The Lumix G7 is Panasonic’s fifth model to feature 4K video capture, but is it solely the preserve of video shooters, or does it bring something special to still photographers too? Michael Topham finds out
Build & Handling
Unlike the Lumix G6 that had flowing lines and rounded edges, the G7 encompasses a more angular design. The shape and style of the pentaprism bears a resemblance to Olympus’s OM-D models and it preserves a deep and well-sculpted handgrip that gives you plenty to wrap your hand around. It’s a camera that’s very comfortable to hold onto in an average sized hand and the way the rubberised grip extends all the way around to the rear of the camera where the thumb lays to rest offers reassurance that it’ll never slip from your grasp.
What strikes you when you pick up the G7 for the first time is just how lightweight it feels for a camera of its size. Although the front and rear panels of the camera feel strong and don’t show any sign of creaking when the camera is squeezed tightly, the top plate is almost entirely constructed from polycarbonate, resulting in a plasticky feel.
Tap the top of the camera with the end of your finger and you’ll quickly realise it doesn’t have the same strength as cameras that feature a magnesium alloy top plate. This plasticky feel extends to the dual command dials. The rear command dial is susceptible to being accidentally knocked too and offers little resistance or feedback when it’s turned. The consequence of this could result in unwanted changes to exposure settings users, so users will want to wary of this when it’s transported or when it’s carried over the shoulder.
The body is inundated with no fewer than sixteen buttons, four dials and two switches. While more experienced photographers will appreciate this plethora of manual controls, newcomers are likely to find the layout somewhat overwhelming.
With the camera raised to the eye it’s easy to locate the shutter button, command dials and AF mode switch without removing your eye from the viewfinder. The same can’t be said for the buttons at the rear where it’s harder to identify which button is which unless you pull the camera away from your eye. On numerous occasions I found my thumb inadvertently hitting the playback button as opposed to the Q.Menu button.
The capacitive touchscreen is an extremely versatile unit, being side-hinged, and unlike some screens its movement is unhindered by the camera being tripod-mounted. It rotates smoothly on each axis and just like a smartphone or tablet, it supports multi-touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom.
A double tap on the screen is a useful shortcut for inspecting images at closer magnification in playback mode and the eye sensor can be adjusted to its MON setting to ensure finger movements don’t interfere with touchscreen operation – just remember to switch it back to LVF/MON Auto if you’d like it to automatically switch the feed between the screen and EVF and vice versa as the camera is lifted and pulled away from your eye.