You know the selfie is a big phenomenon when big camera companies market it as a feature in new products, like the mirrorless Lumix GF7 interchangeable lens camera from Panasonic. It has a 3-inch high-resolution touchscreen LCD (rated 1,040K dots) that flips up 180 degrees for self-portraits, as well as auto-shooting modes to help take those photos. But what makes us drool isn’t all that selfie nonsense, but the camera’s homage to classic designs.
Retro designs may seem a bit overplayed, but with cameras they never get old. The GF7’s compact design (although not as small as the GM1) channels those old-school film cameras we love (it has a completely different design from the previous GF6), with their dials, metal (albeit only in looks, as it’s mostly plastic), and soft textures. Otherwise, the GF7 is completely modern. It has a 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds MOS sensor. According to Panasonic, “the photodiode in each pixel is enlarged thanks to the adoption of cutting-edge Semiconductor Fine Technology to improve color saturation and the redesigned on-chip lens enhances light condensation to achieve high sensitivity. Noise generation is minimized in both pixel circuit and digital signal readout circuits to provide an excellent (signal to noise) ratio.” The Venus Engine image processor and Multi-process Noise Reduction also help to reduce noise further, allowing for smoother photos. Panasonic says the camera can handle low-light situations, and has a max ISO of 25,600.
As for selfies, the camera includes Self Shot, Face Shutter, and Buddy Shutter modes. Essentially, these modes will automatically snap a photo when they detect a waving hand or two faces in a frame.
The GF7 uses contrast autofocusing that Panasonic says is faster and more accurate than phase detection of DSLRs. Data between camera and lens is exchanged at up to 240 frames per second (fps) for faster autofocusing. The camera has a max burst speed of approximately 5.8 fps (single autofocus) and 5 fps (continuous autofocus ).
Video recording is up to Full HD 1080 at 60p, as well as the cinematic 24p. There’s autofocus tracking in video to lock focus onto a movie subject, and you can touch-to-focus at any point during recording. You can also shoot videos using a mode called Snap Movie, which are sort of like mini time-lapses. Besides stereo recording in Dolby Digital, there’s a wind-reduction feature to cut out noise.
The GF7 has Wi-Fi built in, so you can transfer photos to a smartphone or tablet, or use a mobile device to control the camera remotely. You can also archive content directly to a computer when connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
The camera will list for $600, and it’ll be available at Panasonic’s website and photo stores around the end of February or early March. The camera will come in black and pink, and include a 12-32mm kit lens.