Panasonic boosts its entry-level mirrorless, the Lumix GF7

There's just enough new here to make this interchangeable-lens model worth a look.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography | PCs and laptops | Gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
4 min read

Panasonic's update to its entry-level interchangeable-lens camera, the Lumix GF6, incorporates most of the newer tech that's in the tiny GM5 . This year's GF7 should have better performance and a more streamlined design, though it loses a couple of things in the process.

The primary kit is priced at $600, £430, or AU$700 and should be available in February in the US and Australia, and in March in the UK.

Coupled with the more compact lens designed for the GM series, the GF7 has a slimmer overall profile. Panasonic

What's new

  • Better burst performance. Its 5 frames per second with autofocus brings it into parity with the better-specced competitors.
  • Enhanced autofocus. It now incorporates Panasonic's fast Light Speed AF system.
  • Selfie-friendly. It has a couple of new features targeting selfie-takers -- face shutter (triggered by a hand wave in front of your face) and buddy shutter (when it detects two faces in proximity to each other).
  • Updated video. It now supports MPEG-4, not just AVCHD.
  • Streamlined design. Panasonic swapped the locations of the mode dial and the iA (one-touch auto) button, and added a programmable function button to the left shoulder. The back buttons are also shuffled around a bit. It's also gone from curved to a little more retro boxy on the top. The record button has been relocated as well. Unfortunately, Panasonic also jettisoned the grip; that tends to make cameras look a little sleeker but harder to hold. And the two custom settings mode are no longer on the mode dial.
  • More compact. Part of the smaller footprint also includes switching to the smaller lenses designed for the GM series: to the 12-32mm f3.5-5.6 (24-64mm equivalent) kit lens from the 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 (28mm - 84mm equivalent). The wider angle 12-32mm lens is more conducive to selfies and groupies, but it's just a little less broad of a focal range -- 2.7x vs. 3x. Australians will also be able to purchase a two-lens kit for AU$1,000 (denoted with WGN in the model name) with the other GM-designed lens, the 35-100mm f4-5.6 (70 - 200mm equivalent).

My take

There's just enough updated here that it doesn't feed like a complete retread of the GF6, and improved performance is never a bad thing. I hate it when manufacturers drop the grip, though.

Comparative specs

Olympus PEN E-PL7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7 Sony Alpha A5100
Sensor effective resolution 16.1MP Live MOS 16.0MP Live MOS 16.0MP Live MOS 24.3MP Exmor HD CMOS
Sensor size 17.3mm x 13mm 17.3mm x 13mm 17.3mm x 13mm 23.5 x 15.6mm
Focal-length multiplier 2.0x 2.0x 2.0x 1.5x
OLPF Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sensitivity range ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 - ISO 25600 ISO 160 - ISO 12800/25600 (exp) ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 - ISO 25600 ISO 100 - ISO 25600
Burst shooting 3.5fps
unlimited JPEG/20 raw
(8fps with fixed focus and exposure)
7 raw/unlimited JPEG
(20fps with fixed focus and exposure)
7 raw/unlimited JPEG
(40fps with electronic shutter and fixed focus)
56 JPEG/23 raw
(mag/ effective mag)
None None None None
Hot shoe Yes None None No
Autofocus 81-area
Contrast AF
Contrast AF
Contrast AF
179-pt phase-
detection; 25-area contrast AF
AF sensitivity n/a -3 - 18 EV -4 - 18 EV -1 - 20 EV
Shutter speed 60-1/4,000 sec; bulb to 30 minutes; 1/250 sec x-sync 60 - 1/4,000 sec; 1/160 sec x-sync 60 - n/a sec; max 1/16,000 sec with electronic shutter; 1/50 sec x-sync 30-1/4000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 x-sync
Metering 324 area 1,728 zone 1,728 zone 1,200 zone
Metering sensitivity -2 - 20 EV 0 - 18 EV 0 - 18 EV -1 - 20 EV
Best video H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p @ 24Mbps MP4
H.264, AVCHD
1080/60p, 50p, 24p (AVCHD only)
1080/60p/30p/25p/24p; 720/120p
Audio Stereo Stereo Stereo Stereo
Manual aperture and shutter in video Yes Yes Yes Yes
Maximum best-quality recording time per clip 22 minutes 4GB/29:59 minutes 4GB/29:59 minutes 29 minutes
IS Sensor shift Optical Optical Optical
LCD 3-inch/7.5cm
Flip-down touch screen
1.04m dots
Flip-up touchscreen
1.04m dots
Flip-up touchscreen
1.04m dots
Flip-up touchscreen
921,600 dots
Memory slots 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC
Wireless connection Wi-Fi Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi, NFC
Flash Bundled optional Yes Yes Yes
Wireless flash Yes No No No
Battery life (CIPA rating) 350 shots 330 shots 230 shots 400 shots
Size (WHD) 4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 in.
114.9 x 67 x 38.4mm
4.4 x 2.6 x 1.5 in.
111.2 x 64.8 x 38.4mm
4.2 x 2.6 x 1.3 in.
106.5 x 64.6 x 33.3mm
4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in.
109.6 x 62.8 x 35.7mm
Body operating weight 12.9 oz.
11.4 oz. (est.)
323g (est.)
9.4 oz. (est.)
266g (est.)
10 oz. (est.)
283g (est.)
Primary kit $600
(with 14-42mm II lens)
£300 (est.)
(with 14-42mm lens)
(with 16-50mm PZ lens)
Release date September 2014 April 2013 February 2015 September 2014