Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 and DMC-ZS10 Review

Lumix DMC-ZS10 and ZS8

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10 and DMC-ZS80 MegaZooms


There’s no stopping the growing popularity of point-and-shoot cameras, and these days it seems like every camera manufacturer is coming out with bigger and better features. The battle of the megapixels appears to be over, and now megazoom point-and-shoot cameras are very much in the picture. Jut recently Panasonic released the Lumix DMC-ZS8 and DMC-ZS10, two compact cameras with wider and longer lens and packed with tons of features.

Both cameras are image-stabilized, with optical zoom ranges up to 16x equivalent to 24-384mm in a 35mm camera. The Panasonic DMC-ZS10 is equipped with a 14.1MP MOS sensor. It can record full 1080i AVCHD format movies and generate 3D images. It also has a built-in GPS. The ZS8 is a scaled-down version or the ZS10. It comes with a 14.1MP CCD sensor and shoots 720p HD movies in Motion JPEG. It is not capable of shooting 3D images and does not have a GPS.

Panasonic DMC-ZS10 Features


  • 14.1MP (effective) 1/2.3” MOS image sensor
  • Leica DC Vario-Elmar Lens
  • 16x optical zoom lens
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 3-inch touch-screen LCD; 430K pixels
  • 4320x3240 pixel still images; 1920x1080p at 60fps full HD video
  • High-speed consecutive shooting; 5 photos per second in continuous AF
  • Shoots 3D photos
  • Built-in GPS
  • Rechargeable Li-ion battery; can take up to 260 shots
  • Measures 4.1”x2.3”x1.3”; weighs 7.7 oz.

The DMC-ZS10 is Panasonic’s flagship compact megazoom or superzoom camera. It offers an almost unlimited number of shooting options. Automatic shooting is painless, thanks to the company’s Intelligent Auto that combines different technologies to get the best results. There are 29 scene modes to choose from. Most of these can be found in almost all point-and-shoot cameras these days. An Underwater mode is included, but you would need a water-proof casing as the ZS10 is not a waterproof camera.


If you want more control over your photos, the ZS10 offers aperture-priority, shutter-priority, and manual shooting modes. A Program mode is also available, allowing you to adjust ISO, white balance, and exposure compensation.

For shooting moving objects (children, pets, sports), the ZS10 has multiple burst shooting options. Burst modes at 40 and 60 frames per second can be achieved, albeit at reduced resolutions. You can get full resolution with auto-focus at 2 fps and 5 fps.

The ZS10 also captures 3D photos. The result cannot be viewed on the camera’s LCD screen but 3D photos can be played back on 3D-enabled TVs, digital photo frames, and computers.

The camera’s 3-inch touchscreen is reasonably bright and has a decent screen resolution (430K pixels). However, it can be difficult to see in bright sunlight. Only a handful of functions can be accessed on the touch screen. You can use the touch screen to focus, shoot photos, or flip through photos. However, you can’t do editing, drawing or writing on the photos with the touchscreen.

One of the most attractive features of the ZS10 is the built-in GPS, which allows your photos and movies to be geo-tagged. Travelers and hikers will find this feature very useful.

Panasonic DMC--ZS8 Features


If you’re not ready for the bells and whistles of the ZS10, you may be perfectly happy with the ZS8. The DMC-ZS8 has most of the features built into the ZS10 and is equipped with the same Leica 24-384mm optical zoom lens. What is left out is the 3D photo mode, touchscreen, and GPS. The ZS8 also lacks the high-speed burst mode available in the full-featured ZS10. The biggest difference to some people may be the absence of the HD video in the ZS8, which is only 720p at 30 fps. On the plus side, without the built-in GPS, the battery life on the ZS8 is greatly extended.

ZS10 and Z8: What’s the Difference?

 
ZS8
ZS10
Price (MSRP)
$299.99
$399.95
Dimensions/Weight
4.1”x2.3”x1.3”; 7.4 oz.
4.1”x2.3”x1.3”; 7.7 oz.
LCD Screen
3-inch; 230K pixels
3-inch touchscreen; 460K pixels
Video resolution/Format
1280x720p at 30fps; Motion JPEG format
1920x1080p at 60fps; AVCHD format
Microphone
Mono
Stereo
GPS
None
Built-in
3D Photos
Not Capable
Capable
Battery Life
Rated at 340 shots
Rated at 260 shots
Burst Mode Shot Limit (full resolution)
5 shots
15 shots

The Good and the Bad

Reviews for the new Panasonic ZS10 and ZS8 are mixed, as each camera has its own strengths and weaknesses. The ZS10 gets the nod for its fast shooting and extensive features, but battery life is less than ideal and the touch screen function is little more than fluff. The ZS8 has a good battery life and easy-to-follow menu but its auto-focus feature is slower and shutter lag can be significant.

Both cameras can turn out good pictures taken outdoors in daylight, or indoors with good lighting. The ZS8’s photo quality is a tad better than the ZS10’s. Color and exposure are very good up to ISO 400 for the ZS8. As with most compact cameras, color noise starts to appear at higher ISO’s.

Panasonic Lumix ZS10 Pocket Superzoom Camera Intro

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 Review by cnet

Bottom Line

The Panasonic DMC-ZS10 is more feature-laden than the ZS8. The LCD screen on the ZS10 has twice the resolution of the ZS8’s. The ZS10 also uses a high-speed sensor and processor for faster shooting performance especially for full-resolution burst shooting.

The $100 price difference between the two is significant, but it is up to the consumer to decide if the ZS10’s features are worth it. A built-in GPS and 3D photos may be nice features, but do you really need (or want) them?

Both the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10 and ZS8 are very good compact megazoom cameras with comparable photo quality. If you don’t mind paying more for features and faster performance, the ZS10 may be a better value even at the higher price.

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