Panasonic LUMIX GH7: A Significant Upgrade?

The Panasonic LUMIX GH7 represents a significant upgrade for filmmakers and photographers alike, combining cutting-edge technology with user-friendly features to enhance both speed and quality of production. This review explores its key specifications and features, with a particular emphasis on its suitability for wildlife and bird photography.

Key Features and Specifications

25.2MP BSI CMOS Sensor
The LUMIX GH7 boasts a 25.2-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor that excels in low-light conditions, capturing brighter, more detailed images and videos. This sensor is designed to provide clear and vibrant visuals even in challenging lighting situations.

The Panasonic Lumix GH7 camera

Apple ProRes RAW + 32-bit Float Recording
One of the standout features of the GH7 is its ability to record in Apple ProRes RAW, which retains extensive scene details and simplifies post-production. Additionally, it offers 32-bit float recording for audio, a first for interchangeable lens digital cameras, allowing for crystal-clear sound without the need for manual audio level adjustments.

ARRI LogC3 Recording
With the optional DMW-SFU3A Software Upgrade Key, the GH7 can utilize ARRI LogC3, enabling seamless color matching with ARRI’s digital cinema cameras. This expands the camera’s log recording options, enhancing color information and dynamic range, thus improving workflow compatibility.

Adobe Cloud Compatibility
The GH7 is designed with Adobe Cloud integration, allowing users to upload still images and proxy videos directly to Frame.io. This feature is particularly beneficial for those who frequently use Adobe’s software suite, streamlining the workflow from shooting to editing.

Enhanced Video Production Capabilities

The LUMIX GH7 offers several improvements in video production. It supports internal recording of 5.7K 30p Apple ProRes 422 HQ and ProRes RAW HQ, along with 32-bit float audio recording, eliminating the need for sound level adjustments during filming. The camera’s cooling fan ensures unlimited video recording by efficiently dissipating heat.

The Panasonic Lumix GH7 camera

Versatile Shooting for All Platforms

One unique feature is the ability to shoot in all aspect ratios simultaneously using Open Gate, ensuring compatibility with various social media platforms. The camera also includes the REAL TIME LUT feature, allowing users to apply new color expressions to both videos and photos directly in-camera.

High-Speed, High-Precision Autofocus

The GH7 introduces Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) with real-time recognition for a variety of subjects, including humans, animals, cars, motorcycles, trains, and airplanes. This advanced autofocus system provides faster and more accurate tracking, making it ideal for dynamic shooting environments.

Improved Image Stabilization

The camera features enhanced image stabilization technology, including distortion correction and a High I.S. mode for steady shots in challenging conditions. This ensures blurless night shots, zoomed shots, and walking shots.

Panasonic’s Lumix GH Series: A Legacy of Innovation

Under the Panasonic umbrella, the Lumix GH series has enjoyed great success since its inception, consistently being a strong contender in the video arena. It has often introduced world-first developments in this field, and the Lumix GH7 continues this tradition with innovations previously unseen in MILC cameras.

While mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras are generally good for videography, the Lumix GH series has always been specifically tailored for this purpose. The GH7 builds on the foundation laid by the GH6, featuring a similar M4/3 BSI CMOS sensor with 25.2 megapixels and 13+ stops of dynamic range. A significant advancement in the GH7 is the introduction of PDAF, replacing the older contrast-based system. This new AF system, along with an AI-based subject recognition technology from the flagship G9 model, ensures effective tracking of not just people and animals, but also vehicles and other subjects. Additionally, the GH7 reduces the risk of rolling shutter effects thanks to its parallel readout technology.

The Panasonic Lumix GH7 camera

The GH7 supports Apple ProRes RAW and ProRes RAW HQ, allowing for high-quality video recording using the full sensor area at up to 30 FPS and 5.7K resolution at 60 FPS. For 4K (DCI) video, it can record at 120 FPS for slow-motion shots while maintaining 10-bit color depth. With ProRes, users can achieve peak quality at 4K60 and 5.7K30.

