254 of 263 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2012
Color Name: Black
(update on bottom)
First up, I actually own the DMC-SZ02 which is available at a certain store in my area founded by Sam Walton... :) I am 99.9% certain this is the exact same camera as the DMC-SZ1, please correct me if I`m wrong. But dont confuse either of these with the DMC-ZS1 (note the ZS and SZ difference), which is also available but quite different. Cant they get a little more creative with the product names?
I`ve owned and tried out many "pocket" cameras over the years. I`ve usually ended up with Casio Exilims, even though I have tried out Canon Elphs (just cant get myself to like the tiny Elph), Nikons (good features but poor pic quality), a Samsung (terrible) and even one other Lumix (can't remember why I didn't keep it) in the past. This Lumix is by far my favorite.
Granted that you must understand what you are getting with a pocket camera. They will not be top quality photos with everything intended to be framed as art. But they are more than fine for capturing many (I have thousands of) memories to be stored on the hard drive and you do get an occasional really nice bonus picture to print as an 8x10. The good thing is that you actually have it WITH you (I carry it in a smartphone leather holster, fits perfect) so that a semi-quality picture is better than NO pic because you didn't want to drag around a full size camera.
OK having said that, this camera is very impressive. The zoom especially stands out. I never imagined the zoom on a pocket camera could ever be improved this much. I found myself saying "Wow" many times after taking some test shots. Even the digital zoom turns out to be useful, when it fails miserably and is a joke on every other camera I`ve tried it on. Other digital zooms are better described as "the distorted pixelation button", so I have no idea what voodoo magic they invoked to make their digital zoom actually look decent in most cases.
The overall quality is excellent for it's class as well, with the exception of some indoor settings which EVERY camera in this class struggles with, so don't be fooled by ANY brand's marketing hype including Panasonic's "Intelligent Auto" (although it does work for other purposes as intended). But if I play with manual settings, I can eventually get a good indoor picture, usually by turning flash OFF, which is counter intuitive for the novice.
It is easy to hold onto with a very thoughtful textured thumb area, whereas many cameras this size pack every inch with buttons. It's my perfect size, small enough to stow out of the way, but not so tiny I struggle to hold it like the Elph I dropped and broke the lens on the first day two Christmas' ago.
I`ll admit the body feels a little "plastic-y" but I cant comment on durability yet, I`ve only had it a week. I`ve always had the impression Panasonic makes a durable product, but only time will tell. My Exilims had all metal bodies and let me tell you they take a licking... and a dropping ... and keep on ticking. That is one area they excel.
Lumix isn't known for it's innovative software or menus, so they are pretty basic and not worth special mention. Although in normal a.k.a. manual shooting mode, there are many settings that can be tweaked. I think with Lumix you are paying for the lens and sensor quality, not frivolous things like a touchscreen. My only wish is that they would add useful scene modes like "children playing indoors" and "outdoor sports" rather than "food" and "baby". Seriously?
I can highly recommend this camera for what it is. Good luck finding other reviews as of this writing! Pretty much non existent, so I hope mine helps. (edit: now with over 200 reviews on Amazon alone, this statement is obviously outdated!)
It's been about a year and a half since we bought this. We have likely taken over 1,000 pics and movies with it. It looks practically brand new and still takes wonderful pictures, yet again with the disclaimer: "for the size and price". It has been a great asset to us and have no regrets buying it. I still absolutely love the fact it can optical zoom while taking movies! At least at the time we bought it, that feature was almost unheard of. I have not researched newer cameras lately because we simply don't need one as long as this lasts. The only single fault I can find is that the battery life may be less than when it was new (to be expected). However it's not enough to bother us yet and if it gets to that point, a new battery is under 10 bucks. Sometimes I look for any excuse to upgrade my electronics to today's "new & improved", but I would not hesitate to buy another battery and hope this camera lasts well into the future.
79 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2012
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
Let me qualify this and let me say that I don't know if this is this best camera, just an opinion.
