telephoto end of the LX7.

Those claiming the RX100 is the be-all-end-all seem to have a pretty shallow appreciation of lens qualities, hard control points, and user interface design.

And, Stephen_C, "just fine" doesn't really compare with "brilliant".

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
zapatista
By zapatista (Oct 16, 2012)

Well, I've used the LX5 & 7, own a G3 & RX100...the LX7 does not have a flawless interface. I also have a Pentax Q (almost same size sensor) and the RX100's IQ is better than the LX5/7 and Pentax Q, not even close.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
thejohnnerparty
By thejohnnerparty (Oct 16, 2012)

Thanks for the input - clear and concise. I've been waiting for this review and I have to say that I am a little disappointed - maybe expectations got too high, but I was a little disappointed with the samples. ... I looked at the RX100, but was a little put off by the aperture at the long end. Maybe I'll go back and take another look.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
logbi77
By logbi77 (Oct 16, 2012)

I think the LX7 has a 24mm lens and a multi-aspect ratio as an advantage compared to the RX100.

Both are pretty good so it is just a matter of preference IMO.

0 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Oct 16, 2012)

@Stephen_C: It still is a great camera (if you like its colors).

The Leica lens is far better than that of RX100.
RX100 has other strengths and a totally different concept. You need to find out which one is better for your purpose.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
ch01
By ch01 (Oct 16, 2012)

For compacts, lens is at least as important as sensor, I wouldn't simply dismiss lx7 based on sensor size alone, even compared with rx100

1 upvote
Simon97
By Simon97 (Oct 16, 2012)

Very good camera. Jpeg output with some bite, good fast lens and good video.

The only annoyances for me is the typical dynamically compressed audio and the price. You can get into cameras with larger sensors for the same to a little more money.

0 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (Oct 16, 2012)

Something about Jeff's reviews, almost like they are written by computer software. They have this "checklist" quality about them.

Being objective is admirable, but dpreviews typically had, in addition to that, a sense that the reviewer is also a photographer who is passionate about cameras.

I'm not calling his credentials into doubt, I'm just saying that his reviews don't communicate his enthusiasm to me, and they make very dry (dare I say boring) reading as a consequence.

7 upvotes
Combatmedic870
By Combatmedic870 (Oct 16, 2012)

he might not like point and shoots ;)

1 upvote
h2k
By h2k (Oct 16, 2012)

On the conclusion page, we learn that he had a love of gadgetry first and out of that resulted a passion for photography.

Quote:
"Jeff's love of gadgetry introduced him to digital cameras in the mid-90's, from which his passion for photography developed."

1 upvote
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (Oct 16, 2012)

I disagree his reviews are dry. In fact, they express rather more opinion than most (‘I don't know why you'd need this,’ ‘the manuals aren't what I'd call user friendly,’ ‘usual flimsy door over the battery,’ ‘feels cheap,’ etc.).

They do occasionally have a checklist quality, which leads to odd conclusions like blaming Panasonic for not making the aperture ring do other things. It takes critical thinking and sometimes a bit of imagination to understand that less is often more, and that kind of thinking is hard to spot in this review.

On the other hand, any checklist-orientated reviewer should comment on the crazy weight increase in the LX-series, viz:

LX2: 187 g / 217 g (without / with battery and memory card)
LX3: 229 g / 265 g
LX5: 233 g / 271 g
LX7: 269 g / 298 g

But Jeff didn’t. So there’s that!

2 upvotes
louroll
By louroll (Oct 16, 2012)

Re the comment on the weight, it should be noted that, after the Sony RX100, the Panasonic LX7 appears to be the lighest of its class of the recently released enthusiast compacts,, i.e versus the Canon G15, the Fuji X10, the Nikon 7700, and the Olympus XZ-2.

Comment edited 35 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (Oct 16, 2012)

Nice review, a nice camera indeed. I'm waiting for Nikon P7700 and Olympus XZ-2 review to help me make a buying decision.

3 upvotes
Combatmedic870
By Combatmedic870 (Oct 16, 2012)

Well if you want a 24mm lens....that should help you narrow it down....the LX7 or the EX2.... If 28mm is wide enough.....hmmm Having the p7700 on your list is...weird...its a totally different beast.