Grounbreaking Features

Another groundbreaking feature is the GH7’s capability to record 32-bit float audio internally, a first for MILC cameras. This eliminates the need to adjust audio levels during recording. However, to fully utilize this feature, the DMW-XLR2 XLR microphone adapter is required, which is priced at $500.

For photography, the GH7 offers several useful features, although video remains its primary focus. The camera can start capturing photos even before the shutter button is fully pressed, and it supports burst shooting at 60 frames per second with PDAF active, allowing it to accurately track moving subjects. Real-time LUT support is available for both photography and videography.

The Panasonic Lumix GH7 camera

Panasonic has also improved the in-body image stabilization (IBIS), supporting hybrid stabilization. This integration ensures excellent coordination between various stabilization methods to minimize shake and movement. The GH7 can also create 100-megapixel high-resolution images handheld, utilizing the IBIS feature.

The GH7 accepts UHS-II SD cards and CFexpress cards, and it can even connect to external SSDs for direct recording, provided the SSD offers sufficient bandwidth. It also supports parallel recording to two different locations using the CFexpress card slot and an external device connected via the full-size HDMI port.

To address the common issue of overheating in video cameras, the GH7 features active air cooling similar to that used in laptops, allowing for continuous recording without the risk of overheating.

The GH7 offers a versatile viewing experience with its flip-out 3-inch display and the ability to connect to external monitors. It can also be controlled wirelessly via a smartphone using the Lumix Lab app. Despite its robust capabilities, the GH7 maintains good battery life, with the 2200 mAh, 7.2 V battery being easily replaceable.

Is the GH7 Good for Wildlife and Bird Photography?

The Panasonic LUMIX GH7 is well-suited for wildlife and bird photography, thanks to several of its features that cater to capturing fast-moving and often unpredictable subjects in varying conditions.

High-Resolution Sensor
The 25.2MP BSI CMOS sensor provides detailed and vibrant images, crucial for capturing the intricate details of bird feathers and other features.

Advanced Autofocus System
The improved PDAF system is capable of fast and accurate tracking of moving subjects, including birds. This feature is essential for keeping fast-flying birds in focus.

Continuous Shooting
The ability to shoot multiple frames per second allows you to capture fast sequences, invaluable for photographing birds in flight or wildlife in action.

Image Stabilization
Enhanced image stabilization ensures that your shots are stable, even when shooting handheld or using long telephoto lenses.

Telephoto Lens Compatibility
The GH7 is compatible with a wide range of Micro Four Thirds lenses, including several high-quality telephoto lenses ideal for wildlife and bird photography.

Low-Light Performance
Good performance in low-light conditions allows you to capture wildlife and birds during dawn, dusk, or in dense foliage where lighting can be challenging.

Portability and Build
The compact and lightweight design of the mirrorless GH7 makes it easier to carry during long treks in nature. The weather-sealed body protects against dust and moisture, making it suitable for various outdoor conditions.

Battery Life
While mirrorless cameras generally consume more power than DSLRs, carrying extra batteries can ensure you don’t miss critical shots during extended field sessions.

Considerations for Wildlife and Bird Photography

Autofocus Performance
Real-world testing of the autofocus system in various environments and lighting conditions will help ensure it meets your specific needs.

Lens Selection
Investing in high-quality telephoto lenses will significantly enhance your ability to capture distant subjects with clarity and detail.

Field Durability
The camera’s weather sealing and build quality should be adequate for rugged outdoor use, protecting against the elements you might encounter in wildlife habitats.

The Panasonic Lumix GH7 camera

Panasonic LUMIX GH7: Technology and Innovativeness Q&A

Q: What makes the Panasonic LUMIX GH7’s sensor stand out?

A: The GH7 features a 25.2MP BSI CMOS sensor, which excels in capturing light efficiently, resulting in brighter and more detailed images. The back-illuminated design enhances low-light performance and dynamic range, providing more flexibility in various shooting conditions.

