Panasonic LX7 Review

Panasonic LX7 Review

These days, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7, which has been improved especially for the fast lens, is coming onto the market, of which we have already tested a production-ready model. The lens developed by Leica, with F1.4 to F2.3, is powerful with a focal length of 24-90 millimeters equivalent to a small image, and is unparalleled. But also under the hood some things are said to have improved: For example, the new CMOS sensor, which not only offers better image quality, but can also record Full HD videos at 50 frames per second. We took a closer look at the LX7 in the laboratory and in practice, as can be read in the following compact test.

Short evaluation


  • Extensive equipment for automatic and manual control
  • Good overall image quality up to ISO 800
  • Video mode with manual exposure, up to 100 fps etc.
  • High-resolution EVF, system flash units and optical accessories can be used
  • High-resolution, brilliant screen


  • For thumb operation, quite small buttons
  • Wide angle up to F2.0 slightly soft
  • No audio level control and no external microphone connection


The lens of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 can even surpass that of the Samsung EX2F: Although both lenses start at 24 millimetres (all focal lengths in 35mm equivalent) with a speed of F1.4, the Samsung zoom ends at 80 millimetres and a speed of F2.7, while the LX7 zooms ten millimetres further up to 90 millimetres and has a half aperture of F2.3. The lens bears the Leica label and consists of eleven lenses in ten groups, one ED lens with two aspherical surfaces and four additional aspherical lenses with seven aspherical surfaces. So Panasonic is putting a lot of effort into this high-intensity optical design, which even has an optical image stabilizer. Several weeks ago we were able to inspect the new Panasonic models. The thicker lens of the LX7 was immediately noticeable in comparison to the LX5, whereby mainly the diameter grew and with the more glass also the weight. In order to be able to use the high luminous intensity in bright environments, Panasonic has installed a retractable grey filter that reduces the incidence of light by three EV. Another new feature is the aperture ring on the lens for more intuitive or classic operation.

Ergonomics and workmanship

With the Lumix DMC-LX7, Panasonic maintains the classic block-like design of the LX5 with a strikingly protruding lens and a small handle. The case is made of metal and is perfectly finished, but the matt black surface is somewhat smooth, even the rubber leather of the small handle does not offer too much grip. On the back there is a thumb rest with integrated click control wheel. The idea of giving the wheel a new function by pressing is very clever – but the wheel is a bit difficult to turn and doesn’t look as good as the rest of the camera. New is a small lever below the program selector wheel, which can not only be moved to the left and right, but can also be pressed. This allows the neutral density filter, for example, to be swivelled into the lens – a useful function in view of its light intensity in order to be able to use large apertures for design purposes even in sunshine.

The metal tripod thread on the underside of the camera is unfortunately located outside the optical axis, but at least it is far enough away from the battery and memory card compartment so that it can be opened easily when a tripod is used. The lithium-ion energy donor should be sufficient for 330 shots according to CIPA standard measurement procedures, a respectable, albeit by no means record-breaking value, which is also about 20 percent lower than that of the LX5. The SD card slot easily handles SDHC and SDXC cards, so the user is not restricted. In view of the video function, however, one should already choose a larger and faster model, preferably Class 10.

The LX7 is switched on via a small slide switch on the top of the camera, so that the camera can be operated almost completely with one hand in the automatic mode: Switching on, zooming in and out is all done with the index finger. There are several buttons next to the large rear screen. Compared to the LX5, there are no new features here, but the keys are still quite small, especially as they are to be operated with the thumb of the right hand. The realization of some key inscriptions by deviating surface structure looks noble, is however badly readable. Although the screen still has no touch operation, it remains free of fingerprints for longer. An important detail has nevertheless been improved: the monitor now resolves fine 920,000 pixels. This means that you can hardly make out any staircases on the screen texts. The image is bright enough and above all rich in contrast and colour so that it is well suited as a viewfinder. If you like, you can connect the optional DMW-LVF2 electronic viewfinder, which can display 1.4 million pixels. Thus no incident sunlight disturbs the image composition any more.

