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Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 14.1 MP Digital Camera with 16x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD (Black) (OLD MODEL)
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- The DMC-ZS8 features a powerful 16x optical zoom lens.
- The 16x Optical Zoom Keeps the Subject Sharp While Giving the Background a Soft focus.
- The DMC-ZS8 features a 1/2.33-inch CCD with effective 14.1-megapixel high-resolution;displkay size 3.0
- Images remain clear and sharp even when they are enlarged to A2 size.
- The Sonic Speed AF system includes numerous re-engineering enhancements, including a higher-speed actuator.
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 14.1 Megapixel Compact Camera - 4.30 mm-68.80 mm - Black DMC-ZS8K Digital Cameras
From the Manufacturer
24mm Ultra Wide-angle 16x Optical Zoom LEICA DC Lens
The compact, versatile lens system is the hallmark of LUMIX ZS(TZ) series and now this lens system is totally redeveloped for the DMC-ZS8 in both optical and mechanical design. The new high-quality LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens system is even more versatile with 24mm ultra wide-angle* to powerful 16x optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent: 24-384mm). Comprising 12 elements in 10 groups, including an ED lens and 3 aspherical lenses with 6 aspherical surfaces, this advanced lens unit suppresses chromatic aberration which tends to occur in telephoto shooting. It also boasts a short total length of lens unit despite its higher versatility with longer zoom range, which is made possible by development of a new mechanism for the structure of lens barrel. The lens system is also compatible with high shutter speed of min.1/4,000 sec.
*Converted to standard 35mm camera equivalent, at the maximum wide position.
Powerful 16x Optical Zoom
The DMC-ZS8 features a powerful 16x optical zoom lens (35mm camera equivalent: 24-384mm). This gives you highly natural expressions from people and animals that you can't get close to. It can also be used for shooting movies, and is designed to suppress noise while zooming. This compact, pocket-sized camera can easily go wherever you do for both everyday snapshots and traveling.
Venus Engine VI
The high-speed, high-performance Venus Engine VI is incorporated in the DMC-ZS8 to enable the recording of beautiful images with higher quality signal processing including the Intelligent Resolution technology. An advanced noise reduction system in the Venus Engine VI applies noise reduction (NR) to luminance noise and chromatic noise separately. As a result, beautiful images with minimal noise can be reproduced all the way up to ISO1600 high sensitivity at full resolution for beautiful night shots or dimly lit indoor shots.
Intelligent Scene Selector Scene Detection
When the camera is in the iA Mode, the Intelligent Scene Selector automatically sets the Scene Mode to one of Scenery, Portrait, Macro, Night Portrait*1, Night Scenery or Sunset. The camera judges it from the various detection results such as focusing and brightness level of the circumstance*2. You are free adjusting settings every time the scene changes when taking images with these frequently used Scene Modes to get beautiful results.
*1 In the iA Mode, the Night Portrait is not identified when the flash is turned off.
*2 With some subject and shooting conditions, it is just not possible to judge the best shooting details. When this happens, it is recommended that you shoot with the Scene Mode that best suits your purpose.
AF Tracking Subject Detection
Once you focus on your subject, the AF Tracking automatically tracks it until you press the shutter. When you're taking images of an active subject, like children or pets, this function eliminates the need to press the shutter button halfway down repeatedly to readjust the focus. The AF Tracking makes sure you don't miss those once-in-a-lifetime shooting opportunities
3.0-inch, 230,000-dot High-resolution LCD
The DMC-ZS8 is equipped with a 3.0-inch LCD with 230,000-dot high-resolution. The big screen reflects fine details, making it easy to check the focus before shooting. It also serves as a photo and video viewer, allowing you and friends to enjoy viewing the still and motion images together.
iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode
When you don't know which mode will give you the best shooting results, or when a sudden photo opportunity pops up and you don't have time to change any settings, simply choose the iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode and let the camera do it all for you. You just choose the iA Mode, aim at your subject, and shoot. Seven detection and correction functions are simultaneously activated to optimize the settings, so you get stunning photos every time. In addition, the Intelligent Resolution technology is always activated in the iA Mode which results in clearer and higher image quality in every photo with extended zoom range equivalent to 20x by the Intelligent Zoom.
POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) Shake Detection
Everyone has had an experience of taking a photo at night and hoping to capture all the memories and beauty, only to be disappointed at the poor result. Panasonic has worked on the low-frequency vibration hand-shake component, which is physically generated when pressing the shutter button or when shooting at night with a slow shutter speed. The POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer)* nearly doubles the hand-shake correction power of conventional MEGA O.I.S. You get bright photos without blurring even from handheld shooting at slow shutter speeds.
*The POWER O.I.S. is automatically turned on in the iA Mode and can be turned on or off in the P/A/S/M Mode or some Scene Modes.
LUMIX Image Uploader
The DMC-ZS8 gives you a new form of communication by letting you share your photos and movies. All you have to do is checkmark the photos and movies you want to share and connect the camera or SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card to a computer. Uploading automatically starts by simply following the guidance.* Facebook can be used for photos and YouTube™ for movies. You can join these social networking services without having to install any special software. It's easy to share photos and movies on the spot, which means that your friends don't have to wait for you to come back home to see them.
Easy Computer Connection
Select "Upload Set" from the playback menu, and then select the photos and movies.
Upload Photos and Movies
The software is launched after connecting the camera or SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card to a computer.*
Share with Your Friends
You can share the URL by e-mail right after the upload!
* LUMIX Image Uploader starts up automatically on the computer the supplied software "PHOTOfunSTUDIO Ver. 6.0" or later is installed.
In other case, start up the menu by double-clicking the file "LUMIXUP.EXE" in the folder below:
[My Computer] > [Removable Disk] > DCIM > AD_LUMIX (Windows)
* YouTube is a trademark of Google Inc.
* Facebook and the Facebook logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Facebook, Inc.
What's in the box
Lumix ZS8 digital camera, Battery Charger, Battery Pack, AV Cable, USB Cable, Hand Strap, CD-ROM
Read about our customers' top-rated cameras on our review page: Point-and-Shoot Cameras
Top customer reviews
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It is not perfect, of course, but even if you take a "money no object" approach to picking an upper premium compact camera - there is currently nothing on the market that is head and shoulders better than this - although there can always be a case made for different qualities.
Big Zoom - check
Good "glass" on the front - yep, Leica
Optical Image Stabilisation - uh huh, works quietly and efficiently in the background making your shots less blurry.
Good quality photos - sure - but with the caveat that a "full on" digital SLR will always do better. The photos come out are a nice colour (not too vivid - but also not too washed out) and they don't come out a funny colour under artificial lighting (some cameras can struggle and give you a funny tint under striplights or old fashioned tungsten bulbs).
Noise levels - the "speckly" bits on photos that you sometimes get in dark conditions - is definitely there - especially at higher ISO's - but you get this problem in dim lighting conditions even with all compact cameras to a greater or lesser degree. Even if you get an SLR camera - even up to a year or so ago - you'll find that they aren't infallible to this either.
HD Video - check, but in MPEG format. I think that this takes up more space than the newer AVCHD format on the SZ10/TZ18 - but I would be wary of getting a camera that uses this format if you have an older PC or laptop and especially if you have a netbook - in case the hardware can't cope. I guess Windows XP/NT/2000 users should definitely be careful - and to a lesser extent even if you have a Windows Vista machines you might think twice - especially if you are on a laptop where the hardware will always be slower than the equivalent price PC.
I have a mixture of laptops and netbooks running Windows 7 through to XP so didn't want to take the chance - especially as other family members and the kids will probably want to view some of the footage (family and my kids have the older machines whilst dad gets the upgrade LOL).
I do wonder if the AVCHD format on the more expensive ZS10/TZ20 is going to be a bit of an evolutionary dead end - just as BLU RAY hasn't really taken off - even though it's technically better than DVD - most people even if they have a big widescreen TV find that their DVD is fine (probably because the modern DVD players and TV's will upscale the DVD resolution to give a semi-HD picture quality). The ZS10/TZ20 I think gives you the option to record in both (I think I read that somewhere but if this a deal breaker you should check to be sure).
If you only want a great point and shoot camera this is brilliant and has loads of options. Not only that but the options are really well laid out and easy to understand - by which I mean the dials and menus are set out in a common sense fashion and also instead of just little symbols/icons to indicate that you are in portrait mode or landscape mode - there is a little text underneath which tells you what it will do.