Q: How does the GH7 improve upon previous autofocus systems?

A: The GH7 introduces a phase detection autofocus (PDAF) system, a significant upgrade from the contrast-detection systems in previous models. This advanced autofocus provides faster, more accurate focusing and better subject tracking, particularly useful for dynamic scenes like wildlife and bird photography.

Q: What innovative video recording capabilities does the GH7 offer?

A: The GH7 supports internal recording of Apple ProRes RAW and 32-bit float recording, both firsts for interchangeable lens cameras. This allows for high-quality video capture with extensive detail and dynamic range, making post-production easier and more effective.

Q: Can you explain the GH7’s ARRI LogC3 recording feature?

A: By using the DMW-SFU3A Software Upgrade Key, the GH7 can record in ARRI LogC3, which is certified by ARRI for color matching with ARRI’s digital cinema cameras. This feature expands the options for log recording, offering rich color information and a wide dynamic range, enhancing workflow compatibility.

Q: How does the GH7 enhance audio recording capabilities?

A: The GH7 features the world’s first 32-bit float recording in an interchangeable lens camera, when paired with the DMW-XLR2 XLR microphone adapter. This allows for capturing clear, high-quality sound without needing to adjust audio levels during filming, providing more flexibility and better audio results.

Q: What is the significance of the GH7’s compatibility with Adobe Cloud?

A: The GH7’s compatibility with Adobe Cloud allows users to upload still images and proxy videos directly to Frame.io. This seamless integration facilitates efficient workflow, particularly useful for those who frequently use Adobe software like Photoshop and Lightroom for editing and sharing content.

Q: How does the real-time LUT feature enhance creative possibilities?

A: The real-time LUT (Look-Up Table) feature enables users to load custom LUT files and apply them directly to both videos and photos in-camera. This allows for creative color grading and artistic expressions without the need for extensive post-production, making it easier to achieve desired looks on the go.

Q: What makes the GH7’s stabilization technology innovative?

A: The GH7 boasts an improved in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system, combined with hybrid stabilization techniques that work together to minimize camera shake. This advanced stabilization ensures sharp images and smooth videos, even in challenging shooting conditions, such as handheld or low-light environments.

Q: How does the GH7 support high-speed photography and videography?

A: The GH7 can shoot continuous bursts at up to 60 frames per second and record high-speed videos at 5.7K 60p, 4K 120p, and Full HD 240p. This high-speed capability is ideal for capturing fast-moving subjects and dynamic scenes with exceptional clarity and detail.

Q: What are the cooling features of the GH7, and why are they important?

A: The GH7 incorporates an active cooling system with a built-in fan, similar to those found in laptops. This cooling system prevents overheating during extended video recording sessions, allowing for uninterrupted shooting and ensuring the camera remains reliable in demanding situations.

Q: How does the GH7 cater to social media content creators?

A: The GH7’s Open Gate recording feature uses the entire sensor to capture videos, making it easier to crop and edit for different aspect ratios, which is perfect for social media platforms. This ensures superior resolution and heightened detail, allowing content creators to produce high-quality videos for various formats.

Q: Is the Panasonic LUMIX GH7 suitable for wildlife and bird photography?

A: Absolutely. The GH7 is well-suited for wildlife and bird photography thanks to its high-resolution 25.2MP BSI CMOS sensor, advanced phase detection autofocus (PDAF), and excellent image stabilization. These features ensure that you can capture fast-moving subjects with precision and clarity.

Q: How does the autofocus system perform for wildlife photography?

A: The GH7’s PDAF system offers fast and accurate autofocus, essential for tracking moving subjects like birds and other wildlife. It includes real-time recognition for various subjects, including humans, animals, vehicles, and even airplanes and trains, making it highly versatile.

Q: Can the LUMIX GH7 handle low-light conditions in wildlife photography?

