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523 of 545 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2011
I bought this at Costco, so maybe this review won't get printed, but if it does, here goes. I own and still love the ZS-3 and the ZS-7 and have taken tons of images with both. The ZS-10 is a small step backwards in image purity but a big step forward in usefulness. When I want to take a single image of a still life subject in difficult lighting conditions such as backlighting or very high contrast, the 3 or the 7 will yield more reliable results. In those conditions, the 10 sometimes shows some purple fringing or neon borders; not enough to make the images unusable, but remarkable simply because those defects almost never happen with the 7 or the 3. But most of my photography doesn't involve still subjects in high-contrast lighting. I take pictures of the grandson playing with the dog, or of speakers and performers at an event, or of faces in a crowd in a public place, or of birds in nature. In those situations, the high-speed full-frame burst mode of the 10 opens the door to photo satisfaction in a way that the older models never could. When the kid takes the ball from the dog's mouth, the action takes just a second, and with the older models my chances of hitting the perfect moment are statistically slim. With the 10, I can be taking 5, 10, 40 or even 60 full-resolution frames during that second, and I'm going to capture the perfect combination of facial expression and hand position to convey the magic of the moment. When talking heads speak, the motion of their faces makes all kinds of grimaces, and if I only have one or a few snapshots, I may have nothing that I can print without making the speaker look like a fool. With the 10's fast burst mode, I have options; I can make the speaker or performer look at their best. If I were a news photographer in the thick of action, this is the camera I'd want in my shirt pocket. I also like to to take bird pictures. Birds rarely sit still, and if I can only squeeze off a few shots, I may not get the ideal pose with the head forward or sideways and an eye clearly visible. With the high speed burst mode in the 10, I get my choice of bird postures. And did I mention the zoom? I can get perfectly printable shots at the 21x zoom, the equivalent of a 504 mm telephoto lens. The digital zoom takes it out to 84x, longer than 1000 mm; and while shots at that range look like an Impressionist filter was applied, and won't win too many photo contests, they are good enough to accurately identify the bird, or the person, or the object. I recently sold my digital SLR outfit with lenses up to 1000mm and I don't miss it at all. What you can do with this combination of burst and zoom, and in a package of this size, is mind-boggling. And it does a completely satisfactory job with ordinary landscapes, sunsets, flowers, street scenes, family snapshots, and the like. In short, Panasonic's switch to the high-speed CMOS sensor in the 10 does mean a small sacrifice in image quality in nasty lighting situations, but a big gain in usability. The 10 reliably gives me usable images, images that capture precious moments, that are worth printing, and that people love, in situations that were a photographic crapshoot until the 10 came along. To me, that's a big plus in photo satisfaction.
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217 of 226 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2011
I am a semi-professional photographer, and wanted a small travel camera to go along with my DSLR. I have owned Panasonic's TZ1, TZ5, ZS3, ZS6. The ZS6 was a disappointment regarding low light image quality. I purchased the ZS10 after I looked at the new specs, and saw that they changed the sensor and added the Handheld Nightshot Mode. This new model is amazing! The low light photos are clean and have low level noise as compared to the ZS6 and ZS3. I was able to use manual mode as well to accomplish some tricks in the field, such as smoothing a waterfal while maintaining the proper scene exposure. I love the other mode settings I can manipulate, such as the white balance and easier EV settings. I've gotten some great shots with that, including improved food shots in Aperture Priority Mode, over using the scene selection for Food, which turned out a little blurry (which may be my fault of being too close). The lense quality is simply amazing. The detail in the photos is remarkable. I would highly recommend this camera. If you would like to see a few shots, send me a message with your email address and I'll put a few photos together for you to compare and help make your decision.
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446 of 471 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon August 29, 2011
This is my fifth Panasonic digital camera, (my eighth digital camera of any brand if you don't count 6 or 7 camera-phones - I like gadgets). I have Panasonic's FZ-28 and just sold my pretty blue ZS-7 to a relative needing a great camera, as I was anticipating this year's model to be even better. I wish I had read the reviews first. Once I did, I was really disappointed, so I ended up buying a Sony HX5V first, since it was only 189 bux and had similar features and was touted to have good low-light performance. I take a lot of low-light pics, so this is a feature I always look for. The Sony pics came out pretty good, but I really missed the Panasonic interface (it just made more "sense" to me & obviously, I was used to it), and the longer zoom (16x vs 10x on the Sony). After a few weeks with the Sony, I took another look at the ZS-10. I found that there had been two firmware updates since the initial release, one which claimed to improve detail. I fell in love with the brown, and took a leap of faith. It arrived and boy, is it gorgeous! The touchscreen is cool, but not totally needed (not totally implemented, either), but that's ok, as the idea of smearing up my LCD with fingerprints, or accidentally touching the screen all the time didn't really appeal to me.