Panasonic has optically reworked the on-screen menus, which the Japanese did very well. However, you still have to scroll a lot in the menu, which can be a bit annoying. The menu categories can be accessed directly, but not the individual menu pages. For this you could have used the control wheel and the rocker, but both scroll stupidly through the list. With all the criticism, however, it must also be emphasized that the LX7 is very easy to operate thanks to the many buttons for direct functions and the Quick Menu, without coming too often into contact with the somewhat unfortunate menu. In addition, there is a programmable Fn button and two memory locations for individual presettings on the program selector wheel.


With the LX7, Panasonic has managed to balance simple operation for beginners with full functionality for demanding amateur photographers. In the intelligent automatic mode, the user only has to define the image section and press the shutter release button. Nevertheless, the intelligent automatic control allows it to make certain adjustments, for example to the depth of field, white balance or exposure correction. Panasonic does not confuse users with technical terms, but uses symbols to show clearly in which direction the scroll bar has to be moved for which effect. This allows the white balance to be warmer (red) or colder (blue), the image brighter or darker, and the background sharper or blurrier relative to the foreground.

If, on the other hand, you’d prefer to get your hands on the technical parameters of your LX7 yourself, you can enjoy the new aperture ring, which is preset with fixed values independent of the focal length. However, this has the disadvantage that a certain area of the aperture ring always corresponds to the same aperture value at longer focal lengths. So you set it to F1.4 or F2 and still only aperture F2.3 is available, but this is displayed on the screen. A novelty is the smart multi-format sensor in the camera. It is slightly larger than the image circle illuminated by the lens. At the lens, the photographer selects the aspect ratio between 1:1, 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 with a slider. At least with the latter three formats, the photographer always gets an image that always corresponds to the set focal length equivalent to a small picture from the diagonal angle of view. At 16:9 the image is not only trimmed at the top and bottom, but a few pixels are added to the left and right. Only with the 1:1 aspect ratio one unfortunately loses a little angle of view.

New in the LX7 is an HDR recording program that combines several differently exposed shots into a single one with a higher dynamic range. Unfortunately, this HDR mode is a bit too timid, so that you quickly reach your limits and still have to live with overexposed windows in interior shots, for example. The new rocker on the back is fully effective for manual focusing. The MF is also activated via a lens slide switch and offers a freely adjustable focus loupe. The focus setting can now be easily adjusted with the rocker switch, whereby the LX7 not only displays the distance in a bar graph on the screen, but also the entire focus range or depth of field. This makes it very easy to use the hyperfocal distance for landscape shots, for example, to get everything in focus from about two meters to infinity by adjusting the focus distance exactly so that the focus range reaches infinity. What the LX7 unfortunately lacks is a focus peaking or edge raising function to make it even easier to find the sharpness. The autofocus is pleasantly fast at around 0.3 seconds, and the shutter release delay is particularly short at just 0.01 to 0.02 seconds – making the LX7 absolutely suitable for snapshots.

With the DMC-LX7, Full HD video can now also be recorded at 50p thanks to the CMOS sensor, providing the videographer with even higher quality for fast movements. Extremely rare to find is a manual control of the video function in compact cameras, the LX7 masters it. Aperture, exposure time and ISO sensitivity can be set as desired. But an automatic timer or aperture control is also available. The focus is smoothly and inaudibly tracked (but manual focus is also possible), but is sometimes a bit undecided when major changes in sharpness are required. The optical zoom also remains active, but runs much slower and can still be heard very quietly. The slow speed helps to get better videos, because jerky and fast zoom rides cause more displeasure than storms of enthusiasm. Unfortunately, the LX7 doesn’t offer a connection for an external microphone, but the internal stereo microphone works very well. What is missing here, however, is a level indicator and the possibility to manually adjust the audio level. A digital wind filter can be added. In addition to the AVCHD video format, MP4 can also be set, but then only 25 frames per second are available at Full HD resolution. Alternatively, recordings at 100 frames per second are possible, the resolution is still a respectable 1,280 x 720 pixels, i.e. HD.

Picture quality

The expectations of the image quality of a high-end compact camera like the LX7 are not at all low. The Leica lens alone and the slightly larger sensor with a diagonal of 1/1.7 inches than in 08/15 digital cameras indicate that Panasonic wants to meet these demands. At least up to ISO 800 the images should be good and not get lost in noise or squashed details. In view of the larger sensors at Fujifilm (2/3 inch) or Sony (1 inch), the LX7 doesn’t have an easy stand at all, but is a whole aperture brighter.

