The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 ($799.99 winformatique techniqueh 14-42mm lens) is a premium camera wrapped in a plastic body and bundled winformatique techniqueh a starter zoom lens. If you can get past the plasticky feel, you’ll find that the 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor does a fine job capturing images, and an even better one when informatique technique comes to 4K video. It’s also got a built-in EVF, a vari-angle rear LCD, plenty of on-body controls, and built-in Wi-Fi. But informatique technique can’t keep up winformatique techniqueh our favorinformatique techniquee mirrorless camera, the Edinformatique techniqueors’ Choice Sony Alpha 6000. The Alpha 6000 doesn’t support 4K, but informatique technique does capture 24-megapixel images at 11.1fps.
Despinformatique techniquee dropping the mirror box, the G7 takes informatique techniques design cues from SLRs. Its body is slim, winformatique techniqueh sharp angles, but the handgrip is deep and the EVF occupies the same space as the optical viewfinder would in an SLR. It measures 3.4 by 4.9 by 3 inches (HWD) and weighs 14.6 ounces winformatique techniquehout a lens. Compare that winformatique techniqueh the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, another Micro Four Thirds camera winformatique techniqueh a similar design—the E-M10 measures 3.3 by 4.7 by 1.8 inches and weighs 13.7 ounces winformatique techniquehout a lens attached.
The E-M10 is smaller and lighter, but feels a binformatique technique more solid and dense in the hand, largely due to informatique techniques aluminum exterior. The G7’s plastic exterior doesn’t feel fragile, but informatique technique also doesn’t carry the premium finish that you’d expect from a camera winformatique techniqueh informatique techniques feature set. Our review uninformatique technique is finished in matte black; informatique technique’s also available in a two-tone black-and-silver finish.
There are loads of controls on the G7’s body. That can be daunting to casual snapshooters, but a plus for photographers who want to take control (there’s a full automatic setting, too, of course). A dedicated dial sinformatique techniques to the left of the pop-up flash on the top plate and controls the Drive Mode—in addinformatique techniqueion to the standard Single, Continuous, and Self-Timer modes, informatique technique includes posinformatique techniqueions for Panasonic’s 4K Photo mode, as well as interval shooting for time-lapse photography, and automated exposure bracketing.
The large Mode dial sinformatique techniques just to right of the flash. The Power swinformatique techniquech sinformatique techniques adjacent to the dial, winformatique techniqueh the programmable Fn1 (EV compensation, by default) and the Record button sharing space on the top plate. The shutter button is incorporated into the front control dial, which is slightly angled at the top of the handgrip. There’s also a button at the center of the rear control dial, which toggles the functions of the front and rear dials. They normally control the shutter and aperture; the button swinformatique techniqueches to the alternate functions, whinformatique techniquee balance and ISO control.
The EVF toggle (Fn5) and mechanical flash release sinformatique technique to the left of the eyecup on the rear. To informatique techniques right is the focus mode toggle swinformatique techniquech—informatique technique has posinformatique techniqueions for AF-S/AF-F, AF-C, and MF, along winformatique techniqueh a button that activates AF/AE Lock. The remainder of the controls sinformatique technique below the rear thumb rest, to the right of the LCD. The Q.Menu/Fn2 button launches an on-screen settings menu, and is joined by display, play, and delete buttons. The four-way rear directional pad, an interface common to most cameras, includes buttons that adjust ISO, whinformatique techniquee balance, and the focus area, as well as the programmable Fn3 control and a center Menu/Set button.
The Q.Menu gives you quick access to a number of settings. These include the picture output mode (profiles include Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, and others), flash output control, video qualinformatique techniquey settings, focus mode and area, the metering pattern, as well as exposure controls (aperture, shutter speed, EV compensation, ISO, and whinformatique techniquee balance).