A few days in, I decided to compare apples-to-apples. I set up a little "still life" and took some shots with the Sony and some with the Panasonic, using the same (as much as possible) settings and lighting on each shot, both, before the firmware update, and after (on the ZS-10). I lowered both cameras to 5 megapixels (I usually use this setting). I took some with flash, without flash, and in low-light (60W bulb, diffused, 8' away) and very low light (dark room, with only hall light filtering in) - I wanted to push the boundaries and see what happens - almost any camera can take a good picture on a bright, sunny day. I used the auto modes, the tripod modes (with a tripod), the handheld modes (handheld), the twilight modes, even the self-timer to reduce blur from shutter button presses. I did not use the manual modes (M, S, A, P), as the Sony only has M & P, and I usually take very quick shots in varied environments and do not have time to "fiddle" with settings, like I do when I use my wonderful FZ-28. I am saddened to report that the Sony HX5V beat the Panasonic ZS-10 hands-down. Really saddened (see photos and notes in the Product Images section, Brown color version). I don't care that the Sony costs less money, or that the batteries cost less money (I always buy two), or that it's smaller, or that there's no play/shoot switch (just hit the shutter), or that the panorama mode is super-cool and easy, or that it has a directional thingie with the GPS to tell you what direction you're facing, I REALLY wanted the Panasonic to beat it. Unfortunately, to my eyes, and for my purposes, it does not. I'm so bummed.

PROS (things I care about):
- gorgeous brown exterior color
- stereo mics in sensible place (rarely covered by fingers when recording)
- 16x optical zoom (more, in some modes)
- compact (considering all the features)
- cool GPS implementation with landmarks already inputted
- 30 SCN (scene) modes - these are great when you want a certain "look" to your pics, but don't have time to change the settings (or aren't familiar with them) - the icons are in color, now.
- CUST (custom) setting on dial, so you can set your favorite settings for a frequent scene
- tripod socket in the middle = more well-balanced on weaker/smoother tripods (the sony's is on the edge)
- the battery/card door 'springs' open when unlocked (this makes it easier to access contents with one hand)
- did I mention the gorgeous brown wrapper?

This camera has many more features (3D, 10fps burst shooting, face detection, face recognition, etc.) that are cool, but not important to me, so I did not include them in my PROs, or in my review, as I don't even use them.

CONS (things that bother me):
- disgraceful IQ in very low-light (I realize this is not an SLR, but it's really bad, even when compared to the older, cheaper Sony)
- awful IQ/inexcusably high noise in low light (light from a 60W bulb, diffused, 8 feet away)
- low-light modes "hidden" in sub-menus (the sony has two, right on their dial) - may be possible to assign one to the CUST (custom) setting on the dial
- even when using flash, image is "blown out" (compared to the Sony)
- solid colors appear grainy, image appears fuzzy (even when viewing at 62% - full-screen). I didn't even bother pixel-peeping - the horror!

Yes, there are fewer CONS, but these are higher on my "priority" list and Image Quality is more important than where the tripod socket was placed, etc. After all, I show my photos to many people, but I'm the only one who really looks at my camera.

