If you have a brand new UHD/4K TV or projector, one of the most gratifying things you can do with it is watch your own video footage. With the introduction of the Lumix G7, Panasonic adds an affordable option to the nascent large-sensor interchangeable-lens UH/4K video-capable mirrorless camera category.
The latest Lumix from Panasonic is great news for videophiles on a budget. The company’s new G7 is a 16-megapixelMicro Four Thirds format interchangeable-lens camera offering UHD/4K shooting at a very affordable price point: $800 including a 14-42mm kit lens and $1100 when packaged with a 14-140mm lens.
The G7 is a full-featured mirrorless compact featuring a relatively large(compared to camcorders) 4/3-type sensor. Large imaging sensors offer numerous technical and creative advantages including better low-light sensitivity (up to ISO 25,600), increased dynamic range, and the capacity to render a shallow depth of field.
While the G7’s ability to shoot UHD/4K video is not unique among mirrorless cameras, it has only one major competitor at the sub-$1000 price point: Samsung’s NX500. However, unlike the NX500, the G7 includes a must-have feature for any serious videographer: an auxiliary stereo microphone input.
UHD/4K video capture, interchangeable lenses, and a microphone input make the sub-$1000 Lumix G7 an attractive option for videographers.
Of course, there’s a lot more to the G7 than UHD/4K video capability—after all it is a full-featured still camera, and it shoots 1080p video. Nevertheless, UHD/4K video capture is the feature that makes it interesting from an AV perspective.
The G7 uses its UHD/4K capture capability to offer a 4K photo mode. By combining video capture with high shutter speeds, the G7 lets you isolate individual frames from video clips for use as photos. The new 4K Photo feature even gets a dedicated slot on the G7’s drive mode dial.
4K Photo mode gets its own slot on the drive mode dial, seen on the left.
A mode dial, dual control dials, and a dial mode switch enable intuitive hands-on adjustment of various parameters.
The Lumix G7 promises lightning-fast autofocus and great image quality, along with the creative flexibility of interchangeable lenses. The Micro Four Thirds system offers a wide variety of glass—24 lenses in all from Panasonic—ranging from primes to super-zooms. Additionally, there are dozens more Micro Four Thirds compatible lenses available from other manufacturers including Olympus, Sigma, Tamron, Rokinon, Lensbaby, and others.
The Lumix G7 sports a high-resolution articulated touchscreen and very hi-res OLED viewfinder.
I plan to dig deep into the G7’s feature set and UHD/4K capabilities this coming weekend, during a trip to the Indianapolis 500. When I get back, I will post a full review including sample video clips.