Panasonic Lumix LX7 Digital Camera Review$499.99
Ease of Use
On the mode dial you'll find a stop for Intelligent Auto, which automates some of the more complicated functions and is best for users who are brand new to photography. Functionality is unremarkable compared to most other Auto modes.
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.
The LX7's menu design is unintuitive. The settings of the main menu are divided into three horizontal tabs, and then subdivided into as many as six horizontal pages. Only a few settings are displayed on each page, so you'll spend a lot of time scrolling and reading to find the one you're looking for. Options are drilled down strictly from left to right, so if you're accustomed to pressing the central button to confirm choices, you'll find this actually exits the menu instead. The main menu also closes and resets after each selection, so if you've got a bunch of settings that need tweaking, this will take extra time.
The so-called quick menu splits options between bars on top and bottom of the screen, but settings drill-down vertically, so in order to access the lower menu, you'll actually need to navigate horizontally. This is bad design all around.