Panasonic LX7 review

Is a small sensor premium compact enough to take on the Sony RX100?

TODO alt text

There's lots of exciting things going on in the premium compact camera market at the moment, with Photokina 2012 probably about to reveal even more.

Panasonic is just one of the myriad of manufacturers who are keen to move away from entry-level compact cameras in a bid to appeal to those who want something that gives a little bit extra.

The Panasonic LX3 was an incredibly popular camera, so Panasonic has a good legacy with the LX series. Although the Panasonic LX5 didn't quite live up to its predecessor, we think Panasonic could have done enough here to see greater success with the Panasonic LX7.

Panasonic clearly sees the Sony RX100 as the main rival to the LX7, despite the fact that it uses a smaller sensor. Happily, it's quite a match for Sony's offering, despite the smaller sensor size.

Image quality is great, while our labs test indicate that the Panasonic LX7 shows an improvement in quality in the raw files, with less noise and greater dynamic range. However, when it comes to the JPEG images, dynamic range results between the LX5 and LX7 are close, with the LX5 just having the edge. Signal to noise ratio results at the lower end of the sensitivity scale show the LX7 has better noise performance, at the top end of the sensitivity scale, however, the LX5 performs better.

With a good range of digital filters and fun features to tempt a wide range of photographers, the Panasonic LX7 is a real photographer's compact camera, as well as being accessible by enthusiasts and beginners.

We liked

There's lots to like about the Panasonic LX7, but improvements in handling, such as the addition of an aperture ring, and the fantastic choice in digital filters, are two stand-out features.

We disliked

We'd really love to see a touchscreen make an appearance on an advanced compact camera such as this. It makes the process of selecting an autofocus point, among other things, so much easier, and would have elevated this camera to an even higher score.

Final verdict

With lots of fantastic features and brilliant image quality, Panasonic has produced a compact camera to be proud of with the LX7. With a wide maximum aperture of f/1.4, the ability to shoot in raw format and full manual controls, many people will surely be tempted by this. It's main competitor, the Sony RX100, currently retails for around £100 more, so you're getting a bit of a bargain to boot.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Wireless LANNo
Effective Camera Resolution10.1 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product FamilyLumix
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom3.8x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NamePanasonic
FeaturesLive View, Orientation Sensor, Self-timer, Continuous Shooting Mode, Time Lapse Function, Face Detection
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMP4, AVCHD
Weight (Approximate)269 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH, WEEE
Image Sensor Size1/1.7" (7.60 mm x 5.70 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution3648 x 2736
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height67.1 mm
Width110.5 mm
Depth45.7 mm
Focal Length4.70 mm to 17.70 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, MPO, RAW
External FlashOptional
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
Product ModelDMC-LX7
Product NameDMC-LX7 Digital Camera
Product LineLumix
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDMC-LX7EB-K
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Premium Compact Digital Camera with F1.4 LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMILUX Lens for Outclassing Creative Possibility

The DMC-LX7 is equipped with 24mm ultra wide-angle LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMILUX lens featuring outstanding F1.4 brightness at wide-end and F2.3 at tele-end. The extraordinarily rich amount of light allows not only using higher shutter speed for blur-free images in lower light situation, but also giving impressive expression by reproducing exquisite gradation and mellow defocus. The Nano Surface Coating is applied to minimize ghost and flaring.

Package Contents
  • DMC-LX7 Digital Camera
  • Battery Charger
  • Battery Pack
  • AC Cable
  • USB Cable
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Software CD-ROM
  • Hot Shoe Cover
  • Lens Cap
  • Lens Cap string
Limited Warranty1 Year