First things first, in a basic sense of what you buy a camera for is to take sharp pictures. That it does so I am pleased.
Now the perks which are sort of neato mosquito: It does self stitching panoramic photos with out software, you change mode and hold the shutter button down and pan and it stitches away. This includes side to side as well as up and down like you would need for a tall building.
Another mode will decorate your picture with a frame, my favorite is the heart frame. It does baby scenes where you can have text of the name of the baby and his or her age in months and days. It automatically figures this out from the birth date.
All told there are 15 scenes.
Another feature which may come in handy is that it uses the new SDXC memory cards, a very high capacity card like 64 gig or 128 gig. So if are going to shoot a lot of video, you will be set. It records in the MP4 format. It has a separate shutter button for movies so you can shoot on the fly and not have to change modes. Who needs a separate video camera? It does let you zoom while shooting video.
You can also set the viewfinder screen to bright for when you are outside.
Summary: A great little handy, capable, and excellent camera. My wife has the Lumix DMC-FH25 Panasonic DMC-FH25K 16.1MP Digital Camera with 8x Wide Angle Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7 inch LCD (Black) which if also a good camera (see reviews) but I like mine better.
BTW It will use after market batteries if price is a concern. Wasabi Power Battery and Charger Kit for Panasonic DMW-BCK7, DMW-BCK7E, DMW-BCK7PP, NCA-YN101F, NCA-YN101G, NCA-YN101H, DE-A91B, DE-A92A, DE-A92B, Lumix DMC-FH2, DMC-FH4, DMC-FH5, DMC-FH6, DMC-FH7, DMC-FH8, DMC-FH25, DMC-FH27, DMC-FP5, DMC-FP7, DMC-FS16...
Oct 12, 2012
UPDATE: Bad news, my screen broke. Must be fragile as I did not drop my camera. Very disappointed.
78 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2012
Color Name: RedVerified Purchase
I just received this camera and so far I am very impressed - normally I don't write reviews until I have had something a little bit longer but with so few reviews anywhere on the internet...... When you first open the Amazon box you are struck with how tiny the box it comes in is- and then you open the box for the camera! The thing is definitely pocket-sized but not flimsy! The metal body feels very sturdy and very well made. The pictures that it takes with any of the settings are all fantastic - with or without the zoom. The intelligent auto (iA) mode does a great job discerning what is required of the shot. I am also very impressed with the 10x zoom and the 20x digital zoom. It is however lacking in that you cannot choose a lot of the "scene" features, they are chosen for you in iA, if you are looking for a point and shoot that you have the ability to control more- look at something more along the lines of my other camera- Canon PowerShot SX200IS. Overall I think it is going to be a great camera that I can put in my back pocket, not worry about taking to Disney World but yet get some amazing pictures by just pushing a button - all for less than $200.
94 of 101 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: SilverVerified Purchase
The more expensive (and powerful) ZS20 is currently the best-selling point and shoot on Amazon, but most shooters will achieve equally satisfying images from the equally high-rated (and recommended by Consumer Reports), smaller and less expensive Panasonic SZ1, while enjoying longer battery life (the touch-controls of the ZS20 take a significant toll). As for other Panasonic choices, the prices of the DMC-FH25/27 and the newer (by one year) DMC-SZ1 are practically identical, but the SZ1 has a wider-angle lens (25mm vs 28mm), a longer telephoto lens (10X optical/20X digital vs. 8X zoom; ), and is even lighter (5oz. vs. 6oz). Moreover, "Consumer Reports," in rating the SZ1 above the DMC-FH27, gives the advantage to the SZ1 in the following areas: improved image stabilization; better audio quality (mono) during video use; dramatically faster start-up time (almost instant with the SZ1); a brighter and larger LCD screen (3" vs. 2.7" for the FM25 and 2.9" for FH27's touch-screen).
