Panasonic GF7 Review
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Kit with 12-32mm lens (Black)
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|Full model name:||Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7|
(17.3mm x 13.0mm)
|Viewfinder:||No / LCD|
|Native ISO:||200 - 25,600|
|Extended ISO:||100 - 25,600|
|Shutter:||1/16000 - 60 seconds|
|Max Aperture:||3.5 (kit lens)|
4.2 x 2.5 x 1.3 in.
(107 x 65 x 33 mm)
includes batteries, kit lens
|Full specs:||Panasonic GF7 specifications|
The little Panasonic GF7 packs a lot of performance into a small, lightweight and easy to use package. It may be billed as an entry-level camera and comes in at an affordable, entry-level price, but the GF7 offers a lot of camera for the money. The image quality and performance of the Panasonic GF7 is quite good for its class. It also offers numerous options, shooting modes, and lots of user customization to fit varying shooting styles. All told, the GF7 is not only easy to use for beginner photographers, but also quite capable for more advanced ones as well.Pros
Very good image quality for its size; Fast AF for its class; 10fps burst mode with electronic shutter; Lightweight, yet well-built, compact design; Great value for the money.Cons
Continuous AF is not reliable; Shallow buffer with RAW; Below average battery life; No EVF; Maximum mechanical shutter speed of only 1/500s.Price and availability
The Panasonic GF7's suggested retail price is around US$600, and it arrived in the US market in March in two body colors -- silver with black or pink leatherette wraps. Both are sold in this market with a 12-32mm kit lens. In overseas markets, other colors include brown and white variants, and other lenses may be included in the bundle.Imaging Resource rating
4.5 out of 5.0
Panasonic GF7 Review
by Mike Tomkins, Eamon Hickey and William Brawley
Preview posted 01/20/2015
Special update: The Panasonic GF7 was named Best Entry Level Mirrorless Camera in our 2015 Camera of the Year awards!
With a consumer-friendly body, the Panasonic GF7 shares much with more expensive models from Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera line, but lands at a price point identical to the entry-level GF6 when it was introduced, making it quite an attractive offering.
Perhaps the most significant difference from that camera is a new body that's both smaller and significantly lighter, a difference achieved in part due to more generous use of plastic throughout. The 16-megapixel GF7 still isn't quite as compact as the GM5 -- it's both a couple of tenths of an inch wider and taller -- but it's pretty close. And given that you're more likely to have a smaller camera with you when it's needed, that's definitely good news.
And unlike the GM5, the Panasonic GF7 retains the selfie-friendly tilting, touch-screen display of the GF6, making it more versatile when shooting low-to-the-ground, too. For selfie shooting, it's now easier to use thanks to some face-detection based tools that trip the shutter for you at the ideal moment.
The Panasonic GF7 features much the same imaging pipeline as the higher-end GX7 coupled to the shooting speed of the mid-range GM5, giving you access to good performance and image quality at a significantly more affordable price point.
The Panasonic GF7's suggested retail price is around US$600, and it arrived in the US market in March in two body colors -- silver with black or pink leatherette wraps. Both are sold in this market with a 12-32mm kit lens. In overseas markets, other colors include brown and white variants, and other lenses may be included in the bundle.
Panasonic GF7 Field Test Part I
Big on features, not on bulk
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF7 promises to pack a whole lot of performance into a very small package. Can it fulfill that promise in the real world? Let's find out.
The small package part is certainly no lie, especially when the Panasonic GF7 is paired with the LUMIX G Vario 12-32mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH retractable kit lens that I got with it. I also received a LUMIX G 42.5mm / F1.7 ASPH to test, and it's surprisingly compact as well, despite its relatively large maximum aperture. The small size and light weight of the GF7 and its lenses make the package a breeze to carry, which I appreciated on my first walk with it, a long circuit around Greenwich Village and Chelsea in New York City. This camera, with the kit lens, is smaller than many point-and-shoot digicams that I reviewed ten years ago.
