Panasonic's Lumix DMC-G7 feels like it's as much a little brother to the 4K-toting GH4, as a follow-up to the G6. It's being billed as the mirrorless camera to bring the full benefits of 4K video to the rest of us, thanks to its ability to shoot 4K footage at 30 fps, and then extract 8-megapixel stills from it. While we've seen those features before, the G7 is arguably the first time they've been built into a mirrorless camera which is simultaneously powerful and accessible to the masses.
The Panasonic G7 features a 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds (17.3 x 13.0 mm) Live MOS sensor paired with an improved Venus Engine image processor to deliver high quality images in a variety of conditions. It has an extended ISO range of 100 to 25,600 and is capable of firing off bursts of full resolution images at 8 fps (frames per second) in AFS, or 6 fps in AFC when using its mechanical shutter. It can do this for around 13 frames if shooting RAW, or more than 100 if shooting JPEG files.
However, while that's all well and good, it's going to be the formerly high-end 4K capabilities making their way down the Panasonic mirrorless line-up which make the G7 stand out from the crowd of mid-range mirrorless cameras on the market. First off, it can record 4K footage at a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution at 30/24 fps and 100 Mbps, along with Full HD 1080p footage at 60 fps.
The camera also boasts a number of photography-based 4K features including Panasonic's 4K Photo mode which lets users select a single frame out of a 4K video to extract as a very usable 8-megapixel JPEG image. This is a function which was added via firmware to the GH4 and FZ1000, and has also featured on the LX100 and CM1 smartphone camera.
In addition to extracting a still from a video, 4K photo bursts can also be recorded while the shutter button is pressed, using the shutter button to start and stop recording, or in a pre-burst mode which initiates a 4K video sequence one second before and after the shutter button is pressed, giving users 60 extra images to select from. This mode can be great for capturing very quick moments and impressed us when we tried it out on the CM1 smartphone camera, even though it only offered an additional 30 shots because of the slower frame-rate.
Autofocus uses a contrast-based AF system which features 49 areas along with Panasonic's Depth From Defocus technology to ensure speedy and accurate subject acquisition with speeds of up to 0.07 seconds. A new algorithm is also said to vastly improve AF tracking by recognizing not only color, but also the size and motion vector of a target. Other autofocus modes include Eye Detection and Touch AF, while features like Focus Peaking are there for those who like to take a more manual approach.
The Panasonic G7 is styled similarly to the GH4 and G6, and as such looks like a small modern DSLR. There's a chunky grip along with plenty of control dials for changing settings. It measures 124.9 x 86.2 x 77.4 mm (4.92 x 3.39 x 3.05 in) and weighs in at 410g (0.90 lb) with a battery and SD card. On the rear there's an OLED electronic viewfinder with 2,360k dots, and a three-inch free-angle LCD touchscreen with 1,040k dots.
Other features of note include the ability to shoot and export time lapse videos, Low Light AF for focussing in -4EV low light conditions, and a Starlight AF mode which lets you shoot better images of the night sky. There's also the inclusion of built-in Wi-Fi which means the camera can be controlled remotely via a smart device, giving users the ability to remotely focus and shoot with a live preview, and then share the results.
The Panasonic Lumix G7 is available for preorder now, and is expected to ship in June. It will set you back US$800 with a 14-42-mm kit lens, or $1,100 with a 14-140-mm lens.
You can check out a promo video for the camera below.
Product page: Panasonic Lumix G7
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