With a new 16-million-pixel sensor and a clever tiltable electronic viewfinder, the GX7 could be one of the best system cameras we’ve seen, says Phil Hall. Read the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 review...
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 review – Build and handling
While the GX1 was one of the smaller system cameras available, the larger form factor of the GX7 appears to be a conscious decision by Panasonic to appeal to enthusiasts and pros who are perhaps less concerned about size and more about the overall handling of the camera. This is underlined by the amount of exterior controls dotted round the body, which is an upgrade from the GX1.
Similar in size to the Fujifilm X-E1 and a touch bigger than the Sony NEX-7, the GX7 is not going to slip into a trouser pocket, but with a compact prime lens attached, such as the new 20mm f/1.7 II, it should happily fit in a jacket pocket should you want to leave your camera bag at home.
While, in my opinion, it doesn’t look quite as good as the Olympus Pen E-P5, the GX7 is a nice-looking camera and is perhaps a little reminiscent of Panasonic’s first foray into the world of interchangeable-lens cameras: the four thirds Lumix DMC-L1. The functional, clean design works well and is available in either black or a two-tone silver/black finish in the UK – out of the two, my preference would be for the more discreet all-black model. The rear of the EVF may jut out a little from the body, but the screen is well integrated into the design, compared to some models where the inclusion of a tilting display often seems like an afterthought.
Some exterior elements of the GX7 are plastic, namely the top-plate, but the magnesium chassis and tactile rubber finish around other areas of the camera provide a premium feel. The weight is just about right for a camera of this class and you’ll happily be able to have this by your side all day.
By shifting the lens mount more towards the right, Panasonic has been able to equip the GX7 with a very comfy and large handgrip that provides a decent purchase and good balance when used
with a variety of lenses.
One of the most-welcome additions for photographers is perhaps the inclusion of dual control dials. One is positioned at the front of the GX7 and runs round the shutter button. In use, your index finger will naturally fall to it when holding the GX7, while the other control dial pokes out of the rear for easy adjustment with the thumb. This rear control dial, as we’ve seen with some previous Panasonic cameras, also doubles as a confirmation button or changing control depending on what mode you’re in.
The mode dial and on/off switch have moved to the end of the body, with the mode dial requiring just the right amount of force to rotate it – I can’t envisage it getting easily knocked out of position in transit.
There’s now a dedicated AF/AE lock button, which also features an AF/MF switch running round the outside of it, while the camera also sports an impressive four programmable function buttons (there’s an additional five programmable function buttons accessed via the touchscreen), allowing you to really tailor the GX7 to your specific shooting needs.