If recent events are any indication, 2015 will be the year of the entry-level selfie camera. To kick off the trend, we saw the announcement of the Fujifilm X-A2 on January 15th, which was followed by today’s announcement of the Panasonic Lumix GF7.
The GF7 bears absolutely no resemblance to any of its predecessors, which embody a more modern and streamlined look. In fact, if appearance were our only clue, you’d almost think that the GF7 were part of the GM line. It is only a tad bigger than the GM5 and features a similar retro design. The only physical difference is what seems to be a hump for an EVF, but don’t be fooled–it is actually a pop-up flash.
As for technical specs, there isn’t anything we haven’t already seen on other Lumix cameras. The 16MP CMOS sensor, processor and 200-25000 ISO sensitivity are from the GX7 (though it also includes an expanded range of 100 ISO), the touch-display is from the GF6, and the 1/16000 shutter speed, AF system and silent shutter are from the GM5. The thing to note is that these combined features come at a significantly lower price point than either the GX7 or the GM5.
Of course the GF7 wouldn’t be a “selfie camera” if it didn’t have a plethora of selfie features. The camera features a 180 degree tilting touch-display that, when rotated upwards, automatically activates the Self Shot mode. Within this mode, there is the Face Shutter option, which activates the camera’s shutter with a simple wave, and Buddy Shutter, which activates the shutter when the camera detects two faces.
You’ll also find “beautifying features” such as Soft Skin, which makes your skin look smoother, Defocus Mode, which adds a defocussed look to the edges of your face, and (don’t laugh) a Slimming Mode, which will give your face a slimmer appearance. Add to this the Jump Snap mode that, with the help of your smartphone’s accelerometer, detects the highest point of your jump to create the perfect mid-air shot, and you have the perfect selfie camera.
The GF7 also brings connectivity to a higher level. Though isn’t NFC support, you can now wirelessly connect the camera to your smart device without a password.
The camera’s video functionalities have also been improved over previous GF models. It can shoot 1080p Full HD movies at rates of up to 60 frames per second in AVCHD 50p or MPEG-4/H.264 formats.
The downfall of this camera and its contemporaries is that its going price of nearly $600 (with the 12-32mm kit lens) is still far beyond what most entry-level users are willing to spend. That said, camera companies have been trying to find a way around this issue. For example, to promote its own selfie camera, the Pen E-PL7, Olympus has targeted fashion bloggers, a small yet powerful niche of amateur users who regularly take selfies and are willing to spend money on fashionable products. To achieve success with the GF7, it is possible that Panasonic will have to embrace a similar strategy.
The Panasonic Lumix GF7 will be available in March 2015 and will come in three colours–silver, brown and pink.
Does the Panasonic Lumix GF7 interest you? Do you think it will be successful? Share your thoughts below!