julie woon

Yes, this is the latest incarnation of the wildly popular LX3/LX5! I managed to get hold of the new Panasonic Lumix LX7 – it’s a super premium compact camera that has a lot of features that even professional photographers would appreciate.

lumix lx7

BTW, that’s Julie Woon, the 8TV host that also had the LX7 and showed her photos during the event.

lumix showcase

I was at the Panasonic Lumix Photonista campaign cum launch on the 19th November which unveiled several of their new cameras and lenses. There’s the two high end Lumix G series – GH3 and G5 which uses the relatively new dSLM (nope, not a typo, it stands for digital single lens mirrorless) cameras.

fuzion
Lunch @ Fuzion before the event

Lumix came out with the world’s first dSLM cameras in 2008 – the technology which allows for a more compact body and lens while still producing the high image quality of dSLRs. The flagship GH3 is even splash and dust proof. There’s also the accompanying 12-35mm, 45-150mm and 35-100mm lens.

panasonic lumix lx7

The new Lumix range was also unveiled – with the ultra high zoom “prosumer” FZ60 and FZ200 leading the pack to bridge the high end G series with the compact and new LX7. That leaves the lifestyle targeted SZ5 which has WiFi that allows you to use a smartphone to connect with it to shoot remotely and upload direct to social media avenues.

professional photographers

That’s a total of 6 new cameras and 3 lenses announced that day and there were also two female professional photographers who used the newly launched Lumix G cameras to take photos and record videos. I found the one which featured the capoeira video to be quite intriguing – the quality was so good I though it was taken with a dedicated camcorder.

lumix tx7 top

Anyway, back to the Lumix LX7 review, it’s a 10.1 MP high end compact camera that you can just point and shoot with it’s Intelligent Auto Plus with a full range of manual shooting modes and RAW file support. The body is made of metal, which gives it a premium feel and a nice solid weight. I really like the feel of it.

creative control

There’s also a bright 3 inch LCD screen with a 920,000 dot resolution which provides a really clear view of what you’re about to shoot. The ISO goes from 80-6400 (there’s also an option for ISO 12800 but that results in a lowered resolution) and it’s a lot like a dSLR with all its features.

defocus

I like the option of going all the way to the fastest f/1.4 maximum aperture which is essential for shooting in low-light conditions and producing that signature dSLR depth-of-field effect with out of focus backgrounds.

depth field

It’s very friendly for beginners but the best part about the LX7 is the toggle switch at the side that allows you to switch from manual to auto-focus (with the addition of macro thrown in).

food

It’s these little manual controls that makes it simple enough for photography enthusiasts to use yet allows full manual flexibility for more advanced users.

lumix tx7 back

Shooting in manual mode is surprisingly easy with the 3-step ND/Focus lever (very nifty, this one) that allows you full control over shutter speed. Focusing, exposure, bracketing area and all the essentials are ready at hand when used with the buttons and jog dial.

lumix lx7 front

There’s also a manually adjustable aperture ring that allows direct control over the light source to the sensors as well as a switch to change aspect ratios from 16:9, 3:2, 4:3 to 1:1. You can even shoot in ALL the aspect ratios at once!

level gauge

The MF Assist feature helps enthusiast photographers to understand how things work too. There’s also useful features like Level Gauge which helps you align your shots – the horizontal/vertical lines are yellow until they register as level with the accelerometer, at which point they turn green.

lunch

The remarkable Leica lens on the LX7 more than makes up for the relatively small sensor – it takes impressively sharp photos.

panorama
Panorama shot that allows all four directions!

The other strong point of the LX7 is in the video recording – it allows for full HD video at 1,920 x 1,080 60p at 120 frames per second for NTSC (50p / 100 fps for PAL). That produces extremely smooth and detailed videos. The microphone is placed on top and there’s an Auto Wind Cut function to block out noise. Best of all it records in stereo from it’s two mics!

