The Panasonic LX7 as a Video Camera Thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 132 Old 12-28-2012, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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There are two types of choices for small cameras that take good stills and that also take good video now, apart from dedicated camcorders:

1. Point and shoot (P&S) cameras: these now deliver good video, at 108060p with long zooms. They lack basic manual control of video, however - in particular the inability to lock shutter or aperture and usually have little control of picture quality (amount of saturation, sharpness, contrast, etc.). Examples are the Sony Hx9v,Hx20v, Panasonic FZ200, etc. Not great in dim light because the sensors are small, there are a lot of pixels, and the lenses are slow - f3.5 at best and really slow at the zoom end (the FZ200 amazingly, though, has an f2.8 lens throughout the zoom range).

2. Fully manual, RAW-capable *small* still cameras: there are three in this category that shoot 108060p: the Sony RX100, the Sony R1 ($2700), and the Panasonic LX7.

Recently the LX7 price came down from $499 to $299, so it has become very popular, with a number of knowledgeable forum participants getting it. The LX7 gets rave reviews for its stills (it does RAW, of course), and there is not much testing of its video since it was always primarily an enthusiasts' still camera and is tested on camera sites where ignorance of video is, well, obvious. The excitement over the RX100 as a small stills camera with a big sensor has also overshadowed the LX7, maybe a reason for the price drop.

What the LX7 offers in video:

Fully manual control, again in video. This includes setting any combination of shutter, aperture, ISO and of course manual focus and focus lock. And the quality of the video can also be set, selecting among general "looks" or saturation (e.g., 'normal,' 'vivid,' 'natural.') and within those contrast, noise reduction, saturation, and even sharpness can be set. Yes, you can even control the amount of noise reduction, which is too aggressive in most P&S cameras, obliterating detail. Of course it has fully automatic mode as well,

A very fast zoom lens - the fastest of any camera f1.4-f2.3 (f1.4 Leica Summilux!). The zoom is limited, however, like the RX100: 24mm-90mm. Its sensor size is 1/1.7 - bigger than all camcorders and P&S cameras, but smaller than the Rx100. However, the sensor only has 10 megapixels, so the pixels are relatively large. So, it is extremely good in low light, even when you zoom.

It takes extreme macros - 1cm at wide.

It has a built in ND filter. This is critical: if you want to take narrow dof *video* outdoors in bright light you need to use wide apertures and you need to keep the shutter low (unlike for stills) to get smooth motion. You cannot do this without an ND filter. Push a button, and the internal ND filter drops exposure by three stops without affecting dof. First thing a video pro asks about high-level camcorders - does it have internal ND filters you can control? The LX7 does (it takes external filters to, with an accessory).

Some limitations: the zoom is small, of course. The zoom control is not as controllable as that of a camcorder, but it is not noisy. The LCD is high resolution like the best available but it is not touch screen and does not articulate. You can add an electronic view finder, however, that is very high quality, and that rotates. This separates the LX7 from all the small cameras, including the RX100. It's a bit bigger than the Hx9/20 and the Rx100.

It is tempting to compare the LX7 to the much more expensive RX100. For video the key difference is the size of the sensor, much bigger for the RX100. This means in low light, at the wide end only where the lens is f1.8, the RX100 is likely better, but not zoomed in (because the lens has a narrow aperture zoomed in). And shallow dof effects for the Rx100 are more, well, shallow - but one cannot get as close to subjects as the LX7 (closeness also narrows dof), and in bright light you need to add an external ND filter in (proper) video to keep the aperture wide and the shutter down (I do not know whether this is possible). And, as for all big sensor cameras except perhaps the GH2, shooting HD video results in artifacts (moire) not present in small-sensor cameras' video.

But this about the LX7 (users of the RX100 can still chime in, as the cameras are quite similar).

Well, our family gave in to the price, and it is fun to play with all the *video* settings and to play with the shallow dof that the fast lens gives with the bigger-than-camcorder size sensor.
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post #2 of 132 Old 12-28-2012, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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And here's an LX7 test video, using 'Natural' color (to maximize dynamic range) and turning down noise reduction to maximize sharpness.

This is not an interesting subject, but shows what you can do with the camera. The default setting is 'Standard' color,

The first shots are in very low light, f1.4 aperture, high ISO including an extreme close up. The outdoors shots are in very bright light, also shot at wide aperture to get shallow dof using the internal ND filter. You can see the high contrast of the scene in the shadows on the lawn. But you see no blown highlights or hotspots, over the fence, despite the white highlights of the house. And you see oof background - the internal ND allowed wide aperature (f2.3 at the zoom end here). Shot at 1/60th shutter in 108060p.

Are the colors too muted? Or do they look more, well, natural that a standard camcorder gives? The camera gives you a choice.



