The LX7's movie mode has been enhanced quite a bit compared to the LX5. Forget 720p - the LX7 can record Full HD video at 1080/60p with stereo sound, using the AVCHD Progressive codec. The bit rate is a whopping 28 MBps at this setting, so you'll want a large (not to mention fast) memory card if you're using this mode. If you want interlaced video for some reason, then a 1080/60i option is at your disposal. For both of these modes, you can keep recording for up to 30 minutes. You can also step down to the 720/60p resolution, which has unlimited recording times (outside of Europe).
If you want to avoid AVCHD entirely - which you might, since it's difficult to edit and share - then you can also use MPEG-4 (a step up from Motion JPEG used on the LX5). You can record video at 1920x1080, 1280x720, and 640 x 480, all at 30 progressive frames/second. MPEG-4 video is much easier to work with on your computer, though note that recording stops when the file size reaches 4GB, which takes about 24 minutes at the 1080/30p setting.
As you'd expect, you can use the LX7's optical zoom while recording a movie, with continuous autofocus support. The image stabilizer is available, as well, though the LX7 does not have the 'active' mode of some of Panasonic's other cameras (though it doesn't really need it). Movie recording can be a totally point-and-shoot experience (just hit the red button in any mode), or you can adjust the exposure manually. To do the latter, just put the camera into Creative Video mode, where you can adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. A wind cut filter is available for shooting outdoors.
The LX7 also supports high speed 720p video recording at 120 frames/second. When played back at normal speed, everything appears to be moving in slow motion.
Still photos can be taken while recording a movie, though the resolution will be limited to 3.5 Megapixels.
Below is a sample video that I recorded at the 1080/60p setting. I converted the video from AVCHD using Final Cut Pro X. If you'd like to view or convert the original MTS file, you can download it using the link below.
|Download original AVCHD file (43.1 MB, 1920 x 1080, 60 fps, MTS format)|
The main problem with this video is the sound - as you can hear, the LX7's tiny inbuilt microphone is really struggling with the wind noise in this breezy environment. On the plus side, detail capture is high and footage is smooth and stable, even when the lens is zoomed all the way in.
|Download original AVCHD file (44.5 MB, 1920 x 1080, 60 fps, MTS format)|