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on August 26, 2012
Wow, this was a tough upgrade decision. Sony's RX100 is superb competition, and I was certain *IT* would be the camera that pulled me out of the Panasonic camp (I also own an old Panasonic DMC-FX50 "bridge camera" in addition to an LX5, which replaced my LX3 -- plus my wife kept a Pana FX35 in her purse before she switched to Sony's slim TX9.

Despite keeping these few cameras around (really just the 3: the FX50, the TX9 and now the LX7), I'm just your Joe Average photographer, shooting mainly the kids, family/friend gatherings, special events, and some home construction-type projects, and other hobby interests.

And what I've ever really wanted out of the LX series is a compact, low light-capable camera with a respectable set of manual controls. Exactly what the SONY RX100 is with its huge sensor, and of the two, it is unquestionably the better performer for indoor shooting situations of fast moving kids, compared to the LX3 and LX5.

If that were my only criteria, I'd have never ordered the LX7, and might be typing up my thoughts on the RX100 instead. But maybe my four years of familiarity with the LX3/5 got the better of me. Maybe I'm just a sheep with a Panasonic logo branded on my flank. But there were a couple of sore points with the Sony that just plain made me unsatisfied. Rather than trash the RX100 (not my intention), here's my list:

- There's no escaping the benefit of the wide 24mm lens on the LX series. Not to mention the handy aspect ratio mode switching right on the bezel. And I use the 1:1 aspect ratio more than I care to admit.
- The Panasonic's hot shoe is a hot commodity when I need it. I have a Metz 36-AF4O (since replaced by the Metz 36 AF-5, I believe) which is about as big as the camera itself, but provides more than adequate light with bounce capabilities.
- Two of my gripes with the LX3 and LX5 were the difficulty of adjusting manual settings via push-button & thumb dial inputs. The LX7's aperture ring and dedicated manual focus lever have addressed this, with varying degrees of satisfaction.
- I get to keep my LX5 spare battery, which isn't such a huge deal, but just know that its shelf life is spectacular. Although my predicted number of shots between charges has decreased, per the manual. Nothing drastic; still great battery life.
- Most importantly, the Panasonic LX7 has a certain ease and quickness about it -- probably due in part to my use of its predecessors -- and combined with the newly added manual controls, it feels to me the design is finally at a point where I can set up various shooting solutions with a minimum of fuss and button pressing, nearly (but not quite) like my SLR days many years ago. The "user experience" of the Sony, by comparison, felt a little too menu driven and sticky.

Where did Panasonic fall short with this new model?

- For one, the image quality really hasn't changed. My thoughts are that the LX3 was excellent, but the LX5 tended to focus a little soft -- although nothing that stood out horribly amiss; maybe within the normal manufacturing variations? I don't want to speculate on sensor sizes or type playing a role, but I can attest Sony's RX100 shoots a "cleaner" or "crisper" portrait-style photo -- although that difference disappears once the image is downsized for printing/sharing.
- There's still no remote. Or cable release. Or Bulb mode. Can't tell you how much I enjoy those features on other cameras. For the LX5, I have a cable release adapter that slides into the hot shoe and extends an arm over the shutter release for a cable release to activate, but the hot shoe has been realigned on the LX7 so it no longer works.
- I continue to have trouble reading the silver-on-silver symbols etched onto the 4-way keys.
- If you're one to complain about the lens cap (I'm not, but I know a lot of LX users HATE the thing)... well, it's still here, and it's smaller than before, making it a little more difficult to clip on/clip off.
- I once committed to never buying a camera without a tiltable display, but that's just not an option. All things considered, the LX7 display is not as bright at the RX100, but is very visible in all but direct daylight, and viewable from off angles without the colors inverting.

What did Panasonic get right with the LX7 update?

- The redesigned lens is noteworthy. It's a definite improvement over the LX5 for indoor shooting, and that extends through the entire zoom range (still only 90mm, which was an improvement over the LX3). I find that I take the vast majority of my photos on the wide end of this lens, but in low light settings, I've been forced to if I'm trying to avoid using the flash. With the lens redesign, I've got a little more flexibility in my zoom before resorting to higher ISOs.
- IC? Firmware? Who knows! The camera is snappier than its predecessor, in all aspects: start up, menu navigation, auto focus delay, and shot to shot. It gets shots off near instantaneously. And the kicker is a burst mode!
- I can't say I was disappointed by the 720p video of the LX5, but full HD video is a treat -- especially with memory prices as cheap as they are compared to two years ago.
- Finally, a dedicated white balance button on the 4-way controller! (Panasonic eliminated the "Focus" key featured on the LX5, and also added burst mode selection to the shutter self timer key.)
- I'm very excited about the inclusion of a time lapse feature. This was overdue.
- The clickable, dedicated aperture ring, especially, and the manual focus lever, sort of (light applause -- needs something more "ring like")
- The mode wheel is substantially firmer, preventing inadvertent turns while in the pocket.

