Panasonic Evolves with the Lumix DMC-GH3 and DMC-LX7

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Panasonic has recently introduced two new members to their Lumix line of digital cameras; the GH3 and the LX7. Both of the cameras are successors to previous models, the GH2 and the LX5 respectively, and improve upon such with faster performance and a refinement of the already impressive features. The GH3 notably gains a weather-sealed, magnesium-alloy body and enhanced video capabilities, as well as a new image sensor and processor. The LX7 improves on its predecessor through the addition of an even faster lens, a new sensor that produces higher-quality video, faster continuous shooting rates and a higher resolution rear LCD monitor.

Lumix DMC-GH3

The Lumix DMC-GH3 is a mirrorless camera poised to appeal to photographers used to working with compact and DSLR-sized cameras, as it provides DSLR-quality imagery in a more compact package than similarly performing cameras. The 16.05 megapixel Digital Live MOS sensor is coupled with a the 4-CPU Venus Engine and a redesigned low-pass filter to provide sharp, detailed imagery with expanded sensitivity up to ISO 25600. The new Venus Engine image processor combines 3D Noise Reduction (3DNR) and Multiprocess Noise Reduction (MNR) technologies to help reduce the appearance of noise when working in low-light situations with higher ISOs, resulting in greater clarity and smoother image quality. Benefitting the image quality and sensitivity is a high speed contrast autofocus system, which utilizes the imaging sensor to offer precise focusing across all apertures. The full-area focusing afforded by the touch screen enables any point you touch to be a focus point; you are not confined to having your subject located within a certain area of the frame to acquire focus on it. This 3.0” 614k-dot OLED monitor features a side-hinged, articulating design that allows it to tilt out from the body and rotate up or down to benefit shooting from both low and high perspectives. In addition to this highly functional monitor, there is also a much-improved 1,744k-dot OLED electronic viewfinder that provides eye-level viewing with100% frame coverage.

Where the GH3 is designed to truly shine is in regard to its HD video performance. The GH2 became a favorite for many filmmakers and videographers due to its impressive capabilities and quality, considering its size and context. The GH3 builds upon this success and adds additional video-specific features to further adapt this camera for professional video use. The GH3 is capable of recording full HD 1920 x 1080 video with multiple frame rates up to 60p. When recording at 60p in IPB compression, you can record with a bit rate of up to 50 Mbps, and at 30p in All-I compression, this rate can be increased to a very notable 72 Mbps. For versatility in regard to editing and video output, you can work in .MOV (H.264) or AVCHD formats—both of which support the use of time codes for multi-camera setups—or the MP4 format for more Internet-friendly video files. Also greatly improving overall video functionality is the inclusion of both a 3.5mm external microphone socket and a dedicated headphone socket for improving the overall quality of sound during recording.

Other improvements seen in the GH3 include the ability to record still images at a continuous rate up to six full resolution frames per second. Interval recording is also possible, allowing you to create stop-motion-like effects or work in a time-lapse style. Built-in HDR and multiple exposure modes also give way to more creative opportunities while shooting. The GH3 also features four-channel wireless capability for the use of multiple external flashes and integrates a PC socket for connecting an off-camera flash directly to the camera for handheld use or for placing on a flash bracket. A built-in Wi-Fi module also allows for wireless connectivity, remote control, and remote monitoring when using an iOS or Android mobile device. All of the GH3’s features and imaging performance are housed in a newly designed dust- and splash proof magnesium-alloy body, featuring sealed joints and components to ensure protection against the elements.

Lumix DMC-LX7

Panasonic’s other newly introduced camera is the Lumix DMC-LX7, which is available in white or black. This compact point-and-shoot camera is the successor to the  Lumix DMC-LX5, and improves upon in it in a number of ways relating to imaging performance and overall speed. The LX7 features a 10.1MP High Sensitivity MOS sensor with multi-aspect ratio functionality, which provides the same effective diagonal angle of view regardless of whether you're working in 4:3, 3:2, or 16:9 formats. The 1/1.7” sensor size, combined with the Panasonic Venus Engine processor, provides highly detailed image quality and contributes to a sensitivity range from ISO 80 to 12800. This sensitivity range is enhanced through the use of Intelligent NR (noise reduction) and Multi-process NR to help lessen the amount of visible noise when working at higher ISO settings.

