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Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 10.1 MP Digital Camera with 12x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3 inch LCD (Black)
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- Capture images to SD/SDHC memory cards (not included)
- Intelligent Auto (iA) mode , Face Recognition feature
- 12x MEGA optical image-stablilized zoom , 25mm ultra-wide-angle lens
- 10.1-megapixel resolution captures enough detail for poster-size prints
- Capture HD video in AVCHD Lite format
- 10.1-megapixel resolution captures enough detail for poster-size prints
- 12x MEGA optical image-stablilized zoom; 25mm ultra-wide-angle lens
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|Auto Focus Technology|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||2.3 fps|
|Display Fixture Type||Fixed|
|Display Resolution Maximum||460,000|
|Display Size||3 inches|
|Effective Still Resolution||10.1 MP|
|Expanded ISO Maximum||1,600|
|Expanded ISO Minimum||80|
|External Memory Included||Yes|
|Flash Memory Type||SD/MMC/SDHC card, Internal|
|Flash Type||Built-in Flash|
|Focus Type||Autofocus Only|
|ISO Range||Auto, Hi Auto (1600-6400), 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600|
|Image Aspect Ratio||4:3, 3:2, 16:9|
|Item Dimensions||2.36 x 1.3 x 4.06 inches|
|Item Weight||0.5 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Energy Content||3.3 Watt Hours|
|Lithium Battery Voltage||3.6 Volts|
|Lithium Battery Weight||4 ounces|
|Macro Focus Range||3 cm|
|Maximum Aperture Range||F3.3 - F4.9|
|Maximum Focal Length||300 mm|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/2000 of a second|
|Maximum horizontal resolution||3,648|
|Memory Storage Capacity||45 MB|
|Metering||Multi, Center-weighted, Spot|
|Minimum Focal Length||25 mm|
|Minimum Shutter Speed||60 seconds|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||10 MP|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CCD|
|Photo Sensor Technology||CCD|
|Sensor Cleaning Method||No|
|Shipping Weight||1.55 pounds|
|Supported Battery Types||Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery & charger|
|Video Capture Format||AVCHD Lite|
|Video Capture Resolution||1280 x 720 (30 fps), 848 x 480 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30 fps)|
|Water Resistance Level||Not Water Resistant|
|Zoom Type||Optical, Digital|
The new Lumix ZS3 features 10.1-megapixels, a 25mm ultra-wide-angle lens and 12x optical zoom, meaning it has added 2x optical zoom to the award-winning TZ-series camera, yet reduced its size. The ZS3 also features a Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens and High Definition (HD) video recording ability, known as AVCHD Lite.The ZS3 is the world’s first digital camera to feature HD video recording in AVCHD Lite. Compared with the conventional Motion JPEG format, AVCHD Lite allows longer recordings with breathtaking HD visual and audio quality. This combined with a well-considered control interface, which includes a dedicated movie recording button on the camera’s back panel, makes the ZS3 a hybrid model that performs admirably for both still and motion image capture.
From the Manufacturer
The new Lumix ZS3 features 10.1-megapixels, a 25mm ultra-wide-angle lens and 12x optical zoom, meaning it has added 2x optical zoom to the award-winning TZ-series camera, yet reduced its size. The ZS3 also features a Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens and High Definition (HD) video recording ability, known as AVCHD Lite.
The ZS3 is the world’s first digital camera to feature HD video recording in "AVCHD Lite." Compared with the conventional Motion JPEG format, AVCHD Lite allows longer recordings with breathtaking HD visual and audio quality. This combined with a well-considered control interface, which includes a dedicated movie recording button on the camera’s back panel, makes the ZS3 a hybrid model that performs admirably for both still and motion image capture.
The ZS3 also expands Panasonic’s popular Intelligent Auto (iA) mode with the addition of Face Recognition--a feature that "remembers" faces from previous shots. When a registered face appears in the frame, the camera will prioritize focus and exposure to capture it beautifully. With Face Recognition, when a familiar face is recorded several times, the camera will prompt the users to register the face. Once registered, if the face appears into the frame again, the camera will display the name specified for that person and prioritize focus and exposure so that the registered face is bright and sharply focused.
New this year to the ZS-Series, iA mode is also available in Movie Mode. It automatically selects the most suitable Scene mode and helps to correct handshake, focus and brightness problems - making iA mode your one-stop solution to capture beautiful still and motion images. In Movie Mode, the ZS3, Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) helps prevent handshake when using the high-powered zoom. Face Detection automatically detects a face in the frame and adjusts focus, exposure, contrast, and skin complexion so it turns out perfectly. Intelligent Exposure continually checks the ambient light level and adjusts the exposure setting as conditions change to prevent blown highlights and blocked shadows. And Intelligent Scene Selector automatically switches between Normal, Portrait, Macro, Scenery, and Low Light modes according to the situation to optimize visual quality.
The imaging power of Lumix has further evolved with the Venus Engine HD, which boasts two CPUs to provide approx. 2.4x processing capability and support for AVCHD Lite and HDMI output. It integrates all the advanced functions and camera operations with high performance and low-power consumption. In image processing, luminance noise and chromatic noise are reduced separately before and after signal processing. This is further refined by separating noise two-dimensionally into high-frequency and low-frequency noise. The circuits then effectively reduce only the low-frequency noise to minimize the unwanted noise and help produce beautiful, sharp still and motion images.
