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Customer Review

246 of 252 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Improves on the already great ZS3!, April 4, 2010
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This review is from: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 12x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD - Black (Camera)
I just replaced my trusty ZS3 with the new ZS7 and, so far, I am very pleased with this camera. The output is much cleaner and smoother than the ZS3's, much more refined. Compared to the ZS7, the ZS3 produced images that look brittle and over-processed. As with virtually all small-sensor cameras, the ZS7's images are a little noisy (even at base ISO) if you look close enough. But noise is far less objectionable than ragged edges and smeared details, which is what I usually got from the ZS3. The images I'm getting from the ZS7 look surprisingly good even at 100% on-screen enlargement; whereas the ZS3's output was virtually unusable at this magnification. The improvement is dramatic. Considering that the ZS7's resolution has also increased from 10 to 12 MP (it's actually a 14 MP sensor that is masked to create different aspect ratios), I'd say that Panasonic has done a really good job here.

The ZS7 improves on the ZS3 in several ways; but for me the most important new feature is Picture Adjustments, which let you turn down the amount of sharpening and noise reduction that are automatically applied to every image. Photographers who do their own post-processing will appreciate the ability to apply their own preferred methods of sharpening and noise reduction.

The next most important new feature (imho) is the addition of aperture/shutter-priority shooting modes. There isn't much latitude for adjusting the f-stop in most small-sensor cameras because of defraction effects; but it's great to be able to control the shutter speed manually.

The ZS7 also adds GPS, which can (thankfully) be turned off. Leaving it on shortens battery life.

Other improvements that I appreciate include (1) improved image stabilization, (2) new Venus processing engine, (3) High Dynamic mode, and (4) the LCD now has a good anti-glare coating.

All things considered, the ZS7 is an impressive upgrade that is easily worth the price.
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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 21, 2010, 8:13:34 AM PDT
mywolvesrock says:
Has anyone purchased a battery for this camera that works? I am talking about a back-up batter. Finding a battery for the ZS3 was a problem. If you have found one, which one specifically? I don't want to buy this camera unless I can buy an extra battery to go with it. Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2010, 8:36:31 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 21, 2010, 8:37:38 AM PDT
Alansky says:
B&H Photo sells a replacement battery for the ZS7 that works. Here's the link:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=WishList.jsp&A=details&Q=&sku=617777&is=REG

Posted on May 2, 2010, 3:09:35 PM PDT
I saw a negative comparison of this camera vs. the ZS3, with the latter doing much better in high ISO conditions. Do you have any feelings on that, having owned both? Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2010, 4:45:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 2, 2010, 4:47:18 PM PDT
Alansky says:
Their were some pretty grungy "ZS7" photos posted on the web before it was released, and before the professional reviewers weighed in. Some people drew hasty conclusions after seeing these photos, but I personally have not seen any serious reviews that give the ZS7 lower marks than the ZS3 in any category. As far as I know, I've read every major ZS7 review that has been published so far. The ZS7's manual modes and picture adjustment options should, if anything, help photographers to achieve better results at higher ISO's.

Mind you, neither the ZS7 nor the ZS3 are going to win any IQ contests at ISO 800 and above. But at ISO 400 and below, my ZS7 undoubtedly produces cleaner images than my ZS3 ever did. I always set the in-camera sharpening and noise reduction to the minimum, which also helps alot, and I process my images in Photoshop. I find that the images I'm getting out of the ZS7 need far less adjustment than my ZS3 images used to require. All things considered, I have been extremely pleased with ZS7's image quality. You just have to be mindful of the limitations of even the best small-sensor pocket camera. Hope this helps.

Posted on May 8, 2010, 11:57:59 AM PDT
Do you have any images to share of people? I am interested in this camera for travel and flowers and such, but also as a busy mom with 4 kids in all kinds of activities. I'd love to see how this camera captures every day photos of kids/people. Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on May 8, 2010, 1:08:51 PM PDT
That helps a lot. Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on May 8, 2010, 2:06:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 8, 2010, 2:07:01 PM PDT
Alansky says:
The bottom line is that, for photographing active kids, no pocket camera is ideal. They don't focus fast enough, their burst rate isn't high enough and they're not their best at higher ISO's (which is what you need to keep the shutter speed high enough to capture fast action). The ZS7 has a much better than everage burst rate of 2.3 fps (frames/sec.) on paper; but in practice, it's somewhat less than that. Even then, you still have to contend with the focusing speed. If you enable focus tracking, I'm sure the burst rate is even slower.

The same goes for every pocket camera I've ever used. The ZS7 also shoots only three frames per burst at the highest quality setting. The new Sony HX5 advertises a high burst rate at full resolution, but I haven't seen the results.

Personally, if shooting people (especially kids) was a priority, I'd buy a small DSLR for that. I don't normally photograph people alot, but I added three people shots to the end of one of my online galleries:
http://gallery.me.com/alansky#100131

In reply to an earlier post on May 8, 2010, 2:09:52 PM PDT
Alansky says:
P.S. The colors are intentionally muted in the shot of the group of kids.

In reply to an earlier post on May 8, 2010, 3:07:53 PM PDT
Thanks! Your pictures are beautiful! I'm upgrading from my OLD Olympus C-740 which I absolutely LOVE. Sharp, clear pictures in all situations and rarely a bad photo. But the buttons are wearing out from so much use, and you can't "half push" the shutter button for focus any longer. I DO have a Canon XTi but it is so bulky to carry around and...to be honest...the images with my tamron 28-300 lens are often soft. So I'm looking for an all around camera and the one thing I WON'T compromise on is image quality. Wish I could find the same as my old Olympus, LOL...but they've changed so much I can't quite figure out how to compare! I appreciate your comments!

In reply to an earlier post on May 8, 2010, 6:54:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 8, 2010, 6:55:29 PM PDT
Alansky says:
Your Olympus C-740 must be ANCIENT. The maximum resolution is only 3 megapixels, which really isn't much. If you liked the C-740, you should love the Lumix ZS7. It is smaller, lighter and should outperform your old Olympus in every way. The only thing it lacks is a viewfinder. Unfortunately, virtually all pocket cameras have eliminated the viewfinder; though you could certainly get one in a slightly larger camera like the Panasonic FZ35 or the Canon G11. The G11 is a wonderful camera, but has a more modest zoom range (28-140 vs. 25-300 for the ZS7) and doesn't shoot HD video. Your old Olympus had a 38-380 zoom (a little longer but not nearly as wide as the ZS7). The FZ35 has an enormous zoom range (27-486). All three cameras (ZS7, FZ35 and G11) are the best cameras in their respective categories. Hope this helps.
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