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Review: Panasonic G7 & Kit Lens

My wife isn't into photography like me, but she does love to casually shoot. She also has a great eye for composition. Originally I bought her a Sony A5100. It was a great little camera with very limited functions. The image quality was good, but the video quality and view finder left a lot to be desired. So I upgraded her to the Panasonic Lumix G7. Although the sensor is smaller and has fewer megapixels, it has similar image quality and far more features. Plus the 4K video is a major upgrade over the A5100's 1080p. After taking it for a test drive, I actually enjoyed shooting with it. The ergonomics are good and the grip is pretty substantial. It's literally like a plastic baby DSLR. The photo set is pretty extensive too. It has all the features of a pro camera at a fraction of the cost. The 14-42mm kit lens is a solid performer too. It's not clinically sharp, but it's sharp where it counts. It's also a very versatile focal length. The lens is very compact and lightweight for a lens of this range. All in all the lens is very decent for a kit lens. My only major complaint is that it's impossible to get any good sun stars or beautiful bokeh from this lens. To be fair, that's customary amongst all kit lenses.

Back to the camera... For a beginner camera, the menu is quite busy. Easily too complicated for someone just starting out. There's so many menu's and sub menu's to scroll through. It almost rivals my Fujifulm X-T3. Luckily, it's still not as bad as Sony's menu system. Jpegs from the camera are a bit too soft for my liking. A few tweaks in the menu system fixed that. As always, it's best to shoot in RAW. With this camera, RAW is where it's at. The files are large and highly flexible. Shadows and highlights are easy to recover. The overall image can be sharpened better in post too. "In camera" noise reduction is a little too aggressive. Often leaving photos soft and painterly. You will not have that problem with RAW format. Low light performance is lackluster. That's also pretty standard for a Micro 4/3 sensor. The amount of noise at base ISO is higher than I expected. Long exposures are also fairly noisy and have more than a few hot pixels. Most of this can be fixed in post editing, so it's not really an issue. Video quality is great, though basic. There aren't many options to tinker with. Again, expected from an entry level camera. The 4K video is sufficient enough for capturing amateur video, travel, sports and anything not requiring commercial quality. Autofocus is excellent when taking still photos. In video mode, it's not so good. I found it better to pick a single focus point and leave the camera alone.

Before I wrap this up, I need to mention the touch screen and EVF. Both are great. The touchscreen is especially good. You can do almost anything with a single tap. It has just enough information and options to be on the verge of being cluttered. The EVF is bright and clear. No complaints at all. The Panasonic Lumix G7 may be an entry level camera, but it has adult features and aspirations. Well worth the money! You can buy this new at camera store for around $700.00, or used for about $350-400.

Here's some shots and a video that I took with my wife's Lumix G7.

Tech Specs:

Camera: Panasonic Lumix G7

Lens: Panasonic 14-42 G Vario F/3.5-5.6 OIS

Location: Brock Mill. Trenton, NC


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