Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot

  • 16-Megapixel Live MOS Imaging Sensor
  • 3.0-Inch, 1.04-Million dot Touch LCD Screen
  • Micro Four-Thirds Mount system
  • Works with both Panasonic and Olympus Lenses
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • iAuto mode
  • 4K and Full 1080p HD video recording
  • Full manual video recording control
  • 4K burst modes
  • Pop-up flash unit
  • Hot Shoe for external flash or external mic
  • Audio input
  • HDMI output
  • Li-Ion Battery
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
Pros
  • iAuto and Program shooting modes are accurate and easy in all situations
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button is always ready to record
  • Outstanding image quality for both still images and video
  • Excellent performance
  • Mega O.I.S. on the included kit lens is very helpful when shooting on the move
  • High Res. EVF and Tilting touch-LCD make the camera easy to use in all situations
  • Good Battery Life for an ILC
  • Competitively priced
Cons
  • Lacks internal image stabilization that has been noticeably more effective that being built into the lenses
  • Higher ISO settings are way to noisy to be used
  • No NFC for quick connections to smartphones
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 0.7 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 1/10 to 2/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 0.4 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 0.6 seconds
  • High Speed Burst = 7.7fps
  • RAW shooting will decrease the amount of images that can be captured at the full speed
  • All of our tests were completed using a Panasonic UHS-3 16GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO auto, flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Panasonic Lumix G7 is a compact, powerful and affordable ILC. It is the perfect camera for anyone looking to be ready for any situation, either shooting stills or 4K video. Coming in well under $1,000, it is a must see for anyone looking for an ILC or dSLR.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for a camera that can handle high quality 4K video and still images. It is also great when image quality and performance are a must.
Our long-awaited full hands-on review of the Panasonic Lumix G7 is finally here. Compact and powerful, the G7 sports a 16-Megapixel Live MOS imaging sensor sitting behind their Micro Four-Thirds mount system. Combining that with the powerful processor and the Depth-From-Defocus AF system, you get a lightning fast camera that is ready for all shooting situations. The new AF system provides very fast and accurate autofocus along with an outstanding ability to track subjects. Plenty of on-camera controls, including two command dials and 10 programmable Fn buttons, provide quick and customizable control of all of your favorite settings to keep you shooting. The G7's performance features are matched by its ease-of-use and convenience features, which are led by the built-in WiFi, iAuto shooting mode, 1080p and 4K video capture, and the High Res EVF and touch LCD. Everything fits together nicely to form this fantastic Hybrid interchangeable lens camera.

Even with all of the advanced features and shooting modes, the G7 is still incredibly easy to use. Thanks to the iAuto and other automatic shooting modes, anyone from a beginner to a pro can get the most out of the camera. iAuto will take care of everything for you, from adjusting the camera settings for you to choosing the correct scene mode for your current shooting situation.

Sharing your images is also just as easy. Once your smartphone has been connected to the G7, you are able to view and copy images from the camera. This allows you to share your images on social media or email from just about anywhere. With the Panasonic Image App, you can even use your smartphone as remote to control the camera wirelessly. This adds even more versatility to what you can do with the camera.

Along with the G7's 4K video capture, it also features some great 4K (8-Megapixel) burst shooting modes that will blow you away. These burst modes record your images as a 4K MPEG video at 30fps. These movies have specific settings that keep the individual frames sharp, unlike those of a standard video file. Once captured, a program built into the camera or software like Photoshop, allow you to save the individual frames as JPEG images. In other words, the camera has the ability to shoot an 8-Megapixel image at 30fps. When exporting your frames on the camera, the EXIF info will also be included in your new JPEG.

With a slightly curved grip on the right side of the camera, the G7 fits very comfortably into you right hand. Both command dials and most of the on-camera controls are easily accessed with your right hand as well, without any support from your left. This leaves your left hand free for camera support, manual focus or using the touch LCD. Composing and viewing your images is accomplished using either the 2.36-Million Dot OLED electronic viewfinder or the 3.0-inch, 1.04-Million Dot, tilt/swivel Touch LCD screen. The EVF will show all of the shooting and playback information exactly the way you will see it on the LCD screen. The bright, high contrast screen gives an incredibly clear replication of the image which will make you forget all about having an optical viewfinder. The tilt/swivel LCD is another great option, showing great color and fantastic detail. Its free angle movement allows you to shoot from just about any tough or awkward angle accurately. Touch operation is easy and allows for a great deal of additional shooting settings to be at your fingertips.