A: Yes, the 25.2MP BSI CMOS sensor is designed to perform well in challenging lighting conditions, ensuring clear and vibrant images even in low light. The wide dynamic range (13+ stops) also helps capture details in both shadows and highlights.

Q: What are the key features that make the GH7 good for videography?

A: The GH7 offers several advanced features for videography, including Apple ProRes RAW and 32-bit float recording, internal recording at 5.7K 30p, 4K 120p, and Full HD 240p, and the ability to shoot in various aspect ratios using Open Gate. Its built-in cooling fan allows for unlimited video recording without overheating.

Q: How does the GH7’s stabilization system benefit wildlife photographers?

A: The GH7 features advanced image stabilization technology, including in-body stabilization (IBIS) and hybrid stabilization, which work together to minimize camera shake and produce sharp images, even when shooting handheld or in challenging conditions.

Q: Is the Panasonic LUMIX GH7 durable enough for outdoor photography?

A: Yes, the GH7 is built with a durable, weather-sealed body, making it suitable for use in various outdoor environments. This ensures reliability in different weather conditions, which is crucial for wildlife photographers who often shoot in unpredictable environments.

Q: What kind of lenses can I use with the LUMIX GH7 for bird photography?

A: The GH7 is compatible with a wide range of Micro Four Thirds lenses. For bird photography, telephoto lenses with focal lengths of 200mm or more are recommended to capture distant subjects with great detail.

Q: How does the GH7 support post-production workflows?

A: The GH7 supports Adobe Cloud compatibility, allowing for direct uploads of still images and proxy videos to Frame.io. This streamlines the workflow for editing and sharing content, making it easier for photographers and videographers to manage their projects.

Q: Can the GH7 be used for high-speed photography?

A: Yes, the GH7 is capable of shooting at high frame rates, capturing up to 60 frames per second in continuous shooting mode. This high-speed capability is perfect for capturing fast-moving wildlife and action shots.

Q: What makes the GH7 a good investment for future use?

A: The GH7’s cutting-edge technology, extensive feature set, and compatibility with a wide range of lenses and accessories make it a future-proof investment. It is designed to meet the evolving needs of both photographers and videographers, ensuring it remains a valuable tool for years to come.

Warranty and Availability

The LUMIX GH7 comes with a 12-month limited warranty. It will be available at the end of July for $2,199 / £1,999 / AU$3,899. The DMW-XLR2 microphone adapter, enabling 32-bit float recording, will also be available for $499 / £499 / AU$899.

The Panasonic Lumix GH7 camera

Final Thoughts

The Panasonic LUMIX GH7 is a robust and versatile camera that excels in wildlife and bird photography. Its high-resolution sensor, advanced autofocus system, and comprehensive image stabilization make it well-suited for capturing the dynamic and often fleeting moments typical in wildlife photography. Its portability, combined with the extensive Micro Four Thirds lens ecosystem, further enhances its appeal for outdoor photographers.

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2 thoughts on “Panasonic LUMIX GH7: A Significant Upgrade?”

  1. You could have written this review from a print-out of the specs…maybe you did! Did you actually go out and test it on flying birds?? If so, where are your results? Hugely disappointing review.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your feedback. I understand your concerns and appreciate your interest in a more hands-on perspective.
      This review aimed to provide a comprehensive overview of the Panasonic LUMIX GH7’s features and technological advancements based on available specifications and expert analysis. However, I recognize the value of practical, real-world testing, especially for specific applications like photographing flying birds.
      I am planning to conduct detailed field tests to evaluate the GH7’s performance in various wildlife photography scenarios, including capturing fast-moving subjects like birds. I will share my findings, including sample photos and insights on the autofocus accuracy and image quality, in an upcoming follow-up reviews.
      Your input is valuable and helps ensure that future reviews better meet the needs of our community. Stay tuned for the hands-on results, and thank you for your patience and understanding.

      Reply

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