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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 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 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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on September 6, 2016
This is one awesome camera. It was a really good product back in 2012, when it was launched, but even today, in 2016, this products still rocks. This camera has excellent optics, a pretty large range of f stops and a 1/1.7" CMOS sensor, still larger than many compact cameras have today. It has manual and semi manual modes, a nice LCD screen, an apperture ring around the lens and is compatible with some Panasonic and Olympus viewfinders. It also does not stuff lots of Megapixels in a tiny sensor like many other cameras do, so the picture quality is pretty good, especially if you shoot RAW. JPEGs are OK, but raw is awesome, it gives you many many options to tweak and process your pictures to make them look the way you want or the way you saw it. The included raw processing software that came with this cam was pretty good (Silkypix), but if you plan on taking lots and lots of photos with this cam, I suggest you try some other software with better catalogging features, like Adobe Lightroom. Video is also very good on this camera, with the option to shoot slow motion videos at 720p. The camera has been replaced by the LX 100, but if all you want is to take some pictures with a pretty decent quality and don't want to spend a lot, look for one of these used, they are still pretty much better than most compact cameras available today.
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on December 23, 2015
This is my first "nice" camera that's a step up above basic point and clicks. I can't really comment how this works compared to other cameras outside of the most basic, just how it works for a complete newbie.

First off, the pictures this camera takes, even in less than optimal conditions and with little fiddling, look better than the best pictures I'd get from a basic point and shoot (and miles away from a phone camera). The megapixels might not be super high, meaning you can't zoom in as much before you can see the individual pixels, but you can still make out all the details like grass blades or small leaves where other cameras I've used would leave big blobs of color.

It has all the settings of an expensive DSLR, which feeds my need to fiddle with things. It lets me practice with what all the settings and modes do in a relatively inexpensive device.

I'm happy with how low the shutter lag is and how well it manages with the poor/uneven lighting at my house.

There's a few things I'm feel could be better:
-The lens sticks out from the body quite a bit. It prevents me from fitting the camera in my relatively generous jeans pockets. It fits in my jacket pocket, but there's an obvious bulge. It's compact, but definitely not pocketable.
-Related, the lens cap isn't as secure as I'd wish it to be. I keep the camera in my messenger bag and will sometimes find that the cap has come off, leaving the glass exposed.
-Adjusting shutter speed is slow and frustrating. The dial doesn't "spin" through all the speeds fast enough. It allows for fine adjustments, but takes forever to get from one extreme to the other. I tend to stay out of Shutter Priority mode.
-Manual focus is also a little fiddly and I haven't gotten used to it. There's just basically a switch that moves the focus in and out where a dial of some sort would be much easier to use.
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on October 20, 2012
I feel bad for this camera because it got overshadowed by the Sony RX100, which everyone thinks is so amazing because it has a sensor that's midway in size between a compact camera and an APS-C DSLR.

Leaving aside the RX100, the LX7 is the best compact camera I have ever owned with respect to image quality and useability and features.

Some of the wonderful attributes of this camera are:

1. It focuses as fast as an entry-level DSLR.
2. Built-in level.
3. "Step-zoom" allows you to select focal-length-equivalents of 24, 28, 35, 50, 70 and 90mm.
4. Manual focus gives you an electronic depth of field chart which changes as you change the aperture. This makes it great for either zone focusing or for finding the hyperfocal distance. There's also an "MF Resume" option which will return the lens to where you last manually focused.
5. Lens is really sharp, only minimal corner softness at F4, and very useable wide open, more so than the Sony RX100.
6. I also see nearly zero purple fringing with this camera--I'm not sure if its the amazing lens or Panasonic post-processing tricks, but it's nevertheless impressive.
7. Lens is so fast that this camera is actually a BETTER low-light camera than any entry-level DSLR if you are only going to be using that DSLR with the kit lens. The lens is also faster than the RX100, so you need to take that into account when you compare the two cameras. The lens is fast enough to give you a little bit of blurred background, something I've never seen before on a compact camera.
8. Widest angle is 24mm (equivalent), which is a premium feature that you don't get on basic DSLR kit lenses and you don't get on the Sony RX100.
9. For a sensor if its size it's probably best-of-class, with better DR and less noise than sensors from a few years ago.

The negatives of this camera are:

1. Not as small as a Sony RX100. It is not a pants pocket camera, but fits fine in a coat pocket. The LX7 is slightly more pocketable than an Olympus E-PM1 with the Panasonic 14mm pancake lens.
2. The LCD is nice, but not as nice as the one on the Sony RX100.
3. Has a lens cap you need to remove before using the camera. The camera comes with a little cord you can use to attach the lens cap to the camera so you don't lose it, but I tried it and hated having a lens cap dangling around. So far I've only lost one lens cap in the last ten years, so I'll keep my fingers crossed.
4. Even at base ISO, the sensor is a good distance behind top-quality larger sensors, like the one in the Nikon 3200, so if your photographic goal is to make really huge prints, I recommend a Nikon 3200 with a sharp lens like the Nikon 16-85mm DX VR lens. But you would probably not notice this sensor's shortcomings in anything smaller than a 13 x 19" print.

Bottom line:

If you are going to buy an entry-level DSLR or micro-four-thirds or NEX camera, and are only going to use that camera with the kit lens, then you are probably better off buying an LX7 instead. This camera even has a flash shoe and can be used with a real flash, so there's nothing you can't do with this camera just as well or better that you can do with a DSLR+kit lens.
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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.


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 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 March 9, 2016
I have had this camera since new in 2012 and I still love it to this day. being a retired pro I care very much about image quality and the LX 7 still impresses me today. Frankly I bought this as a backup to my larger, heavier interchangeable lens system but I found myself using the LX7 often. It's always the camera I bring out at wherever I want to be more "low key". It's been with me all over the world and I can honestly say that some of the best travel pictures I have are with the LX7.

My wife likes the "auto" setting. I like the many manual controls. I've considered upgrading but feel no need at this time. Pick one up of you can, they are a bargain at today's prices.
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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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