Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX7 Review
From the front the FX7 has a far less oblong appearance than the FX5, it seems better proportioned and is quite a bit smaller than that camera (112 cm³ vs. 172 cm³). The body is made from metal with a fashionable (if less than practical) chrome band wrapping the rounded sides and camera top. At the front is what sets this camera apart from other ultra compact digital cameras, a 3x zoom image stabilized lens system. It's a lens compact enough to retract back completely into the camera body and yet features a stabilized lens element, pretty remarkable. On the downside it's not very fast, F2.8 at wide angle but F5.0 at telephoto, although obvious having OIS can compensate somewhat.
The rear of the camera is dominated by a huge 2.5-inch LCD monitor, which takes up around two thirds of the surface area. It's nice to see that despite its tiny dimensions the designers have managed to retain plenty of external controls (which follow the now well established Panasonic layout), though they are inevitably a touch on the small side.
Side by side
As you can see the FX7 is noticeably smaller than the FX5 and also looks surprisingly small next to Konica Minolta's DiMAGE X31 (not competition simply here for a size comparison).
In your hand
Despite its diminutive proportions the FX7 does actually work quite well in your hand, with the slightly recessed thumb grip on the rear ensuring a fairly steady hold. We found it fairly easy to shoot single handed and still get good results. The combination of metals used give the camera a 'quality' feel, and it really is truly pocketable. It's light (153g), but well balanced. The only handling problem we found was that it's a little to easy to accidentally press the controls (changing the flash mode, for example) with your thumb when using the camera - an inevitable consequence of such a tiny body. The design and size of the body and positioning of the shutter release also makes camera shake more of an issue than it would be in a larger camera, so it's a good job Panasonic included image stabilization!
|The combined battery and SD storage compartment is found in the base of the camera on the right side under a slightly flimsy hinged cover (one of the only bits of plastic on the body). The battery held in place by a secondary spring clip.|
|The battery is a 3.7 V 710 mAh Lithium-Ion unit and is charged by the dedicated charger. We found battery life to be on the low side to say the least; the 120 shots maximum (CIPA standard) is optimistic and depends on incredible self-control when it comes to using the playback (and this camera's big screen means people just keep asking to look at it!). The lack of an optical viewfinder means you really do need to budget for a second battery.|
|On the right side of the camera (from the rear) is a rubber compartment cover which has a chrome plastic 'cap' on it so that when closed it blends neatly into the rest of the camera styling. Behind it is the combined AV/USB connector and DC-IN connector.|
|The 114,000 pixel, 2.5-inch LCD screen is bright and clear, and has a high enough refresh rate to appear virtually lag-free. It works well in practically every situation - though (as with all screens) it can be a little difficult to see in very bright direct sunlight. As is often the case for large monitors the display pixel count isn't high enough to do the screen justice and the image can often appear pixelated (it's just what happens when you stretch 114,000 pixels over a 2.5-inch screen)|
|The 35-105mm equiv. lens retracts almost completely flush into the body and extends by around 18mm when powered up. That Panasonic has managed to squeeze an optical stabilization system into such a tiny lens on a tiny camera is a tribute to the skills of the designers involved. Of course, this being a Lumix camera, the lens proudly sports the Leica name (it's a 7-element Elmarit with 3 aspherical elements for those who are interested in that kind of thing).|
|Despite filling over two-thirds of the rear of the camera with that huge 2.5-inch screen Panasonic's designers resisted the temptation to move the majority of the FX7's controls into menus. The small, but perfectly usable, buttons give direct access to most of the everyday shooting controls (flash, AE compensation, macro, self-timer and so on).|
|The top plate also has its fair share of controls. The shutter release sits inside the zoom rocker, both of which have a nice positive action. In a first for Panasonic the O.I.S gets its own dedicated button. To the left of the shutter release is the power switch. Recessed into the rear of the camera is the main mode dial, which has positions for record, simple mode, play, macro, scene mode and movie mode.|
|The small flash is more powerful than you'd expect, but still only reaches about 13 feet at the wide end of the zoom (auto ISO). It's a little too close to the lens for our liking, meaning red-eye is a fairly common unless you use the anti-red eye setting. The pre-flash delays things by just under a second, meaning there's a risk your subject will move before the picture is taken.|
Photographers who fly frequently in the US may want to finally invest in that TSA Pre-check status: in standard security lines, cameras and all other electronics larger than a smartphone will need to be placed in a separate bin for screening.