Panasonic Lumix SZ1 vs. Panasonic SZ7:
The SZ7 was released within days of the SZ1, and the price differential between the two cameras is less than expected (currently approx. $40). Dimensions and weight are virtually identical. The SZ7 offers 1080p HD movie mode; the SZ1 has 720p HD (a noticeable difference only if you plan on showing movies on a 50" screen or larger). The SZ7 has a stereo microphone; the SZ1 has a monaural mic (an imperceptible difference when separation is this minimal). The SZ7 advertises speeds of up to 10 sharp images per second at full resolution; the SZ1 is less than two images per sec (but at 2 megapixels sharper than the SZ7). What isn't clarified is that the SZ1 also permits speeds of 10 images per second but at a resolution of 3mp instead of 16. (My first 2 digital cameras--a Sony and a Canon--both featured lenses that were under 3 mp. They both delivered exceptionally sharp photos--especially when not enlarged above 5X7).
Panasonic vs. Canon.
1. Size and shots. The SZ1 is a "subcompact" but not as "little" as the Canon Elf series. The SZ1 boasts a sleek and slim body on the outside, mirroring its new, state-of-the-art Leica Lens System on the inside. The images are as good as those I get from my Canon SD780 (costing 3 times more). The SD780 has a body that's almost 25% smaller (despite including a viewfinder!) than the SZ1 (which does not have a viewfinder). But there are downsides to extreme miniaturization. The SZ1 is easier to grip, and its image stabilization appears to be superior (even my wife gets uncharacteristically sharp and steady photos).
2. Ease of operation. The Canon has one external setting that's totally automatic, leaving nothing for its owner to do but depress the shutter button. The Panasonic requires a couple of extra moves, which will be intuitive to experienced photographers: Press the "Mode" button; then, of the 4 choices, select "Intelligent Auto" for total automation, including zoom capabilities of 20:1 (the SD780 is 4:1). For maximum Manual control, select "Scenic Mode" from the four options.
3. Display. The Panasonic's display is the best I've seen on a point and shoot--perfect for a slide show (with special effects) shortly after taking the pictures (here's where the tiny Canon is clearly overmatched.
4. Battery and charging. The Canon requires constant and careful removal of the battery for recharging in a dedicated charger that's never there when needed. By contrast, the Panasonic runs away with honors: you charge the battery while it remains in the camera (a light on the camera illuminates until the battery is fully charged). An AC cord or USB cable will do the job--take your pick.
Camera sales have slowed down since the development of competitive cameras on multi-purpose devices like the iPhone (which has spurred the point 'n shoot makers to come to market with increasingly stylish, user-friendly, technically superior cameras). As a result, distributors are slow to "hype" new cameras before last year's glut has cleared warehouse shelves. But be prepared to see the SZ1 climbing in the ranks of the most popular such cameras (especially at this price). In my book, the SZ1 is #1 among all cameras costing less than $150. [I plan to revisit the page, should Amazon offer another lot of these full-featured subcompacts at $94.]
Later: [This undeniable value has finally cracked the top 100 of the most popular point 'n shoot cameras in Amazon's ratings. Formerly it was way down in the ratings whereas its predecessor, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH25/FH27, was listed among the top five. The DZ1 has an exceptional 10:1 optical lens, and if the digital extension is factored in, the camera can be compared with the far pricier Panasonic ZS20, which has a 20:1 optical lens. Several days ago, the SZ1 was available from Amazon Prime for $94 (in smaller print on the right side of the page). Now that I've used the camera, I wish I had ordered an additional SZ1 at that price. It's still the best lens I've seen for $120. The on-line ratings by Consumer Reports place this Panasonic among the top 7 cameras (out of approx. 50)--just behind the Canon S95 and Elph 310. None of its rivals can compare with its 10:1 optical lens.]
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2012
Color Name: Black
There's no reason for me to write another thorough review, so I'll just list a few items that do not appear in the other reviews.
