Panasonic introduces the Lumix LX7 compact camera with faster f1.4 lens, smaller sensor

Panasonic has announced the follow to its well received LX5 enthusiast compact camera in the shape of the Lumix DMC-LX7, which now packs a handy aperture ring around its Leica lens.

The LX7 comes with a slightly smaller sensor than the LX5, trading a slightly smaller sensor size for a super-fast F1.4-2.3 wide angle 3.8x optical zoom covering  a 24-90mm equivalent range.

Moving to f1.4 is quite a leap from the LX5’s maximum aperture of f2.0, and this should open up more low light opportunities and allow creative ‘defocusing.’

New sensor

Inside the LX7 is a 10.1MP MOS sensor – a change from its predecessor’s CCD – with Panasonic claiming a  S/N ratio improved by 1.5 dB,  backed by an Intelligent NR (Noise Reduction) which applies optimal noise reduction in multiple steps.

The camera is a pretty speedy operator too, managing high-speed consecutive shooting at 11 fps (frames per second) in full resolution with mechanical shutter and 5 fps with continuous AF (Auto Focus).  The max ISO sensitivity has been boosted to 6400 from 3200.

As ever, there’s loads of auto/manual shooting modes on offer, as well as 16 filter options plus a handy Time Lapse Shot function and a built-in neutral-density (ND) filter.

The LX7 can shoot 1080p60 movies (50p for European examples) in AVCHD Progressive format with stereo sound, while around the back is a large 3″ 920k dot LCD. An accessory port allows the use of an optional high-res electronic viewfinder in the hotshoe.

Panasonic’s flagship compact  camera looks much the same as its predecessors, although we’re very much liking the look of the new aperture ring.

The smaller sensor is a bit of a disappointment though, particularly when rivals like Sony are managing to fit a much larger sensor into their attractive new RX100 camera, although the as-yet-unannounced pricing will be critical.

Here’s the full specs – scroll down for the press release.

Dimensions 4.4 x 2.6 x 1.8 in/(111 x 67 x 46 mm)
Weight 10.5 oz (298 g)
Image Capture
Sensor Type Panasonic CMOS
1/1.7″ (approx. 0.59 in. diagonal)
12.70 megapixels (total)/10.10 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Aspect Ratio 16:9, 4:3
Image Dimensions 3648 x 2736 (10.0 megapixels)
3072 x 2304 (7.1 megapixels)
2560 x 1920 (4.9 megapixels)
2048 x 1536 (3.1 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
3776 x 2520 (9.5 megapixels)
3168 x 2112 (6.7 megapixels)
2656 x 1768 (4.7 megapixels)
2112 x 1408 (3.0 megapixels)
2048 x 1360 (2.8 megapixels)
640 x 424 (0.3 megapixels)
3968 x 2232 (8.9 megapixels)
3328 x 1872 (6.2 megapixels)
2784 x 1568 (4.4 megapixels)
2208 x 1248 (2.8 megapixels)

Capture Speed Continuous: 11.0 frames per second for 12 frames
Image Quality 2 levels

Image Preview / Review
LCD 3.0 in. diagonal920,000 dots
Lens
Image Stabilization Yes

Focal Length 4.7 – 17.7mm (actual)
24 – 90mm (35mm equivalent)

Aperture Range f/1.4 (wide) / f/2.3 (tele) – f/8 using multistage diaphragm with 3 step ND filter

Focusing System Contrast Detect: Face / AF Tracking / Multi (23pt) / 1pt (flexible / scalable)
Has AF assist lamp
Manual focus possible

Focusing Range Normal: 20″ – infinity (50 cm – infinity)
Macro: 0.4″ – 4,082″ (1 cm – 10,000 cm)

Exposure
ISO Sensitivity Auto, iISO, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800* (* by pixel mixed readout), 1/3 EV steps
Shutter Speed 250 – 1/4000 second

Exposure Modes Aperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes Intelligent Multiple, Center-Weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation +/- 3.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor – Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Flash, Incandescent, Color Temperature (2-axis adjustable), White Set 1, White Set 2

