Review Panasonic GX7 (m43)


The Panasonic GX7 is, with the Panasonic GH3, the top model of the Panasonic Lumx G series.Kai from DigitalRev described the Panasonic DMC-GX7 in his Panasonic GX7 video as “probably the best looking digital camera of the year”. I just might agree with him.
However, you sell the Panasonic GX7 short if you judge it only on appearance. This camera offers all the abilities a demanding photographer (like the Panasonic GH3 for a videographer) could wish for. In addition, the Panasonic GX7 is user friendly and this compact system camera delivers an image quality equivalent to the image quality of a modern SLR.
The micro-43 system offers a wide choice of lenses from Panasonic, Olympus, Sigma, SLR-magic, Samyang, Voigtlander and Tokina. There are adapters for sale that allow you to couple lenses from almost any brand to a Panasonic GX7.



In terms of design, the Panasonic GX7, a rangefinder camera, is much more similar to a Leica M than an SLR. The Panasonic GX7 will also appeal to photographers who want the image quality of an SLR camera linked to the ease of use of a rangefinder camera. Many street photographers prefer a rangefinder camera. First, you’re less noticeable than with an SLR. Also, due to the lack of a mirror that flips up and down when taking a picture, a rangefinder camera is quieter. And the location of the viewfinder, top left instead of top center, offers significant advantages. If you look with your right eye through the viewfinder, then your left eye remains free. You retain an overview of what’s happening out of frame, without you having to move the camera away from your face. The monitor on the back of the camera is less greasy, because you don’t press your nose against the screen when you’re looking in the viewfinder. I did nonetheless find it easier to look through the viewfinder with my left eye.



The Panasonic GX7 not only looks sophisticated, it also feels very solid in your hand. That is partly due to the magnesium alloy cast frame. Even though this camera is very compact, all the buttons are easy to operate. Just like a professional SLR camera, the Panasonic GX7 has two command dials that allow you to use the thumb and index finger of your left hand to adjust the shutter speed and/or the aperture. What I loved a lot is the dual function dial that sits next to your thumb on the back of the camera. In the camera menu, you can set whether you use that to adjust the shutter speed or the aperture. By pressing the wheel, you can also use it for deliberate under-or overexposure. On the Panasonic GH3 you had, just like on most SLRs, a separate button for over/underexpose, but I’m glad for the GX7 Panasonic chose to use the mode dial, like it is on the Panasonic GX1 or Panasonic G5.


DMC-GX7CEG-K slant

We tested the black version of the Panasonic GX7. Do you want something more noticeable? Choose the – in my eyes – even more beautiful silver-black version.

Panasonic GX7 versus Panasonic GX1 or Panasonic GH3

  • Panasonic GH3 has the best video specifications and is the only one extra well-sealed against dust and splash
  • Panasonic GX7 is the first Panasonic camera with built-in image stabilization
  • Panasonic GX1 has a fixed screen. The Panasonic GX7 has a flip down monitor, and the Panasonic GH3 a foldable swivel screen
  • Panasonic GX1 has no built-in viewfinder, the Panasonic GH3 and the Panasonic GX7 do
  • Panasonic GX7 has a fastest shutter speed of 1/8000 and the lowest ISO setting is 125 ISO (vs 1/4000 and 200 ISO for GH3 and GX1)

Panasonic GX7 versus Olympus OM-D E-M5

  • The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 has a cast frame of magnesium alloy for extra sturdiness.

  • The location of the electronic viewfinder is substantially different in the Olympus Om-D E-M5 (middle top) and the Panasonic GX7 (top left)

  • Panasonic GX7 features a built-in flash, with the OM-D E-M5 a loose flash is included

  • Olympus OM-D E-M5 is extra well sealed against dust and splash, the Panasonic GX7 is not

  • Panasonic GX7 has a fastest shutter speed of 1/8000 and the lowest ISO setting is 125 ISO (vs 1/4000 and 200 ISO for the OM-D E-M5)


Display and menu

Digital cameras now offer so many possibilities, that you can quickly get lost in all the buttons and menu options. Aside from the main menu, there is also a shortcut menu for the most frequently used functions. The Panasonic main camera menu is very clear and comprehensible. In terms of ease of use the Panasonic menu in my eyes beats out many other camera brands. But tastes differ.