I always download the operating guide for a camera I am considering, and read it cover to cover. This tells you what the "gotchas" are. When I went to Panasonic's support pages I discovered that this camera does not exist. I was unable to find a copy of the manual on the WWW except at those sites that offer free downloads in exchange for infecting your computer. When I received the camera I noted that one manual was printed for the SZ1, SZ02 (yes it's the same) and the similarly operating but entirely differently constructed FH8. I did a web search for support for this model and finally found the online manual at [...] . You will get the operating guide on a CD but it has security, while the online version has no security. You probably don't care but I like to edit the manuals, eliminating the warnings about burning down my house, and features that apply only to other cameras in the series. The edited PDF will go on my Kindle and on my vacation.
The supplied firmware as of Sept. 1, 2012 (or 8 months after release) is still current and is version 1.0. At least there's no firmware update on the Panasonic support website.
Speaking of vacations, I bought the SZ1 as a travel camera. I always buy two extra generic batteries and have previously used a standalone charger, and Panasonic makes terrific ones (though none is included with this camera). The best one for this camera is the DE-A91 with folding plug, not the DE-A92. It (or a convincing counterfeit) can be had on ebay for $15. I've also used the generic ones for $10, but they are much larger. When I saw the included charger and noted that it is microscopic, I decided that for this camera I would take along the included charger, which utilizes the USB cable to connect to the camera, and forego the standalone charger.
I particularly like that this camera still takes SD/SDHC/SDXC cards rather than those hateful micro SD cards, as some of the Samsungs do. The full-size cards are cheaper, have more capacity and speed and are a little harder to counterfeit, since there is more area on which to print identifying information. I've bought a LOT of flash cards and would say that 90% are counterfeits, including virtually all sold in 'bulk' (absent) packaging. Apparently less expertise is needed to counterfeit the card than the packaging, so just pay a little extra for a packaged card. I'm also a believer in not putting all your eggs in one basket. Consider taking two flash cards on your trip and swapping them every day or two. If one goes bad you'll still have a good selection of photos.
The LCD is 3" but the plastic covering it is 3.2". I suggest buying a 99-cent 3" screen protector. If you buy one too big, such as 3.5", it is difficult to neatly cut them down. They peel right off so if yours becomes nasty you can replace it.
There is no setting for COMPRESSION. Typically there is a Fine and a SuperFine setting, but now that flash cards are so cheap there's no good reason to use the higher compression 'Fine' setting, so I'm glad they dropped this. A 16mp photo is still going to use only 6mb of space so this is already pretty well degraded. It would be wonderful if they allowed you to record in either RAW or TIF or high-quality JPG. . . .
The PANORAMA function is pretty primitive, as it makes only a tiny image. Better to learn how to shoot full-size panoramas and stitch them together in whatever graphics package you have, like Photoshop Elements. The secrets are (1) keep the horizon in the middle of the photo, (2) do NOT use a wide setting like 25mm (I suggest something between 1X and 2X) to avoid vignetting and distortion, (3) overlap a LOT, and (4) do what you can to maintain the same focus and exposure between shots (read manual). If fast-moving clouds are in the photo, or people or cars are passing, you will probably not be successful in producing a good panorama.
To connect the camera to the computer in order to download photos, you first plug in the short USB cable. The computer will recognize the connection, but nothing happens. The manual neglects to tell you that you must turn on the camera manually. Then on the LCD you will select 'COMPUTER'. Now you can use either PHOTOfunSTUDIO 8.0 SE (included software, also up-to-date as of 8/1/12) or Windows to upload your photos and videos.
As a guy, I like to wear a pocket camera on my belt, and I prefer a case which holds the camera horizontal, making it easier to sit down, so I ordered such a case.
I gave the camera ***** even though I might have changed some features.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2012
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
I own three digital cameras. A Sony Cyber-shot, a Kodak Easy Share, and now this little jewel and it is by far the best of the three. Don't let it's small size fool you. It takes amazingly clear photos and the zoom is incredible! Most cameras get blurry when you zoom out but not this one. It stays crystal clear.