Some random thoughts on the Sony RX100: It feels a little "rough" at startup (i.e. not-so-smooth lens extension, kind of rough feel & sound), and starts up about a second slower than the Panasonic, but not having to remove a lens cap negates that. Zoom time from full wide to full tele is about one second snappier on the Sony. I felt that the Sony's auto white balance "got it right" more often than the LX, but the custom white balance is at minimum one level deep into the menu (if set to the Fn key). Shutdown immediately after snapping a pic is an agonizingly slow 5-6 seconds for full lens retraction; 3-4 seconds if the camera is already at idle. And not so much a dig at Sony as a kudos to Panasonic, but with the 28mm constraint on the wide end, switching from 4:3 to 16:9 simply crops the top and bottom of the frame, whereas on all the LX cameras with their unique sensor usage, I actually gain extra pixels on the sensor to help compose the shot I want.

Panasonic's history of product support HAS to be a consideration. They released mid-cycle firmware updates for both the LX3 and the LX5, and with the unexpected LX3 update in particular, added new features -- not just bug fixes. (Wish I could say the same about the FX50, but that's a story for another day...)

I wouldn't be so bold as to recommend the LX7 over the RX100, but only want to give a little insight via some of the features I hold in high regard. They both definitely have their strong suits. If you're at all familiar with the previous LX cameras, you have a solid basis for understanding the LX7 improvements, as well as its shortcomings. That certainly didn't stop me from happily purchasing the RX100 before giving the LX7 a chance to hit the streets, but by doing so I immediately proved to myself that there is still no "perfect camera," and with the compromises that I had to accept, my preferences fell mainly back to the LX line.
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on November 22, 2014
How do you know a camera is great? Not only does it hold it's value well over a year later, it's actually gone up in value. Not only that but it's still being talked about and still runs with the current cream of the crop.

I shoot FF(recently switched from Nikon d600 to Canon 6D) as a hobbyist. I picked up this P&S just over a year ago to fill a couple of gaps. First being we needed a P&S for my wife that worked well on auto. Second we needed a decent quick and go video recorded. Both gaps were filled brilliantly. More so with the video. This camera takes exceptional pictures but what it even does better is takes HD video. It's just gorgeous to watch. Also the iAuto works wonders. The jpegs are super which is nice because this is how my wife is going to shoot.

The other pluses of the P&S is the manual abilities. It's nice for myself because when I don't want to be loaded down with the heft of a DSLR I have an alternative that is going to give me options. The raws are nothing short of fantastic. Lots to work with being sharp, contrasty, and nice saturation.

I can certainly recommend this camera even at it's current(higher :) ) price!

I uploaded a couple of samples to view.
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on March 18, 2015
I'm a retired pro photographer from the Nikon F2, Leica M4 and Hasselblad era. After dozens of cameras I now have Panasonic's GH4 and LX7. I use the LX7 mostly for home and travel videos. In my bag the predecessor of the LX7 was Canon's S95.

Recently my son decided to sell his Sony RX100M3 camera. I have used it a month side by side with the Panasonic LX7. After that the decision was quite easy. I'm going to keep the LX7.

The Sony RX100 produces sharper still pictures. But if you don't crop much or make large prints, you don't see the difference. In movie making the RX100M3 has several problems. You can't lock the focus (or after auto focusing you have to switch to manual focusing, shoot and again switch back to auto focusing, which is too complicated). For that you need one programmable button. Same thing with the exposure locking. A second programmable button is needed for that. The Panasonic LX7 has a dedicated AF/AE locking button.

The auto exposure of the LX7 is better. Most video clips are just perfect. You can really trust the LX7, which is very valuable in practical home and travel movie making. You don't have to always check the takes. On the other hand, with the RX100M3 you'd better to make these exposure checks as often as possible.

The LX7 has a better AWB indoors. The LX7 sits better in hand. In addition to the red video button, with the LX7 you can use the main shutter button to start and stop the take.

The colors of the Sony and Panasonic are nearly identical. I really like them. They resemble the Ektachrome colors of the old times. The Canon S95 is more like a Kodachrome camera.

I use the LX7 with a wrist strap (sold separately). After several tries I now have Zeikos ZE-CA15B soft case (3.99 at Amazon), where the LX7 fits perfectly.
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on April 26, 2015
The best all around point and shoot ever made .. hands down. I use mine every day as an appraiser and I've taken it all over the country on vacations. Great in low light .. don't need to use the flash much at all. I have even dropped mine off a Harley at 40 MPH .. first time .. and again at about 10 MPH. *The result of setting the camera on my camping gear tied to the back fender and taking off down the road. When I hit the brakes the camera passed me by on the way to the ground. Both times it hit pavement. At 40MPH it tumbled. At 10MPH it landed flat and broke the latch. The camera is dinged up a bit and the access door latch on the bottom is broken (see repair pics) .. but the camera continues to work every day since, and that has been 3 years past. I just bought this one to replace it whenever it does die. I hope they continue to manufacture this model .. but I know someday soon they may stop production .. so I've got my spare .. and at a great price.
PS I bought the LX100 as I thought it was the replacement for this model .. it's not . the LX100 is a completely different animal .. it takes better pictures .. but it lacks a built in flash and the zoom is pitiful .. great camera .. just different. I carry them both with me where ever I go .. and I end up using the LX7 more.
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The virtues of the LX series is well discussed, but it's worth noting that it may be the one camera model that holds its value the best. Since 2007, I have owned the LX2, 5, and 7. The LX7 came out in 2012 at an MSRP of $499. A year later Panasonic abandoned the series for whatever reasons. I got one on clearance sale. When the stock was gone, a lot of people were still looking to buy or hoping for an LX9 to appear. Amazingly, after 2 years, it's back in Panasonic's own online shop at $399. Used ones are selling pretty close to the clearance price 2 years ago. I don't know of another camera, or any digital device that stands up the test of time like that. 3 years is a very long time in the digital world. Most devices lose half their values in 1 to 2 years.

