10 Reasons Why I Love My Panasonic LUMIX GF7 Camera (a non-technical, jargon-free review)

I started blogging for my sheer love for writing, but just a few months into this digital arena, I’ve come to realize a good blog is so much more than that. Readers expect good, concise and useful content, and above all, they want photos… really good, high quality photos! Blame it on Instagram, but the online world has taken advantage of our need for soaking in information ‘ASAP’, and the inner child in all of us will always have a penchant for pretty pix!

So out came my rusty DSLR, the very one we invested in when my daughter was born (the idea was to take very memorable, ‘awe’ ¬†inspiring photos of our little girl growing up but somewhere down the line, my memory cards got loaded with an endless lineup of food photography!).

DSLR’s take great pix, no doubt. But they are like the magic wand that only works best in the hands of the knowledgeable. I for one, never had the time or patience to research the manual, and always had it on ‘manual’ mode.

Fast-forward into a year of blogging, and I get invited to a tea party hosted by Panasonic Middle East. From their entire range of gadgets, I got fixated with their camera section… the Panasonic LUMIX GF7 to be precise. Styled to look rather retro with its leather exterior, this camera is as much a fashion accessory as it is a great camera! Ofcourse I got the one in pink… and it literally gets lugged around with me everywhere I go.

 

10 Reasons Why I Love My Panasonic LUMIX GF7 Camera:

  1. It looks so adorably cute! Love the retro styling, and I get asked about it very often.
  2. It’s perfectly sized: No more lugging around an over-sized DSLR that needs a separate bag of its own.Measuring just 106.5 x 64.6 x 33.3 mm and weighing a mere 236g without a lens attached or battery inserted, this little beauty can be carried in any of my regular-sized handbags.
  3. Wifi Enabled: The Panasonic LUMIX GF7 has a built-in Wifi feature that allows you to upload the images and videos into any of your other Wifi-enabled devices such as phones and laptops. You can even have multi-users at the same time, and share the photos with your friends on the spot! All you need to do is download the Panasonic app.
  4. Built in Filters: Move over Instagram, the Panasonic LUMIX GF7 has a total of 27 filters! From ‘Expressive’ to really make color contrasts pop out) and sepia, aged styles to artistic takes to make the likes of Van Gogh turn green, you can easily spend an entire afternoon playing with these.
  5. Selfie Enabled:¬†The screen can be flipped outwards for selfies, and this too has its special skin-enhancing settings and an adjustable timer to ensure you’re pose-ready.
  6. LCD Touch Screen: This amply sized screen with easy to follow instructions, makes photography a breeze. You can even touch the area you want to focus on.
  7. Point and Shoot:¬†Focusing and shooting with this little gem takes a quarter of the time I’d need with my DSLR. A great camera for a novice photographer like me.
  8. Impressively Fast Processing:¬†The Panasonic LUMIX GF7 is ready to take a photo in half a second from the time it is turned on. It takes about 1 second to store a JPEG image, allowing shooting to continue as they are being recorded onto the memory card. Gotta love the ease of ‘point & shoots’!
  9. Upgrade-able Lenses: The Panasonic LUMIX GF7 comes with the standard Lumix G Vario 12-32mm F/3.5-5.6 lens, which I have been using for over a year now. You can buy any lenses from the Panasonic range, they are all compatible with this model.
  10. The Photography Payoff: I believe this camera has upped my photography skills a few notches! It is an ideal blogging tool that I would be lost without.

 

Check out all my  Panasonic LUMIX GF7 photos by clicking the hashtag #TezzyLumix

January 20, 2015 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Panasonic Lumix GF7 is a small and stylish compact system camera designed to take better ‚Äúselfies‚ÄĚ. The GF7 features a Micro Four Thirds-sized 16 megapixel Live MOS image sensor, Venus Engine processor, Light Speed AF system with new Low Light AF and Face / Eye Detection AF modes, a tiltable 3‚ÄĚ 1040k-dot touchscreen LCD, new hands-free ‚Äėselfie‚Äô and Jump Snap modes, built-in pop-up flash, Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, Full HD / 50p video recording, 22 Creative Effects and a Creative Panorama mode, time-lapse mode, stop-motion animations, 5.8fps burst shooting, RAW support and an ISO range of 100-25600. The Panasonic GF7 is available in silver or brown in a kit with the standard Lumix G Vario 12-32mm F/3.5-5.6 lens for ¬£429 / $599.