Choose 1080p, of course.
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post #3 of 132 Old 12-28-2012, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

...Well, our family gave in to the price, and it is fun to play with all the *video* settings and to play with the shallow dof that the fast lens gives with the bigger-than-camcorder size sensor.
When I was not watching, my wife, with no input from me at all, had B&H deliver one. So, now the "travel kit" includes her LX-7 and my Sony RX100. For video I keep shooting the HX9V. If we can't take some decent photos in Europe next summer we should give them al back!

It is not likely she will ever push the video button. I could steal it and try, but the risk is greater than the potential reward.

Bill
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post #4 of 132 Old 12-29-2012, 12:39 AM
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Reason I ordered the Panasonic LX7 is because when viewed at 360p on Youtube (most people view Youtube videos at 360p) it delivers clearer footage with more real life looking colors than Panasonics much higher priced camcorders:
Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHT4XU6aEk0
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post #5 of 132 Old 12-29-2012, 07:17 AM
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Thanks for starting this thread, Mark. You are our one-man "consumer reports" smile.gif You have motivated me to go out and find high quality video shot with the LX7 - it turns out that shooters are turning out some impressive work with this little camera:

The music is not my cup of tea, but the visuals are interesting:
http://vimeo.com/53743477

Urban mood piece from the UK:
http://vimeo.com/54045952

Outdoor nature piece (please watch in 1080p):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-f_8RO0v74

Especially impressed with the 720/120p slow motion mode (please watch in 720p):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxIoqzwV7SI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4su6fsr0lI

Good enough to intercut with 1080/60p - and a lot cheaper than 1080/120p on the $8000 Sony FS700.

I was teetering on the edge of getting the HX20V as a pocket travel cam - but now it looks like I'll have to save up a few more pennies for the LX7!

Cheers and best of the New Year to all,

Bill
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post #6 of 132 Old 12-29-2012, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

And here's an LX7 test video, using 'Natural' color (to maximize dynamic range) and turning down noise reduction to maximize sharpness.
This is not an interesting subject, but shows what you can do with the camera. The default setting is 'Standard' color,
The first shots are in very low light, f1.4 aperture, high ISO including an extreme close up. The outdoors shots are in very bright light, also shot at wide aperture to get shallow dof using the internal ND filter. You can see the high contrast of the scene in the shadows on the lawn. But you see no blown highlights or hotspots, over the fence, despite the white highlights of the house. And you see oof background - the internal ND allowed wide aperature (f2.3 at the zoom end here). Shot at 1/60th shutter in 108060p.
Are the colors too muted? Or do they look more, well, natural that a standard camcorder gives? The camera gives you a choice.Choose 1080p, of course.

That looks good, almost too good. Someone would have to do some extra pixel-peeping to discern the difference from a DSLR.

It actually concerns me. I wonder if they are about to drop something new on us in 2013 that would render all these 1080p cams obsolete and they're just like, "might as well just give them everything now for cheap before we get into this new thing".

I remember back in 2007/2008 - all of a sudden everyone wanted HD/an HV20 and all of those standard definition camcorders became old real quick.
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post #7 of 132 Old 12-29-2012, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfws View Post

...I remember back in 2007/2008 - all of a sudden everyone wanted HD/an HV20 and all of those standard definition camcorders became old real quick.

That's OK. There will always be a market for obsolete cameras. Heck, there still a bunch of Rip Van Winkles over at Yahoo Answers recommending that people buy HV40s. wink.gif
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post #8 of 132 Old 12-29-2012, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
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That's OK. There will always be a market for obsolete cameras.

I'm all for progress...just not yet. biggrin.gif
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post #9 of 132 Old 12-29-2012, 03:33 PM
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Mark,

Thanks for this great thread. I needed to research and buy a camcorder today. Discovered this thread and bought the Panny instead of a camcorder based on
your review.
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post #10 of 132 Old 12-29-2012, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

..... the Rx100 .... in bright light you need to add an external ND filter in (proper) video to keep the aperture wide and the shutter down (I do not know whether this is possible). .....But this about the LX7 (users of the RX100 can still chime in, as the cameras are quite similar)..
The RX100 does not have threads on the lens, so normal filters can't be attached. A clever third party makes a very thin metallic ring that bonds to the lens with 3M adhesive. A matching filter holder will attach to the ring magnetically. http://www.carryspeed.com/products/magfilter-threaded-adapter-ring

The same system fit my HX9V. I have not looked at my wife's LX7 to see if the same magnetic ring system would work.