Also aiding the low-light performance of this camera significantly is the built-in Leica DC Vario-Summilux 4.7-17.7mm (24-90mm 35mm equivalent) lens’s maximum aperture range from f/1.4-2.3. This large maximum aperture also gives way to shallow depth of field and selective-focus applications, which can be further enhanced with the inclusion of a built-in, three-stop neutral density filter. This filter broadens the maximum aperture usability by enabling shutter speeds to be much slower than normal when working in bright, daylight conditions. The lens has a Nano Surface Coating that helps to reduce flare and ghosting in order to improve contrast and clarity. This optical system is also heavily benefited by a manual aperture ring surrounding the lens barrel, which gives more natural control while working; similar to how you would work with an interchangeable-lens camera. Focus and use of the ND filter can also be manually controlled through a dedicated dial and lever on the rear of the camera. For monitoring and playback of images and video, a 3.0” 920k-dot LCD monitor is also located on the rear of camera and features an anti-reflective coating and 11-step brightness control for use in a variety of conditions.

Concerning shooting performance, the LX7 also improves upon its predecessors by including full HD 1080 video with multiple frame rates up to 60p. The AVCHD Progressive (MPEG-4 / H.264) codec is used when recording in 60p, or the Internet-friendly MP4 format is used if recording in 30p. Video is supported with the use of POWER O.I.S. image stabilization and a built-in stereo microphone with integrated Auto Wind Cut function and a zoom noise reduction system. Video recording is easily accessible through a dedicated Record button on the top of the camera, and creative effects can be applied if working in the Creative Video mode, which permits the use of different shutter speeds to control the appearance of motion. Also working in regard to capturing motion and fast-moving subjects is a maximum continuous still shooting rate of up to 11 fps, or up to 5 fps when using AF tracking to ensure subjects are kept in sharp focus.

  

The LX7 maintains a similar form factor compared to the LX5, keeping it compact but large enough to provide a stable grip, especially through the inclusion of the manual aperture ring. An added feature is the LX7’s compatibility with an optional external electronic viewfinder, which provides the same visual information as the rear LCD in a 1,440k-dot 90-degree tiltable viewfinder design.

Both of these cameras add a measure of progress to Panasonic’s already inventive lines of imaging tools. The GH3 improves upon the excellent GH2 by upping the video performance and handling features it is already known for, truly marking its place in the spotlight as a serious tool for video and still-image capture. The LX7, similarly, shows evolution in regard to a compact point-and-shoot camera with manual capabilities that offers appeal to photographers already working with an interchangeable-lens camera, or those looking to have a fully enabled point-and-shoot camera with a multitude of features and image quality.