The return of LX7 may seem odd, but it's not hard to understand if you compare it to a new 2015 model such as Fuji X30 which is targeted at similar buyers and has an MSRP of $599. Th Fuji sensor wins marginally in size (1/1.5" vs 1/1.7") and pixel count (12 mp vs 10 mp). However, the LX7 is more compact in size and weight (269g vs 423 g); the lens is both wider (24mm vs 28mm) and faster (F1.4-2.3 vs 2.0-2.8). DPReview scores them about equal overall (76% vs 75%), the LX7 wins in image quality and low light performance, just missing some convenience features such as WiFi connectivity. It also leave out the EVF as an expensive option. However, going beyond the camera itself, the LX7 can add a 3rd party auto lens cap and filter adapter for minimal cost. Considering that the X30 is 3 years newer, one has to admire how the LX7 hits all the right spots in 2012 that are not easy to improve upon.

The LX7 was often compared to the Sony RX100 in 2012, with the latter winning the battle of specs...being smaller with a larger sensor, etc., but less direct control. The Sony's MSRP was 30% higher when new, not much discount. The LX7 was discounted widely. 3 years later, new or used ones of the two models are actually selling for similar prices. When I traded up through LX2 and LX5 in the past years, I got very good resale values as well. There is never such a thing as a "good investment" in digital electronics, but the LX series is pretty close to being one. That the LX7 came back from the grave is really a testament that people want a camera they enjoy using, not necessarily one that has the bigger sensor with twice the pixel count. I have an RX100-M3 as well, but still keeping the LX7. I've found its MACRO mode works much better, especially when the lens is zoomed. I also don't need 20 MP for most of my pictures.

UPDATE April/2016: The LX7 is again off the market, no longer offered on Panasonic's online store. Price of residual stock selling on have remained the same if not risen back towards 2012 level. So it has not lost value after 4 years!
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on September 18, 2012
My primary requirement for a camera is that it be compact, but still take great pictures under the conditions I run into often. I hike and climb a lot and do not want the bulk of a DSLR hanging in front of me, and the camera must be accessible so I don't delay the group while digging my camera out of the pack. So I gravitate toward the compact camera that gives me as much of the DLSR feature set as possible.

I chose the LX7 primarily because it has a very fast lens. For me that means handheld shots under a thick forest canopy are not blurred because of slow shutter speeds. My previous camera was the DMC-LX5, the predecessor to this model and it was great. I'm replacing it because I made the mistake of taking movies in a sandstorm during a hike down Buckskin gulch in Utah. Ever since that the camera has been complaining when sand grains stick in the lens mechanism and get inside the camera on the sensor. So don't do that!

When the LX7 arrived I downloaded the PDF manual (much easier to read than the small one in the box) and went through the new features to familiarize myself with how to use them. I kept being delighted with the improvements over the LX5 that make this the best camera I've ever owned for hiking/climbing shots. In brief, they are:

1) Fast lens - good for hand held shots in dim lighting situations (forests, twilight, ...). You don't hold up your companions setting up a tripod shot.
2) Wide angle - no need for a panorama when the wide angle lens can get it all
3) Compact - light and small enough to hand around your neck all day without being uncomfortable
4) Raw - Most of the time I take jpeg simply to document the hike. But when dramatic lighting or scenes call for it I can kick in the Raw for a killer result.
5) Bracketing - many outdoor shots with snow or sun/shadow scenes have huge contrast. Exposure bracketed shots combined in post solve this.
6) New! Auto HDR - LX7 will do the bracketing and merging in camera. Haven't tested enough to see if it beats (4) for quality though.
7) New! Auto Pano - I take a lot of panorama shots from viewpoints, and it's time consuming to stitch them in post. The LX7 will do them in camera.
8) New! 3D - I know, 3D is overrated, but for that shot hanging over the cliff nothing else works as well. LX7 has a 3D photo mode.
9) New! Time Lapse - I don't do time lapse much because I couldn't, but I hope to capture progressive alpenglow from camp, and a time lapse of 3 shots 1-minute apart also works as a long self-timer. I've nearly fallen scrambling on steep summit rocks to get in the picture withing 10 seconds.
10) White body - I bushwhack a lot and twice my camera has "sneaked" out of my case when I forgot to close the zipper. White cameras are easier to find!
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on September 25, 2013
The LX7 was an upgrade from my Leica D-Lux 4 (Lumix LX3). The LX7 is identical in function to the Leica D-Lux 6 in glass, sensor and overall function, has a nice built-in grip - the Leica does not, and there are only slight differences in menu user interface. The Leica will appeal to those who want to pay double or more for the name and little red dot, but there is no technical justification. Same camera. So the rest of this review is about the Lumix LX-7.