I am so disappointed and I feel so let down by the 2011 "travel zoom" camera department over at Panasonic. I know they "owe" me nothing, but I feel I have been a great customer and have now been presented with a poor product (when the previous version was fantastic). I have heard the ZS-8 has better IQ (fewer "bells & whistles" & a different sensor), I might have to try it out. But, right now, I feel so upset that my beautiful brown camera is only pretty on the outside, especially once the sun goes down.

As much as it pains me to say this, (especially after being a Panasonic Lumix fan for so many years), my recommendation, for now, would be to look into other cameras. There are other, lower cost cameras that take better pictures and have some of the "ooohhh-aaahhh" features this ZS-10 has. Even if you don't take a lot of low(er) light photos, the IQ when using the flash really concerns me (when compared to the Sony), and, considering the high cost, I don't even think this would be a good "barbecues and birthday parties" camera. Unfortunately, there are many reputable reviews on the web that report the same findings. I was hoping they just got a "bum" camera.

I really want to love and utilize this camera, and I am certainly not a professional photographer, so if you have any practical advice or tips which may improve my low-light results with this camera, (other than increasing the light in the image) please leave your tips in the comments section of this review. Even if it is months from now, as other low-light users may find them helpful. Thanks!

I rely on reviews here at Amazon to help me make informed buying choices. I hope this review has helped you in the same manner. If you voted this as helpful, I Thank You! :)
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111 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2011
TIP for Lumix P&S cameras: The better you are at selecting the right mode, the better your result. One trick I learned for bright, high contrast, full daylight landscapes is to use the "Snow" setting, which works like a polarizing filter. I was recently shooting in Yosemite and my shots of Yosemite Falls (with all the reflective granite) were looking washed out and hazy. Disappointed, I then tried the "Snow" setting and... OMG - I got beautiful tones & a sharp image! Experiment, get to know the modes better and you will be really pleased with your purchase. Try it!
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250 of 275 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2011
Please note that I ordered this camera through a different distributor, and returned it a day later due to poor image quality. I am posting here because of the excellent reviews that I gave the ZS3 and then the ZS7 that I purchased through Amazon. I do not change those reviews, and either is a 5-star camera. The ZS10 IS NOT.

I just wanted to alert buyers that the ZS10's image quality drops significantly from the ZS7 (which dropped from the ZS3 before it). I can no longer recommend this camera as the best compact on the market.

My number one priority in a camera is image quality, secondary to versatility. I love the zoom on these cameras. but not at the expense of IQ.

The ZS10 Image Quality is average at best. There is noticable noise at anything above 300. Night shots (which look great with the ZS3 for example) here are washed out and very noisy. The new "night shot" auto setting is equally poor. There is noticable corner fringing, and vignetting from 24 - 28mm.

More importantly, the ZS10 has poor contrast -- with both older model ZS3 and ZS7, you can at least get enough contrast between sky/buildings (for example) that you can still get cloud detail in the final shot. Here that is not so -- the camera is unable to do anything but wash out your sky and give you large swaths of white which are not savable in post-processing. I've tried all the in-camera tweeks for this, and it's just a no-go.

I do not recommend this as a solo travel camera if you are looking for high quality images, especially for landscapes or street photography. It's great for people photos, etc -- but ironically, you can do that with ANY snapshot camera. The ZS10 image quality spoils this as an upgrade. Stick with either the ZS7, or the older ZS3. See my reviews for those cameras for more in-depth information.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2011
Camera arrived in time for mother's day weekend and we happily broke it in. We are casual photographers and have no desire to use the manual features, thus all of our usage was on the automatic setting. Controls are straightforward and easy to use with little or no need to consult the written guide or the online manual. Photos turned out crisp and clear both indoors with flash and outdoors in sunlight and dusk; colors are bright. Photos at full optical zoom are terrific quality (a real difference from our former point and shoot camera). There is no recognizeable shutter lag, another nice upgrade for us. The 16x optical zoom is an amazing feature on such a small camera, and the Leica lens is huge plus. Our Mac iPhoto handled the camera's download without any fuss and with no additional software to install.