  Lumix DMC-GH3 Lumix DMC-LX7
Camera Type Digital single lens mirrorless camera Digital point-and-shoot camera
Recording Media SD, SDHC, SDXC memory cards (compatible with UHS-I standard) SD, SDHC, SDXC memory cards or built-in memory (70MB)
Lens Mount Micro Four Thirds N/A
Image Sensor 17.3 x 13mm Live MOS 1/1.7" (7.6 x 5.7mm) High Sensitivity MOS
Total Pixels 17.2MP 12.8MP
Effective Pixels 16.05MP 10.1MP
Color Filter Primary color filter Primary color filter
Dust Reduction System Supersonic wave filter N/A
Recording File Format Still: JPEG (DCF, Exif 2.3), RAW, MPO
Movie: AVCHD Ver. 2.0/MPEG-4-AVC (H.264): .MOV, .MP4
Still: JPEG(DCF, Exif 2.3), RAW, MPO
Movie: AVCHD, .MP4
Aspect Ratio 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1
Image Quality RAW, RAW+Fine, RAW+Standard, Fine, Standard, MPO+Fine, MPO+Standard RAW, RAW+Fine, RAW+Standard, Fine, Standard, MPO+Fine, MPO+Standard
Color Space sRGB, Adobe RGB Not specified by manufacturer
Still Image File Size (Pixels) 4:3
L: 4608 x 3456
M: 3264 x 2448
S: 2336 x 1752
MPO: 1824 x 1368
3:2
L: 4608 x 3072
M: 3264 x 2176
S: 2336 x 1560
MPO: 1824 x 1216
16:9
L: 4608 x 2592
M: 3264 x 1840
S: 1920 x 1080
MPO: 1824 x 1024
1:1
L: 3456 x 3456
M: 2448 x 2448
S: 1744 x 1744
MPO: 1712 x 1712
4:3
3648 x 2736 (10M)
3072 x 2304 (7M)
2560 x 1920 (5M)
2048 x 1536 (3M)
1600 x 1200 (2M)
640 x 480 (0.3M)
3:2
3776 x 2520 (9.5M)
3168 x 2112 (6.5M)
2656 x 1768 (4.5M)
2112 x 1408 (3M)
2048 x 1360 (2.5M)
640 x 424 (0.3M)
16:9
3968 x 2232 (9M)
3228 x 1872 (6M)
2784 x 1588 (4.5M)
2208 x 1248 (2.5M)
1920 x 1080 (2M)
640 x 360 (0.2M)
1920 x 1080 (MPO)
1:1
2736 x 2736 (7.5M)
2304 x 2304 (5.5M)
1920 x 1920 (3.5M)
1536 x 1536 (2.5M)
480 x 480 (0.2M)
Movie File Size (Pixels) MOV: NTSC
1920 x 1080, 30p/24p (72 Mbps, ALL-I)
1280 x 720, 60p (72 Mbps, ALL-I)
1920 x 1080, 60p/30p/24p (50 Mbps, IPB)
MP4: NTSC
1920 x 1080, 30p (20 Mbps)
1280 x 720, 30p (10 Mbps)
640 x 480, 30p (4 Mbps)
AVCHD Progressive: NTSC
1920 x 1080, 60p (28 Mbps)
AVCHD: NTSC
1920 x 1080, 24p (24 Mbps)
1920 x 1080, 60i (30p output,
24 Mbps)
1920 x 1080, 60i (60p output,
17 Mbps)
HD
1920 x 1080, 60p (PSH: 28 Mbps, AVCHD)
1920 x 1080, 60i (FSH: 17 Mbps, AVCHD)
1280 x 720, 60p (SH: 17 Mbps, AVCHD)
1920 x 1080, 30p (FHD: 20 Mbps, MP4)
1280 x 720, 30p (HD: 10 Mbps, MP4)
SD
640 x 480, 30p (VGA: 4 Mbps, MP4)
Hi-Speed Video
1280 x 720, 30p (MP4, sensor output is 120 fps)
Continuous Recordable Time (Movies) AVCHD H-HS12035: Approx. 230 min.
AVCHD H-VS014140: Approx.
210 min.
AVCHD: Approx. 90 min. (PSH),
100 min. (FSH)
MP4: Approx. 110 min. (FHD)
Actual Recordable Time (Movies) AVCHD H-HS12035: Approx. 115 min.
AVCHD H-VS014140: Approx.
105 min.
AVCHD: Approx. 50 min. (PSH),
55 min. (FSH)
MP4: Approx. 60 min. (FHD)
Flicker Reduction (Movies) 1/50, 1/60, 1/100, 1/120, and OFF N/A
Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11b/g/n, 2412 MHz –
2462 MHz (11ch), Wi-Fi / WPA / WPA2, Infrastructure mode 
N/A
Viewfinder Type OLED Live View Finder, 1,744k-dot equivalent N/A
Viewfinder Field of View Approx. 100% N/A
Viewfinder Magnification Approx. 1.34x (0.67x 35mm equivalent) N/A
Viewfinder Eye Point Approx. 21mm N/A
Viewfinder Diopter Adjustment +/- 4.0 N/A
Focus Type Contrast AF system Not specified by manufacturer
Focus Modes AFS (single), AFF (flexible), AFC (continuous), MF AF and MF