Also may want to add the G15 on you list.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (Oct 16, 2012)

Thank you. Anyway, I'm watching several compact top cameras, in order to decide which option is best for my wife, but I'll also use with some frequency. I'm getting interest in the RX100. I like the Canon GX1 or maybe G15, but Canon is a brick for my needs.Nikon would be the icing on the cake, because I already have a Nikon speedlight to use. Of course I prefer 24mm, but 28mm is also not a deterrent in choosing. Decisions still keeps open until Christmas time.

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Oct 16, 2012)

I am curious to see the LX7 side by side to any of the NEX with the new collapsible lens. Could this be arranged ?

Comment edited 10 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Mike Sandman
By Mike Sandman (Oct 16, 2012)

A quibble: It would have been nice to have the usual discussion in the conclusion section about how this camera stacks up against its direct competitors, and perhaps how this class of camera fares vs. the Sony DSC-RX100 (OK, a more expensive small camera but with a far larger sensor). Instead we get links to other reviews, which is OK, but... that's not a replacement for a more robust comparison.

9 upvotes
pcworth
By pcworth (Oct 16, 2012)

Agreed! I realize these two cameras are in different sensor categories, but they are the two cameras I am considering for purchase, along with the Olympus. So, it would be great if we were given the option to compare them in the comparison part of the conclusion.

1 upvote
Vernatropius
By Vernatropius (Oct 16, 2012)

How does the flash of LX7 compared to XZ-1? I really love the XZ-1 fill in flash even with closeups not to mention the different power outputs. My XZ-1 died recently, its only 6 months(shame olympus, crap motherboard).

Anyway, I do always use flash at night and dim light situations. I am bit worried to upgrade to LX7 with such a ridiculous low score on flash department.

0 upvotes
Combatmedic870
By Combatmedic870 (Oct 16, 2012)

1 year warranty?

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Oct 15, 2012)

Not sure about others, but I would be quite happy if you included some RAW file samples with review..

You know, basic sample of landscape, portrait, macro..

Not just with point-n-shoot reviews but with every camera. One of your competition does that (unfortunately they are not exactly best photographers..) and I like them for that.

But, just idea. Otherwise decent review and more or less what I expected.

2 upvotes
Raw Images Raw Talk
By Raw Images Raw Talk (Oct 15, 2012)

LX7 is a nifty little camera that would have caused quite a stir before m43, the 1 inch sensor and G1X cameras. Let's not forget the iPhone and smartphones.
A great price would keep this kind of advanced camera around. $359 would work.
After all, there will always be the aforementioned camera models being sold off as new models come in, like the GX1 at $469 right now.

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
1 upvote
guest2007
By guest2007 (Oct 16, 2012)

$359.99

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Oct 16, 2012)

Raw Images Raw Talk--

But the iPhone doesn't shoot raw. The Sony RX100 won't take an external flash, or let one mount a filter. The LX7 does both. The the m43 cameras are bigger, as is the Nikon 1 series.

With a screen name like yours, you should know not to bring up smartphones (including the Nokia 808) when commenting on a camera that can shoot raw. And the purple hazed iPhone 5 camera is basically a disaster. Yes, I tried it new iPhone's camera.

2 upvotes
zapatista
By zapatista (Oct 16, 2012)

I use a 42mm Circular Polarizer with my RX100 and it works just fine.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Oct 16, 2012)

zapatista:

Right, and to mount that filter you'd have to have glued an aftermarket filter mount to the face of the lens enclosure.
So no the RX100 does not take filters. That you can use double sided tape is a different story.

1 upvote
utomo99
By utomo99 (Oct 15, 2012)

If Panasonic fixed the cons, and give better flash. by releasing new updated version say it LX7a they can get Gold award.
and it will sell easier and more will buy it.
for a moment maybe they better to release new firmware to fix some problems which can be fixed by firmware

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Oct 16, 2012)

Which problems? The LX5 has a perfectly okay flash for a small camera. And both the LX5 and the LX7 take external flashes. And shooting raw, one can work above ISO 1000 with the LX7. That's better than the Samsung EX2 raws that I've seen and extracted.