Images have appeared which claim to show Nikon's forthcoming D850 DSLR, the development of which was announced this week. If genuine, the pictures indicate that the D850 will offer illuminated controls and a tilting LCD screen, but no built-in flash.
To celebrate the Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 lens' successful Kickstarter campaign, Lomography has announced a chrome-plated version of the lens in Nikon and Canon DSLR mounts.
Nikon just released four new firmware updates, adding features and fixing bugs in the D600, D610, D750 and the KeyMission 80.
It probably hasn't made your landscape photography bucket list just yet, but there's a good reason to visit Idaho. Here are 9 must-visit locations in this beautiful state.
Oops... Adobe accidentally leaked their unfinished Lightroom-powered cloud-based photo editor 'Project Nimbus' to some Creative Cloud users yesterday.
Storm chaser and award-winning photographer Mike Oblinski just released his latest time-lapse, and it is absolutely stunning.
Looking to level up your video capture capabilities without buying a whole new camera? Blackmagic's Video Assist 4K is well worth considering, despite a few flaws and its lack of 4K/60p support.
We're big fans of Fujifilm's fast-growing GFX system, and the GF 110mm F2 lens is no exception. Positioned as the system's classic portrait lens, its optics are just as impressive with non-human subjects as well.
Nikon turns 100 years old today, and the company is celebrating with a wacky music video, some tributes to its history, and a new vision presented by president Kazuo Ushida.
Phottix just released the Premio Parabolic Umbrellas series, replacing their Para-Pro line with a stronger, deeper and better made set of parabolic umbrellas.
The Moto Z2 is Motorola's first dual-camera smartphone and, compared to its predecessor, comes with a number of improvements and new camera features.
Researchers at Stanford have revealed a new '4D camera system' built for robots. The system is based on the same light field tech that allowed Lytro cameras to refocus images after they were taken.
If you want 'beautiful rendition' from your lenses, follow this simple rule: only buy classic low-element prime lenses with lead glass elements—everything else is junk.
In an interview with CNBC, Leica Chairman Andreas Kaufmann said he dreams of a 'true Leica phone,' and hinted at what's next for the Leica and Huawei partnership.
Wildlife and nature photographer Peter Mather tells the story behind this exceptional shot of a mama grizzly and her cub searching for salmon in Yukon, Canada.
Popular YouTube channel TastyTuts has put together this 33-video Beginner's Guide to Adobe Photoshop—a godsend for anybody who wants to learn Photoshop from scratch.
The long anticipated replacement for the popular Rode VideoMic Pro is almost ready for shipping. The price of the upgraded VideoMic Pro+ will be £290/$300 when it goes on sale in mid-August.
A new iOS app called Explorest wants to help you find new locations to shoot. It's limited to Singapore for now, but the app is packed full of useful location scouting features.
Nikon's D850 development announcement is extremely light on details, so we assembled a wish list of upgrades and features we'd love to see.
Nikon has announced the development of the long-awaited replacement to its full-frame D810: the D850. Nikon says that the D850 will build on the strengths of its predecessor and offer 'new technologies, features and performance enhancements.'
Lens manufacturer Voigtlander has introduced a 65mm F2 macro lens for Sony E-mount that it says "rates as one of the finest in the history of Voigtländer."
The UK released a preview of their upcoming drone safety regulations, and it looks like drone pilots will have to both register their device and pass safety awareness tests.
National Geographic photographer Bob Holmes talks about light, and why you need to learn how to 'see' and not just 'look' at your subject.
Photographer Alessandro Barteletti shares the story behind his National Geographic Italia cover, shot with a 10-year-old DSLR and an iPhone flashlight.
Fashion catalog photographers in China have some next-level models to work with. In this video, you see one model hitting 30 poses in 15 seconds as the photographer snaps away.
Photographer Paul Adshead breaks down 11 photography-related smartphone apps he couldn't live without—from a pocket light meter to a lighting diagram app.
Fast-growing Chinese flash brand Godox is teasing a brand new flash trigger... for smartphones. The Godox A1 is a 'phone flash system' that can act as both flash and 2.4GHz trigger.
On July 12, Canon opened its newest Technology and Support Center, designed to serve the motion picture industry, in Burbank, CA. DPReview got a sneak peak and takes you behind the scenes.
The Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is truly one-of-a-kind. It offers the fastest aperture of any lens that shares its focal length, produces beautiful sunstars and is incredibly sharp to boot. If you're in the market for a fast ultrawide prime, this looks to be the one to get.