The sharpness performance of the Leica lens is sufficient for all measured focal lengths and apertures for sufficiently sharp prints in 20 x 30 centimeters. However, the highest sharpness is achieved at F2.8 and F4. Edge darkening doesn’t occur, Panasonic calculates it excellently. Also the distortion is probably corrected, but not to zero line. In telescopic position, it is slightly cushion-shaped, but negligible at less than 0.5 percent. At a medium focal length of 50 millimeters, corresponding to 35mm, the lens first shows a slightly cushion-shaped image towards half the image height, but then a slightly barrel-shaped image towards the edge. All in all, this results in a wave-like distortion, which, however, remains small. Only the wide-angle distortion is slightly stronger. The barrel-shaped shape reaches almost two percent at the edge of the picture, which is quite visible in pictures, especially in architectural shots with many lines in the picture. Colour fringes can also be seen in the pictures. They are strongest at each open aperture. The average value remains below 0.5 pixels in width, but the more extreme values are achieved by one pixel in wide angle and at 50 millimeters. In telescopic position, the chromatic aberrations are slightly stronger overall and reach up to 1.5 pixels. For each focal length, the following applies: fade-out by one to two steps reduces the color fringes.

With resolution measurement at 50 percent edge contrast, it’s all about the preserves. This shows that the lens is somewhat softer, especially in wide-angle with an open aperture. Up to and including F2.0, the resolution remains below 30 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm), but at least the edge drop of the resolution is not too strong, a good value for a wide-angle lens. At F2.8, the image resolution then jumps above the 40 lp/mm mark. However, the edge of the picture doesn’t quite follow, around 30 lp/mm means a loss of 25 percent resolution. Further dimming to F4 increases the resolution in the center minimally, at the edge not. At F5.6 the resolution is already reduced again due to diffraction effects, at F8 the Leica lens is somewhat weaker in wide angle than at F1.4. The highest resolution is achieved at 50 millimeters focal length, even at open aperture F1.9 it is almost 40 lp/mm in the center, but towards the edge the lens also loses about 25 percent. Further dimming brings the peak value of 46 lp/mm in the center at F2.8, the image edge here is 38 lp/mm. For ten megapixel resolution, this is an excellent value that speaks for the Leica lens and image processing algorithms. Further dimming slowly lowers the resolution. In telescopic position, the lens resolves less overall, but at this focal length it also has the lowest edge drop. The maximum here is also F2.8, where 36 lp/mm are reached in the center and 31 lp/mm at the edge of the image.

The measured ISO sensitivity is very close to the set value. From ISO 80-800 it is slightly higher, from ISO 1.600 slightly lower. The signal-to-noise ratio ranges from ISO 80 to 1,600 in the acceptable range of 35 to 40 dB. Only at ISO 80 does the LX7 scratch the good range, which starts at 40 dB. Panasonic has the color noise perfectly under control, it practically doesn’t occur at all. The brightness noise is unobtrusive up to ISO 1,600, but then increases more strongly. The character of the noise is medium grained, up to ISO 800 the graininess is at two pixels, then it increases. The increasing noise reduction can be seen in the dwindling details, the Lumix is very good up to ISO 400, good up to ISO 800 and from 1,600 the images become visibly blurrier or less detailed. The input dynamics up to and including ISO 1,600 are in the good range of over ten f-stops, even at ISO 3,200 it is still 9.6, even the nine f-stops at ISO 6,400 are not really bad. However, these good measured values are also due to a high reduction of shadow noise. The LX7 reproduces tonal values with more contrast, but finds a good balance, so that the images appear crisp, but not artificial. The output tonal range is good up to ISO 800, above that less and less fine brightness gradations are mapped. The same applies to the color depth, up to ISO 800 it is at a nearly constant level and then begins to sink, but even at ISO 1,600 many fine color gradations are still distinguished, only above this the value passes into the only acceptable range. While the manual white balance is extremely precise, the Lumix interprets colors more freely. Especially less saturated green tends towards yellow, red towards orange. Despite these outliers, the average color deviation is small. So the LX7 clearly shows its best image quality up to ISO 400, at ISO 800 it’s still good, but you have to live with limitations. Nevertheless, higher sensitivities are still suitable for smaller expressions or the already lower-resolution presentation on the web.