You have the freedom to use or not to use the touch-screen. This camera has enough buttons that you don’t need to use the LCD screen. Once you’re used to controlling the camera via the screen, the touch screen operation is very fast. The tilting 3-inch touch LCD screen has a high resolution (1,040,000 pixels) and beautiful color reproduction. A unique feature of the electronic viewfinder of the Panasonic GX7 is that you can tilt it up. At first that seemed ideal to me. In practice, I preferred in such situations using the clear, tilting the screen of the Panasonic GX7 if I wanted to operate the camera from above.


Tiltable viewfinder

The electronic viewfinder is able to accurately display most colors (~100% of Adobe RGB) with a high resolution of 2,764,000 pixels. There are not that many monitors with that color range. Nevertheless, you can still see that you aren’t using an optical viewfinder.
The electronic viewfinder of the Panasonic GX7 has a 16:9 aspect ratio and a 0.7x viewfinder magnification. In theory, the Panasonic GX7 has a larger viewfinder than an SLR camera with an APS-C sensor. If you shoot in 4:3 or 2:3 aspect ratio, then the whole field of view isn’t used, meaning in practice the viewfinder magnification is lower than the 0.7 x given in the specifications. The viewfinder magnification of the Panasonic GX7 in a 4:3 aspect ratio is more comparable with the viewfinder magnification of an SLR camera with an APS-C sensor (~0.56 x) than with the viewfinder magnification of a full frame SLR (~0.7 x).



With the viewfinder display, you can choose between displaying the final shot or a without correction for the exposure. Whereas with an optical viewfinder when making night shots you don’t see anything through your viewfinder, with an electronic viewfinder, you can still look through your viewfinder, with the caveat that there will be more noise than usual.

Panasonic GX7: Perfectly silent

Many photographers with an SLR camera prefer the so-called “silent-shutter mode”. The up and down clapping of the mirror is muted then, making the camera less noisy when you take a picture. If you use the mechanical shutter of the Panasonic GX7, then you hear the shutter. And that makes more noise than an SLR camera shutter in the silent mode. The absolute triumph of the Panasonic GX7 is a “Silent Mode” that lives up to its name: the Panasonic GX7 is so quiet, that you don’t even hear that you are shooting. For every street-, wedding-or events photographer who wants to do his work as unobtrusively as possible, that’s fantastic. I nearly got lost while using the silent shutter mode during a concert. And yet I didn’t use the Panasonic GX7 in the Silent Mode. I use the electronic shutter, with which the Panasonic GX 7 makes a shutter sound that’s just barely audible to the photographer, but no one else will be bothered by it. Ideal. 

Sharpness: resolution Panasonic GX7

We judged the sharpness of the Panasonic GX7 both on pictures taken in practice, and on Imatest measurements. The findings from the practice shots and lab tests match. To measure the resolution, we set the aspect ratio of the Panasonic GX7 to 2:3, instead of the more obvious 4:3. This allowed us to directly compare the results obtained for the resolution, expressed in lines per picture height, with the results from SLRs (with an aspect ratio of 2:3). If you measure the resolution of the Panasonic GX7 at a 4:3 aspect ratio, the results are slightly higher even.
If you just look at the specifications, 16 megapixels might seem low compared to other cameras. Even so, the differences in resolution between modern cameras with a resolution between 15 and 20 megapixels, with or without a moiré filter, are very, very small. In practice and with our Imatest measurements, it often appears that the choice of the lens has a greater influence on the resolution than the camera. The Panasonic 20 mm pancake, Panasonic Panasonic 12-35 mm, 35-100 mm or the Panasonic 7-14 mm are ideal candidates to combine with the Panasonic GX7.