Overall we find this camera to be jam-packed with features and a good value for the money, even though there were plenty of competitors in its class that would have cost less. I would buy this one again if we had to do it over. We selected the red version and like the color and the styling as well as the functionality.
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2011
I have owned several Panasonic Lumix cameras in the last 10 years, upgrading periodically when new feature(s) make it economical to buy newer models. I still use my FZ50 professionally, upgraded from an FZ20 to a 35 to the 50. Wanting a point-and-shoot, but something more than snaps, for my personal life, I went to the Lumix. The ZS series has been excellent. For personal work, I don't want to spend a lot of time setting up shots, and I'm more likely to want quick reaction to capture a fleeting moment or motion. No point-and-shoot (p&s) will be excellent at that, but that doesn't mean I can't get one that does well in a majority of situations. My Lumix ZS3 performed exceptionally well for a p&s, and the ZS7 did even better. So looking over the specs of the ZS10, I decided to buy one. While I rarely use the video feature (I was raised on still photography!), much improved in this model, I wanted quality for stills. 16X zoom (to 21 with some kind of electronic extender option) up from 12X, and 14.1 megapixels up from 12.1. Improved antishake (at my age it's very useful), and GPS (which eats battery, can be turned off, but is occasionally useful for verifying sources), and other software I will continue to try out. So far so good, with crisp photos in most situations. Still is only good, not great, in low light; is better at eliminating motion blur (CMOS instead of CCD), and the easy menu help make this a worthy upgrade. Flash is still basic minimal (about 8 feet), typical of a p&s. Uses the same battery as the ZS3, so didn't have to buy new ones. Mini-USB plug (at camera) to standard USB plug is also typical. I invested in SanDisk Ultra cards (Class 6), and they work well. My 8 Gb says it will take 2800 pictures at 12.1 Mp. I don't think I'll ever reach that number, preferring to upload to my computer regularly, but it's nice to have spare capacity. The ZS10 has an SDXC host software, so can take the new BIG cards (48 and 64 Gb), but their high cost makes them uneconomical currently for me. Still, nice to have the capability (NOTE: lots of cautions say NOT to put an SDXC card in an SD/SDHC camera that DOES NOT have an SDXC host software). So instead bought a moderately expensive Extreme Pro SDHC (Class 10) 32 Gb card, and in this camera the irritating lag between pictures (typical in nearly all electronic cameras) was shortened noticeably. That's nice! The ZS10 will run SD, SDHC, and SDXC, so my legacy cards are still fine. From a first day testing perspective, the ZS10 has shown its mettle, an improvement (significant, if not huge) over the ZS3, and in most situations where a personal camera is useful, takes excellent pictures, and has a reasonably useable menu. I like my blue one.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2011
Took it on a trip, where I mainly used the Intelligent Auto. I was impressed that this function detects when red-eye and fill-in flash is needed. Even with flash turned off, the exposure compensated quite well. Plant and people pictures were quite vivid and sharp, even in breezes. I did overexpose one people-shot, but just one.

As I expected, taking pictures of far-away, partially hidden,or fast-moving animals in forest where of course, vegetation in front is going to throw off the focus, was indeed difficult. Much of my animal shots were were obtained by an experienced guide shooting them through a scope, and these also turned out surprisingly well. Animal shots in nature take a lot of practice, finding the animal in wide angle first, then gradually going with the zoom. Just touching the portion of the screen where the animal is to take the shot can be helpful where there's no time for that. I took a number of accidental photos by touching the screen, but you just waste digital electrons.

