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Features

Exposure Mode Dial Options

The LX7's exposure mode dial is set on top of the camera, and provides access to the various exposure modes, including the 'classic' PASM modes.

Option Function
Intelligent Auto mode Point-and-shoot with automatic scene selection, face detection, subject tracking, intelligent sharpening, dynamic range improvement, and more. Many menu items are locked up.
Program mode Still automatic, but with full menu access; a Program Shift option lets you use the rear dial to move through sets of aperture/shutter speed values.
Aperture Priority mode You set the aperture, and the camera picks the appropriate shutter speed. The aperture range on the LX7 is F1.4 - F8.0.
Shutter Priority mode You pick the shutter speed, and the camera selects the matching aperture. The shutter speed range is 250 - 1/4000 sec, with the really slow shutter speeds reserved for ISO 1600 and below.
Full manual (M) mode You select both the aperture and the shutter speed, with the same ranges as above.
Creative Video mode While you can take a movie in any shooting mode by using the dedicated button, in this mode you can adjust the aperture and/or shutter speed.
Custom mode 1/2 Stores a total of four sets of camera settings: one on C1, and three on C2.
Scene mode You pick the scene and the camera uses the appropriate settings. Choose from portrait, soft skin, landscape, panorama shot, sports, night portrait, night scenery, handheld night shot, HDR, food, baby, pet, sunset, glass through (reverse those words and you'll understand), and 3D still.
Creative Control mode Special effects, which can be applied to stills and videos, include expressive, retro, high key, sepia, dynamic monochrome, impressive art, high dynamic, cross process, toy effect, miniature effect, soft focus, star filter, one point (selective) color, radial defocus, and smooth defocus.

Here's what I think are the most interesting features on the mode dial:

  • Intelligent Auto mode: the best auto mode in the business in my opinion - it does everything for you, all with the push of a button; available options include automatic use of Motion Deblur, Handheld Night Shot, and HDR; there's also an iA+ mode which lets you use sliders to adjust brightness, background blur, and color tone (white balance)
In iA+ mode you can use sliders to adjust brightness, background blur, and color tone
  • Shutter speed range: while the LX7 lacks a bulb mode, you can set the shutter speed as slow as 250 seconds (over 4 mins)
  • Panorama Shot: 'sweep' the camera from side-to-side and the camera will automatically stitch things together into a panorama
  • Handheld night shot: the camera takes multiple exposures and combines them into what is hopefully a sharp image; don't expect miracles, though
  • HDR (high dynamic range): combines three photos, taken at different exposures, into a single image with improved contrast
  • Creative Control: choose from sixteen special effects, most of which can be fine-tuned to your liking; most of them can be used for videos, in addition to stills

Panorama Shot Mode

Above you can see a panorama that I created using the aptly named Panorama Shot feature. I swept the camera from left to right and think I stopped earlier than I could have (the guide on the screen is a bit misleading). What's 'off' here are the vertical stripes visible on the right side of the photo, which was visible in panoramas I took in other places, as well. That's too bad, as the image quality is otherwise pretty good. The only serious limitation (shared with most similar functions on other cameras) is that you're limited to shooting at wideangle in this mode.

HDR Mode

In HDR mode the camera will take three photos in a row, each at a different exposure (you can't choose what the interval is), and combines them into a single image with dramatically improved contrast. Take a look:

HDR off HDR on

While I'll be first to admit that the HDR shot looks a little bit over-processed, the dramatic improvement in contrast is worth it.

Intelligent Resolution

The IR (Intelligent Resolution) feature selectively sharpens an image, applying sharpening to things that need it (like edges) and leaving alone things that don't (like the sky). It's off by default, except in iA mode, and you can choose from low, standard, or high levels in other shooting modes. Here's a crop of a larger photo that shows the IR feature in action:

I.R. off I.R. low I.R. standard I.R. high

While it's not a huge change, the image above gets a bit sharper each time you crank up the level of Intelligent Resolution. For most folks, the standard setting is just fine.

Intelligent Zoom

The other part of the Intelligent Resolution system is Intelligent Zoom. This gives you a 2X boost in zoom power with less of a drop in image quality than traditional digital zoom. Thus, you now have an equivalent 180 mm lens at your disposal. Let's see how it looks:

Full telephoto (90 mm) Full telephoto + Intelligent Zoom (180 mm)

I don't know about you, but there seems to be a pretty noticeable loss of image quality when using Intelligent Zoom (you'll have to view the full size images to see this). It's fine for small prints, but that's about it. If you don't mind lowering the image size, you'll get much nicer looking photos using the Extended Optical Zoom feature. And, if you're a real glutton for punishment, you can use both of these zoom-enhancing features at the same time!

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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