Internal Flash Modes: Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off, Flash Synchro; 1st/2nd Slow Sync
Range: 0.8 – 8.5m (Wide/ISO Auto), 0.3 – 5.2m (Tele/ISO Auto)
Flash Exposure Compensation +/- EV

Creative
Scene Modes Scene: Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama shot, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Handheld Night Shot, HDR, Food, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, Glass Through, 3D Photo; Creative Control: Expressive, Retro, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Dynamic Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, Star Filter, One Point Color, Radial Defocus, Smooth Defocus
Digital Zoom Standard up to 4x, Intelligent Zoom up to 2x

Self Timer Yes, 2, 10, 3 in 10 seconds
Movie Format AVCHD or MP4, with stereo sound with audio

Storage
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format RAW, RAW+JPEG, JPEG (EXIF 2.3), MPO

Connectivity
Other DC Input, Mini HDMI with Viera Link
Power
Battery Type 3.6V 1250mAh Lithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary
Product Bundle
Software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 8.3 PE, SILKYPIX Developer Studio, Adobe Reader
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory 70.0MB Internal

Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes
Remote Control No

Notes Power OIS optical image stabilization, Full HD video up to 60p, raw capture, AF Tracking, Intelligent D-range Control, Intelligent Scene Selector, Face Recognition, Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent HDR (High Dynamic Range), Intelligent Handheld Night Shot and Motion Deblur modes, 11 fps full-resolution burst mode, 5 fps with Continuous AF. Available in black or white.

 

Panasonic press release:

July 18, 2012 (Secaucus, NJ) – Panasonic today announced its new premium digital compact camera, the LUMIX DMC-LX7, from the world-renowned LX series which has been long acclaimed by photography enthusiasts for its high picture quality and creative descriptiveness. The new LUMIX LX7 is equipped with a fully re-designed lens, image sensor and image processing engine for superior performance and stunning image quality.

“The Panasonic LUMIX LX-Series cameras have been extremely popular models for both professional and enthusiast photographers, who understand the value and superb image quality such a compact, affordable digital camera can offer,” said Marc Sorkin, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America. “We expect the same enthusiasm, if not more, for the LUMIX LX7, which features major upgrades and improvements resulting in even better image quality.”

Equipped with a newly developed 24mm ultra-wide angle LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMILUX lens with 3.8x optical zoom*1, the LUMIX LX7’s supreme lens also features F1.4 brightness at wide-end and F2.3 at tele-end.  The F1.4 brightness is approximately 400% as bright as an F2.8 lens. The extraordinarily rich amount of light allows for the use of higher shutter speed to capture stunningly clear, sharp, blur-free images in low light situations and also provides impressive expression to images by reproducing exquisite gradation and mellow defocus to elevate photography.

The LUMIX LX7’s lens unit consists of 11 elements in 10 groups with five aspherical lenses with nine aspherical surfaces, including the dual-sided aspherical surface ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lens, which has never before been adopted by any Panasonic LUMIX digital camera or interchangeable lens. This advanced lens system makes it easy to produce beautiful photos in high resolution with minimal distortion and a pleasing, soft-focused background.  Nano Surface Coating technology dramatically minimizes light reflection at entire visual range (380nm-780nm).  The LX7’s 24mm ultra-wide-angle lens gives users a wider range of composition possibilities, capturing approximately 136% larger viewing space compared to that of a 28mm wide angle camera. Additionally, the LUMIX LX7’s lens minimizes distortion at wide end so users obtain stunning, true-to-life images with outstanding resolution and detail.

The LUMIX LX7 adopts a new 1/1.7-inch 10.1-megapixel*2 MOS Sensor that features an improved S/N ratio by 1.5 dB compared with its predecessor, the LUMIX DMC-LX5*3 which results in high resolution images with stunning clarity in high sensitivity recording and also in low ISO, reproducing rich gradation with wide dynamic range even when the situation is highly contrasted. The LUMIX LX7’s high performance Venus Engine also boasts advanced signal processing. The Intelligent NR (Noise Reduction) system keeps resolution high by optimizing the NR process applied to each part of an image. The Multi-process NR quickly detects brightness in each portion of a picture and applies optimal noise reduction in multiple steps.  High-speed digital signal output has been integrated into the LUMIX LX7 to realize high-speed consecutive shooting at 11 fps (frames per second) in full resolution with mechanical shutter and 5 fps with continuous AF (Auto Focus).

