Menus & Playback

Quick Menu

Before I get into the main menu, I want to cover what you'll find in the Quick Menu, which is activated by pressing the Q. Menu button on the back of the camera.

Options in the Quick Menu include Photo Style, Flash setting, movie/still quality, focus mode, metering mode, and exposure compensation.

The Quick Menu has been redesigned on the LX7, and while I'm not a huge fan of the new look, I got used to it after a while. In case you're wondering, there is no way to customize the items that go on this menu.

Main Menu

The LX7's main menu is divided into three sections, covering still, movie, and setup options. In typical Panasonic fashion, there are a lot of options here, ranged in a lot of tabs...

The main menu has received a face lift as well, and it looks great on the LX7's high-resolution LCD. The only thing I would've liked to see here are help screens for the various options. Here are the most interesting options from the record and setup tabs:

  • Photo Style: a style contains parameters related to contrast, sharpness, saturation, and noise reduction; there are several presets plus a custom option - all of which can be adjusted to your heart's content
  • Quality: choose from normal or fine quality JPEGs, plus RAW or RAW+JPEG; a RAW file weighs in at approximately 13 MB, while a fine quality JPEG is more like 4.5 MB
  • ISO options: choose the top limit for Auto ISO, the increment between each sensitivity, and whether ISO 12800 is available
  • Program Diagram: choose from standard, maximum aperture (uses the ND filter for background defocusing), and MTF (for highest resolution)
  • AF modes: choose from face detection, subject tracking, 23-area auto, and 1-area modes; for the last item, you can select both the position and size of the focus point; if you're using face detection, then you can also take advantage of a face recognition feature, which learns who people are, and gives them priority in the scene
  • Quick AF: starts focusing when camera shake is reduced (which is supposed to be when you're about to compose a photo), which reduces focus times
  • Intelligent Dynamic: attempts to improve overall image contrast by reducing highlight clipping and brightening shadows; from my own tests I've found that it does nothing for highlights and only brightens shadows in certain situations; off by default, except in iA mode
  • Multiple exposure: combines up to three exposures into a single photo; auto gain adjustment is available
  • Intelligent Resolution: 'intelligently' sharpens photos by outlining edges, improving texture detail, and leaving things like the sky alone; off by default, except in iA mode
  • Intelligent zoom: boosts the focal range by 2X (to 7.5X total), with a 'minimal deterioration of image quality.
  • Extra optical zoom: while not actually a menu option, you can get additional zoom power by lowering the resolution; for example, dropping down to 5 Megapixel gives you 5.4X of total zoom power; this can also be combined with Intelligent Zoom, so you'd top out at a whopping 10.7X if you used both
  • Step zoom: when on, the zoom controller will jump to five preset positions (24, 28, 35, 70, and 90 mm)
  • Redeye removal: in addition to using pre-flashes to shrink your subject's pupils, the LX7 can digitally remove redeye after a photo is taken; we'll see if it works later in the review
  • Aspect bracket: takes a photo in each of the four aspect ratios
  • Time Lapse shot: new to the LX7, this lets you set the start time, interval between shots, total number of shots, and whether an alert sound is played when each photo is taken
  • Fn button set: assign a function to the customizable Fn button ('left' on the four-way controller), with three pages of options to choose from
  • Lens Resume: normally I wouldn't mention a feature like this, but since I got burned a few times, I'm sharing; if you enter playback mode the camera will retract the lens after maybe 30 seconds; when you return to shooting, the lens position and focus distance have been lost; thus, turning on Zoom Resume and/or MF Resume is a smart idea

Playback

The LX7's playback mode has been enhanced a bit since the LX5. Some of the highlights include:

  • Filtering play: view only stills, videos, 3D images, favorites, and photos taken with a specific scene mode
  • Calendar view: quickly jump to photos taken on a certain date
  • Title edit / text stamp: print the date and time, location, names of recognized subjects, and more on your photos
  • Resize/cropping: always handy
  • Leveling: for people like me who can't get their horizons level
  • Auto retouch: a 'quick fix' for your photos, though it often over-brightens images
  • Creative retouch: apply many of the camera's Creative Filters to photos that you've taken
  • Video divide: pick a spot in your video and split it two

One thing that's not here is a redeye removal tool. You'll have to accept whatever the LX7's dual redeye reduction systems come up with, which I'll share with you in a bit.

The LX7 doesn't tell you much about your photos by default. However, if you press the Display button, you'll get a bit more, including a histogram.

The camera moves between photos without delay. If you've enlarged a photo by using the zoom controller, you can switch to other photos while maintaining the same position by using the rear dial.