Panasonic calls it ‘the one that loves a selfie’, but is the GF7 a camera for serious photographers too? Andy Westlake finds out in our Panasonic Lumix GF7 review
Panasonic Lumix GF7 Review – Performance
When shooting, the GF7 is impressively slick in operation. Autofocus is fast and accurate, even in low light, and the subject can be selected intuitively by tapping the touchscreen. The camera responds promptly to a press of the shutter button, and is remarkably quiet. Indeed, if you switch to the fully electronic shutter mode, it’s silent. Controls and menus are fast and responsive, which means that the GF7 doesn’t feel much like an entry-level camera at all.
The 1,728-zone metering is generally reliable and accurate, and I only felt the need to apply exposure compensation in extreme lighting conditions. The camera also previews exposure accurately in live view, which removes any guesswork from this process. Auto white balance usually works well, but can benefit from manual intervention in shady conditions.
Things start to go awry, though, when you switch to playback mode. The camera takes what feels like an eternity to bring up the first image, and when you zoom in to check focus the review image rapidly runs out of detail. It’s OK at 4x zoom, but at 8x everything looks like it’s simply not sharp. Luckily, any fears are allayed when you view your pictures on a computer – the 12-32mm kit zoom is remarkably good for such a tiny lens, delivering plenty of detail across the frame, although it’s a bit soft towards the edges and corners.
In fact, image quality is, overall, really rather good. Panasonic’s colour rendition may not have quite the same eye-candy appeal as Olympus’s, for example, but when viewed in isolation it’s far from unattractive. There’s plenty of detail at low sensitivities, and the camera’s JPEG processing holds up remarkably well at high ISOs. It does a good job of maintaining colour saturation, and while shadow detail tends to be obliterated, the noise reduction does a good job of retaining midtone detail and texture.
However, not everything works perfectly. For example, I found the panoramic mode to be distinctly pernickety and hit and miss, frequently admonishing me for moving the camera at the wrong speed or in the wrong direction. The camera also frequently got the stitching badly wrong, or showed banding from uneven exposure. A few of my attempts came out OK, but other brands do much better.
Battery life is about average for a small CSC – which means it’s not really very long at all. The DMW-BLH7E Li-ion pack is rated for 230 shots according to CIPA standard testing, and charges externally using the supplied charger.