First look : Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7

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This camera is clearly designed for selfie lovers, as its 3-inch 1.04 million-dot touchscreen display can be flipped up to 180 degrees. That way, the display faces the user for an easy selfie or wefie. Several selfie functions become accessible via the touchscreen once the display is flipped 180 degrees.

But it cannot be tilted downwards for over-the-head shots, for example, at a concert.

Controls and button layout

This camera is meant for right-handed users. Shutter release, power and Intelligent Auto buttons and the mode dial sit at the top right, while a dedicated video-recording button sits at the rear, below the mode dial and near the thumb rest.

Lower down the back, on the right side, is a clickable wheel-command dial topped with a Play button, and Trash and Display buttons below. A Function button sits at the left on top of the camera. The top buttons have a premium feel but the rear buttons are a bit plastic. The overall handling is quite intuitive because the buttons are close together.

Selfie functions

Four selfie functions are available on the touchscreen when it is flipped 180 degrees. Soft skin mode can make your skin look smooth. The de-focusing mode gives a soft look to the picture, while the slimming mode elongates your face. Shutter mode - Buddy and Face - lets you decide how to take a selfie. In Buddy mode, the camera takes a picture only when your head and your friend's head move towards each other. In Face setting, you need to put your hand over your face for a moment and then remove your hand to activate the shutter release.

Design and build

Unlike its curvy predecessor, the GF7 is angular and blocky, and looks closer to its petite cousin, the GM5. Weighing 266g, the GF7 is only 20 per cent bigger than the GM5.

It has no grip in front but the sides are curved. So, perhaps due to the small thumb rest at the back, it is not uncomfortable to hold the camera.

That said, I would still prefer a more contoured grip for better comfort.

Image sensor

This may be an entry-level mirrorless camera, but the GF7 shares the same 16-megapixel Live MOS image sensor as the professional GX7.

Bigger photodiodes in the pixels of the GF7's updated image sensor let it absorb more light, boosting light sensitivity and improving colour saturation, said Panasonic.

Its Venus Engine image processor is said to reduce image noise. It allows continuous shooting at 5.8 frames per second.

The sensitivity range - ISO 100 to 25,600 - is slightly better than the GX7's ISO 125 to 25,600.
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