Playback with the ZS-series is also easy. Simply insert the camera’s SD memory card into the VIERA HDTV’s Image Viewer SD Card slot for a photo slideshow. Alternatively, connect the camera via an optional HDMI mini cable, the DMW-HDC2, to a VIERA Link-equipped Panasonic VIERA HDTV and use the television’s remote control to run mixed slideshows of photos and videos. The ZS3 features a 3-inch, high resolution 460,000-dot Intelligent LCD with a wide viewing angle, improving visibility during recording and playback.
Other features of the Lumix ZS3 include:
- Increased Scene modes for both still and motion image shooting--optimized for a variety of situations. There are 26 scene modes for still image and 17 for motion image (Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self portrait, Scenery, Low light, Food, Party, Candle light, Sunset, High sensitivity, Beach, Snow, Aerial, Pin hole, Film grain and Underwater)
- Two new My Scene settings let users assign their two most frequently used Scene modes to the setting, and with a simple switch, allow access to either scene instantly.
- New Panorama Assist scene mode allows users to shoot a number of consistent photos, either vertically or horizontally, by aligning them according to a guide that overlaps the screen. Then using those photos and the bundled PanoramaMaker software, users can create dramatic panoramic images.
- High-Speed Burst (Speed Priority) that fires off approx. 10 shots per second.
- Menus are clearer and easier to navigate with the Display Size option.
- Macro Zoom function lets users pull subjects even closer to capture dramatic close-up shots by using the 3x digital zoom in the wide-angle.
- Bundled Software: The latest version of PHOTOfunSTUDIO 3.0 HD Edition allows users to view, edit and archive captured content with greater ease and fun. Still and motion images can be transferred to the computer via a USB cable for viewing and archiving. Using PHOTOfunSTUDIO 3.0 HD Edition, users can edit and remove unwanted portions of video clips recorded in AVCHD Lite. Contents recorded in AVCHD Lite can be burned directly onto a DVD disc or the software can convert contents to MPEG2 format. The software also incorporates the Face Recognition function, which recognizes registered faces in photos stored on the computer, making organizing and archiving photos with a specific person much easier. Additionally, motion pictures can be uploaded directly to YouTube.
Read about our customers' top-rated cameras on our review page: Point-and-Shoot Cameras
Top customer reviews
So I'm going on an east coast trip next month. My buddy and I are avid baseball fans. One problem: as we do not always have great seats, taking close-up pictures of ballplayers is a real pain with 99% of the compact point and shoots out there. This is because the camera's size will only allow it 5X optical zoom. You can combine this with digital zooming, but I don't need to tell you how terrible and pixilated this looks. Thus my conundrum. So I really wanted a compact, pocketable camera with a long range optical lens, without having to lug around an expensive digital SLR.
Enter the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3. When I read the specs on it, I was in awe. 10 megapixel, 12X OPTICAL zoom. Here's the sweetest part about the zoom- if you planning to use smaller prints (i.e. 4X6), you can quickly adjust the camera's Megapixel (MP) count from 10 to 7, 5, and 3 to yield maximum OPTICAL zooms of 14.3, 17.1, and 21.4 respectably, without much loss of detail on such prints. I wish Panasonic would have allowed the camera to adjust the MP count automatically as you zoom, but it's not too much trouble to change the MP settings manually from the quick menu.
Another great feature: the camera's screen is beautiful at 460,000 pixels, twice the count as the rival Canon Powershot SX200 IS (more on that camera later). From the moment you view your first picture, you'll quickly notice how much sharper photos look on this camera. It's a nice convenience to view photos on the camera in a manner closer to the quality that will actually be seen when you're viewing them on the computer (and ultimately printing them).
I also want to give Panasonic kudos for the build quality and compactness of this camera. The ZS3 is a replacement for the popular TZ5 model, which was 9MP and 10X Optical Zoom. So they increased the resolution, and added a wider range lens, and REDUCED the size by .4 cubic inches. Specifications aside, I was more than pleased that this camera will comfortably fit inside my jeans pocket. It's a bit bulkier than an ultracompact for sure, but not objectionably so. Note that the SX200 is a full 2.0 cubic inches thicker, another reason I passed on the Canon. Here's a few more reasons the Canon falls short: the Canon has a cheesy looking popup flash that sticks out at the top of the camera, whether you're using flash or not (bad design decision). It has less rated battery life than the Lumix. Also, when shooting video, the Canon does NOT allow you to use optical zooming.
Photo quality on the Lumix is excellent, although I've only snapped samples around my place so far. However, I've taken quite a few pictures at low light, and at maximum zoom levels to try to get a bad shot. So far, there's none to be found. I'll put this through its paces more when I travel next month, but I'm extremely pleased so far. As for video shooting, I've sampled it a bit, and it seems pretty solid. The camera gives you the choice of shooting video in its touted AVCHD Lite format (ideal for watching it on your TV in HD with an optional mini to standard HDMI cable), or JPEG if you prefer to email video clips to friends. This year's model also added stereo sound on video playback versus last year's monaural effort. One thing I found a bit strange, was the incredibly slow zooming when shooting video. I guess Panasonic was trying to give the user a more controlled, deliberate zoom, but unlike the snappy photo zooming, it's a bit slow for my liking.