I found this camera to be relatively easy to use and navigate through the features. I started taking and reviewing photos before I even looked at the manual. I love the auto mode as I am no photographer :) The image stabilization works really well. I also love how quickly it takes photos compared to my other two digital cameras. I did a ton of feature and review comparisons on digital cameras on Amazon and came to the conclusion that this one had the best features for the price. I'm so happy with my choice. I can't wait to take it on vacation. Highly recommend!!!
41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2012
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
Although the price has gone up since I bought this camera, it is still a good value for the money. The anti-shake feature really works! It's hard to hold a small camera steady, but this camera makes up for it.
The menu system is intuitive and easy to use. Quality of photos is excellent.
I bought it mainly because it's small and fits into a pocket. I don't like to look like a tourist when I travel, so this camera is ideal for travel.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2012
Color Name: BlueVerified Purchase
I purchased the Panasonic Lumix SZ1 16.1 MP Digital Camera w/10X Optical Zoom in Jul 2012 for a great price at $119.00. It fills in where I left out with my 3MP Casio camera...which lost its exposure after 6 years. The one comment is that I wish it had a zoom to view after the picture was taken. I would like to crop. Maybe I have it and haven't found it yet. This camera has so many functions that I am learning all the time. It has terrific zoom qualities, but make sure your steady at the full zoom before clicking. It is quite unbelievable at this 10X. It focuses quite automatically too...so don't worry.Panasonic Lumix SZ1 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Zoom (Blue)
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2012
Color Name: BlueVerified Purchase
I bought this camera for a family vacation, and right out of the box, I'm very impressed by the customizability of the different menus and settings. It has settings that optimize the camera for the things you're taking pictures or video of, to include specific settings for pictures of faces, landscapes, looking out through a window, babies, pets, food, and about a dozen others. The zoom is fantastic and was the main reason I chose this camera over other similarly-priced cameras. Just testing it out in my hallway, I can stand 20 feet away from my front door and the zoom on the camera can make it look like I'm taking a picture of the doorknob from a foot away. The optical zoom is, of course, crystal clear, but even the 20x digital zoom looks wonderful compared to many other cameras or cell phone cameras I've used before. No more grainy, pixellated junk pictures filling up my memory card just because I was trying to capture something far away!
I also love how small the thing is. I bought a carrying case to go with it -- Case Logic ECC-101 Point and Shoot Camera Case (Black) -- and it fit perfectly in the case, and the whole thing (camera in the case) is barely larger than a checkbook!
Because I don't just have $100+ dollars to throw away, I consider this to be a "major purchase." I wanted a camera that I don't expect to be obsolete in just a couple of years, I wanted a camera that could satisfy whatever photography/videography needs I might have during the next 2-3 years at least, and I fully expect to get that and more out of my new camera. Now, if I were a professional photographer, then I would put in the money for a nice SLR or something much more powerful, but for everyday family uses, I'm very excited that I'll have this little guy by my side.
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2012
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
I have to say that this is my 2nd Panasonic Lumix (only because I LOVE cameras and felt it was time for an upgrade - my 1st one now belongs to my best friend because it's still an amazing camera) and I really like both cameras so far (really missing my 1st one though).
I have 2 issues, so far, with this camera (and the reason it's getting a 4 star instead of a 5 star review). The first issue is that the design isn't all that great. In an effort to make the camera smaller, it seems, the company decided to put the function menu in the actual menu and I prefer the function menu on the top of the camera. I don't like the function menu location and doubt that I ever will.
The second issue I have is with the screen. If you don't hold the camera just right, you don't see the true beauty of the picture - it doesn't matter if you are looking at the picture or showing it to someone else (but it's worse for the people you're trying to show the picture to). That's frustrating because I don't want other people holding my camera due to bad past experiences, but they have a hard time viewing the picture if I am holding the camera - it's like looking at an old plasma screen from an odd angle - all you see is outlines.
I would recommend this camera to people, but I would warn them about the two issues I have come across so far and advise them to take those into consideration.