0 upvotes
OneGuy
By OneGuy (Oct 16, 2012)

Newer sensors (<5 yrs) are very good at low light, including color rendering. Some models exclude the built-in flash altogether (Oly Pens, Sony Nex') just for that reason. Some people (initially I was in this category) reject models w/o built-in flash but even a "wimpy" flash goes a long way nowadays. I would not be surprised to see LED flash lights coming in -- particularly if these can be arranged in an array for more even illumination.

0 upvotes
l_d_allan
By l_d_allan (Oct 15, 2012)

I find the section on "Timing" and "How It Compares" to be ambiguous. Does "Above Average" mean it is better than the competition (faster) or that the LX7 takes an Above Average amount of time (slower) than its competition?

0 upvotes
jeff@dcresource
By jeff@dcresource (Oct 16, 2012)

Above average = faster than the competition.

Jeff

0 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (Oct 16, 2012)

But what are the available categories?

‘Above average’ might mean barely better than average or record-breaking. It’s fine if it can mean both, but it would help to know that.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Oct 15, 2012)

Just out of curiousity, why are the plastic parts on the LX7 an issue but not on the RX100? If the LX7 is anything like the LX5 I had, it's all metal, top, bottom and lens barrel, and there's no play in the lens when it's extended.

0 upvotes
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Oct 16, 2012)

Jeff Keller almost always comments on battery and connector door covers. He thinks they usually are flimsy and he mentions that problem in almost every review. The RX100 review was written by the DPR staff, who don't seem to share his particular concern.

Jeff is a good reviewer, but has a review style he developed for his own site that doesn't match the standard DPR review. I'm glad they're using him, as he is knowledgeable about compact cameras and his work lets them publish more reviews, but I do think they need to work on making his reviews match other DPR reviews. It would take more work for either Jeff or someone at DPR, and cost a little more, but would make it easier for readers to compare cameras.

3 upvotes
Sosua
By Sosua (Oct 15, 2012)

Pretty darn impressive for a small sensor compact - would like to see raw output as those jpegs are getting some pretty fine detail for the pixel pitch.

I can't help but feel this is a year or two late however with the rise of alternatives.

1 upvote
Tom_A
By Tom_A (Oct 15, 2012)

From reading the summary, I have the impression that subjectively, the camera scores higher than 75% .
It looks like an interesting premium compact camera. I still love my LX5 and will skip this upgrade, yet it is an obvious recommendation for many people !
Operationally, I find it nicer to use than the famous RX100. I examined both at a shop and the usability of the LX7 was higher.

5 upvotes
SDPharm
By SDPharm (Oct 15, 2012)

> I have the impression that subjectively, the camera scores higher than 75% <

I'm with you. Looking at the scores, Jeff really hammered the LX7 on flash performance. So if flash is not your thing, I suspect the LX7 would be a very nice camera to use.

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 15, 2012)

Flash makes a difference, also little annoyances like the very slow zoom, and non-customizable aperture ring. But 75% is actually a very good score.

1 upvote
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Oct 16, 2012)

For the target audience, flash really does matter. Most of these are not going to be sold to serious enthusiasts, but rather to p+s users and phone shooters who want better IQ, more versatile video, fancier modes, etc. They'll still end up working indoors in poor light regularly, shooting social events and casual portraits. An adequate flash may give washed out images, but that's what's expected and how else are you going to get pictures of toddlers at play in the basement? No, a tripod is no answer.

0 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (Oct 16, 2012)

The very slow zoom that reviewers complain about is a huge advantage in my books, which just goes to show you how subjective these things are.

The slow zooming operation allows precise framing, something all but impossible with most power zooms because they move too fast.

Since the LX7 is ostensibly aimed at enthusiasts (though the signals are mixed on that), I think the slow zoom operation is just fine.

2 upvotes
Andreas Stuebs
By Andreas Stuebs (Oct 16, 2012)

The slow zoom would be an issue for me, but not the flash. So it is good to know where the "downgrade" came from.
I am still extremely happy with my LX3 and it looks like I am going to give this a miss - but if my LX3 would go base-over-apex on me I would definitely give this camera a better look. I find the aperture ring a Good Idea (capitals intended) and whether the zoom speed would annoy me, I would have to try out in a store.