Lumix got this so exactly right, on a camera that has seen gentle evolutionary changes previously.

First of all, don't be bamboozled by pixel count. Although it is billed as 10MP, those are fat sensitive pixels on a large sensor area (1:1.7). They also evolved from a CCD to a richer, more sensitive CMOS sensor, as many manufacturers have done over the years. The picture quality is superb, even in very low light, and up to about ISO 1600. Shot at ISO 80-200, the resulting JPEGs are grainless up to 8x10 magnification, and will make a fine 16x20 uncropped. It seems folks are selling cameras with huge MP specs and teeny sensors these days; just so much marketing vaporware. This one makes no such nonsensical lie.

I can this a Leica-Sonic, because, make no mistake, Leica did profoundly influence the lens design. It's not that disingenuous to call it a Vario-Summilux; Summilux is Leica branding for their f1.4 lenses costing many thousands of dollars when made in Germany for the M-Series cameras, and this is a true f1.4 lens at 24mm equivalent. At the 90mm equivalent end of the range, it's still f2.3. Couple that with excellent anti-shake, and you have a discrete digicam for wideangle, normal and macro use which can shoot hand-held in near zero light at a half-second. It is not for telephoto-lovers, the 20x zoom cameras have more reach but nowhere near this image quality. But at the 24mm end, very little barrel distortion, sharp out to the corners, and you can focus in macro mode objects which nearly touch the lens!

Some unique features which no one else offers:

(1) The f1.4 lens. Are you kidding me? They are not. Go find it anywhere else, except on your fixed focal length prime lens for the DSLR. It not only allows extreme low light shooting, but even lets you create shallow depth-of field for close portraits, which no other digicams can. And if you want to do this in bright light, where the 1/4000 sec fastest shutter and ISO 80 would otherwise not allow you to use the f1.4 max aperture, it even has a built-in neutral density filter with a dedicated button, so you can still shoot wide open. Extraordinary lens. Okay, so maybe Ernst Leitz would turn over in the casket if he ever saw the Summilux name applied to a Japanese-manufactured lens on a pocket camera, but it's a fantastic lens.

(2) The variable aspect ratio switch - you can shoot 3:2 like traditional 35mm, 4:3 like an iPad, 16:9 if you know you are going to view on a widescreen monitor or TV, and - new for this version - even 1:1. All those crops come out of an oversized 12MP circular image sensor, so you can crop before you shoot, not after, and maintain far more image detail. At the flip of a switch just above the lens.

(3) The manual controls are extensive and well placed. You can certainly shoot in iA (intelligent auto) and be hard-pressed to screw up anything, or control everything. But for manual shooters, at least use P, so that you can override white balance, focus or aperture when needed. And the manual focus mode and metering mode controls are excellent. Any time you use A or M, or override the P setting with a well-placed multi-control dial, you see the resulting aperture/shutter speed pairings instantly.

(4) It has an aperture ring!! - While most digicams have only an f4-f8 aperture range, making manual control of aperture and shutter almost useless, this f1.4 lens has a manual aperture ring from f1.4 to f8 right on the lens barrel, so you can shoot in A mode like it was a traditional SLR. Even most modern DSLR lenses don't have one anymore. That is a priceless feature for aperture priority shooters.

(5) Exposure compensation. Any serious pro camera has a bias dial, the +/- exposure control that lets you bias the auto exposure up or down in 1-stop or partial stop increments. Go find it on an iPhone, nope. Go find it on most prosumer digicams; it is often buried in menus. But on the Lumix LX7, the multi-control ring lets you change it instantly, while the display shows you the plus/minus bias and and resulting aperture/shutter speed pairings, either on screen or in the viewfinder.

No camera's meter is smart enough to correctly expose every shot without exposure bias. I use this feature with nearly every picture I take, on every camera I use. I even use it on my Pantech Discover cell phone (sorry, Apple). But on the Lumix, it is utterly convenient and professional, an indispensable tool.

(6) The mode dial was stiffened up over earlier versions; it will no longer move by itself in the pocket or case. And when you change it, a spinning dial on the display easily shows you the set mode (iA, A, P, M, etc) in BIG letters, so you know the mode set without removing eyes from the screen or finder.

(7) Did I say "finder"? I am a 56-year old eyeglass wearer who grew up on pro Nikons with great optical viewfinders. While I loved my previous Leica-Sonic (the f2 lensed LX3 / D-Lux 4) for image quality and portability, I could not use it at arms length without the eyeglasses on and off like a yo-yo. So candid and action shots were nearly impossible, just like most arm's length digicams. So I never replaced my Nikon's normal lens or considered the Leica D-Lux 4 a true alternative. And after shooting, in bright light you couldn't see or edit what you shot, unless you hid inside someplace dark (same problem with DSLRs).

