Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Review

Updated May 31, 2014
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7

"A serious photographer's camera in a small package," Imaging-Resource.com calls the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7. Its retro, rangefinder-style body isn't just a pretty face: It delivers terrific photos and videos, with full manual controls for hard-core photographers and a terrific auto mode for beginners.

Ease of useProsOutstanding photos, even in low light, Snappy performance, Great video mode with lots of manual controlConsNo viewfinder, Short zoom

Performance

Terrific photos and video mode. It may boast fewer megapixels and a shorter zoom than the top-rated Canon, but critics like the Panasonic LX7's image quality almost as well, and low light is no problem.

The LX7 reacts snappily in almost every way -- autofocus, shutter lag, burst shooting (11 frames per second) -- except for zoom, DPReview.com says. Video mode is terrific, though. Full 1080p HD video looks great -- better than most rivals, one prominent source says -- and you get lots of manual control over your video (to adjust things like ISO and white balance to your liking). Battery life is rated at 330 shots per charge, which is good for the class, DPReview.com says.

Durability

Metal body is mostly sturdy. Reviewers like the Panasonic LX7's mostly metal build. Although it's not judged quite as rock-solid as the Canon G15, the Panasonic draws few durability complaints. "Build quality is good in most respects," except for the "flimsy door over the battery/memory card compartment," say the experts at DPReview.com. One Amazon.com owner says, "The camera feels dense and sturdy overall, expect for some of the top buttons which I'm afraid could be bumped off." A customer at BHPhotoVideo.com says, "Construction, as with its predecessor, is excellent. I have already had a serious bump and scrape against pavement with the LX7, which resulted in a scrape on top of the camera, but no function problems."

Features

Extras include a hot shoe and in-camera panorama. The Panasonic LX7 has a hot shoe for an external flash (plus a pop-up flash), but no optical viewfinder. Zoom is 3.8x, a little anemic for this class. On the other hand, the LX7 can shoot very wide angle (24 mm versus 28 mm for most rivals), so you can capture more of the scene. Extra features abound. You get the usual ones -- High Dynamic Range and Handheld Night Scene (both of which combine multiple exposures to create a single great shot), plus 16 Creative Control effects (to make your shot look retro, sepia, miniature, etc.). The Panasonic also adds 3D shooting and in-camera panorama, both features lacking in the equivalent Canon cameras.

Our Sources

1. BHPhotoVideo.com

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Digital Camera (Black), Contributors to BHPhotoVideo.com, As of May 2014

About 250 owners have reviewed the Panasonic LX7 here, awarding it about 4.6 out of 5 stars overall. It earns praise for its pocketable size, comfortable controls, and excellent photo and video quality.

2. DPReview.com

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Review, Jeff Keller, September 2012

DPReview.com puts the Panasonic LX7 through its usual exhaustive testing process and bestows its Silver Award. It's "a first-rate camera that I can highly recommend," Jeff Keller says, but a few flaws keep it behind the Gold Award-winning Canon PowerShot G15.

3. PhotographyBlog.com

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Review, Mark Goldstein, Aug. 13, 2012

After a full test, Mark Goldstein tags the Panasonic LX7 Highly Recommended. With snappy performance and great photo quality, it would have been the site's top pick among premium compact cameras, he says -- if not for the new Sony Cyber-shot RX100, which is even better.

4. Imaging-Resource.com

Panasonic Lumix LX7 Review, Shawn Barnett, Mike Tomkins and Zig Weidelich, Nov. 6, 2012

Imaging-Resource.com mostly reviews DSLRs, but they do subject some smaller cameras to the same painstaking tests. The Panasonic LX7 passes easily, stacking up nicely against rivals from Canon, Nikon and Sony in side-by-side shooting tests.

5. TrustedReviews.com

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Review, Alex Robb, Dec. 5, 2013

The sleek design of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 earns accolades in this detailed TrustedReviews.com report, along with the ultra-fast aperture lens and the vast array of shooting features. The bottom line is that the LZ7 is a "thoroughly likeable advanced compact [camera]."

6. ConsumerReports.org

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated

ConsumerReports.org's camera reviews aren't as detailed as the dedicated photo sites'. Write-ups are brief, and you won't find any sample photos here. Still, testers do evaluate the major features -- photo and video quality, flash photos, LCD quality and ease of use -- and ConsumerReports.org doesn't take any freebies or advertising to keep its judgments as bias-free as possible.

7. Amazon.com

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7K 10.1 MP Digital Camera, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2014

The Panasonic LX7 gets excellent reviews from owners here. With about 400 reviews posted, almost all give it at least 3 stars -- and the vast majority gives it 4 or a perfect 5 stars. Some of the reviews are lengthy, with detailed lists of pros and cons.