I recently received the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH7 to test. Since it's that time of the summer again, I carried the svelte little FH7 to the Kentucky State Fair, took it out to shoot late summer flowers and brought it with me to an outdoor concert. After just over a week with the camera I have some initial impressions of its capabilities and usability to share, but first let's take a closer look at the camera.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH7 is an elegant looking and rather stylish auto exposure only 16 megapixel compact point-and-shoot that's about the size of a smartphone. The new FH7 is a slightly updated version of the Lumix FH5 with a marginally larger LCD screen, and it's available in black, silver, and pink.
Though it is actually a tiny bit larger than its predecessor, the FH7 is an ultra-compact and easily pocketable point-and-shoot. The FH7 features a 3.0-inch (230,000 dot) Smart Touch LCD Screen that permits users to enable Touch Auto Focus (AF), Touch Zoom, Touch Shutter and Intelligent Scene Selector modes by simply touching the screen. The FH7 only has three dedicated controls: the on/off switch, the shutter button, and the zoom toggle - everything else is managed via the touch screen.
The FH7 mounts a Leica badged f/3.1-6.5 28-112mm (equivalent) 4x zoom. When the camera is turned on the zoom extends automatically from the camera body. When the FH7 is powered down, the zoom retracts completely into the camera body. The f/3.1 maximum aperture is a tiny bit slower than the f/2.8 maximum aperture typically found on cameras of this type, but the FH7's zoom does include Panasonic's Mega Optical Image Stabilization, a feature not always found on cameras with 4x zooms. The FH7 also incorporates the new "Sonic Speed AF" system (first seen on the upscale GF3) which Panasonic claims is up to 45% faster than previous AF systems. If all that isn't enough, the FH7 records HD video at 1280 x 720p at 24 fps.
The Lumix FH7 also features a suite of esoteric image modification options (Beauty Retouch) which permit users to clear skin texture, whiten teeth, and enhance eye-shadow and lip color. The FH7 provides instant gratification for the always connected crowd via the LUMIX Image Uploader, which can instantly (when connected to an internet ready device) share just captured images or video clips via Facebook and YouTube.
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