Enter the new Leica-Sonic (Lumix LX7) with the LVF2 viewfinder. The finder, made by Olympus but marketed for Leica (EVF) and Lumix (LVF), slides into the shoe, and transforms this little digicam into a near DSLR, in some ways better. It's bright, contrasty, shows you the accurate framing, focus and exposure and all settings - everything you can see on the 3" rear LCD. Or not. Flip back and forth between finder and screen with a button. Switch on and off the extra finder info with a button. Then review your just-shot picture in the finder as well. Not even my Nikons let me do this, so when you simply must verify exposure, focus or anything else outdoors, the EVF is transformative for photography. Yes, it does create some bulk, but as a tool, it is the single biggest advance in small cameras since we did away with film. Buying this accessory is essential, even if you have to carry it in a separate pocket.

(8) Framing. My Nikons and previous Leica-Sonic had an electronic grid you could overlay on the screen when you needed to line up composition, like the lines on a large-format camera's ground glass. It was too busy and distracting on a small screen. So this time around, Lumix replaced it with a live 'gyro', a horizon line and vertical line which move to help you keep the camera level while shooting, without getting in the way. As with all the other display features, it is easily turned off and on with a button.

(9) Frame Rate. I thought I had died and gone upstairs when I learned how to trick my Nikon D300 into shooting nine frames per second (fps) instead of the advertised six. It has allowed me to capture instants in time otherwise impossible. Anyone not trying out this feature is missing out on capturing something really spectacular; I've taught several students to capture sports action like pros by using high frame rate. Well, this Lumix LX7 shoots ELEVEN fps. Sorry Nikon, but the little mirror-less camera has you beat here. And with a class 10 SD card installed, it will keep up, even at full resolution. Wow.

Nitpick 1: I've read many reviews panning this camera because it does not have a retractable lens cover. Rather, it has a traditional cap which you manually remove and replace, just like on a real camera, and it attaches with a small string tether to the strap lug so you don't lose it while shooting. My response is "Bee-Eff-Dee". I have to uncap my Nikons to shoot them, and since their lenses interchange, the cap goes in my case or pocket while shooting. With the Lumix, at least you always know where the cap is. Let's face it; this is not a toy, it is a serious photographer's small camera (I will not call it a point-and-shoot, out of respect). So if you want a retractable lens cover, go get a toy camera. Else, deal with it.

Nitpick2: Panasonic markets this as having a 7.5x Intelligent Zoom. Please do not insult MY intelligence. This is a 3.8x OPTICAL zoom lens, a 24-90mm equivalent in 35mm film parlance. The fact that you can crop in from that by 'zooming' past the optical limits has little practical value. By now, most digicam buyers get that, so Panasonic is attempting to rebrand digital zoom as something more than digital in-camera crop. But it is not a 7.5x lens, and the product title should not feature than number. It cheapens an otherwise excellent product aimed at the prosumer market, not the K-Market.

Nitpick3: Ken Rockwell, who has authored many fine camera reviews, has routinely panned this Leica / Lumix camera series. In his words, "it's not a real Leica". Well, no kidding, Ken. It also does not cost ten thousands bucks, body alone, plus lenses at several thousand per. But for most ordinary humans wanting professional image quality and features without a mortgage, it is all the Leica we will ever need. And for me, I can ski with it at 50mph in my pocket, ride my bike with it in my saddle bag, and always have it handy. I don't know anyone who would treat a Leica M9 this way. Most of them sit locked behind glass display cabinets. Mine makes photos.

Bottom line: I still keep my Nikon's 50mm f1.4 lens for fine portraiture and product photography, and to keep at least one mid-range lens for the D300. But I recently sold my Nikon's ten-year-old massive 28-70mm f2.8 pro lens, for $900, once I bought the Lumix). Why? Because the LX7 obsoleted the Nikkor. The LX7 cost me far less in total with viewfinder, spare battery, cards, EVF, leather half-case and leather wrist strap than I sold the well-used Nikkor lens for. And because it is far more versatile and pocketable, it takes more and better pictures.

All I use the Nikon D300 now for is for ultrawide (the 16mm fisheye and 12-24mm lenses) and telephoto (the 70-210mm f2.8) shooting. For everything else, the LX7 with the EVF is now this professional photographer's primary camera.

Just don't call it a point-and-shoot. You will insult it.

Bob Reed / Alpine Images
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on December 12, 2016
Initial impression is excellent. My context is that this is the first camera I've purchased for personal use since the Panasonic GM1, which is a m4/3 interchangeable lens camera with a very compact body, so that is my main point of comparison. I also had a original Sony RX100, but it was lost at a conference, so needed a small every day carry camera. I do more indoor natural light shots than out, and pretty much never use a flash, so that frames my needs a bit. Based on early results, the LX10 is a great replacement for the RX100 and beats the GM1 as a travel/EDC camera. Key findings so far:

