Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Review
Handling & Operation
Panasonic has clearly put a lot of effort into making the DMC-GX7 a very enthusiast-friendly camera, although it's still made it very accessible to the less experienced user. If you want seven customizable buttons and three spots on the mode dial for your favorite settings, they're all yours but there's enough redundancy that you don't need to customize everything in order to get at the setting you want to change. There's also the same 'make-the-decisions-for-you' iA mode that Panasonic offers to users wanting to simply point-and-shoot.
|In addition to all the customizable buttons, you can place the histogram anywhere on the frame, which comes in handy when it's blocking your subject.
You can also see the dual-axis electronic level in this screenshot.
There are two ways in which you can control the GX7. There are the traditional buttons - concentrated mostly on the rear panel, to the right of the LCD - plus the touchscreen LCD. You can shoot exclusively with the buttons, but the touchscreen provides some useful additions.
The four-way controller has direct controls for ISO, white balance, focus point selection, and drive mode. The center button enters the menus or confirms your selection. Above the controller are buttons for entering playback mode or toggling what's shown on the EVF and LCD.
The remainder of the buttons that surround the four-way controller are customizable. By default, Fn1 enters the Quick Menu (described below), Fn2 deletes photos and backs out of menus, and Fn3 activates the Wi-Fi feature. There's also Fn4, which normally toggles between the LCD and EVF. If that's still not enough, there are also three 'virtual' buttons available on the touchscreen.
|This screen is the jumping-off point for customizing the nine function buttons on the camera (four physical, five on the touchscreen).
The options are the same for all of the buttons.
Here are the options available for the four physical Fn buttons. the options for the touchscreen buttons are virtually the same, with the exception of the options marked with an asterisk.
• Q. Menu
• One-push AE
• LVF/Monitor Switch
• AF/AE lock
• Touch AE
• DOF preview
• Level gauge
• Focus area set
• Zoom control
• Photo Style
• Aspect Ratio
|• Picture size
• Metering mode
• Electronic shutter
• Flash mode
• Ex. Tele Conv.
• Digital zoom
• Motion Pic. settings
| • Picture mode
• Silent mode
• Guide line
• Rec area
• Step zoom
• Zoom speed
• White balance
• AF mode
• Drive mode
If you really want to customize the button layout, you'll be thrilled to hear that you can store up to five sets of Function button layouts by using the three 'C' spots on the mode dial.
There are two ways to easily access the most important settings on the camera. The first option is to use the Quick Menu, which has been a feature of Panasonic cameras for a very long time. The Quick Menu has a preset selection of options, which line the top and bottom of LCD or EVF. The other is a customizable version of the Q.Menu (you can choose between the two in the Custom menu).
|At left is the preset Quick Menu, which can be navigated with buttons or your finger. The menu runs above and below the field-of-view in this mode.
On the left is a customized Quick Menu, which runs along the bottom of the screen.
Creating your very own shortcut menu, once you've engaged the Custom Q.Menu option, requires a little drag-and-drop.
|To add an item to the customizable Q. Menu, just drag it from the bar on the bottom to the section above it.
To remove an item, do the opposite.
There are ten slots for icons, ranging across two pages, and 26 options that can be slotted into them.
While there aren't as many options available for the Quick Menu as there are for the Fn buttons, nothing important has been left out from the 26 choices.
Another method for quick setting adjustment is via the 'recording information' screen. This screen is designed to be shown when you're using the electronic viewfinder, and it shows virtually every major camera setting. Given the fact that the GX7 has a touchscreen, it should come as no surprise that you can touch on the displayed settings to adjust them.
|The rec info screen, which you can see by pressing the Disp. buttons a few times, shows exposure information and commonly used settings.
You can adjust almost all of the settings (save for exposure info and shots remaining) by tapping them with your finger. Doing so takes you off to another screen - you can't just tap and turn the dial.
While the GX7 offers a lot of customization (though no more than we've come to expect from Sony and Olympus models at this level), there is at least one feature missing - the ability to choose which display screens you want in live view mode. This means that, if there are two levels of information you like, you have to cycle through them all to get to the ones you want.
For the full selection of camera options you'll need to head into the main menu. The menu is divided into five tabs, covering record, movie, custom, setup, and playback options. We'll get into the most interesting features found here later in the review.
|The recording tab is one of five in the main menu. When you select one of the menu items, a description of it is displayed at the top of the screen.|
Like the Quick Menu, the main menu can be operated with buttons or fingers. It's smooth and easy to navigate regardless of how you're operating it. Most of the options are fairly obviously categorized, so it shouldn't require too much hunting.
Since it's been mentioned several times throughout this review, you've probably figured out that the GX7 has a touchscreen LCD. Above you saw menus which can be operated with a finger - but what else can you do?
The first two touch-related features are pretty obvious: you can tap the screen to focus or take a photo. In playback mode, you can swipe from photo to photo, and double-tap to zoom in and scroll around.
If all of the menus described above weren't enough, there are two 'tabs' on the right-hand side of the LCD than you can open. The first tab has control for using a power zoom lens, turning on the 'touch photo' or 'touch AE' features or engaging focus peaking. To access the five on-screen function buttons discussed further up the page, open up the lower tab and you'll find them.
