Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 Review Summary
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 Assessment
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 is the first premium travel-zoom. It elevates the travel-zoom concept which packs a long optical zoom into a compact camera body to premium level with dual control-dials, highly efficient controls and a built EVF with Eye-Start sensor. Panasonic pushed the ZS100 one more notch by fitting it with a large 1" sensor.
Its 20 megapixels 1" CMOS (2.7X Crop) sensor has a broad sensitivity range, to cover ISO 80-25600, a 50 FPS drive at full-resolution, plus 4K Ultra-HD video capture. The stabilized lens it equivalent to a 25-250mm zoom with F/2.8-5.9 maximum aperture.
The compact ZS100 provides an impressive amount of controls for its size. A lens ring and top dial serve as dual control-dials which can control exposure, focus and other settings. Plus, there are 4 customizable Function buttons and a mode-dial. There is a 3" touchscreen LCD and a 0.2" EVF with 116K pixels. The former is excellent while the latter suffers from its small size yet remains quite helpful.
Output quality is very good. Image noise is low with a slow increase at each ISO, delivering a nice ISO 80-1600 range of usability for common print sizes. Its dynamic-range is good with images showing good contrast and being well-metered. Colors and WB could be improved but are quite reasonable. Lens sharpness is the weak link which is to be expected considering the compactness needed to provide 10X of zoom over a 1" sensor. Edges are notably softer even and images require more processing than usual to look sharp.
Ergonomics of the ZS100 are good. The camera rarely slows down the photographer by its design or responsiveness. Videographers though may feel let down by a lag when starting and stopping video capture. There is really not much to complain about the ZS100 which is not due to its size. There are ultra-zooms for those who are unwilling to settle for less but travel-zooms are a proposal of their own.
|Very compact for its sensor and zoom||Less softness, much worse along edges|
|Low image noise up to ISO 800||Below-average color accuracy|
|Good dynamic-range and image contrast||Occasional cast with Auto White-Balance|
|Reliable metering||Very dim at telephoto|
|Excellent resistance to chromatic aberrations||Exposure-Priority only in Manual mode|
|Low optical distortion||Tiny low-resolution EVF|
|No visible vignetting||Highly variable AF|
|Instant shutter-lag||1s Filming delay|
|Fast shot-to-shot speed||Very short battery-life|
|Excellent LCD visibility|
|Nice build quality|
Panasonic DMC-ZS100 Facts
|20 Megapixels Travel Zoom||ISO 125-12800|
|10X Ultra-Wide Optical Zoom||Shutter 1/16000-60s|
|Built-in Stabilization||Full manual controls, including Manual Focus|
|0.20" Built-in EVF 117K Pixels (0.46X)||Custom white-balance with 2 axis fine-tuning|
|Automatic Eye-Start sensor||Spot-Metering|
|Auto Horizon Correction|
2 Axis Digital Level
|50 FPS Drive, Unlimited Images||Secure Digital Extended Capacity|
|3840x2160 @ 30 FPS Video Recording|
|3" LCD 1 Megapixels|
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