Panasonic35100sampleimagePanasonic GX7 + Panasonic 35-100 mm @ 100 mm, f2.8, 1/4000, 200 ISO

Panasonic GX7: In-camera image stabilization

This is the first Panasonic camera with built-in image stabilization. We tested the image stabilization with multiple lenses, including the Panasonic 7-14 mm, the Panasonic 20 mm pancake lens and the Panasonic 14-140 mm f/3.5 – f/5.6 zoom lens. Sometimes we made a profit of 1 to 2 stops, and that’s less than the profit of the In-body image stabilization of Olympus. It is a large profit that Panasonic has switched to this in-body image stabilization, since then you benefit from image stabilization with all lenses. If you put a Panasonic lens with built-in image stabilization on the GX7, the camera automatically chooses the image stabilization of the lens.

In the first part of a very comprehensive Panasonic GX7 review: “The GX7 vs the OM-D E-M5, battle for my affection, Round 1 – IBIS, EVF’s & LCD’s“, Tyson Robichaud showed that the in-body image stabilization of the Panasonic GX7 at slow shutter speeds is even better than the image stabilization of the Olympus OM-D E-M5.

Dynamic range Panasonic GX7


The dynamic range of the Panasonic GX7 in our measurements was better than the dynamic range of the Panasonic G5 and as high as the dynamic range of the Panasonic GH3. That is as good as – and in some cases, even better than –the dynamic range of a larger APS-C sensor in an SLR camera. In our Panasonic GH3 test, we showed that we measure the dynamic range differently than DxO, but that the trend is comparable.

To illustrate that the dynamic range of a camera with a micro-43 sensor in practice does no less than a camera with an APS-C sensor, we took a picture (manually exposed at ISO 3200, 1/500 sec, f/16) of miniature canal houses, that we placed in front of a bright light source. For comparison, we made the same picture with a Canon 650D. On the right, you can see the RAW file and the histogram: there’s no clipping of the highlights, but the Canal houses are almost black. We then made the dark areas lighter in Lightroom (Lightroom settings: Recovery 25, Fill Light 50, Brightness 125, Contrast 15, Sharpening 25 met R=1 and 50 Masking, Luminance noise reduction 20, Color Noise reduction 25). Below you can see two outcroppings of the edited images from the Panasonic GX7 and the Canon 650D.


Move your mouse over the image below.


The dynamic range of the Panasonic GX7 is so great that even in the darkest parts, there’s still image information, while the picture made with an SLR shows no visible detail anymore. If you increase the brightness even further, then the picture made with the SLR shows a striped pattern (banding). The Panasonic GX7 doesn’t.

Noise Panasonic GX7

According to Panasonic, the sensor noise of the Panasonic GX7 is 10% lower than that of the Panasonic GX1. Both for our measurements and in our pictures, that’s too small a difference to detect. In terms of signal/noise ratio the Panasonic GX7 as far as we’re concerned is about as good as both the Panasonic GH3 and the Panasonic GX1. You can print a 3200 ISO shot with peace of heart print at A3 size, without worrying about visible noise or loss of detail from noise suppression. Even in a direct comparison of various prints of 6400 ISO pictures made with the Panasonic GX7 and with a modern SLR camera, you’ll see no difference in quality in terms of noise and sharpness.

If you view your shots at 100% on your screen, you’ll see that at the higher ISO values in the jpg images, you lose some detail to the noise reduction that’s applied. If you shoot in RAW, you can retain more detail and suppress the color noise a bit more than the camera does.


Panasonic GX7 @ 3200 ISO

Color accuracy Panasonic GX7

The Panasonic GX7 in daylight delivers RAW and jpg files with very natural color reproduction. Below to illustrate you can see a picture made with the default jpg settings. Other brands usually opt for a standard image style with a higher saturation and greater sharpening, because many amateur photographers have a preference for higher contrasts, higher saturation and sharper images than reality. If you have such a preference, choose the image style “Vivid.”