AF Modes Face detection, AF tracking, 23-area focusing, 1-area focusing, Pinpoint, Full area touch available Face detection, AF Tracking, 23-area focusing, 1-area focusing (flexible/scalable) 
Other Focus Types Quick AF, Continuous AF (during motion image recording), AF+MF, Eye Sensor AF, Touch Pad AF, Touch AF, Touch shutter, Touch MF Assist, Shutter AF, Half Press Release Normal / AF Macro / MF / Quick AF On/Off (On in Intelligent Auto), Continuous AF (only for motion picture) / AF/AF Macro/MF Switchable, AF/AE Lock Button, Focus Lever, Manual Focus, One Shot AF, AF Area Select, AF Tracking
Lens N/A Leica DC Vario-Summilux
Focal Length N/A 4.7-17.7mm (24-90mm 35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range N/A f/1.4-2.3, multistage iris diaphragm: f/1.4-8 (W), f/2.3-8 (T), built-in 3 EV ND filter
Lens Construction N/A 11 elements in 10 groups (with 5 aspherical lenses, 9 aspherical surfaces, 2 ED lenses, 1 aspherical ED lens, and 1 Nano surface coating lens)
Optical Image Stabilizer N/A Power O.I.S.
Focusing Area N/A Normal: 1.6’ / 50 cm to infinity (W)
AUTO/motion picture: 0.4” / 1 cm to infinity (W), 11.8” / 30 cm to infinity (T)
Light Metering System 144-zone multi-pattern sensing system  Not specified by manufacturer
Light Metering Mode Intelligent Multiple, Center Weighted, Spot  Intelligent Multiple, Center Weighted, Spot 
Metering Range EV 0-18 (f/2.0 lens, ISO 100 equivalent) Not specified by manufacturer
Exposure Modes Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual
ISO Sensitivity Auto, Intelligent, ISO 200-12800, Extended ISO 125-25600 Auto, Intelligent, ISO 80-12800
Exposure Compensation +/- 5 EV in 1/3 steps (+/- 3 EV for motion image) +/- 3 EV in 1/3 steps
AE Bracketing 3, 5 or 7 frames in 1/3, 2/3, or 1 EV steps 3 frames in 1/3 to 3 EV step (max. +/- 3 EV)
White Balance Modes Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Incandescent, Flash, White Set 1 or 2, Color temperature setting Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Incandescent, Flash, White Set 1 or 2, Color temperature setting
White Balance Adjustments Blue/amber bias, magenta/green bias Blue/amber bias, magenta/green bias
Color Temperature Settings 2500-10000K in 100K values Not specified by manufacturer
White Balance Bracketing 3 frames in blue/amber or in magenta/green axis N/A
Shutter Type Focal plane shutter Not specified by manufacturer
Shutter Speed Range Still: 1/4000 to 60 sec., bulb
Movie: 1/16,000 to 1/30 sec. (NTSC)
ISO 80-1600: 250 to 1/4000 sec.
ISO 2000-3200: 30 to 1/4000 sec.
ISO 4000-12800: 8 to 1/4000 sec.
Self-Timer 10 sec., 3 images after 10 sec., 2 sec. 10 sec., 3 images after 10 sec., 2 sec.
Still Image Scene Modes Clear Portrait, Silky Skin, Backlit Softness, Clear in Backlight, Relaxing Tone, Sweet Child's Face, Distinct Scenery, Bright Blue Sky, Romantic Sunset Glow, Vivid Sunset Glow, Glistening Water, Clear Nightscape, Cool Night Sky, Warm Glowing Nightscape, Artistic Nightscape, Glittering Illuminations, Clear Night Portrait, Soft Image of a Flower, Appetizing Food, Cute Dessert, Freeze Animal Motion, Clear Sports Shot, Monochrome Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Panorama shot, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Handheld Night Shot, HDR, Food, Baby1, Baby2, Pet, Sunset, Glass Through, 3D Photo