Personally, the best feature is the ability to take a still image while you record a video. I’ve often struggled with two cameras while recording a video in case there’s a scene where I want a photo too. Now I can do both with a single camera. Heh.

quick af

The most amazing thing I’ve realized about this camera is the super fast AF – it can even shoot at 4 fps with full AF tracking!

glass through
Glass Through scene

through glass
Resulting photo

1 aspect ratio
1:1 aspect ratio

sepia
Sepia

cakes
Creative Control

desserts
Food

expressive
Expressive

miniature effect
Miniature Effect (love the irony ;))

Things I like:

  • Excellent image quality
  • Insanely fast burst mode at 11 fps full resolution
  • Speedy auto-focus
  • Plethora of Instagram-like digital filters (called Creative Control)
  • Amazing HD video

chocolate fountain

The LX7 is a very good compact camera that has a lot of professional features you’ll be hard pressed to find in other compact digicams. It’s a perfect backup camera pros shooting with a dSLR – it’s portable enough and has stellar quality for a point and shoot, which also makes it an ideal choice for enthusiast photographers who wants a compact digicam.

hdr

It’s been called a “real photographer’s compact camera” – the Lumix LX7 is not an entry level camera but one with a lot of features. I loved playing around with it and I imagine I’ll be carrying this instead of my bulky dSLR around from now. :)

stealth

I’m quite fond of pranks of the practical nature and once I get an idea into my head, it’s nigh impossible to push it out. I’ll just keep thinking about it until I do it.

left for dead

Anyway, while my parents were out, I got a friend to take a photo of me lying prone on the ground. This by itself is nothing to write home about but what I’m about to do is – mischief. ;)

cctv

I sat at the home CCTV monitoring screens until my dad and mom drove up the street and rushed out and projected this image right in the middle of the road:

prank

ZOMG I could literally hear the ABS kick in as my dad braked HARD to avoid hitting what he thought was a person lying dead in the middle of the road. smirk

I got a good earful from my parents about practical jokes taken too far but it just shows how amazingly vivid and realistic the projection is.

dad car

I repeat – Do not try this at home or at all! No homo sapiens or vehicles were harmed during the prank but it’s still a stupid (but funny) thing to do.

You might be wondering how managed to lug a projector with such speed and grace to catch them just before they pulled in and the answer is…I didn’t.

nikon s1100pj

I used the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj to do it. This compact digital camera has an awesome built-in projection feature that allows incredibly clear photos to be projected onto any surface.

There are a lot of applications I can think of for this:

inducement

Projecting an image of your favorite dish when you only have leftover rice to eat. This is psychologically like the story of the poor man who ate his bowl of rice while savoring the aromas from his rich neighbors’ cooking from outside the kitchen. You know how the story goes – the rich man (being an ass) demanded compensation and the wise judge agreed that gold coins should be paid in reparation…except the rich man only got to hear the clinking of the coins. LOL! Justice at it’s best!

airline

You can also use it to project images of food on the flight back from a long vacation after you used up all your money and can’t afford to buy an in-flight meal but I suspect this would make your hunger worse.

nikon s1100pj projection

What the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj really excels in is showing vacation photos to friends and family. There is a retractable kickstand which you can use to tilt the camera and an IR remote to flick through the photos but I like manually going through the images with the touchscreen – it’s just personal preference.

I just returned from another vacation in Europe so I was showing off the photos of my travels to my parents (to make up for the prank I pulled). They’re heading to Europe later this year too so I thought I’ll give them the heads up on where to go when they’re there.

There are other things I liked about the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj:

The HD movie recording feature

tilt

The tilt sensor that knows when you’re holding it horizontally or vertically and adjust the menu orientation automatically

The 14.1 MP sensor and the option to shoot in traditional (4:3) or widescreen (16:9) aspect ratios.

projection

However, the best thing about the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj is still the built-in projection feature. I’ve shown this to numerous friends and they were all amazed by the bright and vivid projected images. You don’t have to crowd around to sneak a glimpse at the LCD screen anymore – that’s so 2008 – just project it for everyone to see.

You can project it on almost any surface – even on the ground! :)

lainey

I’ll be the coolest kid on the block with this!

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