Cameras Panasonic

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 / TZ100

Panasonic ZS100 / TZ100 (Black)
Panasonic ZS100 / TZ100 (Black)
  • What is the best compact travel zoom camera?
  • What camera covers wide-angle to mid telephoto?
  • What all-in-one digital camera should I get for my grandma / parents?
  • What compact all-rounder camera can I have with me at all times?
  • I want at least 10x optical zoom but also high image quality.
Panasonic significantly ups the ante in the compact travel zoom market with the Lumix DMC-ZS100 (TZ100 outside of North America). While the optical zoom power at 10x is de rigueur these days in a compact travel zoom camera, what is new — and exciting — is the use of the relatively larger 1″ image sensor (compared with the tiny 1/2.3″ sensors found in most other travel zoom cameras), which makes possible much improved image quality at the long end of the zoom. The bigger sensor is paired with a quality F2.8-5.9 Leica DC Vario-Elmarit Lens to allow lower light shooting at higher ISOs.

So, it’s all good news for those looking for a compact travel zoom that you can comfortably carry in a coat pocket or small bag. Its zoom range covers 25 mm equiv. wide-angle for landscapes, architectural and large group shots all the way to 250 mm equiv. mid-tele for inconspicuous street shooting. The in-between focal lengths allow for portrait shots, and AF Macro at 5 cm lets you move in real close for detailed close-up shots. All of that in a camera measuring about 110.5 x 64.5 x 44.3 mm (4.35 x 2.54 x 1.74 inch) and weighing at about 310 g (0.681 lb) with battery and SD memory card.

Buy the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 Digital Camera (Black) at B&H
Buy the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 Digital Camera (Silver) at B&H

Beginners can set the ZS100 on Full AUTO and let the camera make all the decisions for you. Those who like to have more control get a Mode dial, a Rear dial, a Control Ring (around the lens), 4 customizable control buttons, 5 customizable on-screen tabs (“soft buttons”), RAW shooting, and remote control of the camera from your smartphone/tablet using the built-in Wi-Fi and the Panasonic Image App (free download). There is a built-in pop-up flash but no hot shoe for an external flash. Shutter speed ranges from 60 – 1/2,000 sec (using the Mechanical Shutter) and 1 – 1/16,000 sec (using the Electronic Shutter), with Time at approx. 120 sec. — which allows long exposure night shooting as well as action-freezing action shooting. Continuous shooting is at 10 fps (focus locked on first shot) or 5 fps (continuous AF). Want faster? How about 50 fps at 5M using the lectronic shutter.

Panasonic ZS100 / TZ100 (Black) Top View

Panasonic ZS100 / TZ100 Top View

The 1″ image sensor is now popularly associated with interchangeable lens cameras or premium fixed lens cameras, and is now the largest found so far in a superzoom compact travel camera. Resolution is 20.1M and if you need extra optical zoom power, it’s even possible at smaller resolution: 14x at 10M and 20x at 5M. To allow steady hand holding, a 5-axis image stabilization is built-in.

Autofocus uses Panasonic’s latest Depth-from-Defocus system that makes focus acquisition fast and precise. Touch AF in single area mode makes selection of the AF point easy and uses the full area of the 3″ 1040K-dot LCD display screen (which is unfortunately not tiltable): simply tap the screen to position the AF area. There is also a small built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 1,166K-dot (equiv.) resolution. An eye sensor automatically switches the display from LCD to EVF and vice-versa.

Panasonic ZS100 / TZ100 (Black) Back View

Panasonic ZS100 / TZ100 Back View

The ZS100 records 4K movies in full stereo sound at 30 fps. Slow-motion clips are recorded at 920 x 1080 pixels 120 fps and played back at 30 fps. 4K Photo Mode allows you to grab 4K stills from short video clips. You don’t want to miss the action: grab the 30 frames before and after you press the shutter button. Most photographers know that macro shots can be difficult to focus accurately on, so the ZS100 has Post-focus mode that shoots a short video clip while locking focus from the nearest to the farthest point in the scene; you can then select the one to keep.

Panasonic ZS100 / TZ100 (Silver)

Panasonic ZS100 / TZ100 (Silver)

The Panasonic ZS100 currently has no direct competitor in the compact travel zoom segment. It’s the all-rounder camera to get for granny and for yourself. It does not get into super telephoto territory (600 mm and above) but 10x optical zoom (with the 5-axis I.S.) is about all you’ll be able to handle while hand-holding the camera using no tripod. Besides, more zoom at mediocre image quality does not appeal to anyone anymore. The Panasonic ZS100 is your ideal traveling companion: a 10x zoom that is compact and light enough to carry anywhere all day long and you return home with high quality images to show for it!

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You can buy the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS100 / TZ100 at B&H:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 Digital Camera (Black)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100/ZS100 Digital Camera (Silver)