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Panasonic Lumix LX7 Digital Camera Review$499.99
Handling of the LX7's tiny frame is pretty tolerable in fact. The front panel has a small but grippy rubberized area, with a steep angle on the lens side, which gives the fingertips something to latch onto. The strap can actually get in the way here, but that's a small complaint.
On the back, the thumb naturally comes to rest on the mid-sized thumb grip, and this provides both balanced handling and easy access to the rear dial. We only wish the focus lever was more robust, and the lower control panel could be accessed without a second hand.
Buttons & Dials
The rear control panel seems pretty typical at first glance: directional pad, four buttons on the corners, central menu button. But there are a few important departures here too. We get a dedicated AF/AE-Lock key within easy reach of the thumb, which is very useful for tricky framing and a feature usually reserved for more complex cameras. There's also a handy control dial at the corner of the thumb rest, and it's especially welcome in the absence of a rotating dial below. Finally, a dedicated manual focus lever is slightly out of reach but actually somewhat useful, thanks to focus assist zoom and good responsiveness.
On top of the body, the shutter release has adequate tactility, however the mode dial is jerky and can be imprecise while turning it using only a thumb. In general, and this is more true of the rear control panel, we wish all buttons were more robust. As it is, the keys are too small and can be a pain to use.
A high resolution 3.0-inch fixed LCD is used for framing and image review, and while this panel's brightness and viewing angle are better than cheap ultracompacts, quality lags behind other high-end pocket-sized cameras like the RX100 or Fujifilm X10. Horizontal viewing angle is particularly mediocre.
Our stabilization test rig was down during this camera's evaluation period, such is the curse of precision motors. We'll try to update this section in the future, and this may cause the LX7's overall score to increase slightly.
Anecdotally, we observed little or no difference between sample photos taken with or without stabilization, though this is likely due to the lens' modest zoom ratio.