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Body Elements

Physically, the LX7 is extremely similar to its predecessor the LX5. It's a not-quite-pocketable camera but the handgrip is pleasantly more substantial than that of its predecessor. The LX7's tiny lens cap comes with a retaining strap, though actually attaching it requires incredible dexterity.
The blockbuster feature on the LX7 is undoubtedly its super-fast lens. This F1.4-2.3, 3.8X optical zoom Leica lens is the fastest that you'll find in a compact camera, narrowly edging out Samsung's new EX2F.
Just above the hot shoe and stereo mic is the aspect ratio switch. The LX7 is quite unique in that the diagonal angle of view remains the same regardless of the aspect ratio (except 1:1 mode, which is a crop of 4:3). Above that switch is the LX7's new aperture ring. This ring electronically sets the aperture from F1.4 to F8, though it's only usable in A and M modes.
A clearer view of the aspect ratio slider control, and you can also see the two mic ports for stereo sound during video recording.
On this side of the LX7 you can see the focus mode selection switch. The AF and AF macro modes are similar, with the latter focusing at shorter distances. In manual focus mode you use the new ND filter/focus dial to set the focus distance. A portion of the frame is enlarged, and the camera displays a distance guide on the LCD.
On the top right of the LX7 you'll find the exposure mode dial, next to which is the shutter release button and zoom rocker. The zoom moves slowly from wide-angle to telephoto in about 2.8 seconds. I counted eighteen steps in the LX7's 3.8X zoom range. The last two things to see on the top of the camera include the dedicated movie recording button and the power switch.
At the upper-right of the photo is the LX7's control dial. While it can be used for menu navigation and reviewing photos, its main job is adjusting exposure (compensation, shutter speed, aperture). For some reason the dial seems really 'sticky', and doesn't turn smoothly.
To the upper-right of the lens is the LX7's pop-up flash, which is released manually. The working range of the flash is 0.8 - 8.5 m at wide-angle and 0.3 - 5.2 m at telephoto - both of which are good numbers. If you want even more flash power, as well as a lower likelihood of redeye, you can attach an external flash to the hot shoe.
On top of the LX7 is the hot shoe (with the stereo mic above it), which works with the three Panasonic flashes I mentioned in the accessory section, and their slightly cheaper Olympus equivalents.
If you want to use a viewfinder, you have your choice of optical or electronic models to choose from. Both are mounted to the hot shoe, with the EVF also being plugged in to the accessory port just above the LCD.
Moving right from the accessory port is the new ND filter / focus switch. Pressing the switch inward turns on the neutral density filter, which reduces the amount of light coming through the lens. This will let you use slower shutter speeds or wider apertures than you could otherwise. If you're manually focusing, you can use the switch to set the focus distance.
To the upper left of the lens is the LX7's AF-assist lamp. In addition to helping the camera focus in low light situations, this lamp also flashes while the self-timer is counting down.
On the right side of the camera we have the LX7's I/O ports, which are kept under a plastic door. They include Mini HDMI on the top, and USB + A/V output on the bottom.

On the bottom of the LX7 you'll find a metal tripod mount and the battery/memory card compartment. The door over this compartment is quite flimsy, which is disappointing to find on Panasonic's flagship compact camera.

The included DMW-BJC13 li-ion battery can be seen at left.

Thankfully the tripod mount is far away enough that you can access the memory card or battery while the camera is on a tripod. The mount is also not centered on the lens.
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Comments

Total comments: 8
wgerhartz
By wgerhartz (1 week ago)

The LX7 offers a lot of camera for its money! I liked it from the very beginning.

However, my comment emphasizes its robustness. I was careless enough to let it drop from about 7 m unto a stone floor. It survived! It fell on the left upper edge (where the flash pops out).There is a dent, and the cover warps out by less than a mm. The flash needs fingernail assistance to pop out. Apart from that, there is not the slightest flaw in the optical quality of the photographs. I am amazed!

0 upvotes
disraeli demon
By disraeli demon (7 months ago)

Just upgraded to this from an LX3 and I'm loving it. Snappier all round, better noise control, faster burst rate and the combination of step zoom plus lens resume (resets the lens to the focal length it was at when the camera powered down) means I'm shooting much more in the middle of the range instead of slamming from full wide to full tele all the time.

(Plus, high-speed video at 720p!!!)

I did quite a bit of research before this upgrade, and while I was tempted by the rangefinder-style layout of the Fuji X20 (but too big for my taste and limited video) and the flip-out touch-screen of the Olympus XZ-2 (but there are stories of focussing issues and it lacks that high-speed video option) in the end, this was the one for me.

0 upvotes
RP McMurphy
By RP McMurphy (7 months ago)

The door on my LX3 is long snapped off
v annoying

0 upvotes
Ikay
By Ikay (8 months ago)

Dear Jeff Keller,
I really enjoy reading your reviews. BUT why do you keep harping on the allegedly 'flimsy' door of the battery/card compartment? I've been with the LX series since the LX3 and this door is totally adequate. Ok,when it's open it wobbles a bit,but it's normally closed and then it's perfectly ok.
Just treat it as you would treat the rest of the camera.
Of course,if you let your 5-year-old 'use' it,it will soon become flimsy...

1 upvote
Death89
By Death89 (3 weeks ago)

I have to agree on this point. I've never had any issues with the door on my Panasonic cameras.

I guess it could be down to the fact I'm pretty regimented in how I change batteries/cards (I open the door, pop out the battery/card and close it again - makes sense to me not to leave a door open no matter how solidly built it is) but really as long as you don't travel round with it open I can't see how it could be a problem

0 upvotes
Joseph Broz
By Joseph Broz (11 months ago)

The photo software that ships with the Lumix LX7 will not work with Windows 8. Does anyone know when Panasonic will fix this?

0 upvotes
Midwest
By Midwest (2 months ago)

Unfortunately, Panasonic cannot fix the nightmare that is Windows 8.

2 upvotes
Victor Stan
By Victor Stan (1 month ago)

Windows 7 works good, why do people rush so early to new OS? It's common sense that it takes a minimum of 6 months for any OS to be polished. Well in the case of Microsoft it takes forever since they only make a new OS because they aren't able to fix their current one. But always wait at least half a year to jump the bandwagon man!

1 upvote
Total comments: 8