Bill
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post #11 of 132 Old 12-29-2012, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Panasonic offers a threaded ring for the LX7 that takes standard 37mm filters. You take off the "thread protector" on the camera and replace it with this threaded thing (it's described in the manual); it is attached by a bayonet mount so you can take it off and replace it with the protector that comes with the camera if you want to (no glue). The thread adaptor comes with a replacement lens cap, which will also work if you add a filter.

http://www.videodirect.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=V&Product_Code=DMWFA1&Category_Code=DIGCACCLENS
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post #12 of 132 Old 12-29-2012, 09:06 PM
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I bet my wife does nor buy one.
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post #13 of 132 Old 12-29-2012, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

Recently the LX7 price came down from $499 to $299
I could not find one for this price.
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post #14 of 132 Old 12-29-2012, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Ungermann View Post

I could not find one for this price.

The usual suspect:
http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-DMC-LX7K-Digital-Intelligent-3-0-inch/dp/B008MB719C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356848392&sr=8-1&keywords=lx7

You can have it in white also.

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post #15 of 132 Old 12-30-2012, 03:08 AM
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Interesting how it compares to the FZ150,i find mine has good colour but low resolution,very low compared to the GH range.There are so many camcorders and cameras to choose from now and whether that is good i am not realy sure but i expect most think it is.
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post #16 of 132 Old 12-30-2012, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Ungerman: The LX7 has all the manual controls I know you value, and importantly for actual use of manual control in the field it has separate aperture ring and shutter-speed and focus dials, unlike like those camcorders with a one-trick-at-a time ring (X900, Canon G10)). Plus iso and wb buttons. Not to mention (again) the manually-controllable ND filter and all the picture tweaks available for video. Plus two customizable dial settings, which memorize all the tweaks you have chosen (PASM mode, picture settings, wb, etc.) even for video.

The PR people forgot to tell the LX designers never to put pro video features in a consumer pocketable camera. Alas, pro audio features are missing (no mic input or audio manual control). So they got some of their way!
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post #17 of 132 Old 12-30-2012, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Panasonic compares the LX7 to the RX100 for low-light performance!

From a Panasonic presentation:

Panasonic_Uematsu_Barcelona_2.jpg 105k .jpg file

DPreview has a comparison too, indicating at 35mm focal length and above the light gathering ability of the RX100 and the LX7 are essentially the same (and better than all the other expensive enthusiast compact still cameras):

http://4.static.img-dpreview.com/files/articles/2367736880/Graph.jpg?v=1881
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File Type: jpg Panasonic_Uematsu_Barcelona_2.jpg (105.0 KB, 26 views)
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post #18 of 132 Old 12-30-2012, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Comparison of LX7 and GH2: Frame Grabs from Indoor Video

Both in Creative Movie Mode with NR turned down in Auto WB, shutter priority. The GH2 was using the 20mm (40mm-equivalent) f1.7 lens; the LX7 was zoomed in to be about 40mm to match. The GH2 was HBR mode (high bitrate, 108030p, its best); the LX7 was in 108060p (its best).


GH2:



LX7:



GH2:



LX7:



GH2:



LX7:




I tried to match exposure with EV compensation, but the GH2 is here a little less exposed than the LX7.

Note: Frame grabs from both cameras were done in Sony PlayMemories Home!
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post #19 of 132 Old 12-30-2012, 04:09 PM
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And for those who don't mind buying used, it's $266 from Amazon Warehouse Deals in either white or black.
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post #20 of 132 Old 12-30-2012, 05:47 PM
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I actually returned RX100 and bought new LX7 and used NEX 5N for the same $$.
The only complain I have with LX7 video - is more focus hunting than "normal" camcorder or its brother FZ200.
I can live with it though....
Very versatable camera.
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post #21 of 132 Old 12-30-2012, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flintyplus View Post

Interesting how it compares to the FZ150,i find mine has good colour but low resolution,very low compared to the GH range.There are so many camcorders and cameras to choose from now and whether that is good i am not realy sure but i expect most think it is.

LX7 vs.FZ150.
Here is from personal experience - both 1080 60P:
LX7 will give you better (brighter) colors and less 'strobby' video.
FZ150 has faster focus.
Resolution wize- I did not see much differnce, but LX7 and FZ200 a little bit 'easier on eyes '
My $0.02 smile.gif
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post #22 of 132 Old 12-30-2012, 06:09 PM
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Mark,
You should also try FZ200 - there are planty manual controls for video there.
I would love to see your take on it.
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post #23 of 132 Old 12-30-2012, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
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The Panasonic FZ200 is an impressive camera as camcorder - it has all of the pro video manual controls of the LX7 + an amazing 24X zoom lens that is a constant f2.8 from wide to 600mm. You would pay over $1000 for a zoom like that for a DSLR, maybe over $2000 to have one that is also stabilized like on the FZ200.


