> The sample shots I saw looked promising, but only time will tell on IQ. Unfortunately Panasonic hasn't really been a leader in sensors, so low-light and dynamic range may be the Achilles heal of a camera with excellent handling.
Totally share your concern. Here's what we know about the new sensor from the Panasonic press release:
"Panasonic developed a new 16.00-megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor for LUMIX GX7 that achieves both high resolution and high sensitivity image recording with minimum noise by utilizing cutting-edge Semiconductor Fine Technology to improve color saturation by approx. 10% and a redesigned on-chip lens that enhances light condensation to achieve approx. 10% higher sensitivity. Noise generation is minimized in both pixel circuit and digital signal readout circuit for better S/N ratio by approx. 25% and detail reproduction by approx.10% compared to the LUMIX DMC-GX1, making it possible to capture clear images even in low lit situations. The image processor Venus Engine features advanced noise reduction systems, including Multi-process NR (Noise Reduction) and Detail Reproduction Filter Process, which enhances the limit resolution. The combination of the digital Live MOS Sensor and the Venus Engine achieves max. ISO 25,600."
Background to this: last time I paid any attention to Panasonic, sensor noise was still their Achille's heel, including a long tradition of really awful shadow-area banding. If we look at the DxO numbers on the GX1, which they're using as a point of comparison:http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Compare-Camera-Sensors/Compare-cameras-side-by-side/%28appareil1%29/842|0/%28brand%29/Panasonic/%28appareil2%29/816|0/%28brand2%29/Panasonic/%28appareil3%29/754|0/%28brand3%29/Panasonic#toggleBookmarks
We see that the GX1's DR and low-light are behind what other manufacturers are now doing. The GH3 has more reasonable numbers, but apparently that's because it's the only Panasonic micro-4/3 to use a non-Panasonic sensor (Sony). And the press release tells us the GX7 will be using a Panasonic sensor, not a third-party one. (I threw the GF6 into the comparison because it's the latest Panasonic reviewed by DxO with one of their own sensors.)
So -- question for those of you with the relevant technical competencies:
If we take their 10% this and 25% that and apply it to the GX1 scores, what theoretical improvement in scores would that result in? Given that a one-stop increase is a 100% increase, I'd guess we're talking at most a half-stop improvement, such as from DR 10.6 to DR 11.
I'm spoiled by having used a D7000 for the past two years and would find it hard to take a significant step backward in SNR-related IQ parameters. It seems there's roughly a one-stop hit just by dropping down from APS-C to 4/3 in sensor size, so any further IQ hit really hurts. But any camera that combines a smaller body size with an actual adult control interface plus a well-reputed lens line-up plus IS plus a built-in EVF is such a rare thing. So please tell me I'm all wet on this IQ thing. ;)