Creative Control Mode offers 16 filter options including Soft Focus*4, Dynamic Monochrome, Impressive Art, One Point Color, Cross Process, Low Key, Toy Effect, Star Filter, Expressive, Retro, High Key, Sepia, Hi Dynamic, Miniature Effect*5 and the new exclusive Radial Defocus and Smooth Defocus modes.  Radial Defocus adds defocus effect radially from the light source while Smooth Defocus makes defocus figuration even smoother.  Photo Style is also available to provide photos with finer expression with Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait and Custom preset options. The Time Lapse Shot function allows users to capture a record of stationary observation for objects such as flowers coming into bloom, wild animals and moving clouds.  Additionally, full manual control is available on the LUMIX LX7 so advanced users can enjoy more creative photography.

The LUMIX LX7 features both iA (Intelligent Auto) and iA Plus modes.  In addition to the popular functions of iA- POWER O.I.S., AF Tracking, Intelligent D-range Control, Intelligent Scene Selector, Face Recognition, Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent HDR (High Dynamic Range), Intelligent Handheld Night Shot and Motion Deblur*6 modes- iA Plus mode allows users to adjust defocusing area in the background, exposure compensation and white balance for more flexible control

Equipped with a new 3.0-inch 920,000-dot Intelligent LCD screen with super high resolution and wide angle viewing, the LUMIX LX7’s screen brightness automatically adjusts in 11 steps as surrounding brightness levels change, ensuring easy visibility at all times. To enhance operability, the LUMIX LX7 has been equipped with an aperture ring, internal ND filter, focus lever and rear dial in order to control light source. The newly added Level Gauge detects horizontal or vertical angle of view which is helpful in keeping horizontal composition even when shooting in high or low angle.

In addition to recording stunning still imagery, the LUMIX LX7 also records high resolution full-HD 1,920×1,080 60p videos in AVCHD Progressive (MPEG-4 / H.264) format or 30p in MP4. The LUMIX LX7 features a dedicated video record button on the top of the camera body so users can instantly start recording videos while shooting photographs without changing any settings. Along with full-HD video capabilities with 3.8x optical zoom with step zoom function and POWER O.I.S., the LUMIX LX7 also features high-quality sound, recorded with Dolby® Digital Stereo Creator to offer highly realistic sound to images. The stereo microphone comes with a zoom noise reduction system and an Auto Wind Cut function blocks out most background noise from wind.  Additionally, Creative Video mode lets users set the camera shutter speed, which can create special effects in videos, and aperture, which is convenient when there are several subjects at different distances, manually to create even more impressive videos.

The LUMIX LX7 offers rich accessory options for camera expandability to match every shooting situation and style.  The hot shoe atop the camera body allows for the attachment of advanced accessories including the optional tilt-shift Live View Finder (DMW-LVF2) which helps monitoring even under strong daylight with high visibility.

Additional camera accessories include:

  • External Optical View Finder: DMW-VF1
  • Filter Adaptor: DMW-FA1 NEW
  • MC Protector: DMW-LMCH37
  • ND Filter: DMW-LND37
  • PL Filter: DMW-LPLA37 NEW
  • External Flash: DMW-FL220 (GN22) / DMW-FL360 (GN36) / DMW-FL500 (GN50)
  • Genuine Leather Case: DMW-CLX7 NEW
  • Battery Pack: DMW-BCJ13

Additional features of the LUMIX LX7 include:

  • RAW and RAW+JPEG data recording options
  • Aspect Bracket / White Balance Bracket
  • HDR mode
  • Panorama Shot mode
  • 3D Photo mode
  • Creative Retouch

The LUMIX DMC-LX7 will be available in black and white.  Pricing and availability will be announced approximately 30 days prior to shipping.  For more information about Panasonic LUMIX digital cameras and lenses, please visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.