The FZ200 is a large camera, so it really rivals a regular camcorder (some of which are smaller). Regular camcorders have about the same sized sensor and a faster lens (but only 10X- 12X zoom). And camcorders are significantly sharper. But to get all of that in a camcorder (manual control, fast lens, sharper video) you have to pay over $1000. The FZ200 is only $600, and takes much better stills than any camcorder. So it is indeed something to be considered by someone who values having an all-in-one good stills and video camera and knows how to take advantage of video-pro feature manual settings + plus external audio.

Here is why the LX7 is more interesting to me: it's dof capabilties and low-light performance, in a small package. Now this is theory, but:

1. The LX sensor is 23.4% larger than the FZ200 sensor. There are less pixels on the larger sensor than the FZ200 has, so the LX7 pixels are even larger than the 23.4% difference. That means, sensor alone, better light gathering.

2. The LX7 lens goes from f1.4-f2.3. An f1.4 lens offers a two-stop advantage compared to the FZ200 f2.8 lens - 4X the light.

The bigger sensor and faster lens means that you get more possibilities for shallow dof effects from the LX7 compared to the FZ200 and camcorders, and better low-light performance too. It is like the Sony RX100, except the LX7 video is better (sharper, less artifacts - the greater number of pixels of the RX100 does not help video quality like it does for stills resolution). And the LX7 is $300 less than the FZ200 and $350 less than the RX100.

For relatively inexpensive entry into playing with shallow, low-light, quality video with an incredible array of creative controls like a DSLR and a pro video camera, the LX7 is almost irresistable. And it is pocketable, and takes really good stills.
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post #24 of 132 Old 12-30-2012, 07:46 PM
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For video only, LX7 or GW77 ? I know the gw77 is twice the price but I am going to a jungle and need something small, reliable and great video quality.

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post #25 of 132 Old 12-30-2012, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobk77 View Post

Mark,
You should also try FZ200 - there are planty manual controls for video there.

Agreed. The clarity, brightness and vivid colors of these FZ200 landscape videos look superb IMHO - better than Panasonic camcorder video, including the $2,000+ "pro" models like the AC90, AC130 and AC160:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdxYQlts7-s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9Jushpxe5M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nj2LdHAII0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlIxsT93-Dg
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post #26 of 132 Old 12-31-2012, 01:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobk77 View Post

LX7 vs.FZ150.
Here is from personal experience - both 1080 60P:
LX7 will give you better (brighter) colors and less 'strobby' video.
FZ150 has faster focus.
Resolution wize- I did not see much differnce, but LX7 and FZ200 a little bit 'easier on eyes '
My $0.02 smile.gif

If thats the case the LX7s resoultion is barely 2/3rd theGH2 like my FZ150s compared to my GH,what my FZ150 has is clean video and colour and not stroby,strange i wonder if camcorders and cameras vary even indiviual models.
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post #27 of 132 Old 12-31-2012, 01:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD90 View Post

Agreed. The clarity, brightness and vivid colors of these FZ200 landscape videos look superb IMHO - better than Panasonic camcorder video, including the $2,000+ "pro" models like the AC90, AC130 and AC160:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdxYQlts7-s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9Jushpxe5M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nj2LdHAII0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlIxsT93-Dg
The comparison test looked similar to my eyes.A test of mine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK7uoV5OtfU clearly shows the difference between the FZ150 and GH2.
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post #28 of 132 Old 12-31-2012, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flintyplus View Post

If thats the case the LX7s resoultion is barely 2/3rd theGH2 like my FZ150s compared to my GH,what my FZ150 has is clean video and colour and not stroby,strange i wonder if camcorders and cameras vary even indiviual models.

I am a sport junkie.
In regular conditions you would not notice 'stroby' effect much. It is noticible on fast moving objects- especially if you panning in opposite direction.
Example: you following the skater and the other one skating in opposite direction (hockey).
FZ200/LX7 is MUCH better there, but still not as good as a camcorder.
Cannot say anything about GH2 - have never tried it.

P.S.
I always record 60p.
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post #29 of 132 Old 12-31-2012, 06:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slimoli View Post

For video only, LX7 or GW77 ? I know the gw77 is twice the price but I am going to a jungle and need something small, reliable and great video quality.

GW77 for sure for only-video: almost as fast lens, more sensitive sensor (bsi), much longer zoom, much sharper, better stabilization, touch screen focus, much better audio, smaller, tougher. The LX7 video is for specialized use.
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post #30 of 132 Old 12-31-2012, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

GW77 for sure for only-video: almost as fast lens, more sensitive sensor (bsi), much longer zoom, much sharper, better stabilization, touch screen focus, much better audio, smaller, tougher. The LX7 video is for specialized use.

Sold! Just bought the GW77. You should claim a fat bonus from Sony and Panasonic. Nobody does a better and honest job here showing how capable those cameras are.

Standard Definition Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy
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