Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Review
Menus & Playback
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.
|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
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.
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