RezzolPanasonic GX7 + Panasonic 35-100 mm @ 100 mm, f2.8, 1/2500, 200 ISO
Click (2x) on image above for a version at 100%.



Color accuracy @ daylight

Color accuracy @ tungsten light
As with all modern digital cameras, the color reproduction in daylight is very precise and you’ll see in pictures made in artificial light an orange color cast. If you shoot in RAW, you can easily improve the white balance in artificial light relative to the automatic white balance.

Built-in Flash

The Panasonic GX7 has a small built-in flash. The great thing about this flash is, that you can turn the flash by gently pushing it with your index finger. It is not designed for this, but this allows you to do indirect lighting with the built-in flash. Personally, I find it very pleasant; it prevents harsh shadows.



Manual focusing

There are photo enthusiasts who sometimes prefer manual focusing. My preference is to overrule the AF manually when I want, without the need to flip a switch, as with the USM Canon lenses. For that you need to set a one-time, Menu/Custom/{AF + MF}/On function. If you hold down the shutter halfway, you can rotate the focus ring to overrule the AF. If you want full-time manual focus, then there’s a handy AF/MF switch next to the eyepiece.

Thanks in part to focus peaking the Panasonic GX7 is an ideal camera for photographers who want to photograph/experiment with illustrious lenses from the analog photography era.


You can use famous Leitz, Leica, Nikon or Canon lenses via an adapter on the Panasonic GX7. With focus peaking, the contrast transitions in focus are marked with a striking color. You have two modes (high/low) available, each with three colors, ensuring that no matter the color of the subject, you can use focus peaking. With focus peaking you can focus manually faster and more accurately. You optimize not only the sharpness of your old lenses, but the number of successful pictures is also greater, because you know just the right time to take the picture.

Auto focus

The AF contrast system of the Panasonic GX7 determines the sharpness 240x per second. The AF works very quickly and accurately. The picture below the action was frozen thanks to the fast AF of the Panasonic GX7. Modern lenses benefit more from the fast AF system of the Panasonic GX7 than the lenses on the market a few years ago. The Panasonic 14-140 mm f/3.5-5.6 focuses so quickly that I almost couldn’t believe that it had already finished. In combination with Panasonic 20 mm f/1.7, the Panasonic GX7 was noticeably slower.

Contrast AF offers several advantages: It first of all does not suffer from front focus or back focus, because it focuses on the sensor signal. In addition, the pin-point AF mode offers the ability to even more accurately place the sharpness on the right place. Finally, contrast AF works much more accurately with bright lenses, as you can see in this picture that we have borrowed from the Panasonic site (on the Olympus site there’s a similar image).



Shooting in the dark with the Panasonic GX7

Remarkably large is also the working range of the auto focus of the Panasonic GX7. This camera can focus automatically in the dark, where the autofocus of even an advanced SLR would give it up. The Canon 1Dx is a professional SLR camera with fantastic AF. The working range of the Canon 1Dx runs from EV -2 to EV 18 (at 23°C & ISO100). The autofocus working range of the Panasonic GX7 runs from EV -4 to EV 18 (ISO100). And it is indeed remarkable to discover that even in very low light you can still automatically focus.


If you want to make serious videos, then the Panasonic GH3 seems a more obvious choice, because on the Panasonic GX7 you have no connection for an external microphone or headphones. Yet the video specifications of the Panasonic DMC-GX7 don’t lie: full HD 1920 x 1080, 60 p, both in AVCHD Progressive and MP4 with stereo sound. Cinema-like 24p video with a bit rate of max. 24 Mbps or P/A/S/M-mode is also possible. Full-time AF and AF Tracking are available in video mode and are faster than when recording videos on an SLR camera.

The DMC-GX7 features Creative Panorama, Time Lapse Shot, Stop Motion Animation or Clear Retouch in addition to the popular Creative Control mode with a total of 22 filter effects. With Stop Motion Animation a stop motion video can be made, and with the Clear Retouch function, unwanted parts of a recording can be erased. Both treatments are simple to do in the camera without using additional software.