*The lens on the LX10 beats the larger m4/3 sensor + stock lens on the GM1 for everyday indoor photography. To compare, I did a quick set of shots on P(rogram) setting on both cameras in a unevenly lit room at night, just to see what the P algorithms produced when left to their own devices. The GM1 was equipped with the very nice compact zoom kit lens, 12-32mm f3.5-5.6 max aperture. P sets shutter speed, aperture, and ISO automatically. Both cameras took the shot at 1/60th s with their lenses wide open, but the ISO on the LX10 was 640 while the ISO on the GM1 was 3200. Totally to be expected given the much slower f3.5 vs. f1.4, but cameras are systems, not individual components, and the 3200 ISO on the GM1 really increased the noise, lowered the detail and hurt the color fidelity much more than in the shot from the LX10. Now, of course, I could have put a fast lens on the GM1, I certainly own plenty of m4/3 lenses including fast primes, BUT, that's the point, really, that the very fast lens on the LX10 opens up a much wider operating window compared to the kit GM1, and to match it, I'd have to give up the zoom and use a fast prime, again lowering the versatility and speed of operation for my kind of indoor/low light shooting, so that is worth something to me.

Other quick points:

Size - the retractable lens on the LX10 makes it much easier to pocket and carry the LX10 vs. the GM1, even though the body of the GM1 is a bit smaller, due to the added depth from the 12-32mm lens.
Speed of operation - the 12-32mm lens on the GM1 must be manually extended before taking the first shot, making it much tougher to capture fleeting scenes.
4K video - Not an option on the GM1. Not that I need it much just yet, but looking forward to that move in the not too distant future. I did test the 4K video on the highest data rate setting, and was able to capture and playback just fine from my very recent PNY UHS1/U3 card PNY Elite Performance 128 GB High Speed SDXC Class 10 UHS-I, U3 up to 95 MB/Sec Flash Card (P-SDX128U395-GE). I panned an indoor scene and watched the focus adjust, and, after one big focus hunt right at the beginning, the LX10 did a very nice job, pulling from 10ft focus to less than a foot at the end of the pan, and stopping right on focus of the close object without hunting. Pretty impressive.

Other points of comparison:
*LX100. I briefly owned and returned the LX100 before buying the LX10 as it was just too big for the every day carry role. Further, the effective resolution due to sensor crop on the LX100 was a disappointment in the few test images I took, and the default JPEG settings left me flat, which surprised me given my preference for Pany standard JPEGs.
*LS100. Own this camera for work, and the 10x zoom is really handy, but the slower lens shows indoors, even wide open.

There are many more features to test and that will be fun, but, net, for me, the LX10 is the better choice, given priority for indoor or low light outdoor shots. I'll continue to use my GM1 and Olympus EM5 m4/3 cameras with appropriate lenses for the more challenging shots (e.g., the 2015 All Star Game, where 300mm zoom was essential paired with the EM5), or the LS100 where I need quick access to more zoom range outdoors, but the LX10 is now my EDC camera, especially when I know I'll want a mix of indoor + outdoor, or just indoor. Highly recommended if your priorities are similar.
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on November 28, 2012
The Panasonic DMC-LX7: Its Own Class of Camera

The notion of compact and "pocketable" form factor cameras is a matter of perspective. Just like an "affordable" camera has a lot to do with what you personally feel is an appropriate price bracket, if a camera is pocketable or not depends on how big your pockets are. The Lumix LX7 retails for about $500, is one of the flagship fixed lens cameras from Panasonic, yet has already been discounted in various spots to forty percent less than retail. At $300 street price, it is less dollars than some small-sensor long zoom cameras, yet is still about double the price of some very competent point and shoot cameras. If you are interested in optional (but pricey) features, the hot shoe of the LX-7 lets you instantly add the Panasonic DMW-LVF2 1,440,000-dot equivalent electronic viewfinder (about $200) or your choice of a few external flash units as well.

The LX-7 is the latest incarnation of the LX-3 / LX-5 series of more or less compact cameras that have featured a bit larger sensors and brighter lenses than the run of the mill compact cameras, along with the ability to save images in RAW format. Compared to its well-received predecessor, the LX-5 has a sharper 3-inch LCD with 920,000 dots, a faster F1.4-2.3, 3.8X lens, faster shooting performance, and comparatively spectacular video capability. It records at up to Full HD video at 1080/60p and additionally offers high speed 720p video recording at 120 frames/second. Compared to the LX-5 this is a substantial upgrade, as far as I'm concerned, in most all key areas. Its CIPA standard battery life is reduced to 330 images from 400 in the LX-5, likely due to its improved resolution LCD. It is a bit heavy (0.66 lb / 10.51 oz.) and bulky (4.37 x 2.68 x 1.81 in.) compared to the shirt pocket type cameras, but similar to the LX5. It does fits the platform of pocket camera, but a coat-pocket camera rather than a shirt or pants pocket camera.

LX7 Basic Specifications
Resolution: 10.10 Megapixels
Lens: 3.80x zoom (24-90mm eq.)
Viewfinder: LCD 920k
LCD Size: 3.0 inch
ISO: 80-12800
Shutter: 250-1/4000
Max Aperture: 1.4
Dimensions: 4.4 x 2.6 x 1.8 in. (111 x 67 x 46 mm)
Weight: 10.5 oz (297 g) incl. battery
MSRP: $500

100% crop image quality at ISO 1600 betters the upscale long zoom cameras, such as the generally impressive DMC-FZ200. Its faster lens and slightly larger sensor (1/1.7 inch) combine to make this came a low-light superstar, bettering the similar sensor size equipped Canon S100 and S110.