1 upvote
StevenE
By StevenE (Oct 15, 2012)

how does it compare to the samsung EX2F ?

2 upvotes
Combatmedic870
By Combatmedic870 (Oct 15, 2012)

We well soon see, IF Samsung sent them a model to review.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 15, 2012)

We have an EX2F, and hope to publish samples from that camera very soon.

9 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Oct 16, 2012)

StevenE:

PhotographBlog.com has EX2 samples, including raws and a video--which has a bit too much lag, perhaps because of a slow card.

Based on these PhotographBlog raws and some LX7 raws that I shot. The LX7 is better in low light, but I still haven't seen enough EX2 raws to be firm in that conclusion.

http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/samsung_ex2f_review/sample_images/

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Eelco van Vliet
By Eelco van Vliet (Oct 16, 2012)

I am still using the LX-3 and I love it to death. Using RAW you can still get amazing results from this camera. I use it on places where my 40D is too big, like during wintersports.

I have been waiting for this review, but now I can safely purchase the LX-7.

1 upvote
Combatmedic870
By Combatmedic870 (Oct 15, 2012)

Compare the LX7 vs the XZ-1.....The XZ-1 looks better in low iso and its almost draw in high iso(the XZ-1 has more color noise @ iso 800 and 1600, but retains more detail.)
The LX7 output is VERY much so like the XZ-1(except in the low iso's and colors.(the oly is more punchy and saturated)) That is NOT a bad thing at all. The XZ-1's raw output is very very good(a little noisy, but very sharp).

ISO1600 does seem to be more useable vs the XZ-1 though, due to the lack of color noise. The use of iso 1600 and 1.4 would be some pretty low light.

So you can now shoot 1080p video...but since they had to switch to cmos sensors vs CCD. There is more noise in the lower iso's...
Lens sharpness and speed is the only real gain(which is a REALLY good thing), unless your a video shooter

If you were just getting into buying a camera like this and wanted a wide angle shooter. This is going to be your best choice out of the bunch.

If my XZ-1 died, I would buy this. Very nice job Panny!

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
DStudio
By DStudio (Oct 15, 2012)

Today, if my XZ-1 died, I'd get the LX7 too. But when the XZ-2 comes out, I'm not so sure ... .

2 upvotes
Combatmedic870
By Combatmedic870 (Oct 16, 2012)

Yea.....but im kind of wanting a wider angle. :)
They didnt really add anything to the XZ-2 to make me want it.

0 upvotes
Str8shot
By Str8shot (Oct 16, 2012)

Funnily enough they added two things that fixed my only minor complaints about my XZ-1: they put a grip on the XZ-2 (XZ-1 was like a wet bar of soap and I dropped it onto a marble floor on several occasions) and put a tilt screen on it. Aside from those my XZ-1 has delivered images in all kinds of light that have stunned experienced users of DSLR's. I love it to bits.

1 upvote
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Oct 16, 2012)

@Combatmedic:
I mostly agree to your observations, but you need to be careful with the RAW samples on dpreview. They were made with different versions of ACR and use F-stops that may not present the optimum in sharpness for small sensors..

Yes, LX7 is a very complete offer. I had an LX-3 before my XZ-1 and liked it a lot except for color (esp. skin tones).
I am not sure that LX7 improved in this respect.

1 upvote
Combatmedic870
By Combatmedic870 (Oct 16, 2012)

@micheal.

Yea...but its all we got to compare. :)

Yes, we can only hope the improved the skin tones(that was my reason for not getting the LX5). If its using the same processor as the GX1, then the skin tones should be very very much so improved. Not up to olympus standards but much much better then what they were. .it looks like they did manage to atleast take care of the color blotchiness. :)

0 upvotes
kaxi85
By kaxi85 (Oct 15, 2012)

Oh, nice, a compact! And now - finally - the K-30? Maybe? Please,at least this year?

10 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 15, 2012)

Very very soon, sincere apologies for the delay. Very busy couple of months here.

