Roundup: Enthusiast Zoom Compact Cameras
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
10MP | 24-90mm (3.75x) Zoom | $300 (US) £355 (UK) €460 (EU)
- Buy Now / Check Price
- Full specifications, plus user reviews and more sample images
- Read our full review (published September 2012)
Following the groundbreaking LX3 and LX5, Panasonic came back this summer with the LX7, a refreshed model with an exceptionally fast F1.4-2.3 24-90mm (equivalent) zoom lens. With the launch of the LX7, Panasonic will be hoping to regain some of the ground lost to competitors over the past couple of years (many of whom have spent that time enthusiastically copying its idea). To encourage you to make the most of its fast lens, Panasonic has added an aperture ring around the LX7's lens barrel, alongside a 3-stop neutral density filter that has its own external control point.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 key features
- 10.1 MP multi-aspect ratio 'High Sensitivity MOS' sensor (1/1.7"-type, 12.7 MP total)
- 24-90mm equivalent, F1.4 - F2.3 optically stabilized lens
- ISO 80-12800
- Aperture ring around lens, combined ND/manual focus control on rear and four-way dial
- 1080 60p/50p video with built-in stereo microphones
- 921K dot 3" screen with Anti-Reflective coating
- 330 shot battery life (CIPA)
- Hot shoe for external flash units
- Port for DMW-LVF2 accessory electronic viewfinder
- Built-in 3 stop neutral density filter
The LX7 also gets a new sensor, a 'High Sensitivity MOS' design, but as before this offers multiple aspect ratios (16:9, 3:2, 4:3) that use different crops from the overall sensor area to give the same diagonal angle of view. These are easily selected using a switch on the top of the lens, which also has a 1:1 position that's effectively cropped-down from the 4:3 frame. Continuous shooting specs are impressively high; 11 fps at full resolution with focus and exposure fixed, or 5 fps with tracking AF, compared to the LX5's 2.5 fps.
The LX7's MOS sensor enables a dramatically-improved video specification, with the LX7 capable of recording Full HD video in either the AVCHD Progressive or MP4 formats.
The LX7 maintains the same form factor as its predecessors, with a compact metal-clad body that's liberally peppered with buttons, dials and switches. Two notable control additions are the aperture ring around the lens barrel and the ND/Focus lever on the back plate. Clicking-in the latter engages or disengages the LX7's built-in 3-stop neutral density filter, which allows you to shoot at large apertures in bright light or use slower shutter speeds. In manual focus mode, pushing the lever left or right adjusts focus.
The lack of a touchscreen in the LX7 is disappointing given how well it's been integrated into other Panasonic models. We can sort-of see Panasonic's line of reasoning here - it means you don't have to move your left hand from the aperture ring to operate the screen - but we do like being able to specify the focus point by simply pressing the screen, and rather miss it on the LX7.
Performance and image quality
In use, the LX7 is a perfectly pleasant companion, and like its predecessors, one of the most 'finished' feeling compact cameras on the market. Although it is considerably chunkier than its lower-end travelzoom and point-and-shoot cousins the LX7 remains small enough to slip into a jacket pocket, and its fast lens and responsive autofocus make it a good choice for people and street photography. Where previous LX models could feel somewhat slow in operation, especially when shooting Raw files, the LX7 is positively sprightly. Even with a non UHS-I card installed, shot-to-shot times are around one second, which is perfectly reasonable.
At its lowest ISO sensitivity settings the LX7 gives virtually identical image quality to its predecessor the LX5. Detail capture is very high and noise isn't visible until ISO 400, and even then, only just. Close inspection reveals that low contrast detail begins to disappear above ISO 400, and by ISO 800, although image quality is still excellent, fine detail is clearly being smoothed by noise-reduction.
At ISO 1600, noise is a factor in images captured with the LX7, and it this gets more severe at ISO 3200 and above. By ISO 6400 a general haziness swamps most of the fine detail. ISO 12,800 is a reduced-resolution capture mode and critically speaking, image quality is desperately poor.
The LX7 features a Raw capture mode, naturally, and although the camera's JPEG performance is very good, you get a little more when shooting Raw files, both in terms of flexibility (you can adjust white balance and exposure much more effectively post-capture) and critical image quality. If you're shooting at high ISO sensitivity settings in poor light, shooting Raw can also make a difference, as long as you don't mind spending a little time working on the files later. That said, in terms of absolute detail, the LX7's JPEGs are extremely good.
The LX7 has a very nice collection of features that should make just about everybody happy. If you're a 'set it and forget it' kind of person, then look no further than Panasonic's great Intelligent Auto mode. That said, as you'd expect from this premium compact, there are plenty of manual controls on the LX7, too. You get all the usual exposure options, RAW support, lots of white balance options, and three types of bracketing.
Overall, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 is an excellent premium compact camera. Its fast lens, performance, and manual controls will make enthusiasts drool, while those just starting out can get great results using Panasonic's Intelligent Auto mode. There's very little to dislike about the LX7, with our main issues being redeye, slow buffer flush times when shooting RAW images, and vertical lines in panoramas. Aside from that, the LX7 is a first-rate camera and a strong contender in this segment of the market.
Studio and Real-World Samples (links open in new tab)
|Studio Comparison Scene||Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 (32 images)|
What we like: Fast, sharp lens, highly detailed JPEGs, excellent intelligent Auto mode
What we don't like: Relatively restrictive zoom range for its class, dedicated aperture ring less flexible than the customizable lens control rings on rival cameras.