I've had a number of Nikon's and Canon's - and for some reason they can still make cameras with menus and buttons that were laid out by Martians - they can be so unintuitive even for people who are really experienced photographers - and you have to keep referring to the instruction book to work out what to press or what menu icon you are looking for - and even then it doesn't stick in the memory because it's all so counter-intuitive.
If you think you might - in a little while - like to step up in your photography later and get a bit more creative - or you are thinking of this a second camera to augment your SLR - then you'll want to know that this has A LOT of manual control thrown in which is pretty unusual in the compact camera class and it has Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Full Manual modes which is quite a rarity in the pocket camera class.
If you are an experienced SLR user, I can tell you that the PASM options are pretty nicely implemented. Sensibly placed access buttons (the small round exposure button and Q Menu buttons to the right of the screen do this) and the menus are nicely set up to easily access the bits you want for Aperture / Shutter priority / full manual control. It'll never be as good as your SLR but you can't carry that around with you this easily and it won't shoot HD video either (or probably not unless you have the latest generation).
The 16x optical zoom is class leading. You can get really good close ups if you want to.
You should only compare OPTICAL zoom when you are looking at different cameras and ignore the Panasonic advertising guys (or anybody else )who point to the overall 20x zoom - because if you include the quoted digital zoom - the extra 4x zoom basically just crops your optical zoom photo in camera - and your laptop software will do that - only better - though I guess it might be relevant if you don't want to be doing with all that and just need an "okay" sort of photo).
It also has a really good wide angle lens - 24mm - which basically means you can get more scenery in the shot at the edges. The lower the number the better - and 24mm is currently the lowest I am aware of. The lower the number the more you can fit into the photo - so if you are looking at a nice panorama or want to take a photo with the whole table in the shot - you are more likely to get it with this lens than say if you compared it to other cameras - whose lens might start at 27mm, 28mm, 35mm. This small difference can be the difference between getting everything or maybe not quite getting everything into the shot that you want to.
OVERALL it feels nice in the hand - and it is quite light. It has a cool solid feel metal body and all the buttons and switches feel like they will last.
Of course none of this would be of any use if the photos weren't top notch ... but luckily they are in my opinion. Sure, you can get a little better photos perhaps - but bear in mind if you are reading other reviews - a lot of this is personal preference - like how you like your TV at home to be set up with brighter or more vivid colours or more contrast etc.
In technical terms - compact cameras are never going to match SLR cameras - because their sensors just aren't as big. This is also one of the reasons that you get more "noise" (or speckly bits) in photos from pocket cameras. The camera reviewers who do this for a living always seem to forget they are reviewing a pocket camera - as they probably all have SLR's at home - and they get a bit obsessed about how the photo appears when you look up close with a magnifying glass. Surely most people simply look at their photo on their laptop/Mac/PC and go "ooh that's nice" before deciding whether to print it or not ?
Bottom line - this gives great photos that I am more than happy with even compared with my SLR (a two year old Pentax K20) - and if you want a compact/pocket camera with the ability to take great scenery or panoramic shots and then also zoom really close on things as well then this will do a great job for you. I think you'll be pleased with this as your main or secondary camera. Try not to get too hung up on specialist reviews - a compact camera is never going to give you technical quality photos of a large SLR - but you can video with it and even the newer SLR's don't do that very well - though heaven knows why not - maybe they just have a slow escalation marketing policy and are going to deliver that to the market as the desire for SLR's with video capability increases. And remember that if you wanted a whopping great SLR you'd have got a whopping great SLR.
Also - go and have a look at all the cameras "in the flesh" in a store - to see if the size suits you. There aren't any smaller camera's with this big a zoom, but there are plenty of camera's which are smaller and more pocket / handbag friendly.
IF you consider the size too big then you should definitely look at other camera's, but if the huge range zoom is just what you are looking for (like me) - then this is for you I reckon (unless you have a strong loyalty for one or other brand in particular I guess).
IF you really want lower noise on high ISO photos but don't want an SLR and still want the big zoom then do have a look around at the competition and check out the specialist website reviews.
IF you just want a nice pocket camera that gives you nice photos - but you are on a budget then you should look at the outgoing models from all of the manufacturers - but do have a look at Fuji as they have currently (March 28th 2011) some nice deals on their outgoing models which would give you good zoom and reasonable photos eg Fuji Finepix with 10x zoom 12MP photos.