Some other minor quibbles: The dial that controls the shooting mode is extremely loose. If you lightly rub it against anything (a camera bag, your pocket), there's a good chance it will shift. When you turn the camera on, it will digitally tell you what mode you're in, but it's still annoying when it happens by accident. Second, when making a quick zoom on an object, it will appear blurry on the camera's screen until the shutter button is pressed. There are modes to continually focus the object when zooming, but this drains the camera's battery life more rapidly. It would be nice if this feature was incorporated automatically without any such sacrifice.
Also, I'm not a huge fan of the included PhotofunStudio software bundled with this camera, as there are other, more compelling programs to view, edit, and print photos (I like Canon's Zoombrowser program better). Finally, this is not the camera to buy if you're into manual controls. There's a ton of preset scenes that can be used (nighttime, portrait, baby, sunset, food, etc.), and you can adjust items like flash, white balance, and max ISO level, but this is meant to be a simple point and shoot for casual photographers. Note that the Lumix has an intelligent auto mode (IA) that will analyze the shooting conditions and pick the right scene, flash, and exposure without any adjustments by the user. This camera screams simplicity, but there's enough tweaking on the Normal and Scene modes to keep the vast majority of amateur photographers happy.
Regardless of these nitpicks, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 is an awesome camera, unbeatable for those that want the best of both worlds- a great zoom lens and compact body. It's a bit pricey at $399, but you're getting quite a lot of camera for your hard earned dollars. I have no doubt that my third digital camera is a terrific buy and a long-term staple for my travels.
This camera's 12x zoom and 12MP sensor produces pictures that are as sharp as a needle. You cannot get a good picture without a sharp lens. I'd wager this is the sharpest zoom lens above 10x that has ever been shipped on any travel zoom (including sony and canon and all later panasonic cameras). This is VERY SIGNIFICANTLY sharper than anything Canon has ever made in a pocket camera! I say this having owned the successor lens in a ZS15 (16x Leica), and also having purchased SLR lenses for their sharpness for Pentax and Nikon cameras, and my wife having owned a Canon G2 camera.
The intelligent auto is amazingly smart and wicked fast (1.4 secs to turn-on and 0.4 seconds shutter lag). It takes sunset photos and gets optimal details BELOW the horizon, where you have to set a special exposure otherwise the sun blows out the highlights everywhere else in the photo. The focus system is superb and normally gets at least 2/3 of the frame in perfect focus, which leverages the exceptional power of the tack-sharp lens.
The sensor is very cleverly made in a + shape so that no matter if you are shooting 4:3 or 16:9 photos, you have the maximum number of pixels available to get a quality photo!
We used this camera nonstop for 2 years to photograph and shoot video in soccer tournaments and swim meets. The camera was used with a tripod for the soccer tournaments, and some of the 720p video was superior (more saturated and realistic-looking) than that of a $5,000 Canon rig that the professional videographer dad was using. And, this is because Panasonic (and Sony) specialize in Video, so their cameras pan and zoom without the stabilizer trying to "hold on" to the photo (resulting in very jerky pans and zooms in other cameras, such as Canon).
Unlike some other cameras, this one can do motorized zoom while filming (not just digtal magnification like in most crappy canon pocket cameras.)
The trick to getting optimal photos is to set ISOMAX=800 and intelligent everything, and then let the stabilizer clean up your photos. This forces the OIS to work much harder than normal.
The main downside to this camera is that in low light, it produces a great deal of yellow color noise, i.e. yellow splotches in dark areas. People install the GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) freeware program and add the "Wavelet Denoise" add-on. Then you can post-process out the color noise. The ZS7 fixed the color noise problem but it has too much processing and too much pixel detail was lost. You can get almost as good a photo on the ZS7 if you turn down the processing algorithms to minimum.
The other downside is that the photo mode wheel can get stuck between two settings and the camera won't take pictures for a moment when this happens. It's a very minor annoyance that only happens if you are switching modes al the time.
There is still not a point and shoot camera (circa 2015) that can take a sharper photo at 12x zoom than this model.
I lost my zs3 so today I use a zs15. The later 16x and 20x and 25x and 30x lenses are all declining in sharpness, and especially doggy were the zs8, zs9, zs10 CCD cameras, so stay away from these cameras!. My new zs15 has a very special FZ200 CMOS sensor and so it takes much better night photos than the CCD in this ZS3 camera, and it was an attempt by Panasonic to salvage its reputation after the horrific failure of the zs10. The zs15 is almost as sharp as the zs3 but I cannot take pictures 25 feet away in a daylight room with lights off and read the book spines, like I can on the zs3 or zs7 with processing turned down. The lack of a CMOS sensor in the zs3/zs7 camera is its only disadvantage, and it's a minor disadvantage compared to what you get for advantages in picture sharpness and fluid movie-taking.