Bottom line

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 scores above all with its fast lens and the slightly improved, low-noise CMOS image sensor. But it also offers a quality of workmanship commensurate with the price and, above all, rich equipment. Panasonic manages the balancing act between simple operation for beginners with quality demands and advanced users who like to configure everything themselves with many switches and buttons. The video function is also impressive, but Panasonic could add level control and an external microphone connection to the sound settings. The image quality of the LX7 is very good up to ISO 800 for compact camera ratios. The fast lens is somewhat softer, especially in wide angle with open aperture, but overall achieves a good to very good performance.

Fact sheet

Fact sheet
Manufacturer Panasonic
Model Lumix DMC-LX7
Price approx. 500 EUR
Sensor Resolution 10.1 megapixels
Max. Image resolution 3.648 x 2.736
(aspect ratio) (4:3)
Lens F1,4-2,3/24-90mm
Filter threads optional 46 mm
Viewfinder optional (optical and EVF)
Diopter compensation
Field coverage
LCD monitor 3″
Disbandment 920.000
as seeker yes
Video output AV and HDMI (each PAL/NTSC)
Program automation yes
Aperture priority yes
Aperture priority yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long-term exposure
Motive programs
Portrait yes
Children/Babies yes
Countryside yes
Sports/Action yes
more 11
Exposure metering Multi-field, Centre-weighted Integral, Spot
Flash yes
Flash connection TTL system flash shoe
Remote release
Interval shooting
Storage medium SD/SDHC/SDXC
Video mode
Size AVCHD or MP4
Codec H.264
Resolution (max.) 1.920 x 1.080
at frame rate 50p
automatic ISO 80-1.600
extended ISO 3,200-6,400
manually ISO 80-6.400
White balance
Automatic yes
Sun yes
Clouds yes
Fluorescent lamp
Light bulb yes
Other Shadows, flash, manual color temperature selection, fine white balance correction
Manual yes
Number of measuring fields 23
AF auxiliary light red-orange
Speed approx. 0.3 s
Languages German
more 15
300 g
Zoom adjustment motorised via ring rocker
One-hand operation
(zoom and shutter release)
Triggering during storage possible. yes
Battery life approx. 330 pictures according to CIPA
– = “not applicable” or “not available”

Short evaluation


  • Extensive equipment for automatic and manual control
  • Good overall image quality up to ISO 800
  • Video mode with manual exposure, up to 100 fps etc.
  • High-resolution EVF, system flash units and optical accessories can be used
  • High-resolution, brilliant screen


  • For thumb operation, quite small buttons
  • Wide angle up to F2.0 slightly soft
  • No audio level control and no external microphone connection

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Datasheet


Sensor CMOS sensor 1/1.7″ 7.6 x 5.7 mm (crop factor 4.6
)12.7 megapixels (physical), 10.1 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 2,1 µm
Photo resolution
3.968 x 2.232 pixels (16:9)
3.776 x 2.520 pixels (3:2)
3.648 x 2.736 pixels (4:3)
3.072 x 1.728 pixels (16:9)
2.736 x 2.736 pixels (1:1)
2.560 x 1.440 pixels (16:9)
1.600 x 1.200 pixels (4:3)
640 x 480 pixels (4:3)
Picture formats JPG, RAW
Colour depth k. A.
Metadata Exif (version 2.2), DCF standard
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 30 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 30 p
Video format
MOV (Codec Motion JPEG)
AVCHD (Codec H.264)
MPG4 (codec MPEG-4)
Audio format (video) WAV


Focal length 24 to 90 mm (35mm equivalent
)3.8x ZoomDigital zoom
Macro sector 1 cm (wide-angle
)30 cm (telephoto)
Apertures F1.4 to F8 (wide-angle
)F2.3 to F8 (telephoto)
Autofocus yes
Autofocus Functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Manual, AF Assist Light
Filter threads 52 mm

