Quick review of the Panasonic LX7 compact camera

Can Panasonic’s recently announced Panasonic Lumix LX7 (the LX5 replacement) become the compact of choice for enthusiasts?

Well there’s been much internet talk about the slight reduction in sensor size (from 1/1.6.3″ to 1/ 1.7″, hardly massive) but could this be missing the point? Sensor size is only one factor in overall optical performance. A decent sensor has to be twinned with a good lens to become viable. Well the LX 7 has a truly impressive lens in the form of a “fast” Leica F1.4 – 2.3 (24mm -90mm equivalent) optic. This represents a significant upgrade / development of the already impressive lens on the current LX5 and whilst the LX7 sensor doesn’t even come close in physical dimensions to the one in say the Sony RX100 or even Fuji X10 the lens specification knocks these models for six. Throw in a sensible 10mp MOS sensor, Venus Engine VII FHD processor, 3 stop ND filter (useful & necessary), a 3″ 920K dot screen (decent upgrade & overdue), sub ¬£450 price and the Panasonic Lumix LX7 begins to look like a very tempting package.

I have waited some time to replace my now elderly Panasonic LX3 (circ 2008), was sorely tempted by the Fuji X10 (great camera, fab looks, top notch results), considered the RX100 (too expensive by far) and the more I look at the new LX7 the more it seems likely¬† to make its way onto my Christmas list. I reckon Panasonic might have been rather shrewd with the LX7. This new camera maintains the LX5’s core strengths (physical size, handling, hot shoe), still possess a reasonable “big” sensor but adds an unbelievable lens and improved rear screen. The sum of its parts could represent the perfect fusion of capacities to produce the ultimate enthusiast camera?

Mark Baynham (August 2012)

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