IT’S NO SECRET to anyone in the photographic trade that the camera market is struggling. Compact camera sales have declined – no, rather make that fallen off a cliff, as smartphones become the camera of choice for the vast majority of people. The DSLR and interchangeable lens market is slightly more robust but it’s not exactly on fire, which means that the camera makers are looking for new ways to entice punters.
Panasonic was one of the first companies to embrace the hybrid camera and has had a number of excellent models in the market over the years. The latest Lumix interchangeable lens camera is the DMC-GX7, and it’s unashamedly aimed at the premium end of the market but caters to a huge range of photographers in order to boost its appeal.
It offers a combination of retro styling, high-quality materials and construction along with a massive feature set that’s designed to work just as well in the hands of utter novices as it does for serious experts.
Features include a new 16MP Micro Four-Thirds sensor offering greater sensitivity and better low light performance than previous models. There’s a new high-speed Auto Focus system, a tiltable rear LCD touchscreen and an ultra high resolution 90-degree tiltable 2764K Live View Finder (LVF) with a huge colour gamut that proved particularly impressive when we had a chance to play with the demo units.
The GX7 also offers full HD video capture with extensive manual controls, built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, along with the ability to control the camera via an App. It has in-body image stabilisation to allow it to support the massive range of compatible lenses (there are adapters for a number of different lens mounts). In addition, the GX7 is designed to give advanced users full manual control and has a number of features to improve the user experience in this regard. There’s also a huge list of creative shooting modes and the usual intelligent auto modes. All this is housed in a lightweight magnesium alloy frame.
We’ll be getting a review sample in as soon as we can because this camera really seems to tick all the boxes between compact size, user friendliness and advanced functionality. The expected market prices are around $1600 for the body and $1800 with the 14-42mm lens.