Lumix GX7 Australian Hands-On: Mirrorless Peak

The rumours were true: the Panasonic Lumix GX7 makes its debut today, boasting a tilting view finder, higher shutter speeds and gorgeous 2.76 million dot resolution. If you're going to tempted by a mirrorless camera this year, this might well be the one, especially with a starting price point of $1249.

Panasonic launched the DMC-GX7 (no-one will ever use the first three letters in conversation) at a regional media event on Fraser Island in Queensland, and we scored some hands-on time with pre-production models. (Despite the location, I'm yet to encounter any dingoes.)

While much of the emphasis with its predecessor the GH3 was on its video quality, still images are the main focus here, evidenced in the high resolution and the upgraded 16MP Live MOS image sensor. The maximum shutter speed is 1/8000 of a second, which should improve colour depth in bright conditions.

The GX7 boasts an in-body image stabiliser, designed to help when using legacy lenses. (If your lens already has its own image stabiliser, that's used instead.) The Venus image processing engine also reduces noise, which had been a complaint with some earlier Lumix models.

The tilting view finder is very handy, especially if you're trying to track a moving subject. It switches automatically from the display when it senses your eye nearby. While you're looking through it, you can use the touchscreen to shift the focal point for your image — an experience that oddly put me in mind of the PlayStation Vita, but which does work well.

If you want to work with the touchscreen instead, that's also a solid choice. The display boasts 1.04 million dot resolution, and can be tilted upwards 80 degrees or down 45 degrees. There are five custom function buttons on the camera. As with earlier models, there are "creative modes" on offer if you don't want to tweak settings yourself.

There are two colour choices: black or two-tone black and silver.The camera body on its own will sell for $1249. A silver bundle with the 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 MkII lens sells for $1349; a pairing with the 20mm F1.7 MkII lens is $1499; and $1949 will score you the black boody and a Leica 25mm F1.4 lens.

Disclosure: Angus Kidman travelled to Queensland as a guest of Panasonic.

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