Jun 17, 2015
Aug 10, 2013
Dec 17, 2015
Dec 17, 2015
|Hook Head Lighthouse by kroker|
from Best Photo of the Week
|Green turtle in the shallows by gcachon|
Canon went and put an APS-C sensor in a G series compact. The result is a mighty tempting camera for travel.
Google Photos is adding a few pet-friendly features that will make it easier to find photos of your favorite pooch. Now, you can organize your pet photos by facial recognition, and you can even search your library by breed.
Colorful tripod maker MeFOTO has launched a new tripod... and a whole new brand name. Meet the GlobeTrotter travel video tripod, the first product to be released under the MeVIDEO brand.
If you own a Moto Z, you'll soon be able to attach a Polaroid instant printer to it. Check out the unreleased Moto Mod, which was leaked earlier today.
DJI has developed a technology called AeroScope that allows law enforcement to identify and track airborne drones that are breaking UAV regulations, while simultaneously addressing privacy concerns.
The Nikon D850 is a 45.7MP full-frame DSLR with an autofocus system lifted wholesale from the pro-sports focused D5. 4K capture, continuous shooting at 7 or 9 frames per second make it sound like the ultimate all rounder. Is it all that these specs suggest?
The Mate 10's Kirin 970 chipset with integrated AI processing allows for object recognition, motion detection and automatic scene selection in the camera app.
DxO has announced version 3.0 of the iOS app for its 'One' connected camera. It adds support for multi-camera Facebook Live broadcasting and both time-lapse still and video capture. Android users will be pleased to hear that a One for their platform is on the way, as well. Several new accessories are available, including a battery pack.
Canon has introduced the PowerShot G1 X Mark III, which borrows the 24MP APS-C sensor and Dual Pixel AF system from the company's recent mirrorless and DSLR cameras, adds a 24-72mm equiv., F2.8-5.6 lens and puts them into a lightweight body – but it'll cost you quite a bit.
It's not often that we see a genuinely interesting compact camera, and the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III is one such beast. We've pulled out the top features of the camera and tell you why they matter – and put the Mark III up against the competition.
Apple's HDR effect in the iPhone 8 Plus is on by default and more aggressive than in previous generations. It's also good enough to convince DPR contributor Jeff Carlson to leave it on all the time.
Canon's 28mm F2.8 IS USM may be small in size, but it's big on fun. We wrote about our experience using it as our only lens in Big Sur, California, but in case you missed out on our full gallery, take a look to see what this little lens can do.
Travel photographer Elia Locardi tells the story behind this gorgeous (and rare) panorama of the Dubai cityscape draped in fog.
Bison, drift cars, horseback riders, antelope – from the beach to the race track, the Sony 100-400mm G Master is one versatile piece of kit.
"Wildlife photography in Yellowstone National Park is an incredible opportunity, yet some bad photographers are giving all photographers a bad name by not following the rules."
Casio's bionic-looking new action camera, the GZE-1, is built with extreme sports in mind. The little camera is drop-proof, freeze-proof, dust-proof, and waterproof to 50 meters.
Yashica recently released the digiFilm Y35: a camera that tries to simulate the "experience" of shooting film... and it's just the worst.
Western Digital has revealed some interesting new technology that, it claims, will allow them to develop 40TB hard drives by the year 2025.
Photographer Micael Widell wanted to see just how affordable it could possibly be to get into digital photography—so he bought a full DSLR kit with battery grip and 50mm lens on eBay for just $80.
Confused about DxOMark's scoring system? This straightforward video by Marques Brownlee breaks down how DxO gets its scores, and why you should always look beyond that "overall" number.
It's not exactly a revolutionary device, but the iPhone 8 Plus does promise some evolutionary updates in the camera department. DPR contributor Jeff Carlson has been putting the 8 Plus to the test in some everyday shooting situations – take a look at how it fared.
This week in Hollywood, DJI introduced its new Zenmuse X7 camera, a Super 35 format cinema camera of its own design that can also capture 24MP still images in APS-C format. Is it time to start thinking of DJI as a camera company?
Landscape and astrophotographer Asif Islam shot a series of timelapses starting in Los Angeles and getting farther and farther away, showing how the Milky Way emerges as the light pollution fades.
Ultraviolet photography is something that relatively few photographers explore, but it’s a fascinating realm to explore with less of an investment in equipment than most people think.
After almost fifteen years of nearly buying one, Barney recently found a working Canon PowerShot G5 in his local thrift shop. It must be Throwback Thursday.
DJI has launched the Zenmuse X7, a Raw video capable Super 35 camera module. The camera/gimbal system which mounts to the company's drones features a new, proprietary lens mount.
Windowed is a free app that lets you upload photos to Instagram straight from your Mac or PC—no tablet, smartphone, or complicated workaround required.
Nikon has published a list lenses that it deems worthy of its newest DSLR: the 45.7MP Nikon D850.
The Nikon D850 isn't the first camera to hit triple digits on DxOMark; in fact, the Pentax 645Z was listed at 101 all the way back in 2015. So why was the full review never published? DxOMark explained earlier today.
Due to 'slower-than-expected development of the VR market,' Nokia has decided to pull the plug on its $25K Ozo VR camera while it restructures the company and sheds as many as 310 jobs.