On January 31 2012, Panasonic announced two ZS-series SuperZoom compact cameras - the DMC-ZS20 (aka DMC-TZ30) and DMC-ZS15 (aka DMC-TZ25). At only 1.3 inches thick, the ZS20 is the world's slimmest digital camera with a 20x optical zoom 24mm ultra wide-angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens. The ZS15 has a 16x optical zoom instead. The ZS20 features a newly developed 14.1 Megapixels High Sensitivity MOS sensor. When coupled with the advanced image processor Venus Engine, the LUMIX ZS20 features high speed, high sensitivity image recording. High speed burst shooting at 10 fps in full resolution and Light Speed AF. The ZS15 sensor is 12.1 Megpaixels.
The ZS20 can record full-HD 1,920 x 1,080 60p videos in AVCHD Progressive (MPEG-4) format (or 30p in MP4). The 20x optical zoom with 2-step Zoom function is available in video recording. The Auto Wind Cut function helps to block out wind background noise and mechanical noise caused by zooming. In addition, the ZS20 has manual control options, allowing the user to adjust shutter speed and aperture, and 3D Photo Mode. The ZS20 is listed for $349.99 in black, red, white, and silver options. Here's the summary of review by PhotoReview Australia, giving the camera a rating of 8.5 out of 10:
"Subjective assessments of both still photos and video clips from the review camera showed them to be similar to those from the TZ20. Image files straight from the camera were slightly soft and low in contrast and benefited from unsharp masking post-capture. Most colours were accurately recorded and saturation was restrained for a small-sensor digicam. Exposure metering was generally accurate and the review camera was able to handle a relatively wide subject brightness range without producing blown-out highlights. The autofocusing system was fast and accurate under most lighting conditions and we only encountered hunting in very low light levels. Imatest showed resolution to be below expectations for a 14-megapixel camera. Resolution was highest at ISO 100, with a gradual decline as sensitivity was increased, dropping sharply between ISO 1600 and ISO 3200. The performance of the lens was similar to the TZ20's across the range of focal lengths we were able to test. Our Imatest testing also revealed some edge softening at wider apertures, where resolution was usually highest. Diffraction took effect at around f/6.3 for all focal lengths. Lateral chromatic aberration was higher than we found with the TZ20 and mainly within the 'moderate' band. In the graph below, which covers the range of focal lengths and aperture settings we were able to measure, the red line marks the boundary between 'negligible' and 'low' CA, while the green line separates 'low' and 'moderate' CA.
We found these results a little surprising since there wasn't much coloured fringing evident in most test shots, although it was often visible in longer exposures and high-contrast situations. Clearly some in-camera processing is applied to reduce the inherent CA levels in the lens. Long exposures at night were noise-free between ISO 100 and 400 but noise became increasingly visible thereafter. Test shots became slightly soft from ISO 800 on as a result of high-ISO noise-reduction processing, which is applied by default. Slight blotchiness could be seen at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 but image quality was better than average for a small-sensor digicam. Shots taken with the High Sensitivity mode (ISO 6400 equivalent) were very soft, blotchy and noise affected. Resolution was also reduced to 2048 x 1536 pixels with the 4:3 aspect ratio. The performance of the built-in stabilisation was quite impressive as we seldom had shots affected by camera shake, regardless of the lens focal length setting. Close-up capabilities were generally good. The lens will focus to 3 cm from the subject and the Macro Zoom mode allows you to apply up to 3x digital zoom magnification without a noticeable loss of image quality. Flare was minimal with strong backlighting. Video quality was similar to the clips we shot with the TZ20, which isn't surprising as nothing much has changed here. However, the longer zoom range made hunting more of an issue, particularly with low-contrast scenes."
Panasonic DMC-ZS20 Sample Photos on Flickr
Panasonic DMC-ZS20 Camera Reviews Roundup
|Imaging Resource - Jul 15 2012|
"The Lumix DMC-ZS20 produced fairly good color, though bright reds and blues, and even some greens, are pumped a little high. A few shifts in hue are also present practically all around, including the slight yellow to green shift we've come to expect from Panasonics, though purples and deep blues are closest to their accurate hue. Dark skintones show a big p..." More »
|MacWorld - Jun 02 2012|
"Traditionally, Panasonic's cameras have met the challenge in our lab's subjective tests for image quality. The Lumix line usually errs on the side of underexposure and muted colors in Intelligent Auto mode, which is rare for today's cameras; everything from a smartphone camera to a DSLR tends to oversaturate and punch up colors these days, as the masses gra..." More »
|ePhotoZine - May 06 2012|
"Detail is good in the centre and to the edges and the camera copes well with lens flare. There is some purple fringing in the shot of the trees above, but little in other shots. There is some distortion with barrel distortion at the wide end and pincushion at the telephoto end of the zoom. Vignetting was not noticed. Macro performance is very good letting y..." More »
|Trusted Reviews - May 03 2012|
"Overall image quality is pretty good - especially when you consider the amount of zoom power the TZ30 manages to pack inside its diminutive little body. Used on the 'Standard' My Colour setting in iAuto mode the TZ30 produces pleasingly lifelike images that tread a happy medium, being neither overly muted nor overly saturated. Of course, should you want to..." More »
Panasonic DMC-ZS20 Reviews Roundup [Total 15 Reviews] »
DSLR Photography Latest Posts