Not so long ago barely a week went past without a new camera release, now new models seem far and few between. So it was with a little bit of surprise that I saw the press release from Panasonic regarding the Lumix G7.
This is a lower to mid range CSC (Compact System Camera) using a familiar Micro Four Thirds, 16 Megapixel sensor. It has the familiar mount that accepts Panasonic and Olympus lenses, plus an increasing number from third party players like Sigma and Tamron.
As you can see from the image, the body has a pseudo SLR style and a claimed weight of just 410 grams including battery and SD card (but no lens). This camera is aimed at the family market that might other wise buy a Canon 750D or the the like.
Not surprisingly the press release pushes the 4K video capability – so factor in the need for a top of the range iMac for editing. Then add a 4K capable television for playback. As I’ve stated before that’s plenty of money, and a steep learning curve. Nonetheless, it is still fairly early days for the format, and if you are buying the camera for video use at least your files are a little bit future proof.
Of course this camera really isn’t about the 4K video, it’s about the ability to save an image from the 30 frame pre buffer or 30 frame after buffer. That is the 1 second buffer before and after the shutter button is pressed. Panasonic calls this capturing the decisive moment, other people have commented on places like DPReview that it is tantamount to being a poor photographer. Either way it could result in obtaining a decent image when at a child’s birthday party or other unpredictable event as the camera appears to be “always on”. An 8 megapixel image can be extracted from the 60 pre and post shutter press frames. It seems to be a slightly fiddly process to extract the image, but it could be a useful feature. There is no mention of 25 or 24 frame modes.
More generally, the functions and specifications of the body are pretty much what we have come to expect, a 2.3 million dot viewfinder, a tilting touch screen of about 1.04 million dots, etc. The body styling seems to have divided people, but the button layout seems good for a small camera. There is the obligatory WiFi and a microphone socket, but a headphone socket is not mentioned in the specs. Focus peaking and multiple exposure are also available.
The G7 is priced at just under a $1000 Australian dollars with a single basic zoom. Thats pretty good value for money, given the way the dollar is sinking against the strengthening US dollar, for a camera that compares well with the GH4 that costs substantially more. The G7 is due for release in the coming weeks. See for details.