And finally don't get hung up on the megapixels on a compact camera. The quality of the "glass" on the front of the camera is likely going to have just a big - if not bigger impact. Although there are exceptions - more expensive usually equals better glass. This is why getting a formerly $400+ camera which is currently being discounted due to a newer incoming model can be a worthwhile strategy - as the originally more expensive camera will generally have better quality lenses. Anything above 10MP is going to be fine 90% of the time - and more megapixels actually often means more grainy photos in darker conditions.
Here's my snapshot on two good alternatives - although there are potentially important subtleties amongst them and numerous alternatives from other manufacturers like Pentax and Fuji. There are lots of minor but potentially irritating features out there such as how fast can they take photos - how do they perform in low light with the flash off - how realistic are the colours (which can definitely be a personal taste thing) - and also really important day to day things away from how good the camera is technically in delivering a good photo or video - eg are the buttons and switches and menus in just the right or wrong spot for you - and does it feel good in the hand to you - you may prefer a lighter camera, bigger or smaller buttons.
Canon PowerShot SX210 has 14.1 MP and 14x zoom - has only a 28mm lens - which isn't too bad - looks a good bet and has pretty nice write ups. ISO goes up to 3200 if you look at the SX200 - though of course it'll probably give you a speckly ol' photo. FWIW I didn't think that the difference between 24 and 28mm on the wide angle zoom was that much of a difference - but having had it now for a while I have to say that there's no way I'd go back.
Nikon CoolPix S 8100 has 12.1MP, significantly worse wide angle lens at 30mm so you won't be able to get so much scenery into the shot, only 10x zoom but is therefore smaller and more pocket / handbag friendly. It has a fast shooting 10 frames per second though the TZ18 can do similar job if not quite so fast. It has less manual control as it has no Shutter and Aperture Priority.
ME ... personally ... I did have a good look at the SZ10/TZ20 and in fact nearly got it - but in the end I decided that it's a bit heavier (though not much) and I couldn't see that the extra money for Geo-Tagging and Stereo video sound were much use to me. I mean the stereo Mics are 5mm apart and worrying about the battery drain on the geotagging would have driven me crazy - constantly turning it on and off to save power ... and I figured that I would make do with simply remembering where I was when I took the photo. If I really want to know where I was at the time I take a photo of a road sign or landmark nearby ? Works for me anyway :o)
I wanted big zoom - on a compact camera - with a wide zoom and I already have an SLR so this is perfect. Although there are no doubt one or two better cameras out there, they aren't that much better to make me worry.
Good luck and have fun picking your camera.
Next would be the picture quaility. Absolutely great as well. Clear, crisp,perfect lighting and on and on.
Easy to use and set the settings as well.
Although a little more pricey than most, it is soooo worth it!!!
Take a chance on this one, if you are unsure. You will NOT be dissapointed!! Love it! Love it!
I've carried a predecessor to this camera, the TZ5, regularly including while running. That's moving to a dedicated application and I wanted to take advantage of the additional zoom Panasonic offers for my "daily" camera. There are smaller, lighter cameras but this is the best combination with the longer zoom, everything smaller stops at about 5X. This has an optical 16X and a very effective 20X. The macro mode gives crisp,incredible close ups.
A friend recently took his digital SLR and three lenses on a trip to Hawaii and ended up taking pictures with his cell phone because he didn't want to haul any of the photo gear on his touring. "The best camera is the one you have with you." This is easy to carry, even in a back pocket. It is too heavy for a front shirt pocket, but it's OK in a jacket pocket. I keep mine in an Amphipod model 670 Ballistic Trail Pouch which also has a belt loop if I want to use it and is large enough to hold a spare battery, though the battery life is fine in normal use.
This isn't quite a "point and shoot" but it's close enough when the dial is set to "i" or "intelligent" mode where it figures out everything for you. You just have to know to set it to the "i" setting if that's how you want it to work.
My only beef with all these non SLR digitals is that even when set to scenery mode, where a fixed "infinite" focus would be fine, they still work to focus and there's no manual override. A small concern and only occasionally problematic, such as when trying to take a picture of the moon. You have to keep in mind that the flash falls off rapidly at about 10', but the images are good in limited light.
This has a very effective image stabilization system, but as you move over about 10X with any of these cameras you need to be conscious of trying to hold still.
If you want a utilitarian, easy to use, long zoom camera that takes terrific pictures, this is an excellent choice.