Perhaps the coolest touch-related feature is called Touch Pad AF (engaged under 'Touch Settings' in the Custom menu). With this feature on, you can use the touchscreen to select the focus point while you're looking through the electronic viewfinder. Touching the LCD panel doesn't really work on most cameras but, particularly if you flip both the screen and EVF upwards, it becomes pretty usable.
The Touch Pad AF system has two options - Exact and Offset. In Exact mode, you tap in the position on the LCD screen where you want to focus - in Offset mode the movement is relative to wherever the cursor is currently positioned.
One problem with Touch Pad AF is that it really isn't suitable for left-eyed shooters - they'll be using their nose to select the focus point, rather than their finger.
When using the DMC-GX7, you sometimes get the feeling that Panasonic went a little too far, throwing every possible feature into the camera. If you're using it with default settings, then everything is pretty straightforward, with logically laid-out controls, and an easy-to-use touch interface. The camera is easy to hold, and the GX7 felt 'just right' in my hands.
Things get more complicated when you start to customize those nine buttons. This reviewer found that it was difficult to remember which function was mapped to a given Fn button, which resulted in some trial and error. This will probably get easier as more time is spent with the camera. The on-screen function buttons are easier to use, as they show you exactly what feature you're adjusting.
There was one button that I wanted to redefine right away, and that's the one which enters Wi-Fi mode. It's a feature that takes a while to load - locking the camera while it does so. After pressing it accidentally on several occasions, and waiting for the feature to load (so I could back out of it), it was time to map another function to it.
While out shooting, the LCD was my preferred method of composing photos. Besides the obvious increase in size over the EVF, it's also easier to see outdoors. As mentioned earlier in the review, the relatively small finder eyecup means there's quite a bit of light leakage around the EVF (especially when you're wearing glasses), which required me to shield it with my hand so I could see anything. Since the EVF uses field sequential technology, I found the 'rainbow effect' to be very hard to look at, which was another reason why I usually relied on the LCD.
I also struggled to figure out the purpose of the tilting EVF. If I want to compose photos from above, I've got a nice big LCD to do that on - and it tilts down, too. Still, there are likely some photographers who prefer using an eye-level finder who will appreciate this feature.
Jun 14, 2016
Aug 9, 2016
May 25, 2016
Feb 24, 2016
|2014_1211_140657AA by old shutter bugger|
from The Bride
|Overloaded by NZ Scott|
from Your City - Delivery Boy
|Barley by Will B Milner|
|APPLE & ROACH by TX Photo Doc|
from Delicious - Unpalatable
Cloud backup service CrashPlan has announced that it will permanently shutter it's "for home" service by the end of October. If you use CrashPlan to back up your photos, you'll want to find an alternative ASAP.
Equivalence is much-discussed, but still often misunderstood. Here's a simplified explanation of the concept of equivalent apertures, which is just another way of talking about light received by your camera.
Try your hand at this blind portrait shootout between the Canon 1DX Mark II, Nikon D5 and Sony a9. With all bias removed, you might just rank your favorite camera brand worst.
Photo sharing site 500px has just added support for wide-gamut color profiles such as AdobeRGB and ProPhotoRGB, even allowing users to filter their searches by color profile.
DJI just released a mandatory firmware update for the DJI Spark. If you own a Spark and don't update your firmware by September 1st, DJI will remotely ground your drone.
Affordable flash manufacturer Godox has updated its smartphone app so that it can be used to control all of its wireless X flash units, not just the A1 smartphone flash.
Western Digital's new My Book Duo external desktop storage system offers up to 20TB of storage capacity, and comes with RAID-optimized WD Red hard drives.
Version 1.04 of the Sony a6500 firmware can be downloaded from the Sony Support website now.
Not sure how to choose your first drone? In this article, the second of a 3-part series, we discuss what factors you should consider when deciding what drone is right for you.
NASA photo editor Joel Kowsky didn't just capture the solar eclipse from his vantage point in Wyoming, he also managed to capture the ISS buzzing across what remained of the sun.
In these videos, talented photographer and filmmaker Daniel DeArco breaks down several tips that will help flash photography newbies start experimenting with artificial light.
Photographer and master potter Steve Irvine makes incredibly intricate, functional ceramic pinhole cameras that look like robots and monsters.
Chinese gimbal manufacturer Gudsen has released a firmware update for its Moza Air that lets you control the direction and angle of the head remotely just by moving a small handlebar-mounted control unit.
Curious how the Sony a9 performs underwater? Our friends at Backscatter took the camera diving off the Baja California coast, to find out how it handled shooting great white sharks.
While most of the DPReview crew put away our cameras and just watched the celestial event, Rishi decided last-minute to hack together a rig and capture a few shots.
Defunct Russian camera maker Zenit is making a comeback, and they're planning to release a full-frame mirrorless camera in 2018.
The days where you're more or less locked into premium or first-party flash units has gone. They're less than $50 now, so there's one less excuse not to get one. Here's our case for adding one to your kit, and a few pointers to get you going.
If you're shooting the solar eclipse here's a hint: don't fry your camera's sensor. Use a proper solar filter that offers at least 16 stops of light filtration, along with UV and IR filtering. More important? Don't look at it unless you've got solar filters. Sensors can be replaced, your retinas can't.
Photographer Rick Wenner recently captured an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen with a rather odd camera: The Phase One XF IQ3 Achromatic, the world's only 101MP black-and-white digital back.
Buying used is a good way to save some dough, and with the right precautions you can protect yourself from falling victim to a scam.
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.