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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7

Published: July 18, 2012 | 7:00 am
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Panasonic has finally updated its Lumix DMC-LX5 with the Lumix DMC-LX7. The highlight of this advanced compact is its 3.8x, F1.4 to F2.3 Leica-branded zoom optics. Fitted with a new 10.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor, the LX7 features an improved Venus Engine image processor and records video at 1080/60p full-HD in the AVCHD Progressive format. Apart from some cosmetic upgrades, the camera also comes with a higher-resolution LCD screen and sports an inbuilt ND filter switfh that doubles up as a manual focus lever.

What’s new

Bright F1.4 -F2.3 lens optics: Equipped with a 3.8x optical zoom range (24mm to 90mm), the LX7 is also equipped with a bright F1.4 aperture at the wide-end and F2.3 maximum aperture at the telephoto-end. This gives shutterbugs the ability to capture sharper images in dark interiors.

Besides the Leica-certified optics, the camera lens also incorporates the company’s proprietary Nano Surface Coating technology which promises to reduce flare and improve overall image contrast.

10.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor: The company claims that the LX7 comes with a newly-developed 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor that boasts better noise performance and a wider dynamic range. Its improved Venus Engine image processor also gives it faster frame rates (11fps) in burst-mode.

Dedicated controls: The LX7 now comes with an aperture ring on the lens barrel for switching between aperture values. There’s an ND/Focus lever that either toggles an inbuilt ND filter or focus the camera manually.

920k-dot LCD screen: A higher-resolution 920k-dot resolution display allows for better clarity during image playback and image composition in the sun.

1080/60p full-HD video recording: Shutterbugs can now record 1080/60p full-HD videos in the AVCHD Progressive format, which could provide videographers with smoother and sharper videos.

Hands-on

In our hands-on with the LX7 pre-production sample, we found it to have the same robust build quality as the LX5. Housed in a bigger chassis, the new camera now comes with a deeper handgrip which made holding the snapper more secure.

In terms of size, the LX7 (left) is slightly larger than its LX5 predecessor (right).

The LX7 features more dedicated controls, than tis predecessor. We liked the implementation of a knurled aperture ring located on the camera lens as it made changing aperture values quicker than having to do it in the camera user interface or the rear dial. The aperture ring felt quite tactile and had positive click-stops, too.

A dedicated aperture ring allows users to change aperture values quickly.

An ND/Focus lever along the top panel either toggles the snapper’s inbuilt ND filter or allows for manual focusing. We found the ND filter to be useful as it reduces the chances of overexposure outdoors when shooting at larger apertures by reducing your exposure by 3 stops. It also doubles as a switch which lets the user focusing manually when pinpoint accuracy is needed, for situations such as shooting closeups or in low-light conditions.

The camea’s ND filter lever can also be used to focus the camera manually in Manual mode.

Based on a pre-production unit of the LX7, we observed a slight improvement in responsiveness in the four-way keypad with the keys feeling more tactile than before. However, we would have preferred if Panasonic had coated the indents of the keys to make them clearly visible as it was quite difficult to make out the keys in dim light.

The markings of the rear our-way keypad can be diffcult to make out in low light.

The white version of the LX7 was pretty eye-catching and we’re sure it will be a hit with the more fashion-conscious photographers.

 

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 in white.

Note that the LX7′s megapixel count has not been increased from its predecessor even though other advanced compacts feature 12 megapixels or higher. We’ll be curious to see how the camera performs at high ISO in our image tests. We’ll be doing a full evaluation of the LX7 once we get our hands on a commercial unit.

Accessories

Released with the LX7 is a DMW-FA1 filter adapter that allows users to attach the company’s latest DMW-LPLA37 polarizing filter that comes with an ultrathin frame. A DMW-CLX7 genuine leather case would also be introduced for those who want more protection for their shooters.

Pricing and availability

Available in black and white, shutterbugs can expect the Lumix DMC-LX7 to reach Asia come September. Pricing has yet to be confirmed.

asia.cnet.com

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