Performance from the G7 is outstanding, especially for a sub $1,000 camera. It is able to capture its first image in just 7/10 of a second after being turned on. Shutter lag is almost non-existent when the focus is set and a lightning 1/10 to 2/10 of a second when allowing the AF system to work. Single shot mode allows the camera to focus and capture images at 2.63fps without the flash. Raising the flash slows the camera a bit, but it is still capable of 1.7fps. Burst mode really steps up and captured 7.7fps for us, just shy of the 8fps claimed by Panasonic. In brighter, outdoor lighting conditions this is more than possible. If this is not enough, the 4K burst shooting modes capture at a set 30fps, allowing you to freeze even the fastest action. Our samples page includes a sample 4K burst movie with a JPEG captured from it. All of our tests were completed using a Panasonic UHS-3 16GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO auto, flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.

*Shooting at the Indy 500 was a bonus with this camera. This challenging shooting situation really showed us how powerful and useful the 4K Burst shooting mode is. The AF system also did a great job focusing and following the cars at 200+ miles per hour.

Looking at our outdoor image samples; we see that the camera produces excellent overall image quality, with pleasing exposure and realistic color (welcome to an Ohio winter). All of our images are very sharp, thanks to the new Depth-From-Defocus AF system, which gives the images a great deal of detail. Our samples were taken in both Program and iAuto shooting modes. In most of our samples we saw very little difference in the two, but the theater shot gave us a much darker and higher contrast image in iAuto. In all instances, aberrations and other image flaws are kept under control nicely. For framing, the G7 comes with the option of two kits: 14-140mm lens or a 14-42mm lens (tested).

Our indoor samples give us a better look at the overall image quality of the G7 throughout the camera's ISO range. The M&M man shots show us a great deal of detail within the image, right down to the threads in the flag. ISO 100 through ISO 1600 look great, with some noise starting at the higher ISO levels within this range, but still showing all of the detail. From there the noise levels start to rise quickly with the ISO setting. As the noise levels start to rise, the fine details in the image start to fade. At ISO 12800 the overall appearance of the image starts to change and the noise levels are definitely unacceptable. Assisting with your low-light images, Panasonic has included a compact manual pop-up flash unit. With a GN6.6 or equivalent of 6.6 meters at ISO 100, while compact, this is a powerful TTL flash for its size. If this is not enough, a hot shoe allows you to add an external flash unit for increased power or a constant video light.

Capturing portraits with the G7 has never been easier. Thanks to Panasonic's great face detection features, the camera will automatically detect and follow any faces that come into the frame. Panasonic's software also takes things one step further by identifying the subjects eye, which allows the AF system to adjust and assure you the eye is the focal point of the image. Along with the AF system, the camera produces good skin tones. We did see a big variance in the color when comparing images with the flash on or off, producing a much warmer image with the flash firing.

To assist with your creative side, Panasonic includes a slew of artistic filters that can be applied to your still images and videos while shooting. These filters take a standard, high-quality image from the camera and add an effect that cannot be created with a standard camera and/or lens. Some of these are not possible at all without a computer and editing software to recreate. While shooting with the filters, you will see exactly how your image will turn out in real time as you are composing it, so there is no guess work involved. We have included a few of the 22 filter samples on our samples page.

Panasonic's video capabilities on all of their ILCs goes above and beyond what you will find on all others, and the G7 is no exception. As a true Hybrid camera, the G7 offers just as much control over its video as it does over its still images. As one of the few cameras on the market to offer full control over the 4K and Full 1080p HD video, this camera is perfect for anyone that wants the best of both worlds. Various recording formats are available to meet your needs, along with full manual control over the camera settings. Playback allows for frame-by-frame playback of all captured videos with the ability to export frames as JPEG images at any point. All of our sample videos play back smoothly, either on a computer, the camera or on an HDTV with an optional HDMI cable. Sound from the onboard microphone is not great, as the mic is very sensitive and picks up all of the sound around the camera. The camera does feature a microphone input for increased audio quality. Panasonic offers several external microphones that can be mounted on the camera for audio that matches the video quality.

Powering the Lumix G7 is a 7.2V, 1200mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. This battery was enough to capture over 150 images and several short videos on a single charge, falling in line with the 350 images that Panasonic claims the camera can handle. During our trip to Indy, it was easy to see that while this camera has a standard battery life for an ILC; it goes pretty quickly during a full day of shooting. We had spare batteries on hand and they were definitely needed. We recommend that you have at least one spare ready to go as well. Also included with the G7 is a portable charging unit, making it easy to keep your battery and a spare charged and ready to go.

Bottom Line - Panasonic's Lumix G7 is a fantastic ILC; taking on a great combination of performance, image quality, and portability. Its compact size and automatic shooting modes make it great for travel and everyday use, while its great performance and image quality are ready to capture great results in any shooting situation. With a MSRP of US $799.99 (14-42mm kit) or $1,099.99 (14-140mm kit), it falls into a mid-range ILC and is well worth the money if you are looking for its performance and excellent 4K and 1080p video capabilities.


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