Ease of Use

The Panasonic Lumix GF7 is even smaller and lighter than the previous GF6 model that it replaces, measuring just 106.5 x 64.6 x 33.3 mm and weighing a mere 236g without a lens attached or battery inserted. With the retractable 12-32mm kit lens, the GF7 is actually smaller than the company’s own DMC-LX100 fixed-lens compact camera, and can easily be stored inside a coat pocket, making it a great carry-everywhere camera.

The Panasonic Lumix GF7’s built-in Wi-Fi functionaility (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n) lets you use your smartphone or mobile device to remotely change the camera settings (focus setting, exposure compensation, ISO, WB and Photo Styles) using the Panasonic Image App. You can fire the shutter button remotely, while the direct uploading function automatically backs up your photos onto a tablet, smartphone, PC, web service, AV device or Panasonic’s LUMIX Club Cloud Sync service. The GF7 also features NFC (Near Field Communication) technology (the same technology that’s used for mobile payments), which allows you to connect it to a compatible internet enabled device or another NFC-enabled camera by simply tapping them together. Geotagging is also supported, although it’s via a smartphone/tablet’s GPS Log rather than being built into the camera.

The mechanical button on the top/rear for the GF7’s pop-up flash has been retained. Given the small size of the GF7, fitting a built-in flash was no mean feat, as proven by the double-hinged design which is quite a technical achievement. Although not particularly powerful with a guide number of just 6.3, the GF7’s flash is perfectly adequate for fill-in effects at close-quarters.

Nearly all of the other the top-mounted controls – including the shutter release, one-touch movie record button, power switch, shooting mode dial and dedicated intelligent Auto button – are grouped tightly together on the right-hand side of the top-plate. There are holes on either side of the pop-up flash for the stereo mic, along with the new Fn1 button on the left. By default, this reconfigurable button activates the wi-fi functions, but it also handily doubles up as a second shutter button when using the camera’s Self-shot selfie mode.

Unlike its predecessor, the Panasonic Lumix GF7 doesn’t have a proper handgrip, instead relying on a faux-leather textured finish that runs around the front of the camera. This works in tandem with the tactile rubberized thumb-rest on the rear. The GF7 sports an appealing classic design and is extremely well-built despite its entry-level price-point, with a high quality aluminum body, lens mount, and tripod socket, although most of the buttons are made from plastic.

Just like the GF1, GF2, GF3, GF5 and GF6 before it, the GF7 doesn’t have a built-in viewfinder, with just the LCD screen on the rear providing a solution for composing your images. A more important consideration is the GF7’s continued lack of an external hotshoe, which prevents the use of an optical viewfinder or other accessory. This inability to hold the camera up to your eye makes it more difficult to hand-hold the camera to compose using the LCD screen and still get sharp results using longer focal lengths. As the ability to use different lenses is one of the main selling points of a system camera, the lack of any eye-level finder, optical or electronic, is rather limiting.

Optical image stabilisation on all Panasonic compact system cameras is supplied via the lens, rather than being built-in to the camera body, a key difference between the Panasonic and Olympus systems. Note that the 12-32mm kit lens does offer image stabilisation, but it’s turned on and off via main menu system rather than a physical switch on the lens barrel, with three different modes accessible through the GF7’s menu system.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7

Front of the Panasonic Lumix GF7

When enabled, the Panasonic Lumix GF7 automatically compensates for camerashake, which is a slight blurring of the image that typically occurs at slow shutter speeds when the camera is hand held. There are two different modes, Mode 1 is on all the time including image composition and Mode 3 compensates for up and down movements only (which in turn allows you to pan the camera).

Unlike a conventional DSLR camera which uses a phase detection auto-focus system, the GF7 employs the same Contrast AF that is commonly used by compact cameras. Panasonic have published marketing data which suggests that the GF7’s Light Speed AF system is as fast, if not faster, than a typical DSLR camera’s, with a claimed speed of just 0.09 second when used with certain lenses,. In practice we noticed very little difference in speed between the GF7 and a DSLR, and there were also very few occasions when the GF7 failed to lock onto the subject, especially when using the centre AF point, and even in low light thanks to the camera’s new ability to focus in -4EV of light. There are a wide range of AF modes on offer, including multiple-area AF with up to 23 focus areas, 1-area AF with a selectable focus area, Face Detection, AF Tracking and Pinpoint. The GF7 also has a useful Quick AF function that begins focusing as soon as you point the camera.

The start-up time from turning the Lumix GF7 on to being ready to take a photo is very impressive at less than 0.5 seconds. It takes about 1 second to store a JPEG image, allowing you to keep shooting as they are being recorded onto the memory card – there is a barely perceptible LCD blackout between each image.