Moving Image Scene Modes Clear Portrait, Silky Skin, Backlit Softness, Clear in Backlight, Relaxing Tone, Sweet Child's Face, Distinct Scenery, Bright Blue Sky, Romantic Sunset Glow, Vivid Sunset Glow, Clear Nightscape, Cool Night Sky, Warm Glowing Nightscape, Artistic Nightscape, Clear Night Portrait, Appetizing Food, Cute Dessert, Freeze Animal Motion, Clear Sports Shot, Monochrome Not specified by manufacturer
Burst Speed SH: 20 fps, H: 6 fps, M: 4 fps, L: 2 fps Full-resolution: 11 fps up to 12 frames (5 fps or 2 fps with AF tracking)
Hi-Speed Burst: 60 fps (2.5MP) or 40 fps (5MP)
Built-In Flash Type TTL built-in pop-up flash, Guide no. 39.4' / 12m at ISO 100 Built-in pop-up flash; Range: 2.6-27.9' / 0.8-8.5m (wide), 1-17.1' / 0.3-5.2m (tele)
Flash Mode Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction (when iA, iA+), Forced On, Forced On/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync., Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction  Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off, Flash Synchro;1st/2nd Slow Sync
Synchronization Speed 1/160 sec. Not specified by manufacturer
Flash Output Adjustment +/- 3 EV in 1/3 steps Not specified by manufacturer
Flash Synchronization 1st curtain sync, 2nd curtain sync Not specified by manufacturer
Monitor Type OLED Monitor with static touch control TFT-LCD with AR coating
Monitor Size 3.0" / 7.6 cm 3.0" / 7.6 cm
Monitor Resolution 614k-dot 920k-dot
Monitor Field of View Approx. 100% Approx. 100%
Digital Zoom 2x, 4x 4x
Additional Zoom Still: Up to 2x (extra tele conversion)
Movie: 2.4x, 3.6x, 4.8x (extra tele conversion)
Extra Optical Zoom: 4.5x (4:3, 7M), 5.4x (4:3, 5M), 6.7x (under 3M)
Intelligent Zoom: 7.5x
Photo Style Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait, Custom Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait, Custom
Still Image 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  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
Motion Picture Creative Control Expressive, Retro, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Dynamic Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Miniature Effect, One Point Color Not specified by manufacturer
Color Mode/Color Effect/My Color N/A Color Mode (only in iA mode): Standard, Happy, Black and White, Sepia
Picture Adjustment N/A Contrast, Sharpness, Color Saturation, Noise Reduction
Movie Slow and Fast Motion Settings 40%, 48%, 80% (0.4, 0.48, or 0.8 times slower) / 160%, 200%, 300% (1.6, 2.0, or 3.0 times faster) at 1920 x 1080, 24p, 24 Mbps in .MOV, .MP4, or AVCHD N/A
Interface USB 2.0, miniHDMI type C USB 2.0, miniHDMI type C
A/V Output Monaural, NTSC NTSC
Remote Input 2.5mm diameter input N/A
External Microphone Input 3.5mm diameter input N/A
Headphone Output 3.5mm diameter input N/A
Built-In Microphone Stereo Stereo
Speaker Monaural Monaural
Power Source Lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack (7.2V, 1860mAh) Lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack (3.6V, 1250mAh)
Battery Life Up to approx. 540 images (CIPA standard) Up to approx. 330 images (CIPA standard)
Operating Temperature 32°-104°F / 0°-40°C Not specified by manufacturer
Operating Humidity 10-80% Not specified by manufacturer
Dimensions 5.23 x 3.68 x 3.23" / 132.9 x 93.4 x 83mm 4.35 x 2.64 x 1.8" / 110.5 x 67.1 x 45.6mm
Weight 19.4 oz / 550 g (with memory card and battery) 10.6 oz / 298 g (with memory card and battery)