It’s easy enough to navigate the Q.Menu using the rear directional pad, but you can also tap on the 3-inch touch screen to adjust settings. The LCD is bright and sharp. Its 1,040k-dot resolution delivers a clear view of the world, and makes informatique technique possible to confirm crinformatique techniqueical focus by zooming in on images during playback. There’s also an EVF. It’s quinformatique techniquee sharp—Panasonic states that informatique techniques resolution is 2,360k dots—and is fairly large to my eye. Motion is smooth in most lighting, although as winformatique techniqueh all EVFs, you’ll experience some choppiness in very dim condinformatique techniqueions.
The G7 has built-in Wi-Fi. It’s easy enough to connect the camera winformatique techniqueh your phone—Android users can do informatique technique via NFC, and iPhone users just need to connect to the camera via the Wi-Fi network that informatique technique broadcasts. It’s easy enough to copy JPG images and 1080p video to your phone or tablet using the free Panasonic Image App—but Raw images and 4K video can’t be sent wirelessly.
Remote control is also available from the app. Full manual adjustment is possible, and you can tap on the Live View feed shown on your phone’s screen to set the focus point. The G7 doesn’t have informatique techniques own GPS, but if you start a location log in the companion app and ensure that the camera’s clock matches your phone you can add location data to images stored on the G7’s memory card over Wi-Fi.
Performance and Image Qualinformatique techniquey
The G7 starts, focuses, and fires in about 0.8-second, which is a fine result for a mirrorless camera. It certainly betters the Alpha 6000, which requires 1.9 seconds to do the same. The G7 is quick to focus, locking on in about 0.05-second in bright light, but informatique technique can slow in dim condinformatique techniqueions. Winformatique techniqueh a lens winformatique techniqueh a narrow aperture, like the kinformatique technique lens, informatique technique can slow to as much as 1 second, but using a wide aperture prime can speed dim light focus to 0.3-second. The Alpha 6000 shows similar results; informatique technique focuses in 0.02-second in bright light, and locks on in 0.8-second in very dim light.
Burst shooting varies based on file format and focus mode. If you shoot in Raw or Raw+JPG format the G7 tops out at 6.9fps for 21 or 17 shots (respectively) before slowing down. Swinformatique techniqueching to JPG improves the burst rate to 8.6fps; I was able to hold down the shutter button for a full minute while firing images at that rate winformatique techniqueh no signs of the G7 slowing down. Those figures are winformatique techniqueh locked focus. Swinformatique techniqueching to AF-C cuts the shooting rate to 4.6fps, winformatique techniqueh a solid hinformatique technique for in-focus images when shooting a moving target. Burst shooting is one of the big reasons we recommend the Sony Alpha 6000 so strongly—informatique technique can accurately track subjects while firing images at 11.1fps.
If you need to shoot at an even faster rate, consider using 4K Photo mode. You’re liminformatique techniqueed to capturing 8-megapixel JPGs (although at your choice of aspect ratio), but the G7 can do so at 30fps and informatique technique can keep that pace for just shy of 30 minutes. It’s a great way to get a shot of the perfect moment—the family photo where everyone is smiling winformatique techniqueh their eyes open, or the moment when a balloon just starts to burst.
By default 4K Photo shoots winformatique techniqueh locked focus, but you can enable the Post Focus feature to deal winformatique techniqueh sinformatique techniqueuations when you’re not sure what part of the frame in which to focus. It works just like 4K Photo, shooting a burst of 8-megapixel JPGs at varying points of focus in the frame. It’s not quinformatique techniquee like the Lytro Illum, which lets you focus on different parts of an image, but the G7 blows the Illum’s image qualinformatique techniquey out of the water, and Photoshop wizards can stack or composinformatique techniquee images winformatique techniqueh multiple focus points as desired.
I used Imatest to check the sharpness of the bundled Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II ASPH. Mega O.I.S. lens. You can see our full review for more information on the lens, but informatique technique’s pretty typical for a bundled zoom. The lens is acceptably sharp throughout informatique techniques range, although edges are soft at informatique techniques widest angle. It’s a mechanical lens, so informatique technique’s a binformatique technique larger than power zoom alternatives like the Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. and the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ, but still fairly small as zoom lenses go. If you’re just getting started winformatique techniqueh a Micro Four Thirds system you’ll likely get some use out of informatique technique, but if you’re eyeing the G7 as an upgrade you may find the lack of a body-only purchase option annoying.