6 upvotes
JustDavid
By JustDavid (Oct 16, 2012)

Any chance of a Q10 review? (when you managed to skip the Q...)
Thank you

2 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (Oct 17, 2012)

Panasonic GF5?

0 upvotes
KonstantinosK
By KonstantinosK (Oct 15, 2012)

Great to see a review of a camera after some time...

3 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (Oct 16, 2012)

you said it all

0 upvotes
ybizzle
By ybizzle (Oct 15, 2012)

Fuji X10 still beats it in terms of high ISO!

1 upvote
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Oct 15, 2012)

x10 does not have a f1.4 lens. LX7 might be able to shot at iso 800 or 1600 and X10 will be forced to go to 3200 or 6400.

4 upvotes
ybizzle
By ybizzle (Oct 15, 2012)

Sure it has a faster lens, but X10 has a sensor almost double the size of the LX7. Look at the high ISO samples, you will see that it is better in low light.

2 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Oct 15, 2012)

Because of the lens, when I compare the images I set the ISO one stop lower on the LX7 and it does look better (a lot less noise) Both of them are great cameras.

1 upvote
veroman
By veroman (Oct 15, 2012)

The X10 is significantly better in low light. Indeed, it's significantly better all around ... arguably the best compact ever.

2 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Oct 15, 2012)

Not sure, i might take the sony rx100 over it. LX7 look much sharper. X10 images looks to be more cooked than LX7. On amazon, lx7 is about $100 less than x10. Hard decision.

3 upvotes
ybizzle
By ybizzle (Oct 15, 2012)

Compare the LX7 at ISO 800 to the X10 at 1600 and you barely see an advantage. The LX7 has slightly less noise but not as significant as you would think given the f1.4 lens. Both great cameras as you stated and both have their own positives and negatives. :)

1 upvote
kongqueror
By kongqueror (Oct 15, 2012)

RX100 still beats the X10 in terms of high ISO!

1 upvote
ptox
By ptox (Oct 16, 2012)

Yeah, but the X10 renders a sludgy mess -- did you actually look at the RAW comparisons in the review? Even at ISO 100 there's far less detail in the X10 shots. So what's the point of high ISO?

1 upvote
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Oct 16, 2012)

ptox: You are mislead. The RAW converter cannot handle X10 files properly. So you should only compare JPGs.

dpreview explains this in a footnote.

0 upvotes
ptox
By ptox (Oct 16, 2012)

Michael... thanks for that clarification.

0 upvotes
joao salvador
By joao salvador (Oct 15, 2012)

Good review but bottom line is: if you have a Lx3 or Lx5 the upgrade is not worth it. For me, the lack of a wideangle converter as available to Lx3 or 5 makes the slight advantage in max. aperture and sharpness of the Lx7 irrelevant. And forgive me but the Rx-100 is on another level of quality.
Regards
Joao

1 upvote
claudemc
By claudemc (Oct 15, 2012)

I had LX5 and tried both for 2 weeks LX7 and RX100,
Rx100 is not so far from LX7, the only real difference is to be able to crop and shout in low light with better IQ, BUT only at wide angle (and only 28mm) because at telephoto in low light there is no more real difference; after 2 weeks I naturally took the RX100 when I went out, but it was for his size and IQ, LX7 have a lot to offer, responsive, ND filter, handling, macro...it's the best 1/1.7 I ever test.

0 upvotes
akula57
By akula57 (Oct 16, 2012)

My guess is the G15 will somehow satisfy beyond the sum of its parts. I want to see a review of that. And I want a viewfinder. Then I'll decide which is the best 1/1.7 for me.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
wazu
By wazu (Oct 16, 2012)

My conclusion also Joao,
If Panasonic had just managed to squeeze a larger CMOS sensor into this I might have upgrade from my CCD LX5. Other problem is that the LXs are so well built it is hard to justify a new camera when the old one just keeps on performing so well. Perhaps it's because it's manufactured in Japan. Oly and now the new batch of RX100s are being churned out in PRC.

1 upvote
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Oct 16, 2012)

Joao: "And forgive me but the Rx-100 is on another level of quality."

Only in some aspects. The total concept of LX7 is much more balanced.

1 upvote
Total comments: 187
12