Little camera that packs a punch
Panasonic has been taking great strides in their camera designs and releases over the last few years, tackling their way to being one of the top manufacturers of mirrorless cameras.
Their release of the Panasonic G7 only helps cement their status as a fantastic camera making company.
One of the most notable changes compared to their previous G6 is the addition of more physical controls. They allow you to control both shutter speed and aperture while in manual mode, without the need to trawl through any menus.
These are also fully customizable which is a real boon for those who would like to change their functionality.
The G7 is also a bit of a looker, it has a slight ‘retro’ feel while having that modern slick feel that we have come accustomed to.
The inclusion of a 3-inch 1040K-dot Free-Angle touch screen display is a brilliant addition and is actually VERY useful.
For instance if you are looking through the OLED Live View Finder, you can use the touch screen to move your focus point without even leaving the eyepiece. Snazzy!
The LVF is actually really nice, sharp and bright which is what I use 90% of the time in daylight.
That touch screen is no slouch though, good colours and contrast, which makes it pretty easy to use even in the sunlight for most occasions.
When it comes to handling, the G7 fits nicely in your hand, the grip has been redesigned and sits well in my palm (even though I have large hands), without feeling like I am going to drop it.
The camera is fairly light at 410g (without a lens) while having a heft to it that makes it not feel like it’s going to fall apart at the slightest knock.
It does mean that the system as a whole is a lot more comfortable to carry around for street photography or on extended journeys.
Button placements all make sense and are easy to reach with both hands.
While it may look slightly complicated on first use, once you get it down it actually makes A LOT of sense when using it.
The Panasonic G7’s connections for wired remote, HDMI and AV/Digital outputs are on the right and the mic jack is on the left side.
Layout seems to work well so I’ve never had a problem.
Aesthetics and usability are not the only improvements however.
When it comes to performance the Panasonic G7 is pretty darn good.
Autofocus is fast and accurate, which Panasonic attributes to a new technology called Depth From Defocus (DFD), it only works with Panasonic lenses, but it seems to do the job!
As for image quality the G7 is extremely good up to ISO 3200 (with 25600 as it’s maximum, but not really usable), crisp and clean images with vibrant colours.
While it may not hold up to the newer GX8 or the FAR more expensive Sony variants, it certainly is a fantastic stills camera in this price bracket.
The G7 has a wealth of cool and helpful features:
- Improved Creative Panorama (360-degree)
- 3.5mm Microphone Socket
- Improved eye cup and sensor
- Focus Peaking
- Silent Mode
- Level Gauge
- Creative Control with 22 Filters
- Time Lapse Shot / Stop Motion Animation
- iA+ (Intelligent Auto) Mode for Photo and Video
One of my favourite features has to be the WiFi connectivity, it is extremely simply to use and highly effective.
You can load up the app on your phone, connect with a click of a button and then use your phone as as live view and remote shutter.
Then you can send images directly to social media or just save them to your device for use later.
Many of these features really do come into their own with the video mode.
The G7 sports a variety of resolutions and FPS, including 1080p at 60fps and 4K at 24fps (or 50fps and 25fps for EU/UK)..
1080p modes are fairly standard but lower bit-rate when compared to other units with similar price tags, but at a modest 28mb/s it is certainly VERY usable and in fact looks JUST as good as many of the higher bit rate options from other brands.
4K video has a bit rate of 100mb/s which actually works extremely well and produces GORGEOUS video, on par with that of it’s bigger brother the Panasonic GH4.
While lacking some of the creative frame rate options and true Cine-4K, it is simply stunning at this price point.
There’s a colour profile called Cinelike D that produces pretty flat, low-contrast colours that are a great starting point for colour grading in software such as DaVinci resolve or Adobe Premiere Pro.
However it must be said that I would LOVE for Panasonic to port over V-LOG from the GH4.
There are touchscreen controls of the autofocus points, tracking continuous focus, plus manual controls such as shutter speed, ISO, aperture and microphone levels while recording.
So if you are an Amateur filmmaker or looking for a B-cam for your setup, the Panasonic G7 comes HIGHLY recommended.
A feature being pushed by Panasonic and now other brands, are the new 4K stills mode.
This essentially records a 4K video when you press the shutter and allows you to pick out frames from that video to output as 8mp stills.
While it is not a feature I have found myself using much, I am sure it would be great for use with the family when out and about, to capture those moments that you may not typically be quick enough to snag.
On the G7 there are three options for the 4K Photo mode.
One captures video for the entire time that you hold down the shutter button, another uses the shutter button to start and stop the video capture, while the final option records one second before and one second after you press the button.
They all have different uses so give them all a try, especially the last option as it means you can capture something AFTER it happens, quite handy.
The Panasonic G7 is a powerhouse camera for those on a budget.
Amazing 4K Video, stunning still images, swivel touch screen, bright LVF, good aesthetics and control placements.
If you can live without weather sealing then what more could you want at this price point? It offers more than any other camera in this price range, without sacrificing on quality.
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