Let's say you are considering moving up to the LX7 from a compact long zoom travel camera, such my current favorite in that class, the Lumix ZS-15 or the generally excellent Canon SX260. Now, you net the sharper LCD, a bigger sensor, and the LX7 lens is far, far faster than the ZS-15's F3.3 - F5.9 array. You'll also appreciate the included external charger, the hot shoe of the LX-7, and the obvious superior low-light capabilities. By low light, I mean the indoors version of low-light, without using the flash. If you accustomed to post-processing, the RAW images of the LX7 will be another appreciated advantage.

On the flipside, the LX-7 is around twice the price, you might miss the 16x optical zoom, and you'll notice right away that the LX-7 is noticeably bigger and heavier by comparison. You'll also notice right away that there is no integral lens cover on the LX7 and the lens cap is removed manually (an aftermarket solution is readily available). If your focus (pun int.) is primarily on convenience and economy, the ZS-15 is most assuredly easier to have with you all the time, easier to quickly just throw into a pocket and go.

The reasons there is so little consensus in the preferred camera is that we all have divergent notions of what a camera is supposed to do. Naturally, image quality defines a desirable camera, but there is the snapshot level of quality image and then the "I want to make posters" level. Satisfying snapshots are the most common output of a camera to no one's great surprise. Yet, if your camera has wondrous image quality, but turtle-slow shooting performance, it is easy to forego image softness only discernible if you hold an 8 x 10 a few inches from your nose in favor of a faster camera that is less hassle to use.

Video capabilities get better and better in "still cameras," one of those things not important to you . . . unless of course it is. This camera delivers strongly in the video department. The same goes with time lapse, high-speed video, creative effects, and so forth. The technically "best" image-capturing unit may not at all be the best choice for you if the image stabilization is poor, you can't see the LCD, the batteries are perpetually dead, and some of the specialty features you really want don't exist. In all of these areas, the LX-7 is either very good to class-leading.

The LX-7 aspect ratio selector means you can shoot 3:2 images at 9.5 Megapixels. That completely fills the 3:2 aspect ratio screen and is where I've found myself doing most of my shooting. The image stabilization is excellent, the Panasonic "iA" (intelligent auto mode) yields impressive results if you aren't inclined to experiment with the program or scene modes.

CONCLUSION

This camera reads like a compilation of everything most people claim they want improved from their economy, compact, point and shoot. It has a better LCD, a bigger sensor, first-rate video capabilities, a hot shoe, JPEG, JPEG+RAW, and RAW capability, and includes the fastest lens in this category of camera today: F1.4-2.3. It includes an external charger as opposed to "USB only" charging, its 330 CIPA battery life is better than most compacts, and it has enough manual controls and scene modes to keep people experimenting for a very, very long time. This unit captures truly excellent video with a wondrous high speed video mode as well, 720p @ 120 fps.

Time lapse, high speed video, an external charger, and a built-in neutral density filter might seem old hat by now, but it actually is ***anything but***. The next step up the food chain, the larger sensored $650 Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 lacks not just one or two of these features: it lacks all of them. Yet, the RX100 is lighter in weight, if not on the wallet, something than cannot be said for some others in the category. The RX100 actually offers very little over this camera, its diminutive size and higher resolution are the two areas that cannot be denied. What closes the gap is the extremely fast lens of the LX-7.

It is hard to fault this camera. In many ways, this is a one-stop compact personal imaging center for both still images and video. The only video consideration is not the video quality, but the inability to plug in an external mic. The only thing you might miss as a still camera is the lack of a long optical zoom if you feel that cramps your personal creative juices. The overall speedy focus and shooting performance is immensely satisfying; as you won't find yourself waiting for this camera to respond. If there is such thing as a bullseye in the price / performance ratio, this camera seems to nail it.

In somewhat of rare and pleasant happenstance, this camera does everything it promises to do. Not everything always works as described, but the Panasonic DMC-LX7 actually does. Those looking to upgrade from the LX5 won't have to go past the faster lens, sharper LCD, and vastly improved video to find the LX7 an appealing successor. This is simply an all-around excellent piece of equipment.

It scores top-of-chart in image quality and video quality in its class. Its shooting performance makes many cameras seem turtle-slow shot-to-shot. Finally, can be considered a screamingly strong value as well. Nothing competes with it at a $300 street price that I'm aware of and I mean ***nothing***. For many, many folks this is the only camera you'll need or want . . . and it leaves scant little lacking in a non-system reasonably compact package beyond what comes in the box.

I did add Progo DMW-BCJ13e Power Pack (Two Li-Ion Rechargeable Batteries and Pocket Travel AC/DC Wall Charger with Car Adapter & US to European plug) for Panasonic DMW-BCJ13, DMW-BCJ13E, DMW-BCJ13PP. Works with Lumix DMC-LX5, DMC-LX7 Digital Camera. Fully Compati... that is really quite a bargain in battery-land, and a Lowepro Rezo 50 Camera Bag. The Lowepro Rezo 50 works particularly well if you go with a standard lanyard on the side of the camera rather than the dual strap supplied array. My final addition was the Auto Lens Cap for PANASONIC LUMIX DMC LX7 LX-7, LEICA D-LUX 6 + MagicFiber Microfiber Lens Cleaning Cloth.