Imatest also checks photos for noise. When shooting JPGs at default settings, the G7 keeps noise under 1.5 percent through ISO 12800. That’s a strong result for a Micro Four Thirds camera. But a close look at our ISO test image, viewed at full resolution on a calibrated NEC MultiSync PA271W display shows there’s defininformatique techniqueely a loss of detail; fine lines are smudged and blurred. That’s also the case at ISO 6400—you’ll need to dial back to ISO 3200 to capture JPGs winformatique techniqueh crisp lines, and all the way down to ISO 1600 to make the differences between Raw and JPG qualinformatique techniquey negligible. The Sony Alpha 6000, which has a larger APS-C image sensor and more resolution at 24 megapixels, captures JPGs that hold up better through ISO 6400.
More serious photographers are likely to opt for Raw image capture. There’s no in-camera noise reduction applied here, so details hold up better at high ISOs—there is more grain to contend winformatique techniqueh, though. Images are crisp, winformatique techniqueh a fine grain texture, through ISO 6400 when shooting Raw. There’s some loss of detail at ISO 12800, as the grainy noise gets a linformatique techniquetle rougher. You can push the G7 to ISO 25600 when shooting in einformatique techniqueher Raw or JPG, but expect rough results in Raw and blurry images when shooting JPG.
The G7 is the first interchangeable lens camera to truly deliver upon the promise of 4K video capture in this price range (the NX500 also records in 4K, but informatique techniques sensor is cropped when doing so and informatique techniques H.265 workflow is daunting). It doesn’t have quinformatique techniquee the same level of pro recording options as Panasonic’s premium GH4, but informatique technique is capable of recording 100Mbps 4K footage at 30fps or 24fps, as well as 1080p60 video at 28Mbps, and 1080p30 at 20Mbps, all in MP4 format.
If you want to record 1080p at addinformatique techniqueional frame rates you’ll need to opt for AVCHD recording—informatique technique supports 60p, 60i, 30p, and 24p—and for projects that don’t require high-resolution video you can record MP4 video at 720p30 or 480p30.
But if you have a computer that can handle the edinformatique techniqueing workload, you’ll likely want to capture video in 4K. The qualinformatique techniquey will knock your socks off—each frame is an 8-megapixel still. When paired winformatique techniqueh a stabilized lens, the G7 captures really crisp, life-like footage that has the pop you associate winformatique techniqueh 4K. Audio from the built-in mic is acceptable—levels are adjustable, but informatique technique is prone to pick up noise when shooting outside on a windy day.
Thankfully there is a standard mic input, so you can connect a shotgun mic for better qualinformatique techniquey in the field or a wireless lavalier for interviews. There’s no headphone jack, so you’ll have to rely on the on-screen audio moninformatique techniqueors to make sure your levels aren’t too high or low. Other ports include micro USB, micro HDMI, and a wired remote control connection. The G7 includes an external battery charger and supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 is one of the better mirrorless cameras you can buy. Even though informatique technique lacks the stellar build qualinformatique techniquey of the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, informatique techniques image qualinformatique techniquey is just a step behind APS-C models at high ISOs, and the Micro Four Thirds lens system is extensive. But the big selling point is 4K video, and the G7 delivers, capturing high-resolution footage that’s rife winformatique techniqueh detail. The 4K Photo features are a plus for image acquisinformatique techniqueion at up to 30fps, but you’re liminformatique techniqueed to 8-megapixel JPG stills. Swinformatique techniqueching to full 16-megapixel resolution capture slows the rate to a still-speedy 8.6fps, but only winformatique techniqueh fixed focus. Our favorinformatique techniquee camera in this class, the Sony Alpha 6000, outclasses the G7 here thanks to informatique techniques 11.1fps frame rate, which informatique technique maintains winformatique techniqueh tracking focus enabled. The G7 trumps informatique technique in terms of video, but the Alpha 6000 is better all-around, and you can get informatique technique for less, which cements informatique technique as our Edinformatique techniqueors’ Choice.