Stop Motion Animation is really fun to do with this camera. For example, you can make a video with stick figures by moving the stick figures a little bit each time and then taking a picture of the characters again. What many don’t realize is that an electronic shutter is absolutely exhausted by such a hobby. Camera manufacturers guarantee the life span of a shutter for 100,000 shots. For a Stop-Animation movie with 50 images per second, you shoot 3,000 recordings for each minute of video you make, assuming that you never have to re-do a shot.

Creative options abound: picture styles, scene settings and photo filters

There are more and more photographers who perform all the necessary adjustments and filters with the camera, just as they were accustomed to doing with the camera on their mobile phones. The Panasonic GX7 is also useful for this user.
First of all, the Panasonic GX7 offers various picture styles, such as standard, natural, lively and portrait. In the A-i mode, the camera helps with the correct settings for different situations (“scenes”). The Panasonic GX7 offers 24 scene settings, for example, soft skin, backlight, children’s faces, landscape, blue sky, sunsets, night shots, moving animals, sports, and panorama capture. Finally, the Panasonic GX7 offers 22 creative filters, including Retro, Sepia, various black and white variants, HDR, cross processing, miniature effect, Soft focus, Star filter, Color accent, and sunshine… too many to mention.


WiFi, NFC and GPS

With the Wi-Fi and NFC (Near Field Communication) you can operate the Panasonic GX7 remotely with your smart-phone. To do so, you first download a free “Image app” from Panasonic on your smartphone. Bottom right at the back of the camera, there’s a Wi-Fi button. After you press the Wi-Fi button, you choose the first time to create a new connection, and the option “remote record and display”. Then you choose on your mobile phone to connect with the GX7. The GX7 then displays a password on the LCD screen. This password you will only need to enter the first time on your smartphone. Each time thereafter, the Panasonic GX7 recognizes your smartphone and you get a connection immediately, without having to enter a password. Installing the app, making the connection, remotely controlling your camera and watching the captured images on your camera? It did it all itself and all worked immediately with my Samsung smartphone.

The Panasonic GX7 has no built-in GPS. But with help from the Image-app, your phone can maintain a GPS log, that you can later synchronize at any time with the camera, meaning all your shots are enhanced with GPS data that your mobile phone registers. It is a procedure that you need the instructions for the first time. Fortunately, it is so simple, that you can handle it every subsequent time without such instructions. It works, but a built-in GPS receiver would have been even better.

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Conclusion Panasonic GX7 review



Look in our overview of reviewed cameras for a comparison of this performance with that of other cameras.



  • Ergonomically excellent luxury viewfinder camera with fast AF and high image quality
  • Tilting, sharp electronic viewfinder with beautiful color reproduction
  • Totally silent electronic shutter
  • Including WiFi and NFC with easy-to-use free app
  • Built-in image stabilization
  • Focus peaking
  • Smaller viewfinder than the Panasonic GH3
  • Less suitable for serious video: no connection for microphone or headphones
The Panasonic GX7 is one of the best compact system cameras currently for sale. The design is reminiscent of a much older camera. However, the Panasonic GX7 houses state-of-the-art technology such as built-in Wi-Fi. In terms of image quality (resolution, noise and dynamic range) the Panasonic GX7 loses nothing to an SLR camera with an APS-C sensor. Also in comparison with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 or the Panasonic GH3, there are no real differences in terms of image quality.
In terms of dimensions, weight and ease of use, the Panasonic GX7 offers many advantages over an SLR camera. If you use the electronic shutter, then this camera is completely silent. The auto focus does not suffer from front focus or back focus and functions in the dark where the AF of an SLR would already have given it up. Maybe the Panasonic GX7 would be the perfect camera for wedding photography, street photography and other events that you want to capture as a photographer, without having to disturb the moment.


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