The Progo batteries are excellent, no loss of functionality vs. OEM batteries, slightly better life, and a fraction of the rip-off priced Panasonic branded batteries. With the Auto lens cap, everything goes neatly into the Rezo 50 bag including the two extra batteries. This is where it reaches, but does not exceed, my own personal limit of an easily portable camera array.

Copyright 2012 by Randy Wakeman.
All Rights Reserved.

If you are on a budget, and want a better than standard compact camera that is a bit smaller, consider: Canon PowerShot S100 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide-Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black) for $249. Poor video compared to the LX7, a slower lens, weak low-light ability, but significantly smaller in size.

For longer zoom, economical compacts the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS15 12.1 MP High Sensitivity MOS Digital Camera with 16x Optical Zoom (Black) is a screaming deal at $149 and the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Image Stabilized Zoom 25mm Wide-Angle Lens and 1080p Full-HD Video (Black) is now (finally) at a competitive $200 price point.

If you want a RAW capable long zoom fixed lens camera, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 12.1 MP Digital Camera with CMOS Sensor and 24x Optical Zoom - Black is a top choice, but still at a salty $500 price point, and it is too bulky to be considered compact by most.

For image quality, though, this LX-7 betters them all, and in low light or for video, it makes them all looks embarrassingly weak.
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on July 10, 2013
Love this camera.

It is very small: I put it in a small pouch on my belt and it goes everywhere with me. Not as small as a smart phone, but close enough and much higher quality.

The fast f1.4 lens allows me to shoot indoor pictures without flash. Love that.

The rear screen is so clear that I find myself not wishing for a viewfinder.

The camera is very simple to operate. I have been leaving it in "IA" mode (intelligent auto) for all of my shooting, treating it almost like a point & shoot camera, even though a professional photographer friend urges me to explore using some of the other modes (aperture priority, in particular). I will get around to doing that eventually. Meanwhile, I get great results already.

The video is stunning, and I am not even using anywhere near the highest quality settings. I have the camera set to shoot 720p video, producing mp4 files. My old computer can play and edit these files easily.

Note that the manual says that if you do use the highest quality video settings (HD, 1920x1080, 60p), and you want to view or edit the video on a computer, you will need a fast computer, specifically, an i7 machine. Friends of mine who edit video concur that such a fast computer is, indeed necessary. I don't have such a fast computer, and when I try to view HD, 1920x1080, 60p video on my computer, it plays in little short bursts. But this is not a problem of the camera; it is just a fact about the data rate required to play HD video.

But again, even with the camera set to shoot lower resolution video, the results are great.

In conclusion, this is a fantastic camera, at a great price.

Some notes about the lens cap follow below:

The original Panasonic lens cap, when attached to the camera, does not have enough room underneath for an adaptor ring and protective filter. But the original lens cap has the advantage that it locks into the outer, fixed barrel around the lens. It does not stick out very far. And it completely covers the air gap between the inner, telescoping barrel and the outer fixed barrel. And if the lens cap takes a hit, the impact is transmitted to the outer, fixed barrel and not to the telescoping inner barrel. The risk to using the original lens cap is, of course, that without a protective filter, the lens could get scratched.

For that reason, I tried an EzFoto adapter ring, protective filter, and lens cap (available on Amazon).

Unlike some other reviewers, I did not have any trouble removing the thread protector from my Panasonic LX7. The EzFoto adapter ring threads on easily enough, and the EzFoto adapter ring goes on easily and fills up some of the air gap between the inner, telescoping lens barrel and the outer, fixed barrel. But the EzFoto adapter ring and filter protrude from the front of the camera a few millimeters. When the EzFoto lens cap is attached, the resulting assembly is fairly thick, much thicker than the original lens cap. Also note that the EzFoto lens cap is attached to the EzFoto filter and adapter ring, which are threaded onto the inner, telescoping lens barrel. That means that if the camera takes a hit on the front, the impact is transmitted to the inner, telescoping lens barrel. (And the EzFoto lens cap comes with a small tether, but it is not at all clear how the tether is to be attached to the lens cap: the hole in the lens cap is much too small.)

But in my last 25 years of using various kinds of cameras, I have never scratched a lens. My wife is very careful with the camera. When our 6-year-old son takes a picture with the LX7, even he is very careful to not touch the lens. The lens has gotten dirty, because we use the camera in a lot of fun situations, like at the beach on a windy day. But I have usually been able to simply blow off the dust with a squeeze bulb. The one time that the lens needed more than that, I used FormulaMC cleaner and a microfiber cloth to clean it very carefully. It came out looking like new. Our LX7 is a family camera, and we have fun with it and do not obsess over it, and yet the lens remains in perfect condition.

So I don't think a protective filter is necessary. If one wants to attach some other kind of filter for special effects, then the EzFoto kit would be essential.
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