Panasonic GF7 Field Test Part II
Performance in a small package
Quick and nimble operation so you don't miss a shot.
I mentioned in Part 1 of this field test that the Panasonic GF7's controls are a tad small and spaced closely together, but I didn't feel that hampered my shooting in any significant way. The same has been true of the camera's general responsiveness in all my outings with the GF7 -- it has responded quickly, without any noticeable delays, whenever I've needed it. That came in handy one evening when I stepped out onto a terrace overlooking Eastchester Bay completely unaware that a blue moon (the second full moon within a given month) was just rising in the magenta-tinted twilight. I ran inside, grabbed the camera, and was able to get it turned on, set, and shooting before the light changed, the color left the sky and the boats sailed out of frame.
Panasonic GF7 Technical Insights
Let's take a closer look at the Panasonic GF7's technical features
At its core, the Panasonic GF7 has the same 16-megapixel Live MOS image sensor used in the GX7, a camera that costs almost twice as much as the GF7. Compared to earlier designs, Panasonic says this chip improves saturation thanks to use of what it terms Semiconductor Fine Technology -- essentially, larger wells that can collect more photons. It also sports more efficient microlenses that increase light-gathering capabilities -- and hence sensitivity. Finally, signal to noise ratio is improved further thanks to in-pixel and digital signal readout tweaks.
Data from the sensor is processed by a Venus Engine-branded image processor which includes Panasonic's Multi-process Noise Reduction technology.
Panasonic GF7 Image Quality Comparison
Putting it up against its competitors
Here we use crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing Panasonic GF7 image quality to its predecessor, the GF6, well as against several competing mirrorless and DSLR models at similar price points or in similar categories: the Canon T5, Fuji X-A2, Nikon D3300 and Olympus E-PL7.
NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses.
Panasonic GF7 Print Quality Analysis
Seeing how the GF7 looks on paper
Like its GM5 and GX7 cousins, the 16-megapixel Panasonic GF7 performs well in our print quality testing for a Micro Four Thirds model. The camera manages to impress with large, nicely detailed prints at ISOs 100 and 200, though they are just a touch soft. Towards the mid-range of ISOs, the GF7 manages to keep noise very well controlled, making for nice prints at a decent size. At the top end of the ISO scale, the GF7 still manages to squeak out a usable print at ISO 12,800, but we'd recommend avoiding ISO 25,600 entirely for prints.
Panasonic GF7 Conclusion
Tiny, capable GF7 offers a lot of camera for the money
Lightweight in size, but not on features.
Though not very flashy, the super-small Panasonic GF7 brings a lot to the table for those looking for a compact, lightweight, and easy-to-use interchangeable lens camera. Sitting in the entry-level position in Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds lineup, this GF6 replacement borrows a lot from the similarly-sized GM5 model, including the same 16-megapixel sensor and image processor -- which is to say the same basic imaging pipeline as the impressive GX7.
Unlike the GM5, which features a fixed LCD screen and small built-in EVF, the Panasonic GF7 borrows the same basic design cue from the GF6 and forgoes an EVF and makes room for a 180°-tilting LCD panel. The included 12-32mm retractable kit zoom lens is the same model that's shipping alongside the GM1 and GM5. This excellent little kit lens -- and we put strong emphasis on little -- allows the entire GF7 package to be very compact and certainly pocketable in a jacket or small bag.
In the Box
The Panasonic GF7 retail kit (as reviewed) contains the following items:
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7 camera body
- Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH lens
- Lens cap
- DMW-BLH7 rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack (7.2V, 680mAh)
- Battery charger
- USB cable
- Shoulder strap
- Software CD-ROM
- Large capacity SDHC/SDXC memory card. 16GB Class 4 should be a minimum, UHS-I type recommended.
- Extra Panasonic DMW-BLH7 battery pack (7.2V, 680mAh) (~US$40)
- Small to medium camera case
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Kit with 12-32mm lens (Black)
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