The camera definitely could use a viewfinder. Failing that, take a very wide-brimmed hat so you can shade the camera when in the sun to be able to see what you are taking.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2011
I am an ametour user and mainly bought this camera because of the features and the zoom (16x). I use cameras mainly for concerts and have one coming up in 2 weeks so will revisit this review at that time. That being said, I have tested this out mainly indoors and a few outdoors and it takes really decent pictures for what I need it for. I love how I can put it to touch screen and touch the focus of the picture on screen and have it snap a quick picture. The focus/shutter time is fast so you don't miss your shot. I have played around with the GPS a bit but only indoors so it just brought up the county I live in. I mainly bought the camera with GPS for when we go to Hawaii in a few months. It will be a nice feature so as I go back through the photos at a later date I will know where I was. I love how you can enter your pet or child's name and date of birth and it tags the photos for you with name and exact age. This is the first Panasonic I have ever bought and so far I'm pretty happy with it. I am coming from a Canon SD4500 in which the zoom and battery life suck. A dead battery after 83 pictures and 2 hours is not acceptable to me no matter what setting you have it on (which I had it on auto). So far on this camera the zoom is a 10!! I love being able to see items clearly that are pretty far away!! I can't yet rate the battery fairly as I haven't really tested the camera out to the fullest. I will udate this review in a few weeks after using it at the concert. I have bought an extra battery just in case it is needed, but I'm hoping it's not.


Update: I really used this camera this past weekend at a concert. I love this camera! It took really good pictures (to my content) and had awesome zoom! The concert started at 7 and at 10:00 pm the battery had one bar left on it. I wish I would have let it run out to see how long it really would have lasted but I put in the second battery I purchased instead. I will upload some pictures to the description of Justin Moore and Miranda Lambert. This camera has so many features and I'm really excited to test the GPS function when I'm in Hawaii in June!
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2011
(professional filmmaker using a pocket-size camera for unplanned filming/photo opportunities)

I wish I bought zs7 when it was on sale for $200 instead of this camera (zs10) for twice as much. Before this camera I had zs3 from 2009 and was very happy with it. I used it so much in the last 2 years so it practically died from overuse. It was dropped a dozen times, got completely wet once and stopped working but resurrected itself after 3 days... finally last fall the lens mechanism stopped responding i think from getting in contact with sea water and sand (I used the camera almost every day so this was bound to happen).

So, zs10 is my replacement and I have to disappoint those who expect the image and video quality improve on this new model. I've compared 720p Motion Jpeg video of zs10 with the same format of zs3 (2009) and prefer the zs3 samples. The difference is not huge, they are just a little sharper but that camera was manufactured 3 years ago! Same goes for the picture quality, there is no visible improvement at all. At least it's not worse.

I tried to find some advantages of this new model so not to get completely dissatisfied and calmed myself down with following cool improvements:

-it's faster, it focuses quicker so in situations where you're trying to take a picture of a fast moving object you are well equipped.
-zoom is more powerful and it's the camera's best feature.
-you have more manual control over photos (BUT not the videos) so you can play with depth of field and exposure.
-in video mode you're able to re-focus during recording by half pressing the shutter button (it works especially great with "continuous focus" switched off).

(don't really care about the GPS and 3D-picture functions. screen resolution difference isn't noticeable. touchscreen isn't all that useful it actually is an obstacle sometimes because touching it by accident can result in a picture being taken. slow motion is not that impressive at 320x240 resolution. 1080i AVCHD mode's quality didn't seem better from MJPEG 720p)

disadvantages over zs3 (which is 2 years older, remind you):
-you won't be able to use (cheaper) batteries not made by Panasonic
-battery life is shorter even with GPS off.
-all photos/videos look sharper on ZS3

No one should really compare this camera to a model from 2008, so before you buy it compare it with current models from other competitors. I recommend this camera to people with loose cash and low standards for image quality, who want a fast performing, long-zoomed pocket camera. It's a nice toy.
Update: after 2 weeks of use I am truly Annoyed with this camera. I bought it in US but currently in Europe and therefore can't return it. I would gladly sell it for 70% of what i paid for it.
I found out that:

1. 24mm widescreen is only used for taking photos. When you shoot videos the screen is heavily cropped and you lose about one third of the width.
2. None of the manual controls can be used in video mode.
3. Video Stabilization only works with AVCHD video format.

I chose this camera over Canon SX230 mainly for:
ability to shoot in Motion Jpeg format,
better widescreen and
manual controls.

Well as i mentioned above I found out that none of these features can be used in video mode and Motion Jpeg mode is useless due to very poor stabilization.

I will Never buy another Lumix.
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