Viewfinder and Monitor

Monitor 3.0″ TFT LCD monitor with 920,000 pixels


Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement, spot measurement
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 250 s (automatic)
Exposure control Program automatic, Aperture automatic, Time automatic, Manual
Bracketing function Bracket function with maximum 3 shots, step size from 1/3 to 1 EV, HDR function
Exposure compensation -3.0 to +3.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Sensitivity to light ISO 80 to ISO 3,200 (manual)
Remote access non-existent
Motives Baby, Twilight, Fireworks, Skin, High Sensitivity, Candlelight, Night Scene, Night Portrait, Party, Portrait, Self Portrait, Sunset, Food, Sports, Beach/Snow, Animals, 0 more scene modes
Picture effects HDR effects, pinhole camera, soft focus
White balance Auto, Cloudy, Sun, Fine Tuning, Shadow, Flash, Bulb Light, Manual
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 11 frames/s at highest resolution and max. 12 stored photos, With AF tracking max. 5 frames per second; High-speed belts 60 frames per second with max. 2.5 megapixel resolution
Self-timer Self-timer at intervals of 2 s, special features: or 10 s (optional)
Shooting functions Live histogram


Flash built-in flash (hinged
)Flash shoe: Olympus/Panasonic (also Leica compact camera), standard center contact
Flash range 0.8 to 8.5 m at wide-angle0
.3 to 5.2 m at telephoto flash range
at ISO auto
Flash functions Auto, Fill Flash, Flash On, Flash Off, Slow Sync, Flash On Second Shutter Curtain, Red-Eye Reduction


Image stabilizer optical image stabilizer
Internal memory yes (70 MByte)
Power supply Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x Lithium ion (Li-Ion) battery (3.6 V, 1,250 mAh
)330 Images according to CIPA standard
Playback Functions Image rotation, playback histogram, image index, slide show function, zoom out
Voice memo Voice memo (WAV format)
Face recognition Face recognition
Picture parameters Contrast, Saturation, Noise Reduction
Grid can be faded in during recording yes
Ports Data interfaces: USB USB Type
: USB 2.0 High Speed Video Output
: yes (HDMI Output Micro (Type D))
Supported direct printing methods PictBridge
Tripod socket 1/4″
Features and Miscellaneous Venus-Engine-FHD signal processor
Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.) can be activated either permanently or during shutter release23/1-point autofocus
with optional high-speed mode Face Detection
and Detection
Single-frame Focusing or Focus Tracking30
seconds maximum shutter speed at ISO 2,000 – 3,2008 seconds maximum shutter speed at ISO 4,000 – 12


00 Automatic
backlight correction/shadow brightening in single mode5-step
adjustment of color saturationimage contrast
, noise reduction and focus adjustablemotion blur warning displaymotif program help textsAdjustable

auto playback (1 or 2 s)
Capture magnifier (1, 4 or 8x magnification)
Playback zoom (max. zoom


Calendar View Picture Playback PossibleSingle Image AnimationUser MemoryIntelligent

ISO Control I.I.C. (Light Sensitivity Level Adjustment or Program Curve Adjustment coupled to Camera Shake Sensors)
High-ISO Mode with 12,800 ISO Swing
Gray Filter (3 Levels)
Image Format Exposure Series

Size and weight

Weight 298 g (operational)
Dimensions W x H x D 110 x 67 x 47 mm


included accessories Panasonic DMW-BCJ13E Special battery chargerUSB connection cableAudio/Video cableLens coverRigid strapImage editing software

Photo FunStudio 8.3 PremiumImage editing software
Silkypix Developer StudioImage management software
PHOTOfunSTUDIO Viewer for WindowsCamera raw data conversion software
Silkypix Developer Studio 3.0SEUSB device driver
for Windows 98/98SEMovie software
Apple QuickTime for Windows and Macintosh

optional accessory Olympus FL-700WR Slip-on flash with swivel reflectorPanasonic
DMW-BCJ13E Special rechargeable batteryPower adapter
DMW-AC5Removable memory cardHDMIcableElectronic
viewfinder DMW-LVF2
USB 2.0 High Speed


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